When Social Media Is Unsocial

, , , , , | Working | August 30, 2019

(I am the business manager for a small music store. I am a young female in my early twenties. I am in charge of finances, hiring and firing, marketing, etc., along with being the second in command after the owner. It is a small company, so I know everyone in the store and sometimes work the retail portion during particularly busy days. We’re also a pretty close workplace, so it is not uncommon for us to hang out after work to grab drinks. One day, the general manager, the person below me in the chain of command and in charge of overseeing retail employees, comes to my office with an unusual situation.)

General Manager: “Could I talk to you about an issue I’m having?”

Me: “Of course; I’m happy to help.”

General Manager: “[Employee] came into work today wearing a slightly inappropriate outfit, and I’m not quite sure how to address it. I’m worried that me, a man in my mid-forties, trying to have a conversation about appropriate work attire with a 22-year-old female will come off as creepy and rude.”

Me: “I understand completely. Why don’t I go up to the register and check it out, and if I find what she’s wearing to be inappropriate for the workplace, I’ll have a conversation with her about it?”

General Manager: “Thank you. I thought it might be better coming from you, especially since you two go out for drinks together often.”

(I finish what I am working on and then go to the front of the store to check out the situation. As I am relatively good friends with this employee, I don’t expect her to wear anything truly inappropriate, and never by intention, so what I find is quite shocking. She literally looks like she is about to go to Coachella; she’s wearing a woven crop top that only covers a small portion of her chest and leaves nothing to the imagination, a bright, neon yellow bra underneath, and a pair of very short shorts. It’s more than a little too risqué for our work environment.)

Me: “Hey, [Employee], can I talk to you for a moment?”

Employee: “Yeah, sure!”

Me: “I want to start off with saying you are not in trouble.”

Employee: “Is everything okay? I’m not being fired, am I?”

Me: “No! Of course not! I just want to talk to you for a moment about what you’re wearing.”

Employee: “Isn’t it cute? I just got it the other day!”

Me: “It’s very cute, but it’s not appropriate for the workplace. Now, I’m not going to send you home today, but I need you to assure me you won’t dress like this again.”

Employee: “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought we had a laid-back dress code here.”

Me: “We do, but that means jeans and a T-shirt are the most casual things you can dress in. We still need to maintain professionalism here. Also, we have music students of all ages coming in here, not to mention that you and I both know how inappropriate some of the male customers can be already. Bottom line, you’re not in trouble; I’m just going to need for you to agree to have your midriff and cleavage covered in the future. You’ve always followed the dress code up until today, so I don’t think it should be a problem.”

Employee: “Oh, okay. I’m so sorry. I just need to do laundry tonight and I wasn’t thinking about it and I didn’t think it would be a problem since we have a casual dress code. I guess I didn’t think about it. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. But out of curiosity, why are you the one telling me this? Isn’t it usually [General Manager]’s job to deal with little things like this?”

Me: “Normally, it is, but he felt a little uncomfortable trying to talk to a woman fifteen years his junior about what’s appropriate for her to wear, so I agreed to check it out and talk with you if I agreed with his initial thoughts.”

Employee: “Okay, that makes sense.” *laughs* “Yeah, that definitely would have felt a little creepy.”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve known him long enough to know he wouldn’t have meant anything by it, but you have only been here a few months, so we didn’t want to make it weird.”

(The rest of the quick conversation is uneventful; we happily discuss getting drinks the next day after work, and then we both go back to our respective tasks. Later that night, I’m scrolling through Facebook and see a post from the employee from earlier.)

Employee’s Post: “I’m so fed up with how working conditions are these days! Like, my creepy old male employer had the nerve to try to tell me how to dress today, and then tried to imply that if I dress in a way that he finds inappropriate that I’d be inviting men to harass me, which would then be my fault for my attire. I’m so tired of slut-shaming in today’s society and how we victim-blame. It’s disgusting and wrong. I should be able to dress however I want without being judged or having to worry I’ll be assaulted.”

(She has my store as her employment in her bio, so I’m immediately worried by the false implications she’s throwing against my store. I’m reading through the comments and I see a lot of outrage and people agreeing with her. Being her friend — and boss — I decide to comment myself:)

My Comment: “[Employee], I’m terribly sorry that the conversation you had with me, your 23-year-old female employer, went so negatively in your mind today. I was under the impression it had gone well since you and I agreed to get cocktails tomorrow night. I also know that your older male GM had to leave right before our conversation today, since he had to pick his son up from school. So, if you could just privately message me which employee had this conversation with you, I’d be happy to follow up on it, because what you described is not behavior we condone at [Store]. I agree with you that no woman should ever have to worry that what she wears could open men up to believing she is deserving of assault. I agree that society is not painting assault victims in a pretty color at the moment and that there needs to be a change in our society. However, we at [Store] do not condone slut-shaming, victim-shaming, or strict dress codes. We always stand up for our employees’ desire to express themselves through their unique attire, so long as it is workplace appropriate. Unfortunately, I have to say that your macrame crop top and neon yellow bra combination just didn’t feel workplace appropriate for our store. We did not send you home to change, we did not write you up for an infraction, and we did not in any way bully, shame, or punish you for your choice of outfit today. I simply asked that you not repeat this outfit or anything similarly revealing. I also wanted to remind you that last week when a customer got particularly brazen and started to cross the line with you, we had GM escort the man outside and wait with him until the police arrived, as we had every intention of having him arrested for harassment for how he acted and the things he said to you. We have always taken our employee’s sides when it comes to harassment and will never condone that kind of inappropriate behavior. I’m terribly sorry if you were given the wrong impression today during our conversation. Please reach out to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss anything further.” 

(When I woke up the next morning I had 15+ notifications from Facebook. When I checked, it was people either liking or commenting on my response. By the time I went in to work that morning, she had pulled down the post as the comments had all shifted from her side to mine.  She avoided me for her entire shift that day and we did not go out for drinks after work, either. She later apologized and we remained friendly during her time working for my store. It wasn’t until a few months later that she had to be fired for starting an affair with a married coworker — not the general manager! — trying to steal music students to teach privately, and for baiting customers into having heated arguments with her so that it would look like the customer was verbally attacking her and the general manager would escort them out. All of this happened during her final week, so I guess she wanted to go out with an eventful bang of a week.)

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Worse Than Seeing A Scam Coming A Mile Away Is Not Being Able To Do Anything About It

, , , , , , | Right | August 29, 2019

I have been working in the food preparation area of our store for quite some time, and I am on an overnight shift. Besides me, there is a person on register, and a manager who is very friendly, but follows the rules. A couple comes in with their three younger children around midnight.

The father orders a foot-long sub for each person, and when I see the order, each sub has the same meat on it, but everything else — veggies, dressings, and cheese — is different. I already know what this is leading to, so I am very careful since the store is empty.

I do each sub separately, printing out the tickets ahead of time and taping the ticket to the corresponding sub when I’m done with it. Finally, all five subs are finished and I call the number. The father picks up the subs and the family leaves the store.

I immediately rush a second set of the same tickets back to the manager, and she nods when she sees the order.

The customer returns just as I am walking out of the back and asks the cashier to see the manager. Our manager comes out, and the father shows her the subs. I notice they have moved the tickets around, and the father claims they are all wrong.

My manager helps me make a second round of the exact same subs, and refunds the cost to the man: $30. He walks out with free subs, and we have to log everything on the subs as waste and throw them in the garbage.

I look at my manager after we’ve finished, saying that I hate some people.

She sighs, and says, “Me, too.”

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Coffee Filters To Filter Out Their BS

, , , | Right | August 28, 2019

(I work in a restaurant which has three distinct parts: the kitchens, a regular dining room, and a bar, which contains slot machines. The story takes place in the bar, while I’m working in the kitchens. This customer is a regular and always asks for free coffee while playing on the slot machines. This, however, would be illegal. This time around, the customer and her friend actually order coffee, but…)

Customer: “Excuse me?”

Barmaid: “Yes, how can I help you?”

Customer: “This coffee tastes horrible.”

Barmaid: “I don’t see how that’s possible. I just made it; it should be quite fresh.”

Customer: “Well, it’s disgusting. I want a refund.”

(This customer basically just wants free coffee, which is simply not something we do.)

Barmaid: “Well, how about this. I can go make a fresh new pot of coffee and serve you that, instead.”

Customer: “Fine.”

(The barmaid goes in the back, out of sight from the customers, wastes a little time, and pours two cups of coffee from the very same kettle as the previous time.)

Barmaid: “Here’s your coffee. Is this better?”

(The customer and her friend both sip their coffee and become very pleasant.)

Customer: “Yes, this is much better. Thank you!”

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Shouldn’t “Leave” This To Chance

, , , , , | Working | August 28, 2019

(I work the overnight shift at a grocery store as a custodian, as well as occasionally assisting in stocking the shelves, usually the dog food aisle. I have a coworker who has been consistently dumb for the better part of five months, but our manager has been reluctant to let him go, as we’re short-handed and an extra body — in spite of him being relatively inept — is still an extra body. One Monday night, which is a non-delivery night where we condition the shelves and put up in-store back stock, about four hours into the shift, I’m mopping a spill on the floor and the coworker walks by with his jacket and bag. Our manager is off tonight, and we have another coworker who is the de facto supervisor in our manager’s stead. There are a couple of other coworkers, but they are working elsewhere in the store when the following occurs.)

Me: “You heading out?”

Inept Coworker: “Yeah, I’m about to pass out. I have to get going.”

(I assume, perhaps naïvely, that [Inept Coworker] has informed [Supervisor] that he is leaving, so I say goodbye and get back to my own duties. About five minutes later, I decide to take my break, go outside to get a drink from the machine, and watch as [Inept Coworker] gets picked up. Once I get my drink, I head back inside and lock the front door behind me, thinking nothing of it. Twenty minutes later…)

Supervisor: “Hey, [My Name], have you seen [Inept Coworker]?”

Me: “Yeah, he left about twenty minutes ago.”

Supervisor: “Who locked the door?”

Me: “I did.”

Supervisor: *curses* “He told me he was just going out for a smoke and fresh air! I told him to finish his aisles before he left.”

(He shows me that the aisles are, in fact, not complete, as there are multiple holes where he could have added the backstock and filled them.)

Me: “Oh, s***, I saw him with his jacket and bag, and just kind of assumed—”

Supervisor: “Nah, don’t worry about it; it’s not your fault. There was probably just a miscommunication there. It happens.”

(I agree, and we get back to work, picking up [Inept Coworker]’s slack and getting everything finished, as he didn’t complete frozen foods or dairy, the sections to which he was assigned. We have a third coworker take pictures beforehand. Cut to Wednesday night — I am off Tuesday — and I’m on my first fifteen-minute break, two hours into the shift, when [Supervisor] calls out to me that the manager wants to speak to me. I walk with him to the back, where our manager is talking with a very angry and defensive [Inept Coworker], who is saying that he’d definitely told [Supervisor] that he was leaving, but the minor point of contention that I need to clear up is who had locked the door behind him.)

Me: “Yeah, I locked it; I’d gone outside to the vending machine—”

Inept Coworker: *interrupting me* “No, you didn’t! I already said so!”

(He doesn’t let me get a word in edgewise, ranting about how everyone’s “snitching” on him about his work, and what he says, and what he does and doesn’t do, etc.)

Inept Coworker: “It’s like all y’all are against me or something!”

(I am pissed, since he basically called me a liar to my face, and I’m burning to ask him how much time and energy he thinks we have that we are coordinating and committing to a plot just to piss him off, but I refrain, letting [Inept Coworker] get a head full of steam all by himself. [Manager] cuts in that I have been asked a question, and to let me speak. [Inept Coworker] fumes as I explain that I went outside just as his ride pulled up to get a drink from the vending machine, and he was already gone by the time I’d locked the door.)

Me: “…so I locked the door; you just didn’t see me do it.”

Manager: *speaking to [Inept Coworker]* “So, you told [Supervisor] that you were just going out for a smoke—”

Inept Coworker: “No, I told him I was leaving! I was already done with all my stuff!”

Manager: *turning to me and [Supervisor]* “Was he?”

Supervisor: “No, he wasn’t. [Coworker #3] has pictures—”

Inept Coworker: “I don’t care what he has! I did all of the frozen aisles and dairy!”

Manager: “So, what were you doing for four f****** hours?”

(I’m assuming at this point that they’ve already discussed everything up to my involvement before I arrived at the discussion, so I step back but am still present.)

Inept Coworker: “The aisles! I told you, I finished them!”

Manager: “[Supervisor] says you didn’t, and if they have proof–“

([Inept Coworker] starts deflating at this point, muttering to himself about snitches again, saying, “Whatever.”)

Manager: “If you’re gonna mumble, you might as well speak up; we’re all adults here.”

(And in his infinite wisdom, [Inept Coworker] says the magic words.)

Inept Coworker: *as though this is a threat* “I don’t have to be here, you know.”

([Supervisor] and I exchange looks as there’s a brief pause. [Manager], who is clearly completely done with [Inept Coworker]’s attitude, draws himself up and speaks very calmly and clearly.)

Manager: “You know, you’re absolutely right. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you where the door is.” 

(There was another pause, in which [Supervisor] and I turned around and walked away. Our now former coworker gathered his stuff and left, leaving us once again to pick up his slack. Later, [Manager], [Supervisor], and I were talking, and we all came to the conclusion that, had [Inept Coworker] simply admitted there was a miscommunication and apologized for leaving on Monday, the worst-case scenario is that he’d likely have just gotten a write-up, if not merely a reprimand.)

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Cancer And Comas And Cash, Oh My  

, , , , , | Right | August 27, 2019

(My store has a really lenient return policy. We’ll even return things past the return period as long as the customers have their receipt, albeit for the item’s current, often much reduced, price.)

Me: “Hi. How are you doing today?”

Customer: “I need to return this s***.”

Me: “Oh… kay… Do you have your receipt?”

Customer: “Yeah, yeah, right here.”

(She has two bags of kids’ summer clothing. It is April and the receipt is from a year ago, WELL past the full return period of three months.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but these are from last summer.”

Customer: “So what? I have my receipt! They’ve never been worn; they have their tags on and everything!

Me: “Yes, but I can’t give you the full refund. It says right at the bottom that returns must be made within ninety days for a full refund. I can return them for you, but only for their current prices.”

Customer: “And how much is that gonna be?”

Me: “Probably not much, to be honest. These items are from last year.”

Customer: “So, how f****** much?!”

Me: “All right, well…”

(I scan a few of the items and they come up about a fifth of their original prices.)


Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but this is our policy.”

Customer: “You’re all a bunch of liars and scammers! I didn’t have time to come here before now!”

Me: “That—”

Customer: “My mother has cancer!”

Me: “I’m… sorry about that.”

Customer: “Yeah! I haven’t had any f****** time to do anything! I’m with her twenty-four-f******-seven. I take care of her!”

Me: “I am really sorry, but there isn’t anything I can do. You can talk to a manager, but I don’t even think they can override this.”

Customer: “I can’t believe this. You won’t give me my money back because my mother is in the hospital dying of cancer.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “This is bulls***. You’re bulls***. This place is bulls***. You’re f****** scamming customers and screwing me out of my refund. It isn’t my fault my f****** mother is dying! She has cancer!”

Me: “…”

Customer: “I can’t believe you. You must hate people with cancer, like MY MOTHER IN THE HOSPITAL WHERE I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF HER DAY AND NIGHT.”

(She crams stuff back into her bags until they rip. I give her new bags but have no idea what to say.)

Customer: “My mother is dying and f****** has cancer and she’s in a coma, and you a**holes won’t refund me even though I have my receipt and had no idea there was a time limit.”

(She walked out, still ranting. To this day, I have a weird suspicion that she was lying about her mother with cancer, just from the way she was talking about it, probably as some kind of sympathy ploy, which frankly makes her behaviour even WORSE.)

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