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, , , , , , | Working | January 27, 2023

My uncle used to be a general manager at a fast food chain in a large metropolitan area, and he has many stories from decades of working with them.

This particular story takes place around 2006, shortly after [Uncle]’s assistant manager leaves the company to be with her son in England.

[Uncle] is ready to promote one of the shift managers from within when the district manager tells him that another manager is transferring to his store and that he does not need to promote anybody.

The new manager arrives a couple of days later and proves to be a headache for [Uncle] almost immediately. She is extremely toxic and almost never speaks without yelling. Constant complaints come in from the other workers about [New Manager]’s toxicity, and numerous write-ups appear on several employees’ files, the majority of which [Uncle] decides to throw out due to them having bogus or false reasons.

On [New Manager]’s fourth day, [Uncle] comes in and notices that the shift manager he originally intended to promote prior to her arrival is not there.

Uncle: “Where’s [Shift Manager]?”

New Manager: “Oh, her? I fired her.”

Uncle: *Taken aback* “You what?!

New Manager: “I fired her.”

Uncle: “What do you mean, you fired her?”

New Manager: “I. Fired. Her.”

Uncle: *Sigh* “We need to talk. Right now.”

[Uncle] drags [New Manager] to the office. She has a smug grin on her face the whole time, to [Uncle]’s irritation.

Uncle: “[New Manager], what the f*** is going on?”

New Manager: “I told you already, I fired [Shift Manager]!”

Uncle: “I understand that you fired her. Why did you fire her?”

New Manager: “Because I felt like firing her.”

Uncle: “Very funny. Tell me why you actually fired her.”

New Manager: *Smugly* “Because I felt like firing her — that’s why!”

Uncle: *Facepalming* “Jesus Christ, [New Manager]. You cannot just fire my employees at the—”

New Manager: “It’s called at-will employment. I can fire anyone here at any time I like for any reason or no reason. I could fire [Shift Manager #2] for being a [Local NFL Team] fan if I wanted to! I could even—”

Uncle: “Enough. I know what at-will employment is, but it only works if you follow—”

New Manager: “Nope. I can fire every employee in this store just for the h*** of it if I want to. The law says I can. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

She crosses her arms and smirks triumphantly at [Uncle], who rolls his eyes.

Uncle: “You know what? There is actually one thing I can do. You’re fired.”

New Manager: “Wait, what? You can’t fire me!”

Uncle: “Actually, yes, I can. Like you said, [New Manager], at-will employment — I can fire you for any reason at any time. And I do have a very valid reason in this case. I have three, in fact: toxicity, insubordination, and willful violation of the company’s termination policy. Now, as I was going to tell you before you interrupted me twice, you cannot just fire people at the drop of a hat here at [Restaurant]. You have to follow the company’s established protocols. And no, at-will employment does not override a business’ termination protocols. You of all people should know this, [New Manager], because you were sent here in the first place for wrongfully firing someone at [Other Location], and now that you’ve done it again, it’s cost you your job.”

New Manager: “But—”

Uncle: “And before you argue that I’m wrongfully firing you, consider the fact that not only were you fired for three very valid reasons, but you were already on your last chance when you arrived not even half a week ago. That was a chance you were extremely lucky to have gotten at all considering that violating termination policy is normally fireable on its own. Go clean out your locker. You can drop off your uniform tomorrow when you pick up your final paycheck.”

[New Manager] stormed out in a huff. [Uncle] called [Shift Manager] and told her she was not fired and could come back the following day.

He got a call from the district manager later that day asking how [New Manager] was doing and told her what happened. The district manager laughed and said that she wasn’t at all surprised that [New Manager] wasted her last chance as quickly as she did and that she wouldn’t be trying that experiment again anytime soon.

[Uncle] formally promoted [Shift Manager] the day after that, and then he handed the reins to her when he retired twelve years later. [Shift Manager] is still there to this day, as friendly as ever, and always greets my uncle when he stops by for lunch.

Question of the Week

What is the most stupid reason a customer has asked to see your manager?

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