Trying To Be Top Dog

, , , , | Working | January 17, 2019

(I am a dog trainer for a large chain store. My boss calls me into the office. We’ve had some tense conversations before, so I’m already on guard.)

Me: “You called?”

Boss: “I see you’re starting a class tomorrow.”

Me: “Yeah, puppy class. I’m excited; they’re so cute!”

Boss: “You have three dogs?”

Me: “Right.” *lists ages, names, and breeds*

Boss: “You’ll have to fix that.”

Me: “Fix … what?”

Boss: “Corporate says you need four dogs to make the class profitable.”

Me: “Oh. I didn’t know there was a minimum. Is that new?”

Boss: “You need to enroll a fourth dog or call those pet parents and have them reschedule in a new class.”

Me: “Okay. I can call up some people who haven’t paid yet. But what if they don’t want to switch to another class?”

Boss: “You cannot run a class with three dogs.”

(She turned her back to me, effectively ending the conversation.)

Me: “Okay.”

(I dutifully call each customer, explaining there is a policy in place that states I must have a minimum of four dogs in a class, and that otherwise I will have to reschedule them for the next one with other dogs. Understandably, they are very unhappy that I am canceling their class. I offer a discounted rate if they’re willing to switch to a class that starts a few weeks later at a different time. One takes the deal, but the other two spend a few minutes each teaching me about good customer service and promising they will never shop with us again. A few days pass and I’m back at work.)

Boss: “[My Name], did I not tell you to transfer those pet parents?”

Me: “Yes, and one did but—“

Boss: “We had to refund $250 in classes, and we received a corporate complaint about your attitude.”

Me: “The other two didn’t want to switch, and if I can’t run a class with three, I obviously can’t run one with two.”

Boss: “I’m going to have to write you up.”

Me: “What?! Why?”

Boss: “You cost us two sales. That is simply unacceptable.”

Me: “No. I’m sorry, but no. I did what you asked. I cannot force people to rearrange their schedules.”

Boss: “Look, [My Name], don’t be difficult. I’m just doing my job.”

Me: “So was I, but now I’m in trouble for it.”

Boss: “Just sign the paper.”

Me: “No.”

Boss: “[My Name], you are being unreasonable.”

Me: “But forcing customers to change their minds is reasonable? Being told to do something I have no control over is reasonable?”

Boss: “You have a minimum number you have to reach. That’s just the way it is.”

Me: “No. No, I’m sorry. Even if you’re just doing your job, this is bulls***. I quit.”

(I walked out of that job and applied at the store next door. When they asked why I’d left my previous employer, I explained that I was put in a position where I could either pressure customers into doing something they didn’t want to do, or I would be penalized. The interviewer called my previous boss on the spot to ask for a reference. She told them that I just wouldn’t cooperate with corporate policy, so SHE decided I wasn’t a good fit for the company anymore. He laughed and hung up. I’ve been working for my new employer for six months now. According to the friends I still have at my old job, they haven’t been able to find a replacement trainer and had to refund thousands of dollars.)

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