Corporate Caused Hell and Toxic Managers: Store Savior or Amoral Douchebag?



From Confused in Hell, March, 2009:

Due to recent company budget cuts, my company just busted me down from full-time to part-time, with a corresponding reduction in hours.

This after 5 years of loyal service (or servitude, depending on how you look at it). After 5 years of feeling fairly bulletproof, I now go to work every day terrified of getting fired, just like every other part-time employee.

Not only that, but they also expect us to work harder now. Like we could! They expect more work and more dedication, while they continue to give us less and less. I've lost all my medical benefits! I can't get my teeth fixed now! 

One time when I was late, my store manager says, "You know, this kind of makes me question your integrity."

A couple of days later, when I agreed to stay an extra hour, he says "You're my hero."

WTF? I'm either a person of questionable integrity, or I'm a hero.

Would ya mind picking one and sticking with it please?

I'm either the savior of the store, or I'm an amoral douchebag.

I'm so confused...

--Confused in Hell








Thrift Store Hell: Two Letters From Lemkil


From Puppies In Prada

So I'm just going to let you read this.... abomination from Lemkil from a few days ago. Just... read it first, then read the rest of it....


So.... Hoo boy. How do I even describe this? Potential sexual harassment? Standard harassment? Hostile work environment? I... don't even fucking know the laundry list of things this letter would have resulted in, in a corporate company. If this had been aimed at me, I would have stolen Thrognar's mighty hammer and wielded it with a scream of "FOR ASGARD!"

The actual story:

We have two electronics dudes. Scotty is one. The other is the subject of this... 'letter.' Let's call him James. We received a mini fridge at the door. James took it to an outlet and plugged it in. The idea was to let it run for a while and see whether it would actually chill. He left a note on it to that effect.

Steve passed by and out of random passing curiosity, opened it and stuck his hand inside to see how it was doing. It wasn't chilling. Steve fiddled with it, and discovered that plugging it in wasn't enough. There's also a switch you have to turn to "ON." He flips the switch, and the refer starts chilling.

Steve tells some of us the story, and there's some good-natured, and lighthearted ribbing amongst ourselves (James wasn't present at the time, he had some sort of minor family emergency, thus 'unscheduled time off.' The guy has two kids and a wife he absolutely adores, so they were probably involved), with most of us admitting that we've all been guilty of turning on the wrong burner on the stove before. It was a simple derp that any one of us could have done.

Nothing serious, nothing devastating, not even really a thing that will actually impact anybody at all in terms of workload.

And apparently Lemkil overheard.

Now you've read the actual story. Go back and read that monstrosity again. If it makes you even MORE pissed off, you know how I feel typing this. And you can imagine the horror that our poor Accessories Girl must have felt when she spotted that letter pinned to the COMMUNAL CORK BOARD in the break room for several days! She knew who it referred to, and it upset the hell out of her. She pulled it down, trying to spare James' feelings, and told one of our Leads about it. The Lead took it from Accessories Girl, made photocopies and planned to show it to Missy.

But wait! There's more... APPARENTLY this story doesn't end here. 

Lemkil somehow got wind that his note made someone upset and that was why his message was removed.

THIS appeared on the corkboard the very next day.

"Spirit of jest." "Good natured comedy." Mother fucker, what color is the sky in your world?!

Good natured comedy is a sympathetic grin and a mild nudge of "So I hear you forgot to turn it on, huh?" Not... that. And then the knee jerk.... passive agressive? or just aggressive? I know it's only a note, but that doesn't seem all that passive.... response to someone becoming offended.

Keep in mind, this is Lemkil.The man who behaved in a violent manner toward objects and carts, who snarled at me when I called him out on his behavior, and who has (since then) screamed 10 F-Bombs at me in the span of two minutes because HE accepted a massive amount of sports items at the door. We were not supposed to accept them for a while because there was no room, and when I reminded him... F-Bombs leveled the city.

Missy is leaving. Maybe Lemkil is mentally incapable of handling the fact that the management is changing and is acting out in some way? (This dude is in his 40's or more, so Jesus fuck, how do you get to be that age without learning how to handle change?) Maybe Lemkil doesn't want to work here under new management and is hoping to be canned, rather than take it upon himself to find another job? Maybe this is some ass-backwards way of 'punishing' Missy for leaving, by trying to force her to have to deal with him before she goes?

I just... I don't understand this... I mean, I agree that it sucks that Missy is leaving (on the 15th no less, still no idea who the new manager is...) but there are WAY better ways to handle this, even if you just want to quit.

I'll tell you one thing... if all that commentary was truthful about planning to be harsh and 'professional' to employees, and that he will be actively hunting us all down for the slightest infraction, every fucking employee will either kill him and bury the body in the field out back, or simply leave the job on the spot.

Pray for us, RHU.

--Puppies In Prada


Retail Hell Memories: Toxic Manager Survivor


Grocery hell 2

From Triple Fucking M:

In 1995, after a long period of unemployment, I finally landed a job in a supermarket, overnights, stocking shelves. Just the fact that I was working overnights for minimum wage sucked badly enough, but my supervisor was also the biggest dick I've ever worked for. He, and his immediate subordinate would constantly berate me for not moving fast enough while they stood around drinking coffee. The stress was nearly unbearable, so eventually I told the Dick I was looking for another job. He seemed pleased.

A week or so went by, and he asked me if I was still looking for another job. When I told him yes, he said, "Well, look harder. I'm tired of seeing your face."

He even actually told me that he was going to make me quit!   

Weeks went by, and I endured unbelievable levels of Retail Torture at the hands of this insufferable dickwad.

Eventually he and his cronies realized that they weren't going to make me quit, so they played their last card: a transfer to a different department. They said I could either quit, or get transferred to the front end to bag groceries. The idea was that I, being a man, would never stoop so low as to move from the uber-macho job of stocking shelves at night to the girly-man position of being a bag boy.

Of course, I was seeing it a bit differently. Number one, I didn't have to work with a bunch of dickhead Retail Nazis, I didn't have to sleep all day like a frickin' vampire, AND I got to be up front, in the sunshine, up where all the girls are. 

I said, "Where do I sign?", and the next week I was up front, happily bagging away with a smile on my face.

I later found out that Dickwad had a bet withe assistant store manager that he could make me quit.


A few months later, all the Retail Nazis had been transferred to other stores, and I ended up working at the same store for five years, and was very nearly the highest-paid grocery bagger in the company.

And the girls loved me.  :)
My name is Triple Fucking M, and I'm a Retail Nazi Survivor.
June, 2009



Justice Served: "If You Have Time To Lean..."


F2From RHUer

My manager was absolutely anal about that loathed phrase, "If you have time to lean, you have time to clean!"

Stop to take a drink of water? The phrase was bellowed across the store.

Pause to retie that damn shoelace you keep tripping over? Storming over to you to snarl it in your ear as you struggle to balance on one foot.

Slip on something and have to grab a shelf to avoid landing on your ass? Crank it up to Volume 11, people!

Now keep in mind, our place can only be kept so clean during business hours. Even mopping the floor is only ever done before or after hours, because nobody has the time to mop around half a dozen customers who are trying to shop for their product.

So short of randomly tugging a clorox wipe out of its bottle and giving the front counter a cursory wipe, cleaning instead of leaning is utter bullshit. We have other duties, and it's not unreasonable to do the minor aforementioned things.

But my manager won't hear of it. So I finally got fed up and grabbed a disposable camera... or five... and was on my manager like a paparazzi on the tanned buttcheeks of a supermodel wearing a bikini. For five days that week, I filled my camera with instances of him "leaning" against random things. I learned that he was a "Do as I say, not as I do," kind of guy. It filled me with vindictive pleasure to get shots of him leaning but not cleaning.

The following week, I ninja'd my ass into the breakroom and tacked Every. Single. Picture. to the Announcements pegboard. I wallpapered that cork board and the wall around it with pictures of my manager leaning against all sorts of shit. I hung a custom made banner with my manager's FAVORITE line above them all.

Then I left it alone.

The manager came in at noon.


My photos and banner disappeared without fanfare.

The entire day was spent blissfully unbothered by my manager's usual bellowing of the phrase. The day stretched to a week. Then to a month. Six months later, I got a job somewhere else. I never again heard that phrase so much as whispered in that store.

I forget what it cost to get all that stuff made, but the final verdict was: "Worth it."



The Bitch Manager From Hell Pt 24: FAQ


1 asshat bossesFrom jon6TalesFromTechSupport

So, did this really happen? Yes. This is an as-accurate as I remember account of a bitch manager from hell that I endured over a 15 month period. The story indicates a much shorter timeline, but I only have time for so much writing! In reality, Angie micromanaged to death several ITS initiatives, cost a few people their jobs and was an overbearing terrible person. All of this led to her ultimate, er, promotion…

How many parts are there going to be? To be honest, I had no idea when I started writing how many parts there would be. I just started, initially thinking 3-4 parts at most. As I found people started enjoying it, I just wrote more. In truth, Angie was such a nightmare that if I took to time to recount every single thing she did, there would have been near on 500 parts! At some point, given I have other commitments to adhere to, this needed to end sadly. I decided to steer my writing towards the ultimate conclusion of Angie’s reign.

Are you a writer? Nope. Not professionally. I’ve never felt compelled to sit down and write anything this novelistic before. I’ve been writing lyrics for years and used to trying to fit syllables to beats, restrained to only a few available lines to get the point across. I play metal though – so like anyone cares about the lyrics, so long as there’s a few cleverly picked crowd pleasing lines. RE-SPECT - WALK!

I suspect he is in reality, British. Yep… sorry about that :)

Why didn’t you just quit? It had been my third IT Support role. In reality, there’s no such thing as a nice IT Support role. They’re all disturbingly hostile places to be and I would urge anyone to get out as soon as possible; it's a slow suicide by telephone. My take on IT Support is that it is the one area that’s simple to get into, but difficult to dig out of. Managers like Angie are just all too common in this field. If I had just quit, as I managed to prove to myself when I did change jobs, moving from one dead-end support role to another resolves nothing. It’s just the same thing, different place!

...go to her boss? Explain how she's impacting negatively on productivity, and on your team's mental health There is such a thing as crapping in your own back yard. No upper manager wants to be bothered by some troublemaking runt from some low-end support role going on about how much he hates his boss! It’s a fast track out the door, I can assure you.

The BBC should just go ahead and turn these into a show. Hahaha, I am open to offers!

I would have flipped my desk and said "f*ck it, I'm done" I am amazed with your amount of patience throughout this matter. I was brought up to be very patient. But, the fact I had a mortgage to pay, a car to keep running various other responsibilities, I couldn’t be that flippant about it.

** I don't understand why the entire department doesn't walk out. That would get the attention of Angie's superiors.** This is a rather Hollywood ending, but the reality is, everyone has bills to pay. I’d wager such a bold move would fall foul of its forerunner when this reality would dawn on everyone. In truth, we were all jobhunting, though!

** 3 seconds!** Do I owe you a new spring for your F5 key?

I love you, Jon6! Awww, shucks!

If this series ends up with a tree-fiddy joke i'll be both angry and impressed You don’t know how tempting this was to put up - even for just five minutes! Though I hope it didn’t end that way for you!

So, just to be clear, this all took place in the mid-late 1990's and jon6 was 20-22 at the time, correct? It’s safe to say I was about 22-23, and this was around 2000. I don’t want to say much more than this though, anonymity and all!

How does it feel to have so many people hanging on your every word jon6? Odd! But I'm pleased I provided such entertainment - and I hope I didn't get anyone in trouble with their bosses!

I feel like Chelle at the beginning of Portal 2. All that hard work, and the feeling of victory at escaping the inhuman clutches of GladOs, only to find yourself back in the pits of hell once more. The evil thing is still alive and kicking, and you'll have to deal with her all over again. Luckily I never crossed paths with her at all after that. But it’s the one big lesson of the corporate world. Credit travels up, blame travels down. The higher you are the harder it is to fall.

Guys... guys. We got to the end. We did it. We sure did… my large diversion from doing coursework has also suffered… I’m envisaging a very hard Easter weekend ahead to catch up. But I’ve enjoyed writing for you guys!

Misogyny loses my sympathy I would hate to be thought of as someone who hates women. For one, they’re lots of fun ;) OK I admit, I had to google "misogyny". The correct British vernacular is "male cheuvanist pig"

Joking aside, I feel an explanation may be required to this line of questioning. My account describes the situation endured by all at that time; I tried to paint a picture of the characters involved as best I could. Where you can define your own definition, I would welcome you to do so. In some cases, my brief description of “quiet blonde girl” should be enough for you to paint your own picture.

However, Angie and her gang were such an uncommon, abnormal collection, I felt that to not describe their mannerisms and neurosis would have done them an injustice. Similarly, Roland’s rat-like appearance just seemed to burn anyone who set eyes on him. BHIT, I think, was also subject to rather unrelenting description. I’ve had some excellent female colleagues, managers and so forth so I would hate for it to be assumed I have a problem with women in power. Apologies if you thought otherwise!



The Bitch Manager From Hell Pt 23: Epilogue


2 manager from hellFrom jon6TalesFromTechSupport

Weeks came and went; another month slipped by unnoticed. A new support manager had appeared. Young, new and inexperienced, his often rash decision making seemed reminiscent of Angie’s vicious and brutal idea of management, though it seemed driven by immaturity rather than vindictiveness. We continued to exist in the knowledge that there was nobody who would be like our first ITS manager. But, thankfully, nobody like Angie either.

I had two major projects after Angie’s departure. I was in the midst of successfully redeploying the laptops complete with fully working software. However, it became apparent in the days subsequent to her finding out that Angie had opened administrative access to AD to the entire Helpdesk. As you can well expect, our sparkling and carefully maintained AD structure now had contradictory group policies, login scripts which went nowhere and more phantom accounts and objects than I think we would ever finally sort out. It was if Angie had left me a parting gift, a final “fuck you” from the Queen of Aggression.

It’s two-pronged effect seemed unintentional given her ineptitude. But it had encroached on every single user in the company as their login times grew exponentially, together with seemingly random permission sets which denied sometimes even the most basic of privileges.

It was getting to be the hottest summer I’ve ever known in Britain. I still hadn’t taken time out to wash my Mondeo; it’s recent costly repair bill had left a bitter taste in my mouth. The grime that lay affixed to the bonnet and wings seemed an apt punishment for depriving me of yet another wage check.

Arriving back to the office from a well-earned summer pub lunch, I walked towards the building across the car park. As I passed, a familiar Jaguar graced a VIP spot in the car park. Sleek and shiny, its black finish shone in the midday sun, freshly polished and lovingly detailed. Its congeniality seemed marred by the fact that Angie had once owned a car like this, her angry face refusing to even make eye contact as she stared over the leather steering wheel.

AWESOMECAROLANNEI had finished replacing a dead hard disk in an OptiPlex and was delivering it to a damsel in distress. Particularly, this was one of the sales guys damsels in distress. As I connected the machine back up, he came out of his glass-clad office for a chat.

“Did you see, your ex manager is back,” he grimaced.

I knew what he meant; this man had been trained to smile and lie for a living. The news that Angie was back seemed unpalatable.

“Who, Angie?” I questioned. “She got sacked, didn’t she?”

The Sales Manager shook his head with a learned look. “People like that don’t get sacked!” he explained.

I hung on his every word, as if this was the most important lesson I would ever receiving in my life.

“When someone like that is put into a particular position, it’s usually because someone recommended her for it. Someone put her there, Jon6! If she had done well, the person who recommended her would have gotten a nice pat on the back. But, if she cocks it up, there’s no way they’re going to turf her out. Whoever recommended her would have their nuts in a sling for recommending such a dud; nobody would ever take them seriously ever again.” He continued “When people like that in such positions of power make a fantastic fuck up like that, they get paid off. They get promoted with a golden handshake just so someone above her can save face with the board! Admitting failure isn’t even on the menu!”

Despising the obvious truth to his words, I had to probe deeper, “Then, who got the blame for all that then?”

RHSEPT 192“Well, BHIT of course. He was so close to retirement and he didn’t really make much noise anyway. People forgot he was there. It was either him or you guys, really!”

I looked up from over the desk partition. Across the cavernous office, I could just about see the familiar twisted frame of Angie as she stormed with intent around a small section of desks, her shrill and piercing tone somehow breaking through the human noise, over the sound of printers, phones and chatter. Another hapless team of underlings were getting it from her, both barrels.

I turned, eager to continue this discourse; however the Sales Manager had already retreated to his office. He held his phone to his head as he clicked the door closed.

As the OptiPlex spun into life, the Windows XP splash screen floated as if to stand testament to the spoils. Who had really won here? Well, nobody it seems.

As I struggled to think for a moral to the story, I was interrupted by the returning damsel. She thanked me for my time turning back to her work, our brief moment of temporary friendship now at an end, politically and autocratically ceased with the completion of my task, the only remaining duty being the closing of the support ticket.