Working Up The Career Ladder Means Forcing Others Up And Down One

, , , , , | Working | January 15, 2019

(I work in a large retail chain. In the back room, we have large racks of steel varying from about ten to twelve feet tall. As such, the top shelves are reserved for bulk items shrink-wrapped on pallets; we don’t need what’s on the pallets as often, and when we do, we can get it down with a machine.)

Assistant Manager: “Hey, uh…. [Coworker]?”

Coworker: “Yeah?”

Assistant Manager: “I’m so sorry… but [Store Manager] has a new rule about merchandise on the top shelves back here.”

Coworker: “What is it?”

Assistant Manager: “I’m so sorry. I’ve been fighting him on this for weeks, but he’s absolutely put his foot down. We don’t have a choice.”

Coworker: “You’re kind of scaring me here; just tell me.”

Assistant Manager: *long sigh* “All the pallets have to be taken down, and either put on the shelves on the sales floor or have displays made out of them… And then the top shelf has to have loose merchandise, same as the other shelves.”

(My coworker is stunned by the sheer idiocy of this.)

Coworker: “[Assistant Manager], no way! I’ll have to spend almost my whole shift going up and down a ladder putting things up there, if my legs don’t give out before I’m done! Also, do you have any idea how much that’s going to slow us down for every shift after? What if the system says I need an item that’s at the bottom of a pile on the top shelf? I’ll either have to take someone else’s time up handing items back and forth to them, or I’ll have to go up and down the ladder for one item each time until I can get to the one I actually need, and then go up and down the ladder again just to put back what I had to take down! I can’t tell if [Store Manager] is really this dumb or just actively sabotaging us at this point!”

Assistant Manager: “I know, I know! There’s nothing I can do; he won’t take no for an answer anymore. It needs to be done tonight. We have to deal with it!”

(At the end of the night, I check in with my coworker, where she tells me about the decision made and the conversation she had with the assistant manager.)

Me: “Oh, my gosh, that’s awful! I mean, I can’t say I expect much else from [Store Manager], but still. Are you okay?”

Coworker: “Well, I’m angry, my legs feel like jelly, and I’m not at all looking forward to next shift, but I’m just glad at least tonight’s over.”

(The morning shift workers start coming in and my coworker begins informing them about the absurd decision. The assistant manager pops around the corner.)

Assistant Manager: “[Coworker]! DEAL! WITH IT!” *walks off*

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