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This Is Why I Work From Home: Pants Optional!

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: HoungryHoungryHippo | June 27, 2022

The summer after my senior year in high school, I worked collecting shopping carts at a grocery store. I lived on the coast, so it was hot as Hell during the summers. It was one of those “uppity” grocery chains so we had a pretty strict dress code: a white, long-sleeve dress shirt, tucked into khaki dress slacks. But because I worked outside for a good portion of the day, management let me wear khaki shorts and a short-sleeve button-up. All was fine until toward the end of the summer when we got a new general manager who was MUCH stricter on policy than the old one had been.

When I came in for my first shift with the new manager, he called me into his office.

Manager: “There have been some changes. Your uniform is clearly lacking in several areas and I’ll need you to correct it. We’ll need you to go home and change into pants and the provided long-sleeve button-up.”

I thought he had mistaken me for someone who worked inside.

Me: “Actually, sir, I collect carts, so I’m allowed to wear shorts.”

Manager: “Son, I said what I said. Either you adhere to the dress code or you go home.”

Me: “So, I don’t have a choice but to wear pants, in ninety-plus-degree heat, in the height of summer?”

Manager: “That is the policy. And being smart with me is not getting us off on the right foot.”

Me: “All right. Then I’m going home.”

Manager: “Good. Thank you for your understanding.”

I walked out of his office, fully understanding that he expected me to actually come back. But his ultimatum was to either wear pants or not come to work, so I chose the latter. I was going away to college in a couple of weeks, so I chose not to sweat my butt off for six hours a day for $7.25 an hour.

I was at home about an hour later, chilling, and I got a call from my manager. He was furious.

Manager: “Why the h*** are you taking so long? We are swamped and desperately need a cart collector!”

Me: “I’m not coming back.”

Of course, he didn’t take this well.

Manager: “Get back here right now or you’ll be fired!”

Me: “Well, I thought that was the idea.”

He was absolutely dumbfounded. He hadn’t expected me to call his bluff on something he considered to be so inconsequential (because he wasn’t the one outside pushing carts in the heat). He tried to talk me into coming back, but I told him he gave me two options, and I had chosen option two.

I never went back to work. I found out that the cart collectors were only made to wear pants for a few days after that until the new manager relented and let them wear shorts. I never got a call with an apology from him, but I didn’t care. I enjoyed the time off before going to college.

I fully realize that this was an immature and unprofessional thing to do. I know I was fortunate at the time to be a teenager who didn’t have a dire need for a job so I was able to make this move. He was a jerk from the initial approach, and I was in a position to return his fire, so I went for it. I’d never in a million years think of doing something like this at my full-time big-boy job.

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