Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Where is he?

(See parts 1 and 2.)

He pouted all day and only spoke to the other manager or me when absolutely necessary. When it was time for his break, he clocked out just like he does every day at break time and left just like he does every day at break time.

Hourly employees get a half-hour break. Half an hour later, he wasn't back. Long line? Bad traffic? Forty-five minutes later, nothing. Maybe he was in an accident? An hour later, no sign of him. OK, so he's probably not coming back. Two hours later......he's had plenty of time to call.........terminated.

I haven't seen or heard from him since. You want to hear the funny part? A few days after he was hired, when it looked like he'd be a good employee, he told me that the day after he'd gotten the job with us he'd been offered a job at one of our competitors making $1 more per hour, but he didn't think it would be "honorable," I think was his word, to go and work for them after already making the commitment to us. I'd like to ask him if he thought it was "honorable" to just leave and not come back. At least wait until the end of the shift; at least TELL us you're not coming back from break; at least CALL and say, "I quit." Easy, it is. Don't make us wonder. If someone wants to quit, there's no reason for me to talk them out of it. Walking out..........cowardly.

His last paycheck will be mailed to him, so I'll probably never see him again. I hope he got the job at the competitor.......the owner's a real asshole. I know this via one of our employees who used to work for the competitor, and also through my own phone dealings with the owner. Our employee is the hardest worker, pleasant with customers, all you could ever ask for, and long-term here. But our employee lasted only two months at the competition before he couldn't stand it anymore. Good luck, coward. Eventually you'll either learn how to work or you'll have to depend on someone else to support you.

Monday, February 27, 2006

We shouldn't have been surprised

(See part 1)

There's a routine task that's rather involved that one of the other managers is responsible for. Usually she does it, sometimes she delegates it to someone else. It didn't really matter who does it, as long as it gets done regularly, and gets done WELL. The other manager was sick and tired of doing it herself, so since it involved the guy's specialty area, she trained him how to do it so she wouldn't have to do it every single time. Well, the manager wasn't supervising the guy as closely as she should have, and he wasn't doing it as thoroughly as our regional manager demands it to be done. We didn't discover this until a few days before the regional manager was due to visit.

So on this particular day the manager who's responsible for it and I spent ALL DAY doing the task, together, to make up for the slacking-off the guy had been doing and getting the area up to where it had been so the regional manager would be satisfied. I planned on having a "chat" with the guy about doing things thoroughly, but I needed time to cool off first, plus the task had to get done.

The guy was in a bad mood that day, upset because he had misread the schedule and come into work an hour early and I wouldn't let him start work early. Occasionally I will let someone start before they're scheduled, if there's something to do. (Some of the high school kids use the bus system, which isn't particularly good, so in order to get to work on time they leave home/school/wherever REALLY early so sometimes arrive at work REALLY early. Sometimes I let them start early, sometimes I don't. Most of them bring homework with them to do on the bus and/or when they arrive at work. The break room looks like study hall some days.) But there was nothing for this guy to do that early, so he left and came back when he was scheduled to start.

He might have also been upset that we did the routine task because it's somewhat isolated from customers. Instead, he was cashier, which should have made him happy because all he'd really have to do all day is talk to customers. That particular day there was no cleaning or stocking to be done in the front. Just check out customers. That's it. No exerting himself or anything. I didn't really care if he was happy or not. Because of his negligence, the area was in bad shape and it was taking a lot of effort to get it back to where it was.

Despite all that, we weren't quite to the point of firing him.

Where is he? (part 3)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Courteous but Lazy

Latest employee issue.........

A few weeks ago I hired a guy with extensive knowledge of an area that most of our current employees have only a minimal knowledge of. According to him, he had extensive knowledge of that area. I asked him a few questions to gauge his knowledge, and it seemed fine. However, a week or so later he recommended something to a customer that resulted in damage to the product. To make the customer happy, the store ate the money necessary to fix the problem. We talked with him about not recommending stuff that he wasn't sure about, and that was that.

With customers, he was courteous, friendly, and helpful, although a little over-talkative. You know what I mean? Ten people are waiting for help and he spends 45 minutes helping a single customer by encouraging unnecessary questions, that kind of thing.

In the short time he worked for us, he called in "sick," on average, once or twice per week, usually after a day off or when he knew there'd be a lot of work to do.

When shipments come in, he had to be told to get started, and repeatedly prodded to continue. One slow morning he was main cashier and stood there watching several employees stock the shelves in the front. I walked by a few times, curious as to how long he would watch before figuring out that it was a REALLY slow day and he needed to step out from behind his register and help put away the sizeable shipment. After all, he had been on stock crew before and seen the cashier help out between customers. Well, it probably would have taken him all day to take the initiative to help on his own. After about 20 minutes I told him he needed to help. It was obvious he didn't want to, but he did obey.

To sum him up in one word, L A Z Y.

We shouldn't have been surprised (part 2)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I'm a real klutz. Yesterday I dropped not one, but TWO boxes on my shin (the same shin) and now have two beautiful bruises/swollen spots within inches of each other.

I also got a cardboard cut on my finger (don't you love those, so much more powerful than a paper cut).

Today I was climbing down a ladder. I had two steps left but I thought I had one.........that last step is a long one! I landed on my feet but while trying to maintain my balance ran elbow-first into a wall. Bruise #3. Ouch!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Gift Cards

Yesterday a woman returned a gift card bought just before Christmas. In all of the years I've worked here, NO ONE has EVER returned a gift card. The card says right on it that it's not redeemable for cash, but nowhere on our receipt or return policy or gift card does it say that you can't return it.

Of course, the woman had a story to tell about why the person she was getting the gift card for didn't need it anymore, blah, blah, blah.

Not sure if policy allowed me to do the return, I looked at a couple of menus on the computer and found that the computer system *would not allow me* to return a gift card......there was absolutely no way to do it.

I called Boss, who also had no clue of how/if it could be done.

Then on to Big Boss (regional manager) who thought that someone had successfully returned a gift card at some point in time, but she didn't know who or how and the office was already closed for the day.

So......I explained the problem to the customer, who was frustrated but not as angry as some people would have been. The plan was for the customer to call me the next day.

Big Boss sometimes doesn't follow through on stuff like that, (maybe she forgets?) so I was planning on reminding her the next day, but not long after the office opened Big Boss called and explained how to do the return. While not something we want to be doing often because it could look suspicious, a one-time thing with a very detailed note to accompany it was OK.

What kind of policy does your store have on gift cards?

Monday, February 20, 2006


Duh Boy came into work complaining that his car had been vandalized at school. Luckily he parked near a camera so the principal was reviewing the tapes to punish the appropriate parties. The next day another high school employee came in pissed that her car had been vandalized, in much the same way.

My first thought was of gang activity or such since both cars were made by the same company. But the girl called Duh Boy to compare stories and they determined that it had happened in our parking lot.

The next day the girl (was she ever ANGRY!) talked with the manager of our neighboring store (same parking lot) because those employees hang out where we park our cars. It turns out that the manager's car was vandalized too, even worse than the high schoolers' cars.

I'd already checked my car the day before, but had to go out to check again at that point. No, still OK.

The manager of that store called the police to file a report. An officer came out, took his statement and I guess pictures too, then came over to talk with my two employees and look at their cars.

The police are supposed to be cruising by every now and then to keep an eye on things, but in the meantime out goes the "park away from the store so customers can have the close spaces" and in goes "park in VERY VISIBLE places so your car doesn't get damaged, even if the customers have to walk a little further."

I don't think it was the employees next door who did it. We've had some disgruntled employees at our store, but they'd have no reason to damage Duh Boy's and Princess's cars; if anything, they would have gone after mine or Boss's. I think it may have been some punk skateboarders who hang out in the general area and are a nuisance.

Friday, February 17, 2006

In Print

My first (tiny) media mention: Retail Revenge. Exciting, but I can't really tell anyone about a (very tiny) mention in Time Magazine. My immediate family is all; everyone else can't keep anything secret. Only four people I know know about this blog at all. Oh well, it's fun for me and a great stress reliever.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Quite an eventful day.

First a surprise inspection from a government agency........again. It's approaching the point of harassment. A competitor complains about an item we sell cheaper than they do because they don't think we should be able to sell it, the government agency comes to inspect, but finds nothing wrong. The inspection takes several hours and they're not exactly discreet about what they're doing. Even though we're doing everything right, it makes us look bad when a government guy is here snooping around, taking pictures, and filling out forms.

I interviewed an older woman with tons of experience. Yet she didn't throw that experience in my face. She was very personable and I could see her fitting in well with even the youngest employees. A few physical limitations, but nothing we can't work around.

Halfway through the afternoon a couple of breakers tripped and we had trouble figuring out which ones. The computers were on one of the troublesome breakers, so it was back to the dark ages and recording transactions by hand.....lovely. Of course no one carries cash anymore, so I had to call in authorizations for credit cards. But the phones were out, too, so we had to use our personal cell phones. Most people were understanding of our problems, patient, and even funny as they waited, but one woman about blew a gasket as she complained about how long it was taking. I'm not the one who invented the credit card companies' systems!

After we got everything working right the evening shift came in. As we worked on a project together, Duh Boy complained about a headache. Later on as I gave him instructions for a task he kept me informed about his condition by saying, "My headache is getting worse." After thinking about how that could possibly sound, he added, "It's not because of you, though." Thanks for clarifying!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Backbone 2

Two people fired in one week.....sort of.....that's a record for Boss!

A new girl did a no call/no show and Boss excused it by saying, "Maybe she didn't know she was working." The girl called in "sick" the next day, then never showed up again.

The nephew's friend, even after being disciplined, did a no call/no show and Boss excused it because "he was sick." Well, does he have a phone?! A week later he was 4 hours late for work without calling and all of the managers had been complaining about him, about not having adequate staff, etc. so he was fired, too.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Boss may be growing a backbone. Hooray!

In the past she allowed a certain employee to make up days when he was "sick." A couple of times she also allowed him to use vacation days when he didn't want to work. (Vacation days are supposed to be approved AHEAD of time, not after you didn't show up for work.) In essence, he set his own schedule.

This time, we had to work short-handed because he didn't show up and we didn't need him any other days. (He called 2 hours after he was scheduled to work, saying that he was in another city and didn't have transportation to get back.) He tried to take a vacation day for the missed shift, but Boss said no. Vacation has to be approved AHEAD of time, not after the fact.

The nephew's friend is also being disciplined, after his millionth time of being late/not showing up for work OR calling/leaving the store while he's on the clock.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Losing my mind

So it's a couple of days after I misplaced the checks............and I just might be losing my mind.

I was on the way out the door, about to set the alarm, when I realized that I didn't have my store keys. I checked my pockets. No keys. I checked the desk and office area. No keys. Sounding familiar? An employee offered to check around the back and side doors, but I knew that I had just had the keys minutes before. Then I looked in my purse, and there they were! Apparently when I got my car keys out I put my store keys away, when I KNEW that I was about to have to lock the store!

The VERY NEXT NIGHT I managed to set off the alarm as I was leaving. GREAT! I waited a few minutes for the alarm company to call, then got tired of waiting so I called them. I had to give some passwords and phone numbers and identify myself, of course. The rep looked up our account and made everything right, told me how to reset the alarm, then I could finally go home.

I'm usually a lot more with it than I've been the past week. What's wrong with me?!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Losing things

I am so stupid. Or maybe I just need some sleep.

I was doing my closing paperwork while employees finished the routine cleaning and other tasks. I added up the checks and credit cards, counted the cash, then prepared the bank deposit bag. I put the cash into the bag and then reached for where I usually put the checks after counting them but found nothing. I looked up, and saw no checks. I looked around the whole area, no checks. I looked on the floor, in the drawers and cabinets, no checks.

An employee came in to call her mom to pick her up from work and I asked her to help me look. I asked her, half jokingly, "Where would an insane person put the checks?" I thought I had absent-mindedly put them somewhere stupid and we would find them and have a good laugh about where they were found. She looked, but still no checks.

I began to get worried. OK, stay calm. They have to be here somewhere. They can't just vanish into thin air. Look on the bright side, it's checks, not cash…..at least it won't look like you stole anything. No, they have to be here somewhere. Keep looking!

Fax machine, trash can, (should I check the trash the employees just took out? No, I'm not quite that desperate yet), filing cabinets, safe……..

Another employee walked by and began helping. We looked EVERYWHERE, but found no checks. I thought about how I was going to have to explain to not only my boss but also HER boss about losing the checks and how it would be deducted from my pay and how much that would suck to be paying for my mistake for months to come. Further, it would make me look really irresponsible and if I can't even handle checks then why should they give me my own store?

It was time for my employees to go home, and still no checks. I really didn't want to leave without finding them, knowing that I would worry about it all night. OK, I'll look through my paperwork one more time.

Oh I am such an idiot!!

There they were, neatly clipped together like normal, right in the middle of my stack of Visas. {Whew!}

Friday, February 03, 2006


OK, LAG is really getting on my nerves lately. I was closing the store and came upon a return she had done. Big problem….she gave cash back without a receipt. Now possibly the customer had shown her a receipt, but she has to KEEP the receipt to prove that the return is legitimate and she's not stealing money or anything. Do I think she's stealing? No. Do I think she's doing her job poorly? Yes.