The Mother Of All Threats

| Working | December 11, 2012

(All students of a certain age in our state must complete a compulsory week of work experience. In order to “pass,” they must receive a good report from my manager at the end of the week. I’m currently training one of these work experience students.)

Me: “Okay, so we need to take all the cooksets off, and then move the shelves around so we can fit a third one in. The cast iron stuff is going on here once we’ve done that, and then we can fit these cooksets back into that gap we made earlier! Pretty easy.”

Work Experience Student: “Well, that’s dumb. Wouldn’t it be easier to just leave them where they are?”

Me: “Ah, see how this stand is right at the front of our doors? This is a huge selling area, so we need to keep stock fresh. Also, the cast iron is going on special soon, while the cooksets will go back to their original price, so they won’t sell as well. We want people to see the big special signs on these and come in from the mall to see; it attracts more customers.”

Work Experience Student: “I don’t want to have to move all that stuff; it’s heavy. You do it.”

Me: “Yeah, I know it’s heavy, mate. That’s why I need your help. The shelves are huge; I can’t get them in and out all by myself. Now can you start helping me load these cooksets onto the trolley?”

(I have already started, but he just crosses his arms and glares at me.)

Work Experience Student: “I don’t have to listen to you. Can’t I work with a man instead?”

Me: “Okay, firstly, yes, you do have to listen to me if you want my manager to sign your report off, and let me tell you you’re already on thin ice. Secondly, there are about three males in this entire store right now. There’s the manager and the guys in our loading dock, which you can’t work in because you haven’t been safety trained. So, you haven’t got much choice. I’ve been doing this stuff for years. It’s not that hard.”

Work Experience Student: “Whatever. I don’t have to listen to some chick. I’m gonna be a millionaire one day and come back and buy this store, then you won’t be able to boss me around!”

Me: “What are you, 12 years old? I—hey, where are you going?”

Work Experience Student: “On break. See ya, loser!”

(He gives me the finger and pokes out his tongue. While not watching where he is going, he walks straight into my store manager.)

Manager: *to the work experience student* “Hello there. I was watching the security cameras when I noticed you weren’t helping poor [my name] move all that stock. This reminds me of yesterday when you hid under a towel table and used FaceBook on your phone, and then you just left two hours early. Or the day before, when you spent the whole time with [other work experience student] making loud, b****y comments about all the customers.”

Work Experience Student: “Well, you keep making me do boring stuff! I don’t wanna fold hundreds of jeans or move heavy s***! Can’t I play with the PA, or decorate the Christmas trees?”

Manager: “I can think of something more fun. Calling your mother!”

(The student begs for my manager to change his mind, but he doesn’t. Later on, I saw a diminutive woman stride into the store with steam practically coming out of her ears. I put two and two together and decided to stay well out of her way!)

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