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What Would You Do With One Week In Retail?

, , , , , , | Working | February 1, 2022

In my teenage years, I worked as a sales assistant for a chain of well-known garden and DIY stores in the UK. After a year, I was unofficially promoted to a pseudo-supervisor role (i.e. I was meant to supervise the checkout workers but I wasn’t paid more for doing this) which gave me a chance to observe some of the events of the one week [Coworker] lasted between his being hired and being fired.

[Coworker] was the sort of guy who seemed to fit the stereotype of a teenage stoner almost perfectly. His behaviour was bizarre and he had no filter talking to customers. He wasn’t exactly hostile, but put it this way: anything that you might have dreamed about being able to say to customers he would just say. Here are a few examples of some of the events.

Event 1:

[Coworker] was caught on video standing in an aisle staring at a pack of lightbulbs for half an hour.

Event 2:

A customer asked [Coworker] to help them find an item, but as he was still learning the layout and products, he was struggling a little. The customer made some sort of comment. 

Coworker: “Find it yourself, then.”

And he walked off.

Event 3:

I was working the returns desk and put out a general call for an assistant to help answer a telephone query. [Coworker] answered the phone (which, unfortunately, was located at the returns desk), spoke to the customer for a few minutes, and then said:

Coworker: “Who do you think you’re talking to?”

He then slammed the phone down and marched off before I could ask him what was said, which meant that I had to deal with the matter when the extremely angry customer called back a few moments later.

Event 4 — the one that actually got him fired:

[Coworker] came in for a morning shift and then disappeared. Multiple calls were put out for him, but nobody knew where he had gone. Then, after about half an hour, I saw him storming back out the front door with his coat on, followed a few paces behind by one of the managers. I asked what was going on and was told that [Coworker] had come in, clocked in, and then gone upstairs for a nap in the staff room instead of starting work.

Why he thought he could get away with that, I don’t know, but it seemed like a fittingly bizarre end to his week with us.

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