Reaching Breaking Point

, , , , | Working | October 5, 2017

(In the fall, our store hires seasonal help. We hire a cashier who has a decent work ethic, but eventually he starts to have an attitude with the younger supervisors. This includes me, as I am in my early 20s, and he is in his 50s. All cashiers are expected to check the bathroom; it’s marked on the schedule sheet, and it’s supposed to be checked once every hour. When everyone is trained, they’re told to clean it sometime within 45 minutes after they’re marked to do it. The new hire happens to be scheduled to take his 15 minute break at 6:30, and he’s assigned the 6:30 bathroom check, meaning he can do it anytime between 6:30 & 7:15. After doing some stuff on the floor, I come back to the registers and see the new hire turning his lane light on, so I check the time.)

Me: “Oh, good, [New Hire]; you’re back from break.”

New Hire: “Oh, I didn’t take my break. I was just cleaning the bathrooms.”

(Since he’s new, I let it slide, but explain how breaks take precedent over the bathroom checks. Then I reach over and turn his lane light off.)

Me: “I have to find someone to cover you, because [Coworker #2] has to take her dinner break right now. That’s why it’s important to stick to the break schedule. Go take your break.”

New Hire: “Oh, no. I’m okay. I don’t need one.” *he reaches up and turns the light back on*

Me: “You realize it’s a paid fifteen minute break, right? It’s not like you’re gaining anything from not taking a break. Anyway, [Store] is legally required by state law to give you breaks. You need to take one. Turn your light back off and take your break.”

New Hire: *he stares at me like I’m an idiot and walks away* “Oooookaaay.”

Coworker #1: “Did he seriously give you attitude because he gets a PAID break for working four hours?”

Me: “Yeah, he did. Where did he work before this? Has he never worked somewhere that was compliant with state labor laws? Can you take over for [Coworker #2]? She’s going to be on meal compliance if she doesn’t clock out for her meal. I’ll handle the service desk until I get someone from the floor over here.”

(After the new hire comes back from break and I let the sales floor coworker go back to their area, I go into the bathroom to find that it REEKS of bleach, like someone scrubbed every surface and then mopped with it. I am pregnant at the time, and I’m already sensitive to the smell of cleaning products, anyway, so I immediately get nauseous and have to step outside for fresh air. When I finally feel better, I go inside and approach the new guy.)

Me: “[New Hire]! Did you use bleach to clean the bathrooms?”

New Hire: *as if I asked a dumb question* “Well, yeah.”

Me: “Seriously? You know we have specific bathroom cleaner, right?”

New Hire: *again, he speaks down to me like I’m dumb* “Well, it was empty.”

Me: *I’m trying to be the better person and not give him the same attitude* “Next time, ask someone how to refill the bathroom cleaner. If nobody is able to help, just clean the best you can; fill the bottle with water to dilute whatever is left in there. Bleach is awfully harsh to use in a public bathroom. I know there are vents in there, but there’s not enough circulation.”

New Hire: *looks at me like I have three heads* “Oooookay.”

Me: “You’re on the schedule for bathrooms at 7:30, too, right? I’ll do it and refill the cleaner. Make sure you check in with me before you clock out.”

(Surprise, surprise, since I was cleaning the bathroom, he didn’t tell me when he clocked out at eight, and he didn’t clean up his register. There were other issues with him, like taking breaks that were too short or too long, and giving us attitude. Even when he was talked to about those things, he still didn’t listen. Somehow, he wasn’t quite bad enough to fire, but he wasn’t one of the seasonal workers who got hired on year-round. A few days before his last day, he just walked out on another manager and we never saw him again. Thank goodness!)

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