Not Demonstrating Acceptable Behavior

, , , , , | Working | January 1, 2019

(At this time, I identify as a woman and have a high-pitched “customer service” voice. I have just gotten accepted for a job demonstrating a product for [Company A] at the store of [Company B]. The interview on Monday is over the phone, and the job is Saturday and Sunday, except for the first week where I will be trained on Friday. As a college student, I make it clear that I’m not available for any kind of communication between Tuesday and Thursday because I need to focus on classes. My interviewer, who is also my direct manager, agrees to this. Everything is going fine; I’ll see them on Friday. Or so I thought. Tuesday, I receive a text.)

Manager: “Hey, [My Name], how are things? Don’t forget you need to bring [documents] on Friday if you didn’t submit them by email. I haven’t checked, lol.”

Me: “Please keep in mind, I am not available for any communication on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. I submitted [document] by email. We can talk more on Friday. Have a nice day.”

Manager: “Oh, I wanted you to actually train Wednesday.”

Me: “We never agreed to that. I specifically said I am not available. If you’re unhappy with my availability, I will be informing you now that I am prioritizing my class work over this job. If you want that priority changed, it’ll cost [higher price per hour], as that is the industry standard, above the wages you’re currently offering. I am including any text messages individually as one-hour charges each. Thanks for your understanding.”

Manager: “Jeez, it was just a joke. See you Friday!”

(Wednesday, the manager sends a series of about forty to fifty messages, all varying in tone from casual chatting to borderline sexual harassment, like asking me what I’m wearing and a few ranting about his ex. The final message is the important one.)

Manager: “So, are you still interested in the job or do I need to find someone more dedicated?”

(Pissed about his genuine disrespect of boundaries, and having PTSD flashbacks because of how his messages are similar to those sent to me by my abusive ex, I decide I’m done with his nonsense.)

Me: “I was still interested in the job. And I would have shown up on Friday and everything would have been fine. Everything you sent me could have been discussed on Friday as we had planned, and some of it shouldn’t have been sent at all. But now? No. I no longer want this job. You have shown me that you have no concept of boundaries, and demonstrated an inability to respect your employees. I don’t want to work for someone like you. I don’t get jobs to make friends. I do not and did not ever want to be your friend. I get jobs to make money. Learn to make friends in appropriate settings. I quit. Lose my number.”

Manager: *suddenly back-pedaling* “You can’t do this! We need you! Just take a joke! We already spent five grand securing the location at [Company B]! And you were the only qualified applicant! If you’re serious about this, you need to tell [Company A]’s owner why you’re pissing on his money!”

Me: “No, you can tell him how you threw away his money by being so unprofessional. In fact, show him our text messages. Good luck finding a new demonstration-lady with half as much experience as me, in this economy, for those wages.”

(He gets the hint and doesn’t reply. He tries to call on Thursday, but I ignore the calls, and my voicemail isn’t set up so he can’t yell at me that way. On Friday, I get a call from [Company A]’s owner and he asks me to, in my words, explain why I didn’t show up for training.)

Me: “Is [Manager]’s phone with the number [exact phone number] a company device or a personal device?”

[Company A]’s Owner: “It’s a company device. Why?”

Me: “Go to your account provider for the phone and pull up the text messages from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Call back and tell me what you think happened.”

(I hang up on him because he’s wasting my time by not having done so in the first place. On Saturday, he calls again:)

[Company A]’s Owner: *nervous* “So, uh, about the issue this week. I just wanted to personally apologize. [Manager] was… totally out of line; don’t worry about a thing. We won’t charge you a penny if you don’t share those text messages.”

Me: *in the most passive-aggressive polite and cheer customer service voice I can manage* “That’s nice of you to offer, but I don’t owe you anything. The expense of training and location rentals is the burden of the business, not of the employee. What you’re attempting is blackmail. I’ll do whatever I want, and you’ll never contact me again unless you want the police involved, mmkay?”

(He hung up on me. I happened to go to [Company B] on personal business, and saw [Company A]’s demonstration booth set up but unmanned. It remained unmanned for three weeks, until another lady started working there. After a brief conversation, I found out that [Manager] was doing the same harassment to her, and she was going to quit after only two shifts because of it! The next employee to man the booth was a man, who was a Poe’s Law-subtype of sexist with a familiar voice. Thankfully he got banned from entering [Company B]’s premises after talking too much about the anatomy of female customers, and [Company A] hired someone much more decent.)

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