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Even When You Have The Receipts…

, , , , , | Working | June 9, 2023

At the age of fourteen, I worked weekends at a fast food restaurant. We were given one thick polo shirt with the company logo on it as part of our uniform. However, for $10 a shirt, we could purchase a lightweight T-shirt version to wear instead.

Shortly after I bought mine, of course, enough people were complaining about wearing a thick shirt in the kitchen that the shirts started to be handed out as part of the initial uniform. I tried to get my money back, but [Manager] told me I had chosen to buy it so that was that.

At nineteen, I went off to college, so I handed in my two-week notice.

Manager: *Upset* “Okay, you’re quitting?”

Me: “Yes, I am going to college out of state. I could work holidays if you need, but—”

Manager: “No, no! I wouldn’t want to get in the way of whatever you think you need to do out there. Just hand in your shirts and name tag at the end.”

I didn’t realize he said “SHIRTS”.

Me: “Okay.”

On my last day, I wore my T-shirt and brought the polo along. I folded the shirt and put it on [Manager]’s desk with the name tag on top.

Manager: “When are you bringing the other one?”

Me: “Other one?”

Manager: *Pointing* “The shirt you’re wearing. That’s [Company] property.”

Me: “No, I bought this.”

Manager: “No, those are part of the handout uniform.”

Me: “Yes, they became part of the handout, but only after I bought it. Do you remember me asking for my money back and you saying no?”

Manager: “I will not release your final paycheck until we have the entire uniform back.”

Me: “You do have it. I bought this with my own money.”

Manager: “It is part of the uniform. You return it, you get your paycheck.”

I left, not willing to argue with him. Instead, I went to our corporate contact and told them that I had paid for the shirt and [Manager] was withholding my check. I attached the receipt showing that I had ordered and paid for the shirt myself and asked for someone to speak to [Manager] on my behalf.

A week later, my check was in my mailbox with a sticky note saying, “Enjoy the free shirt.” I went by the restaurant over my first holiday break and [Manager] was no longer there.

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