Rat Chance At Redemption

, , , , , , , | Working | May 16, 2018

(I work in a big-box pet store in the pet care department, meaning I do customer service for people interested in buying the fish, reptiles, birds, and small mammals we sell, and I also take care of those animals. I love all animals, and it’s well-known among my coworkers and managers. I particularly enjoy taking care of the rats. Unfortunately, our suppliers keep and ship them in dreadful conditions, and some animals don’t do too well, obviously. Even more unfortunately, one of our new managers has taken it upon herself to micromanage the animal care, but has no experience in this area. She therefore makes mistakes like not turning away shipments of animals that have skin conditions or other serious health issues. Then, she has the nerve to blame employees for not curing them. She particularly hates me for some reason, even though we both adore rats. One new shipment has a rat that is particularly aggressive. Even after acclimating it, it snarls and tries to bite any human who approaches it. I try to steer clear of it because [Manager] insists that it’s just temperamental and won’t send it back or isolate it. One morning, I open the cage to give the rats food, and the evil rat RUSHES at the door, LEAPS out, and bites my finger hard. I wince as I scoop the rat back up with my non-bleeding hand and put it back in the cage, then go to get cleaned up. My finger is completely sliced open. Of course, the first aid kit is in the manager’s office.)

Manager: *immediately chewing me out* “What were you doing to the rat that it did that to you?”

Me: “I just opened the cage, and it rushed toward me before I could react.”

Manager: “Nonsense. Rats are sweet creatures. You did something wrong. That’s it. I don’t want you near the rats anymore. You’re forbidden from interacting with them.”

(I’m offended, and still bleeding, but gently remind her that I am the only person working in the department that morning and still need to give the rats fresh water and potentially show one to a customer.)

Manager: “They’ll be fine without fresh water until [Coworker] comes in. If a customer wants to buy a rat, come get me.”

(Sighing, I went back to work while nursing my finger. An hour or so later, a family came in, and guess what they wanted to buy? I alerted the manager and accompanied them to the rat cages. [Manager] was going on and on about how gentle and sweet rats are and what great pets they are for children. She opened the cage to retrieve an adorable gray one for the customer to pet; of course, it was the evil rat, who did not take kindly to the family’s cooing and promptly chomped down on [Manager]’s finger. She gasped, turned to look at me, and turned red with fury. The family decided a rat was not a good pet for them. [Manager] was eventually transferred to another store, although she never bothered me again for the remainder of her time at our store.)


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