Safety Issues: "No, She Didn't Put Rotten, Unrefrigerated Food Back. It's Not Something She Would Do."
A Little Backstory:
There are a couple of players to describe. The General Manager and the District Manager.
First to describe the General Manager. As I am sure many of my fellow retail comrades have experience I had the worst kind of General Manager. The Cheapskate.
I'm talking about the manager who skimps on repairs to equipment or facilities because any unused maintenance budget gets put into their bonus.
The bread slicer doesn't work?
"It's OK it still slices bread you just have to use your hand to push the rack into the blades instead of the lever."
How there weren't safety accidents and lost fingers I will never know.
I'm talking about the kind of manager who will not come in to cover for their subordinate manager when they cut their finger on a meat slicer and have to go to the hospital to get stitches because they don't want to get dressed and, "Can't you just call one of the other managers to cover while you drive yourself to the hospital?"
Now that you have a good feel for the type of "human" this person is, I can continue.
Next there is the District Manager.
This is the same person who got on the phone from his office in (city) one afternoon to yell at me that we had used too much labor the day before.
Keep in mind that when I got to work for the closing shift the labor management was totally destroyed. The only way to have come even close to repairing it would have been to send all of my employees home and work the entire dinner shift by myself (not possible).
His response was that I should have sacrificed customer care and satisfaction so that the labor numbers would have come out better. Needless to say this guy got along great with my GM.
One day I go into the cooler and notice that something smells a little funky. What is that strange smell? This is an old building but I hadn't smelled that one before. I get to looking around and don't notice anything odd and since there are big fans to keep the air circulating in there it is hard to pinpoint this strange aroma. I pulled in another person to help me look for the source.
After a few minutes we find a box of lettuce used for sandwiches that is completely rotten. I'm not talking about the rotten that happens when you leave the lettuce in the fridge a little too long at your house and can pull off the outer few layers and have a nice salad with what's left. This is the lettuce that has that strange combination of mold and a black slimy substance that is both sticky and viscous.
I did what any normal person would do. Threw that shit in the garbage. Keep in mind that the trash room is not refrigerated (this is important later).
I go on with my shift and close the cafe up as usual. Fast forward to the next day.
I come in for my day shift and go in the cooler. What is that strange smell? This time I recognize the foul stench. I look up on the shelf and what do I see? You guessed it, the rotten box of lettuce. I asked the GM what it was doing there. She says that she found it in the trash room (it was in the actual trash bin) and that she put it back because it was still good and lettuce needs to be refrigerated to stay good. Needless to say I removed the lettuce and had an employee take the trash to the dumpster.
This was disconcerting to me. This was a food safety issue. So I do what any good manager would do. Call the supposedly responsible District Manager. Anyone wanna take a guess at what his response was? OK I'll tell you:
District Manager: "She didn't do that."
I asked how he knew.
District Manager: "It just isn't something she would do."
I went to our video system. Marked the time where I took the lettuce out of the fridge. Marked the time when she saw it and put it back in the cooler (13 hours later). Bundled up the video and sent it to the District Manager along with the times. His response you ask?
District Manager: "That isn't her, it just looks like her."
Seriously? I pointed out that she was the only one in the building at the time.
His response was, "Well that must have been a different box of lettuce."
He says this despite the fact that you can watch the box sit there on camera all night.
It was at this point that I decided that my future was elsewhere and begun my quest for a new job. It is a wonder I stayed there that long.
It's all good though; they both were incompetent at their jobs and both have either been terminated or moved somewhere they can't do any damage.