You’re Too Late To Save Yourself

, , , , , , | Working | January 5, 2018

(I’ve noticed that since summer ended, one of my employees has been routinely late, but clocks in almost exactly 20 minutes after his shift starts. Most of the time, however, I see him before his shift, early. Too many tardy notices and we have to let someone go; its corporate policy and out of my control. I like to give people a chance, so I call him into the office to see if I can help him.)

Me: “So, there’s the trend I’m noticing on your clock-in times. Can you tell me what’s going on?”

Employee: “Well, in the mornings, I put my kids on the school bus, because I don’t like them standing alone in [Sketchy Part of Town]. Then, I take the bus that stops a block over to work. But sometimes the school bus gets there late, I miss my bus, and the next one isn’t for 30 minutes, so I’m late those days.”

Me: “Okay! Well, I wish you’d brought this to my attention sooner. Here’s what we are going to do. I’m moving your entire shift back a half hour. That way, if you catch the later bus, you’ll be on time, and you don’t have to stress.”

Employee: “Seriously? That will help so much. Thank you!”

(Two weeks go by, and I notice the employee is up for a written warning for another three tardies, having clocked in 20 minutes after his new, later start time. I pull him aside.)

Me: “What’s going on here? I moved your shift so that we could fix the issue with you being late, but you’re late more often now!”

Employee: “I’m sorry! It’s just… I don’t want to stand at the bus stop everyday for a half hour. It’s a really bad part of town. So, I’ve been going home to do a few things, and I get distracted, I miss the bus.”

Me: “You’re going to have to figure out how to fix that.”

Employee: “Okay, can we push the shift back another hour? A half hour isn’t much extra time, but I can be back if you give me another half hour.”

Me: “I actually need the 11:00 to 7:00 shift covered, so I’ll allow it, but I need you to understand: this was your last warning. If you are late at all in the next three months, I have no choice but to let you go.”

Employee: “Okay! Thank you!”

(A few days later, the mans supervisor pulls me aside.)

Supervisor: “Just so you know, [Employee] called you a b****.”

Me: “What?”

Supervisor: “He says he took the 10:00 to 6:00 shift specifically to be able to pick up his kids from their after-school program by 7:00. Now, you changed his shift, and he can’t get them in time.”

Me: “Okay, let me tell you what really happened.”

(The situation resolved itself when [Employee] showed up a half hour late two days later. I let his supervisor handle his termination papers, because I was still furious with him.)

Have To Be Tough To Deal With Holiday Shoppers

, , , , , | Right | January 5, 2018

(It’s about seven pm on Thanksgiving night. A customer approaches my register with a cart of college t-shirts. As I ring them up and say the price ($4.99) she stops me.)

Customer: “Excuse me! Those are 50% off!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. They are ticketed $10 and the sign says 50% off the ticketed price. That is why they are $4.99.”

Customer: “I don’t think so. They should be 50% off the price on the sign! I want to go look!”

(She walks over to the section and storms back to my register.)

Customer: “Scan all of them! I don’t believe you!”

(I scan all 20 of them one by one, each coming up $4.99.)

Customer: “Here, I don’t want these few.”

(She throws about five onto the register and I hastily put them to the side.)

Customer: “Ring me up for the rest of these.”

(I’m very flustered at this point. I’m still new to the job, and I take an audible deep breath.)

Customer: “Are you getting annoyed with me?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I’m just very flustered; it is Thanksgiving night, it has been very busy, and I only started a few weeks ago.”

Customer: “Well, tough s***! It’s your job to be annoyed. And you can’t do anything about it.”

(I rang her up in silence, completely baffled by her attitude. She left and I had to walk away from the register, it was so upsetting.)

Never Shopping Here, Starting Tomorrow!

, , , , | Right | January 5, 2018

(It is a quiet Saturday afternoon, a few weeks before Father’s Day. I work in the men’s department so my register is supposed to get boxes for customers, but they haven’t come yet. A woman approaches my register with at least four big bags of already purchased items.)

Customer: “Do you have any boxes down here so I can get stuff wrapped?”

Me: “No, unfortunately, but they do have them upstairs at customer service.”

Customer: *in disgust* “UGH! How ridiculous! Such horrible service! This is why I never shop here!”

(She walked out of the store and I chuckled to myself. How was it that she had four bags of items if she ‘never shops here’?)

The Walking Playing Dead

, , , , , , | Working | January 4, 2018

(We have earpiece walkie-talkies to communicate through the store. One day, all staff are treated to the following:)

Employee #1: “This is stockroom number two. We need maintenance immediately to… OH, MY GOD!”

(There is a loud series of bangs, screams, and crashing noises.)

Me: “Stockroom! What the h*** is going on?!”

Employee #2: “There’s… Jesus! Run, man, run!”

(There was another series of crashes and screams, and a moment later I looked out the window to see [Employee #1] running at top speed across the parking lot away from the mall. I got to the stockroom at the same time as maintenance and security, and we burst in to find boxes knocked over, water on the floor, chairs upended, and our staff missing. For a moment it was like seeing the aftermath of a horror movie. Then, we spotted the culprit: a rather angry possum who had gotten trapped in the room overnight and surprised the stockroom staff when they moved a pile of boxes. A call to animal control later, things were back to normal, but I still tease the staff that I was pretty sure I’d find zombies in the stockroom, based on their reactions.)

You Want Insanity Then I’m Your Man(nequin)

, , | Right | January 3, 2018

(I work for a children’s concession inside a high end department store. We stay open until nine pm a few nights a week, but for us, it’s pretty much devoid of customers after eight pm. One evening, to keep myself busy, I decide to change our mannequins. Note: I wear both a uniform and name badge noting my concession name and the store’s name.)

Customer: “Excuse me, do you work here?”

(Startled, I look down at the half-naked mannequin I’m trying to wrestle into a onesie before I look back at him with a smile.)

Me: “Yes, I do. Sorry, I’m a little distracted by this guy.”

(He looks down at the mannequin this time.)

Customer: “That was a really stupid question, wasn’t it? I’m not sure what I would have done if you’d said ‘no.’” *he laughs*

Me: “Probably questioned the sanity of the woman playing dress-up with her dolls in the middle of a department store. I wish I had said ‘no’ now. Anyway, how can I help you?”

(Turned out, he was a guy in his early twenties who had never stepped foot in a children’s wear department in his life, but a friend of his and his fiancée just had a baby and he was nervous about trying to find a gift for the new arrival. I helped him choose a very cute outfit, including gift wrapping it for him. He apologized again and thanked me for my help and after he left, I went back to my mannequins.)

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