Can’t Put This Deli-cately

, , , , , | Working | June 23, 2017

(I work in the deli department in a retail chain. For months now, our staffing has been slowly getting less and less, making each of our individual workloads heavier while management puts pressure on us to get even more done, even scolding us in front of customers. What few and far between new hires we do see are out the door very quickly due to the intense workload and lack of respect from management and all requests to transfer to other departments are ignored. Eventually, we’re down to just four people total per day in our department as the business picks up due to warmer weather. As a result, the morale of the department is pretty much non-existent. Finally, after months of everyone not getting everything management is asking done each day, two managers get behind the counter themselves to “show us how easy our department is.” This is the conversation that followed.)

Manager: “So, after working deli today, I absolutely hate it. Even we couldn’t get everything you need to do done with who we have. Honestly, I’d never work this job for what we’re paying you.”

Me: *feeling so relieved* “Thank you! So, you’ll put a higher priority on hiring and show more understanding for when we can’t get it all done, right?”

Manager: “Well, we’ll see what we can do about hiring, but the fact is, not many people are applying to be in deli, so you’ll just have to make do. As for getting it done, we get emails from corporate about our numbers and when that happens, we have to hold people accountable.”

Me: “Wait, what?! You and [Other Manager] just said you couldn’t figure out how to get it all done, and with you both there, that was with two more people that we’re used to having. If you two, whose job it is to ensure the place runs properly, cannot make it run properly yourselves, why are the employees being held accountable?”

Manager: “You gotta understand; when we walk over and see empty shelves because nobody stocked it, that’s sales we’re losing!”

Me: “Did you and [Other Manager] manage to stock all the shelves yesterday?”

Manager: “Well, no, but you just gotta communicate with your coworkers and figure it out. While we’re at it, everyone in the deli seems miserable!”

Me: “Because we all are. The work conditions you just dealt with are the conditions we’ve been dealing with every day for months! We all tried our best to stay hopeful, but we’ve been warning you about the decreasing conditions this whole time, you’ve done little to nothing about it and now, as human beings, we’ve just reached our limit!”

Manager: “Well, if you’re going to be here, you’re going to act happier. The customers can’t see you all so miserable. If you don’t like that, then nobody is being forced to keep the job. The door’s always open for you all to leave.”

(On that note, I realized I wasn’t getting through to her. After going home that night, I thought long and hard on it and decided to accept her generous offer to leave. I gave my two week’s notice very shortly after and am currently much happier and less stressed. Unfortunately, most of my coworkers did not follow me out the door.)

Hostile Beguile

, , , , , , , | Working | June 21, 2017

I work in a grocery store deli. We hire in a new employee, [Coworker #1], who seems nice enough and is a good worker. Three weeks later, on a Friday, [Coworker #1] calls in say she’s going to be late because she has to pick up her kids from school. It’s only the two of us closing the department that night, and the last person from the morning shift has to leave when she was meant to arrive. I shrug it off, figuring I can handle a little while alone.

A half hour passes and I start to get nervous, and slightly frustrated. In my few years of being at this job, no one has ever been this late. A total of fifty minutes passes before [Coworker #1] comes in.

In concern, slight panic, and mild frustration, I ask what caused her to be so late. She only says she had to pick up her kids and leaves the immediate area to clock in. Satisfied, I return to work and wait for her to come back.

A half hour passes and [Coworker #1] hasn’t entered the department since she arrived. I ask  [Coworker #2] from the prepared food department, who also can work the deli, to go look for her while I take care of the customers at the deli.

Eventually, [Coworker #2] comes back and says she can’t find [Coworker #1]; she’s nowhere in the back. We decide to flag down a manager and ask what to do. He uses the speaker system to call her back to the department. Ten minutes pass; no [Coworker #1]. The three of us conclude she has left the store and not told anyone. The manager says not to worry. [Coworker #2] thankfully has [Coworker #1]’s number, so she texts [Coworker #1]. [Coworker #1] does not respond for the rest of the night. [Coworker #2] decides to help me close during the last two hours of my shift, as closing the department is something one shouldn’t have to do alone. I ready myself to talk to her about this calmly tomorrow.

Tomorrow rolls around, and one of the Managers in Charge, who are manager when the official store manager is not around, calls me into her office along with the Union Representative. The MIC tells me that [Coworker #1] has filed a complaint against me, saying that my question had created a ‘hostile work environment’ and [Coworker #1] went home because of this and has not shown up for her morning shift that day. She gives me a talk about how much hiring people costs, gets my side of the story, tells me that this will go to corporate and a full investigation may ensue, and then sends me back to work. [Coworker #2] helps me calm down, as the conversation made me upset. I got in trouble for asking one simple, understandable question.

I still hang on to hope I can talk to [Coworker #1], as we’re scheduled to work together the next night, Sunday night. Our busiest day.

Surprise, surprise, [Coworker #1] doesn’t show, so she was officially fired for having two ‘no-call, no-shows’ during her first ninety days. I was a nervous wreck that I was going to close alone on the busiest day of the week. [Coworker #2] was working in prepared foods again that day and told me directly that she would help me close up, and did so. Despite all of this happening, I’m still confused. Which one of us was in the wrong?

Might Need A New Nickname

, , , , , | Right | June 12, 2017

(I work at a big chain grocery store in the deli. We have several regular customers who are bad enough to earn nicknames. This guy is simply “the a**-hole.” He is always rude and will ask for excessive condiment packets which our manager finally limited because of him. I get to deal with him after the limit was set.)

Customer: “Can I get a corn dog and some mustard?”

Me: “Sure thing.” *packs up the corn dog and four mustard packets, making sure he can see*

Me: *prints the tag* “Here is your corn dog and I gave you four packets of mustard in the bag.”

Customer: *snatching the bag from me* “Can I get more mustard and some ketchup, too?”

Me: *grabs two packets of ketchup* “I can give you the ketchup, but I can’t give you any more mustard.”

Customer: “What the f***? Give me some more.”

Me: *used to the swearing and bad attitude from him* “Sorry, but we have a limit on how many packets per customer. I actually gave you more than I am supposed to.”

Customer: *goes off on a rant full of swearing*

Me: *upset and annoyed, I don’t even try to pretend to be nice* “Can I get you anything else today?”

Customer: “F*** you, you f****** b****!”

Me: “Have a nice day, sir.”

(As we only have one other customer and my coworker is with them, I quickly walk away before letting my language slip, but can’t manage to shake off the insults. I am not being paid enough to put up with his BS and still be nice to him. The next few times he comes in, I don’t even bother to put up a fake smile for him. He always grumbles about the condiment limit and I ignore him and move on to the next customer, all smiles again. Surprisingly, he not only notices, but it turns out he cared because after a couple weeks, this happens while I’m alone.)

Customer: *rushes up to my counter as I finish up with a customer* “Hey!”

(I think, “here we go again” and take a deep breath, but before I can say anything:)

Customer: “No, no, no. I don’t want to buy anything. I just wanted to say I’m really sorry.”

Me: *genuinely surprised* “Oh? Um… okay.”

Customer: “I’ve been having a really bad couple of weeks and I’ve been an a**-hole to you. I’m really sorry. You’re just doing you’re job I won’t do it again. Do you think we can be friends?”

Me: *completely taken aback* “Um… yeah. Sure. Thank you for apologizing. Do you need anything today?”

Customer: “No, I just wanted to make sure I’d catch you whIle you were working.”

(He left and my coworkers came back a few minutes later.  I told them “the a**-hole apologized” and they didn’t believe me until I told the story. He was never rude to me or anyone else after that. I have no idea what caused it, but it was a nice change!)

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Will Have To Accept Their Parking Lot In Life

, | NJ, USA | Right | May 18, 2017

(We are a deli and convenience store in a very affluent and entitled community which gets SLAMMED at lunchtime. From 11:30-1:30 parking is hard to find. A woman calls the counter where I am taking orders and working register.)

Customer: “This is unbelievable! I’ve been waiting for a parking spot for over ten minutes! I’m a busy woman; you need to bring my order out to my car and I will give you the money! You also need to pick up some–” *lists a bunch of snacks and sodas* “–and bring it to me.”

(I’ve noticed the customer’s Maserati in the middle of the parking lot holding up traffic. She’s been waiting not more than 90 seconds.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but it is the lunch rush hour and no employee can leave the counter. Also, we do not gather your drinks and snacks. That is a service we do not provide, nor is bringing your order out to your car. You must get them yourself and bring them to the register to be checked out.”

Customer: “I have to bring my child’s lunch to school. I’m already 20 minutes late from the nail salon! I demand you bring my stuff out to my car!”

Me: “Ma’am, you want me to spend 10 minutes gathering your snacks for you, ring it up at the register, run to your car, get your money, go back to the register to get your change, and then run your money out to your car again, making every single other person’s order late?”

Customer: “Yes, or I am never coming back here again!”

(I didn’t end up doing any of that, and she screamed at us that we provided horrible customer service and she was never coming back again. Lo and behold, she was back the next day three times to buy her family breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)

The Stuff Real Jobs Are Made Of

, | FL, USA | Working | May 17, 2017

(I just interrupted the task I was working on to serve a customer. When I’m done with the customer, I don’t remember what I was just doing.)

Me: “Now… was I doing things, or was I doing stuff?”

Coworker: “You were doing stuff.”

Me: “Stuff it is!”

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