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Making You Go Docu-mental

, , , | Working | September 12, 2017

(I work at a craft store as a stock person. A truck comes in at three am and we have until nine am [when the doors open] to get things put away. Each person usually gets a section of the store to work on. Mine is in framing, a total of ten aisles of product, some of them itty-bitty to go on individual pegs. Everyone else only has two aisles. I am usually alone with six u-boats [think of narrow, flatbed carts, piled as high as you are tall with boxes]; everyone else gets two or three. My manager storms over and loudly berates me where my coworkers can hear her.)

Manager: “It shouldn’t take you this long to put stuff away! We’re going to be hiring seasonal people soon, and if they end up working circles around you, then you won’t be working here anymore!”

Me: “[Manager], I have double the workload of everyone else, and five times the distance to travel.”

Manager: “I don’t want to hear excuses. Next time you have a shift, I’m going to watch you to see how you can do better.”

Me: “All righty then.”

(The next shift, the manager has totally forgotten. I call her to observe. She tells me to sort everything into piles [which is how I always do it anyway]. I call her again when I finish that. She says she’ll be right over. After two minutes of standing around doing nothing, I give up and go to put the trash in the compactor, halfway across the store. I come back to my department and wait some more. And more. After ten more minutes of standing around, doing nothing, the manager shows up, barely glances at the piles, and says…)

Manager: “Good job. That’s all I wanted to see,” *walks off*

(My eye develops a twitch. A friend of mine says I should invoke the Three D’s of Retail: Document, Document, Document… because this looks like trouble. My next shift, the manager shows up again. She walks up with a slow, menacing pace, puts her hands on the counter between us and leans forward in an intimidating manner.)

Manager: “You have four u-boats. You have an hour and a half to get them all done. If you are not done, I will send you home and put someone on the section who will get it done more quickly.”

(I’m stressed now. I have to go into hyper drive. I throw empty boxes in a huge pile on the floor [at her command], sort things, and take things to each of the aisles at a dead run. Where I usually slide product where they belong in the proper slots, now I have to jam them in haphazardly. Products break, and have to be swept up and taken to the damaged bin. Ten minutes to my deadline, my stuff is put away, and I’m scrambling to put away my overstock.)

Manager: “See? You’re done!”

Me: “Actually, no, I’m not. I’m still putting my overstock up, and I was unable to bring anything down from our overstock to fill the holes.”

Manager: *visibly hesitates, then says* “But you’re done putting stuff away!”

Me: “Yes, I suppose technically I am, despite not being able to do my whole job.”

Manager: “But you’re done! Aren’t you proud of yourself? You should be proud of yourself!”

(I am not proud of being bullied into haphazard work and still only getting a third of my duties done. I am then sent to another section, again at her command, leaving a huge mess for someone else to have to clean up after me. Yet another shift comes by, and my manager drags me off the floor and rips into me.)

Manager: “I don’t know what we’re going to do to make you work faster, [My Name]. You should have been able to put all your stuff away, put up your overstock, and bring extras down to fill the holes. What can we do to bring down the time it takes you to do your job?”

Me: “I don’t think you can. I already said that I have double the workload of everyone else, and five times the distance to travel. If you could assign a coworker to help me with the workload…”

Manager: “You know what, all I’m hearing out of you is excuses. It’s the holidays; we’re going to be hiring 20 new people. I think you need to go home and think about it. Next week when you come in, I want you to either have a list of things we can train you on to do things better, where to put you where you CAN be effective, or you need to tell us whether this company is right for you.”

(I was silent and absolutely stunned. Had she seriously just told me to work off the clock?! I had been documenting from start to finish, so now it was time to bring down the hammer. I called the company hotline and listed everything; unreasonable demands, hostile attitude, toxic work environment, and the demand that I do a work-related project off the clock. At this point, I was done; if I got fired, I didn’t care. The company jumped like it had been stung. I was contacted by a local bigwig within a week, and I handed him my documentation, so that he could read everything. He spoke a lot of soothing, pretty corporate platitudes about the company working like a machine, and how much corporate wanted everything to be nothing but happy rainbows, and that if I HAD worked off the clock, he would have moved heaven and earth to make sure I was paid for that time. But after looking over my documentation, he sweated a few bullets and promised me that I would be kept anonymous, but that they were going to take care of the problem. To be fair… he told the truth. My manager left me alone from then on, only talking to me to give me directions and send me on my way. There wasn’t a single peep out of her about my speed for the rest of the time I worked there, until I moved and had to quit.)

This Just Isn’t Field-Working Anymore

, , , | Working | September 11, 2017

(There’s been a few rounds of restructuring, and the boss is chatting with me to see how I’m adjusting.)

Me: “For the most part, it’s been okay. I’m just a little disappointed. With all my new office duties, I barely get to do any field work anymore.”

Boss: “What’s wrong with that?”

Me: “Well, I love doing field work. I specifically got into this business to do the field work.”

Boss: “Oh.”

Me: “Why? What’s wrong?”

Boss: “Well, I always assumed you hated doing field work. Every step of this restructuring, I’ve been trying to get you back in the office as much as possible.”

Nothing Fun About Minimum Wage

, , , , | Working | September 11, 2017

Boss: “So, [My Name], what do you do for fun?”

Me: “You don’t pay me enough to afford ‘fun’.”

So You Think You Can Overwork Me And Leave Me To Die?

, , , | Working | September 11, 2017

(My bosses have developed a really bad habit of keeping me past my shift end without saying anything. Even when I ask over the headset for them to come count my drawer, they say they’re coming, and then I wind up staying another hour or two. I wouldn’t mind if they needed me to stay and asked, but they’re just standing around most of the time.)

Me: *over the headset* “I was supposed to clock out an hour ago. Is anyone coming to get my drawer?”

Manager: “[My Name]? What are you still doing here?”

Me: “Working. Come get my drawer so I can go home.”

Coworker: *also over headset* “You could just clock out and leave. They’d figure out pretty quick that no one was back there taking orders or money.”

Me: “No, because then someone could short my drawer, and I’d get in trouble for it.”

(Eventually, I’m allowed to leave, two hours after my shift ended. Tired of them forgetting about me, I decide to be as annoying as possible if my shift is up, to get out on time for once.)

Me: *singing loudly on headset* “I want to break free. I want to break freeeeeeeeee.”

Manager: “Knock it off! I’ll get there when I get there.”


Manager: “Oh my God.”

Me: “Hey, I was supposed to leave half an hour ago. The longer you keep me for no reason, the more annoying I become. GOD KNOWS. GOD KNOWS I WANT TO BREAK FREEEEEEEEE.”

(Next shift, nearly forty-five minutes after I am supposed to clock out:)

Me: *singing over headset* “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide—”


Me: “No escape from reality! Open your eyes, look up to the skies and seeeeeee…”

Manager #2: *changing my drawer and letting me leave* “How long can you keep that up? He’s thinking he can put up with the singing until you stop.”

Me: “I was a band kid. It will never end. I will break out into musicals if I have to.”

(The next shift I belted “Phantom of the Opera.” From then on I was allowed to leave on time.)

Working Like This Is Alien To Me

, , , , | Working | September 9, 2017

(I’ve been working with my district manager on a massive project to change the layout of my store. I’m about three months pregnant, suffering a serious case of “baby brain,” and I lovingly refer to the baby as “my alien,” as we don’t know its sex yet. It’s early in the morning, and my DM and I are texting back and forth. I have just made a mistake.)

District Manager: “You’re killing me. It’s too early for this.”

Me: “I know, I’m sorry. I should probably send myself home for stupidity.”

District Manager: “Nope. You actually have to work extra today.”

Me: “But… But… my alien might make me break the store!”

District Manager: “Exactly, then they’d have to remodel. Have a good day.”