Minimum Wage And Comprehension

, , , , , | Working | September 15, 2017

(I’m the manager of a small copy center, which is part of a larger store. The store manager refuses to pay more than minimum wage for the work that needs doing in my department, and therefore, our only applicants for open positions are the sorts of people who have never used any of the print machinery before and are just in need of any old job they can get. We go through employees like crazy, because none of them can seem to learn everything that’s needed to work effectively in the department. Customers complain, important and high-dollar print orders are ruined, turn-around times or prices are botched, we’re left bending over backwards to make the problems right with the customers, and the new hires are let go. Rinse, and repeat. The most recent new hire takes the cake…)

Me: “Okay, [New Hire]. I need to go take my lunch break really quick. All I need you to do is take the packages out of THIS box, and put them into THIS cabinet.”

(Note that I have put the box beside the indicated cabinet, and I have showed her both the box and the cabinet she needs to put things into. It’s a super simple task, but having the new hire handle it will help her familiarize herself with how we handle delivered supplies, and where this particular product belongs in the shop. I ask the new hire if she’s okay if I leave for lunch. She says, “Yep!” and off I go to my lunch. Thirty minutes later, when I return, the box is still sitting where I left it, full.)

Me: “Uh, [New Hire], was the department busy while I was away?”

New Hire: “No.”

Me: “So… what happened to putting the packages into the cabinet?”

New Hire: “…I wasn’t sure what you wanted me to do.”

(After a couple more attempts at explaining, I actually had to take a ream of paper from the box, open the cabinet, and put it on the shelf before she grasped what I meant. And this gal was a high school graduate who had just started college!)

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