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You Do You And We Get Screwed

, , , , | Working | July 29, 2021

I’ve worked at the front desk for a motel for nearly ten years. We are the closest town to [Winery], which hosts big-name concerts throughout the summer — think names like Santana, BB King, ZZ Top, etc. I worked the swing shift (3:00 pm to 11:00 pm) during one of those prior to this story, and it was h***. We worked solo most of the time, and big events like this made for very long days. Outside temps got 100 degrees, and our lobby had one small air conditioner that was too far away and too small to do any good. It was eight hours of being hot and miserable on a good day; the concert crowd was just the icing on the cake.

The next summer, I looked at the schedule and saw that I was off when a huge country singer was playing the winery. I was excited, not because I could go to the concert (not my flavor), but because I didn’t have to deal with the shift.

Then, my boss told me that she needed me there, because it was [Coworker]’s scheduled shift and he needed help. While [Coworker] had been with us a few months, he had a tendency to be late to his shifts by as much as an hour. He always had an excuse, and we were hurting for people (because, to be honest, the job sucked, the pay was terrible, and the manager wasn’t great), so he didn’t get fired.

The concert day arrives, and I show up to work the shift, but [Coworker] is nowhere to be found. I’m not surprised. [Boss] tells me to give him a call, so I do, leaving a voicemail. [Boss] then leaves, and I begin doing what I can to stay ahead of the impending storm.

By 4:15, concert-goers are all lining up, ready to check in before getting their country on. My lobby is full, my line is out the door, and people are starting to get impatient. I call [Coworker] again, leave another voicemail, and then get back to it.

By 4:45, I see that I’m running dangerously low on key cards, so I call my boss and tell her I need more; they’re locked in her office. I also mention that [Coworker] still hasn’t shown. She has me call again. I do so and leave another voicemail.

It is now 5:30. [Boss] arrives, gets me another box of key cards, and starts handling guests, as well. The phone rings.

Me: “[Motel], [City], how may I help you?”

Coworker: “Hey, it’s me. I got your voicemails.”

Me: “Hey, [Coworker]! Great! Are you on your way? I really need your help tonight.”

Coworker: “Yeah, about that… I’m quitting.”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Coworker: “Yeah, I’m just not making enough to make it worth coming in.”

Me: *Pauses* “I’m going to hand you over to [Boss].”

I hand the phone over and [Boss] goes into the office while I deal with the still sizable line of increasingly angry guests. After a few minutes, [Boss] comes out and helps finish the line. She then vents for a couple of minutes.

Boss: “Of course, [Coworker] isn’t making enough money! You don’t make money when you don’t come in on time!”

With all the concert-goers finally taken care of, she left.

I don’t miss that job.

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