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New Phone, Same Old Bosses

, , , , , | Working | November 2, 2020

I recently became a student and I need extra cash, so I apply for numerous jobs that are near campus and where I live. After weeks of getting nowhere, I get an interview for a waitressing position at a rather well-known Chinese buffet restaurant who also does specialised orders. It is in an area that was a little difficult for me to get to — two trains and the underground plus a twenty-minute walk — but I simply agree to it until I can find somewhere closer.

A few days later, I have the interview and I clearly make an impression as the boss asks me to stay and have a trial shift to see how I get on. I will be paid half of what I would be paid if I were to be hired.

A few days later, I receive the followup call confirming I’ve been successful and I will be starting the following week. Due to restrictions with classes and such, I am placed on weekend shifts and two short shifts through the week. It’s not ideal, but I’m taking what I can get. My boss draws up our schedules and sends them in a group chat via a texting app. I have said app, but I never use it.

One week into starting, I am stressed because I’ve never done waitressing before, but I am glad to just be working. But then, a customer trips and spills their drink over me during my break — and on my phone. I dry it off the best I can, but it is obvious that the liquid has gotten inside, so I stick it in rice and leave it to hopefully get the liquid out. I make my boss aware and he confirms he will help cover the cost of the damage if my insurance decides to not pay out, considering I wasn’t at fault. 

This restaurant only has three full-time employees: my boss, the owner, and one waitress. Other than that, there are just part-time students, and there are a lot of us. We are on a rotation so we work three out of four weeks a month; that’s why I don’t think anything of what happens next.

As I am leaving, I once again make my boss aware that my phone is not working. I ask him to inform me via email if I’m scheduled, as I have no way to access the app without my phone, and he confirms he will do so.

When I receive no schedule through a method I have access to, I assume it is the week I won’t be scheduled for and think nothing of it. Luckily, my insurance pays out and I get a new handset ordered that will be arriving the next day.

Once I’ve synced everything up, though, I see numerous missed calls through the app and on my caller log, and dozens of messages. I read through them all, and most are my boss furiously asking why I am refusing to answer. I told him multiple times my phone was broken and he said he would email me if I was scheduled, which he did not do.

Instead of calling him directly, I decide to make a trip to the restaurant as the language my boss used in the messages immediately made me want to resign. When I walk in, he turns a weird purple and red shade and takes me into the back room before yelling at me. Only after I’ve been sitting there for a few minutes does he run out of breath, and I seize my chance to speak.

Me: “So, you are annoyed with me because I didn’t turn up for my shifts, which I never knew I was scheduled for, because you sent them to me on an app I had no access to because my phone broke? Something I made you aware of a few times, at which point you gave audible confirmation that you would send me my shifts via email?”

His face goes through multiple colours at this as the owner is watching from the side, clearly about to fire me for neglecting the schedule. Now he is finding out I didn’t neglect it because I didn’t know I was scheduled.

Boss: “I didn’t know your phone was broke—”

Me: “Yes, you did. Because it happened as a customer tripped and spilled their drink on me whilst I was on break. And I told you it was in rice to try and soak out the liquid. You even said you would help cover the cost of a new handset in case my insurance refused to pay out.”

He tries to deny that this happened, but a simple look at CCTV and asking the guy who was scheduled with me at that time confirms this is how it played out. 

Me: “So either you weren’t listening to me the whole day or you were trying to make me look bad. I quit. The language you used on me when I opened those messages this morning after only receiving my new handset was disgusting and I don’t want to work for someone who treats his employees like that because you screwed up.”

He tried to defend himself a few times after this but the owner simply nodded at me to confirm I could leave and confirming he would not allow a bad reference when it came to potential new employers doing background checks. I found out two months later that my boss was fired himself for not changing a schedule as agreed for someone else who worked there who got really sick and requested to have her week that day. All I can say now is good riddance.

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