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And Nothing Of Value Was Lost

, , , , , , , , | Working | November 10, 2022

I was nineteen and had just entered the world of retail after graduating from high school. I knew that customers would be very immature and entitled, but I never expected one of my coworkers to be like that, as well. Unfortunately, I would learn that I had a lazy and entitled coworker — but mostly lazy.

[Lazy Coworker] was not very well-liked by anyone in general, and it was plain to see why. He would often ignore his task of attending the registers and would find anything else he could do to occupy his time. He would process film that was either going in or out, which was fine, but he would do this when customers were present. He also liked to fill the cigarettes, but the problem was that you only opened a new carton when there were two or fewer packages in a slot. [Lazy Coworker] would fill every spot, whether or not it needed to be filled. If he ran out of room, he just put them in the next spot, lather-rinse-repeat.

Another thing about him I hated was that he ignored our protocol about calling for backup when we had three or more customers in line. I would go to do something and come back to see that he had a line of at least half a dozen customers, yet had not once bothered to call for backup. He was very slow with how he did transactions and was even notorious for rounding off with change amounts.

To round things out, he was notorious for making personal phone calls on the clock. Initially, he would ask to make a “quick phone call”. From there he would call one of his friends and chat with them, and then he’d disconnect and call another friend. He would do this numerous times during his shifts, and eventually, he got so comfortable doing it that he stopped asking permission.

Worst of all, he always seemed to target me with his unusual form of workplace bullying. He was very condescending and treated me like a child who didn’t know what they were doing, such as telling me which buttons to press, what type of tender he was using, etc., all while scanning his own items, which really felt demeaning. He also called me goofy nicknames that I did not like at all.

His other method was trying to get me to work his extensively long shifts — like ten hours long — or stay until closing when I was supposed to get off before him, all because he had some kind of emergency situation that he had to take care of. If I said no, he would beg me continuously until I caved in. After several times, I put my foot down and vowed not to cave in anymore.

Unfortunately, despite supervisors telling him not to ask me to work for him, he never got the message and continued pleading with me to work his shifts. One time, I tried explaining that he would have to switch shifts with me and he threw a tantrum. I was shocked; here I was, a high school graduate who was more mature and had more common sense than this guy who was at least twenty years my senior.

The management understood that we didn’t like him, but they couldn’t fire him. They claimed that he was one of the few workers who could work the closing shifts, and unfortunately, because I had full availability, I had to deal with him a lot.

Things finally came to an end a little over a year after I started when he broke his ankle and was out of work while getting workman’s compensation. His entitlement and ego apparently got the best of him, since he was apparently looking at it like a paid vacation and never kept in touch with the store. They took that as a sign that he didn’t care about his job, so they let him go.

It still mystifies me how someone older than a teenager could act so immaturely. Another mystery for the times.