From YouTube, Apr 15, 2013: When I worked at Disney, I was surrounded by awesome cast members, but just like every other job, there were those really annoying co-workers too!
I remember running the Christmas nightshift build over a week a few years back. We had a store room with a load of shelving in (vaguely sorted, because people just dumped stuff in there). We also had a pallet of shiny new shelving come in by mistake that was still wrapped and ready to return.
An email came down and said words to the effect of “On pain of death, do not use the shelving. It was sent in error.”
So, the first night comes, and guess what?! No one has thought to get the shelving ready for us. We run out of shelving for the first batch of the build. The only one with access to the store cupboard has gone home and lives about 50 miles away (no one has his number). I think about using the lovely new shelving, then remember the shirty email from head office.
The morning comes and I hand over to the deputy, explaining the situation. Of course, it doesn’t look as good as it should have, but you can only play the cards you’ve been dealt, right?
Deputy: “Why didn't you use the new fittings?”
Me: “Uh.. well.. we were told not to. Head office said to leave them, on pain of death.”
Deputy: “Well.. use your initiative. Use it anyway.”
Me: (head explodes)
And of course, you just know if we had used the new stuff we would have been told off too.
Vicious circle here. Show up consistently and work hard, and you *may* get that 25¢ raise. You may not. If you ask for it, you may get fired. (Personal experience shouting from the rooftops here.)
So most workers end up saying “Hey, they’re paying me minimum wage, so I’m giving them minimum work.”
I can’t imagine what might happen if management treated their workers like people and rewarded them for their efforts. Why, you might be able to run a store with a cohort of 8 dedicated and committed workers, instead of a stable of 25 people who may or may not show up on any given day.
--The Old Wolf
Of course let’s not forget that those that always show up on time and take over shifts of others are treated with hostility if at any point they won’t take over another one’s shift. Never mind the possibility of being threatened with being fired if they happen to be way too sick to work, while those that always call out get away with it.
I was the one who was always called in to work when a particular favorite of theirs called in sick.
One day I had plans and said I could not come in for her, and it wasn't two days later they found a “reason” to fire me.
I hate managers who are Plan-O-Gram Police.
Our store is a multi-jillion dollar a year store (a slight exaggeration…but not much), operating in a 20+ year old building. The space is inadequate for the generic plan.
We are constantly raising and lowering clothes racks and moving chicken baskets (aka dump collectors) to try to maximize space and make a pleasant display.
Each new manager and district manager combination makes for new compromises in display from year to year. Oh sure, they will start out being all "Rawr this is what corporate wants...." Buuut in the end, they have to sit back and just let us experienced slaves do what we already know needs to happen.
We floor people are supposed to be flexible. The Plan must be, also.
I've been at this large 24/7 retail store for a couple years. I was for almost a year a department manager, but, I stepped down because of school and I simply didn't enjoy the pressure I was under for a dollar raise.
I told management my schedule, they told me it would be "ok." So, when I see my schedule says I'm scheduled to work during my school hours I get mad. I go to my manager and tell him, "Man, you forgot to update my schedule or something."
No bigge he says, he just forgot and he promises he'll change it ASAP.
You can see where this is going? He doesn't change it, and I'm still scheduled for working during school hours. I'm furious now, and go to our store manager, "Big Boss'. I hate dealing with the Big Boss, I really do. He's not friendly and he's basically a corporate mouthpiece, and a typical rich conservative.
I tell him the problem, and he says "Sorry JasinNat, but we're not going to work around your schedule. We need you for those shifts."
No problem, I tell him I'll just call out and keep doing it till they change my schedule.
"Then we'll just have to terminate you out of the system."
Yep. I take off my badge and say, "I'll save you the effort of firing me. I quit."
I walk out and as I'm heading towards the front I hear him page me to the AD-Office. I head back there, I have no idea what he wants, and I don't care.
I walk in and Big Boss is at the door, "JasinNat, please reconsider. We'll work around your schedule, just please don't quit. We seriously need you, we're too badly understaffed. Theres nobody else in your department. I'll change your schedule now, sir."
Jackpot. I called their bluff and now I have them begging me to come back. As far as I know for the rest of the month my schedule is fixed. They've reduced my hours like I asked and gave me the morning shifts again. Management has also been extra friendly to me lately. Feels good man.
I know they won't fire me. I know how management here works; if you make yourself useful they will never fire you unless they have too. Management hates to fire people, specially those that have been there for awhile. In retail useful employees are rare, and so management will absolutely do everything possible to ensure they are happy and taken care of.
Am I expendable? Yes. If they wanted to truly get rid of me they could and I'd be replaced eventually. Thing is, say we hire 100 people? Maybe only 5 make it to orientation and maybe 3 make it a year. If they fired me/I really quit, not only would they be down a competent member of staff, they would have a real hard time finding someone of equal value to replace me.
By Karen Wall
Maybe you can blame it on the tuxedo.
People remember Mike Cuzzo of Brick because of the tuxedo. They also remember him for his customer service.
“One of their core values is ’Delight Customers,’ “ he said. “I tried to do that every day.”
“I’m overwhelmed,” he said by phone Saturday. “It’s heartwarming to see all of the stories people have told about how I touched their lives.”
Cuzzo admits the reaction to his firing from the Wawa on Route 9 at White Street in Howell was something he never anticipated -- much like the firing itself, over a customer complaint about a “hibachi toy” he used to clean the rearview mirror of a van.
The toy, frequently seen in Japanese hibachi restaurants, shows a boy urinating, and is used to spray wine into the mouths of customers. Cuzzo sometimes uses one to spray windshield-washing fluid.
There have been job offers. A few people have sent the story to Ellen DeGeneres in hopes she will do a segment on her show. There are signs and logos expressing anger with Wawa.
And there’s a protest planned for Sunday near the store where Cuzzo was fired, he said; people are planning a picket line nearby.
“They won’t be on the store’s property,” he said.
And part of the plan is for people to be holding cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee. People will be there from 9 a.m. to noon, he said.
“My family will be there,” Cuzzo said. “And I will be there in my tuxedo.”
It is the tuxedo that really started everything, he said.
“Wawa didn’t want to hire me at first,” he said, “because I didn’t have a background in retail.”
Cuzzo, who has a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from Florida Southern University, eventually applied again for a job as a fuel manager at Wawa.
The second time around, the area manager decided to take a chance on him.
Lori Bruce, public relations manager for Wawa, said via email on Friday that the company would not discuss the reasons for Cuzzo’s firing.
“Our associate was with us for several years, known and esteemed by many of his customers. We treasure the special connection that our associates have with their customers and communities -- it’s a big part of the Wawa brand and experience,” she said. “That’s why we understand the outpouring of support around his departure. Unfortunately, we can’t share information or details regarding his departure. Out of respect for him, or any associate that separates from our company, we never share details of this nature. We hope you understand and we wish him all the best in the future.”
Cuzzo made that connection to his customers very quickly, earning the attention of the Wawa corporate offices for his customer service.
The tuxedo was a lark. He had been asked to go to the company’s new store in Old Bridge to assist with training new fuel court employees, and for the grand opening, he donned his tuxedo -- the tuxedo he wore when he married his wife, Joan, 18 years earlier. It was a hit.
“Corporate loved it, and the customers loved it,” Cuzzo said.
Cuzzo said he wore the tuxedo to grand openings of stores in Kearny, in Freehold and Tinton Falls, among others.
One woman told him he should wear it every day. He told her he couldn’t wear it every day, but asked her to pick a day and he’d wear it that day every week -- and that started the tradition of wearing his tuxedo on Thursdays.
“She would come in on Thursdays just to see me,” he said. “I would have a line of cars every Thursday, of people just wanting to come through my line.”
But it wasn’t just the tuxedo that people remember. Facebook comments on a variety of pages have included people recounting origami hearts he made -- something he did for one woman who was pregnant and was undergoing testing because her baby was thought to have a heart condition.
Others remember his pink socks.
”They are the kind soccer players wear in October for breast cancer awareness,” he said, and he continued to wear them after a customer who saw them burst into tears and thanked him.
“She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer,” he said. “I wore them all the time after that.”
He even dyed his hair pink at one point for that reason.
All of those gestures resulted in dozens of awards for fulfilling Wawa’s core values, from “Goosebumps” -- a points award given as a reward for a variety of good customer reviews -- to “Value Pins” that commemorated his customer service.
“They brought me out to corporate and gave me an award for customer service in front of 250 employees,” he said. And he said he is pictured in the company’s Values Book issued to all of its stores for employees to see. “I’m on Page 16, in my tuxedo,” he said.
Cuzzo said he had the blessing to wear it at every Wawa where he worked, he said, until the last store in Howell.
There, he said, the area manager and the general manager told him he couldn’t wear the tuxedo.
Customers -- including the president of the local Chamber of Commerce, Cuzzo said -- complained to the general manager when they learned that Cuzzo wasn’t allowed to wear it anymore, asking why, and Cuzzo said those complaints didn’t sit well with the general manager, he said.
Nor was the one on Wednesday, he said.
The incident began when a midsized van pulled up to get gas, he said. He was busy, so he didn’t have time to do the full windshield cleaning he usually performed, he said. But he took out his hibachi toy and started cleaning the mirror on the driver’s side door. The driver, a middle-aged woman, started laughing, he said.
“But then the passenger, who I hadn’t seen at first, leaned over and said, ’That’s sexual harassment.’ “ he said. He apologized to the passenger, he said, saying he hadn’t meant any harm by it.
Half an hour later, he was called into the office and told by the general manager that they had received a sexual harassment complaint against him. Within the hour, the area manager arrived, and as Cuzzo was clocking out to attend an off-site training program, the area manager and general manager told him he was terminated.
He lost his health insurance immediately, he said, and 18,000 Goosebumps points he had accumulated are gone now, too.
But the one thing he knows is that he had something special with his customers -- visible in the outpouring of support.
“They become your family,” he said. “And I am so grateful for all of them.”
“I will miss them very much,” Cuzzo said.