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Scheduling Hell: "So You're Saying I Don't Get A Lunch Break?"

 

Uniform JasonFrom: TwistedCaltrop

I used to work over the noon rush alone quite often when I was in retail hell.

The routine went as such: I would microwave my lunch at anywhere between 11:30 and noon. No matter how long it took to heat up and no matter how dead it was leading up to lunch time, as soon as the microwave went DING!, the mad rush was on. I would be swamped until my food was cold again.

Then the store would die. No one. Re-heat my food. DING! Swamped again. Dammit.

This process would repeat four or five times a day until about quarter to one at which point my food was pretty much mush.

I finally gave up trying to get it timed right. I printed a sign: "At lunch. Back at 1PM". At 12:30 I would roll down the gate and stick the sign up.

Now, this would lead to an interesting sequence of events. From the desk in the back room, I could watch the camera feed of the sales floor. Invariably, someone would approach the gate. They would look at the gate. At the sign. At their watch. Back at the sign. Once or twice a genius would shake the gate. Try to lift it.

 

Jason Book

After looking at their watch again, they would walk to the front doors of the mall and stand there looking into the parking lot.

Sometimes the phone would ring; I would look and sure enough, there was someone standing in front of the store on their cell phone, calling the store. It was quite remarkable, seeing a person dial their phone and having the phone on the desk ring. Talk about interactive TV!

It must have been really annoying to them when I wouldn't answer.

This went on for about a month and a half. Sometimes when I wanted peace and quiet, I would eat my lunch across the hall with the hot optician. We would sit in her office and watch people shake the gate and make their phone calls while she would read me dirty jokes from her email.

It finally came to a head when the District Manager called and told me I couldn't close the store for lunch.

Me: "So you're telling me that on days where I'm working alone, I don't get a break for lunch?"

District Manager: "..."

Me: "Can I get that in writing?"

District Manager: "..."

District Manager: "Just don't take longer than a half hour for lunch."

I count that as a win.

As an added bonus, the DM started to impress upon the store manager the importance of having two people working during the lunch hours.

--TwistedCaltrop

 

Comments

MamaZoe

First and foremost: I agree you should have a lunchbreak. If&when it doesn't work out for whatever reason, how about packing a lunch that doesn't require use of the microwave? A sandwich or salad (for instance) can be eaten straight away whenever a quiet moment develops....

kitai306

Frankly I'm surprised it took so long to be noted by your DM. I thought malls fine stores that aren't open during the mall's hours. I do agree with MamaZoe though; you DO deserve a lunch break but it would seem that bringing something that doesn't require heating to enjoy would have been the prudent course of action.

Flutilicious

My manager likes to schedule me for 4 1/2 hour shifts but count it as 4 so I have to punch out for 30 minutes. She also likes to schedule me for 7 or 8 hour shifts and NOT schedule in a break.

I don't agree with bringing a sandwich to eat though. You shouldn't be forced to eat a cold meal because your manager can't schedule properly.

LadyBelle

It doesn't say where the poster is from, but in the US they would be legally required to give him/her a lunch if he/she worked over a certain number of hours. That is why they were smart asking for it in writing if they wanted to deny breaks. Even if they brought a sandwich or other cold meal, they would still get time away to eat.

Iridescent_Glas

Glad you got some changes rolling, OP. :D

It's kind of sad that some of the comments are telling the OP to not eat the food they want because it takes time to microwave their food. Employees should be allowed hot or cold food, and have the time to eat it.

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