Exceeding Your Expectations Of Excessive Expectations

, , , , | Working | November 30, 2020

I am the author of these two stories. This story takes place in 2018 at the grocery store I transferred to. One week, our store manager holds a series of mandatory team meetings with several groups of associates. Per store policy, I have to be on the clock for these meetings, and I get inexplicably scheduled for a half-hour on one of my days off for my group’s meeting. It is very rainy that day, and I end up having to take an Uber to the store since I don’t have a car or even my driver’s license at the time, and it’s a nearly two-hour walk there from my house.

The meeting itself is just thirty minutes of the store manager talking about the company’s new customer service campaign: “Yes, I can!” Basically, it means asking EVERY customer for help, and if a customer asks us for help, we HAVE to help them, even if it means simply directing them to the actual person or department they need to go to.

At the end of the meeting, the manager asks us if we have any questions. I come up with one simple question.

Me: “What happens if a customer asks us to help them while we’re off the clock?”

The store manager pauses for a moment.

Store Manager: “Well, when a customer asks you for help, just remember, help them to the best of your ability.”

Me: “But wouldn’t that be working off the clock?”

Store Manager: “It’d probably only take you a couple of seconds to a few minutes at most.”

I stood dumbfounded. Had he really just told me that we were now essentially EXPECTED to work off the clock? But that’s not even the worst part.

Two days later, while I was on my lunch break, a customer asked if I could help her to the car. I told her I was off the clock but I would find a coworker to help her, which I did. As soon as I got back from my lunch break, the store manager called me to the office and scolded me for not helping the lady, threatening to write me up if it ever happened again.

Now, I’d already been frustrated enough with this job for a number of reasons, which I will not go into detail about. However, being threatened with corrective action for NOT breaking labor laws was the last straw, and I put in my two weeks notice shortly afterward. I spend the remainder of 2018 working for my dad’s construction company before finding a new job at a competitor grocery chain the following year.

Related:
This Write Up Isn’t Going To Stick(er)
Bad Manager Reached Breaking Point

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