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Not Ever Working, Part 9

| Working | November 12, 2012

(I am working in a retail chain in the firearms department. It’s the opening day of hunting season so it’s very busy, but the person scheduled to help me has called off. Seven hours into my shift, I had not yet had a break or a lunch, so I can’t log into the register to ring someone up due to the blocks they place on us to avoid overworking.)

Me: “[Manager], I need your help out here.”

Manager: “What’s the problem now?”

Me: “Sorry, I can’t log in anymore. I’ve been clocked in too long. What should I do?”

Manager: “Here. I’ll log in and you run on my numbers.”

Me: “I am not comfortable with that. I don’t want to make a mistake and have you take the fall.”

Manager: “No, you just want a break, but you can’t have one! This is our busiest time for this department.”

Me: “No, that’s not it… I’m sorry.”

Manager: “Just do what I said. Take care of your job!”

(At this point, a customer interjects.)

Customer #1: “Miss, I’m sorry… how long have you been here?”

Me: “A little over seven hours now.”

Manager: “I’m going back to my office now.”

Customer #1: *to my manager* “No, hold on. You’re meaning to tell me, this girl has been waiting on people, hand and foot for seven hours with no break, and you have to go back to your office, rather than giving her five minutes to grab a glass of water? What’s so d*** important?”

Manager: “Well, the management was provided pizza for the hard work we’ve been doing and I’m going to get some.”

(With that, jaws of several customers drop, including the man who has spoken up. I, however, am used to things like this taking importance.)

Customer #1: “So you’re telling me that this girl is out here, actually doing the hard work you’re taking credit for, and you’re going to eat pizza rather than giving her a break? What’s your name? I’m reporting you.”

Manager: “It’s [name].”

(Customer #1 calls right there on the spot to the complaint line and states the issue. Meanwhile, I ask for the next customer.)

Me: “Can I help whoever is next?”

Customer #2: “No, honey. You have your hands full, but I do want you to have a blessed day.”

(I smile and ask for the next customer. In succession, EVERY customer tells me they’ll wait until I have my break before taking care of them. Meanwhile, Customer #1 has finished his phone call with the complaint line.)

Customer #1: *to me* “I’d like to see [manager]…”

(Less than a week later, my manager was fired for intentionally breaking labor laws. As a result of the situation, I was offered a promotion into his position. I took it, but three months later, as I was working on the floor to cover the girl who replaced me as she took a break, I was called to the office. I was actually reprimanded for doing work! I turned in my keys that day, and have not so much as shopped there since.)

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