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Lightening: What Happens When Employees Don't Care in Front of a Regional Manager



It’s Lightning!

I got this story from one of my colleagues.

Our big boss, who manages all of our stores in Germany, Swiss and Austria, is apparently a pretty cool guy. I haven’t met him yet. He’s a tall Filipino guy and dressed as lax as some of our more lax customers; t-shirt, jeans, sneakers, whatever, as long as it’s comfortable. He does dress up when he’s got a meeting with other big bosses, but is usually dressed in a way that you would never recognize him as a big deal. You can probably see where this is going.

One day, he dropped in at one of the stores and the store was empty except for him and the employees. The employees were all standing and fiddling around on their phones. Now, this guy is pretty cool about the whole phone usage: it’s okay to have it on your person and you can do things on it, as long as there are no customers around that require your assistance.

There’s also the rule of our stores that you greet customers and ask them if they are looking for something specific or need some help from you. You don’t have to jump them as soon as they enter the store, but you can’t just ignore them while they are browsing for too long.

So, the boss is walking around, browsing and keeps his eye on the employees. He even has prolonged eye-contact with one of them who looks up, sees him… and then goes back to focusing on the phone. Boss did this for about 20 minutes.

End result: everyone at that store on that day was fired for ignoring a potential customer. (The only ones who remained were the manager of the store and the new part-timer, who were both not on duty that evening)

Certainly seems harsh, but ignoring a potential customer for TWENTY minutes? I’m all for letting a person browse and not bugging them. But I do pop up after a few minutes, just asking if they are searching or browsing and, if it’s the latter, to just ‘scream if they need anything’. Willfully ignoring a customer? Especially for your phone? Yeah, I think he had good reason to fire them.





They were not doing their jobs, so they got fired for it; they got what they deserved.


I'm not sure what I'd do in this situation. I'm leaning more towards a write-up/suspension rather than having to replace multiple workers at the same time.

It isn't overly harsh so much as just wrong. When *all* of the employees are that bad, the failure isn't with the employees, it's with the manager. The one who *wasn't* fired. There's no reason to believe he will hire, and train, people who will act any differently.


Employees always act differently in front of the manager than when he's not there. I'm sure if the manager was on the premises they wouldn't have been staring at their phones and they'd have at least said "hello". We do this at my store. SM has a no phone policy, but as soon as she leaves, we go get our phones. No food/drink but when she leaves we have our drinks out front with us.

Bored at the Bookstore

I've been in similar shops and, because I am a woman of a certain age, been roundly ignored for twenty minutes easy. And should I approach an employee and ask for assistance... It's the eye-roll and the "WHAT?" response. In fact, I totally abandoned the store nearest my home because they were _so_ rude. I drive twenty minutes out of my way to a same-chain shop where I was better-treated - as if I were a person and a potential buyer.


Flut, which just shows how bad these employees were. Course you act differently around a manager, but if you act like this when you don't know he's there, who knows what your behavior is around other customers.

Bored, did you smack them verbally, telling them to keep their goddamn sexist attitude to their personal time?

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