Retail Hell Memories: Closing Time Lock Up



From Lee:

Many moons ago I worked for a big box computer seller; the red one that for a while had exclusive rights to sell Apple Computers - though this isn't about Apple.  This is about the time that closing took much longer than usual, and custys were *not* to blame.

I worked the "upgrades" counter at this store; which is where RAM, video cards, hard drives, CPUs, etc were stored.  Basically things that were physically small but very valuable.  We had a specific closet that we stored all these items in, and every night at close whoever closed the counter (often me) had to go into said closet and take a full inventory of what we had in there.  Count every single stick of RAM (thankfully all in retail packaging), every video card, etc.  The closet was the size of a very small bathroom. 

One night I went in to said closet, starting 10 minutes to close as usual, and began inventory.  I was done around 20 after 9.  I came out and saw that the store lights were dim. I thought that seemed ... odd. I made an overhead page in case people were in the break room waiting
for me.  No answer.  Eventually I realized that the manager (and the other last employees that day) had closed and left without me. 

Jason 026I realized the alarm was on, as well.  I knew where the cameras were, and looked at one.  Then I intentionally walked to where the alarm would see me, keeping myself in front of the camera the whole time.  The alarm started to wail.  I think it even announced something like "you have set off the alarm", though it was years ago and I'm not sure any more.

Eventually the local police showed up.  I happened to be sitting near the front door, and I could see them through the glass.  I was still in my uniform, which seemed to cause the cop to be a lot less worried.  A few minutes later my manager returned and saw me through the glass as well.  He then proceeded to open the door from the outside and come in with the cop next to him.

Being as I was still on the clock, I needed to clock out once he came in.  With the cop next to him, I offered to empty my pockets.  The manager who came back for me knew me well enough to know I wouldn't steal from the store, but the cop had never met me before.  Manager declined and told me to go clock out. 

When I got back to the front door, ready to go home, he asked me why I didn't just leave through the fire door.  I don't remember what I told him but the honest answer was I knew there was another manager who did not like me, and I wanted to make sure if he really wanted to he could review the security tapes and see that I didn't do anything the least bit interesting while I was alone in the locked store.  The manager who locked me in did give me a bonus on my next paycheck for my inconvenience.

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Closing Time Nightmare Revenge: Flutilicious Gets Her 15 Minutes Back



From Flutilicous, March, 2016:

My coworker and I were threatened with write ups last week. 

The reason why.....we were busy.

This happened last Sunday.  It was the last day of a (basically) half-price sale (The sale was $50 off of every $100 spent)so of course it was crazy busy. 

On a normal Sunday we have three people on the schedule for the majority of the day.  For some reason one of our usual Sunday people needed it off, however the SM did not bother to schedule anybody else in her place.  We had a part timer (R) who worked open to close (we are only open 7 hours on Sunday), the SM worked four hours and I worked four hours. (the extra hour is opening and closing the store).  Since it was the last day of the sale we also had to change the ad signs. 

R took care of the majority of the customers in the morning while the SM spent most of her time in the back, and she started a big project that she knew she wouldn't finish, never mind that it's against company policy to do any tasks on weekends.  The store closes at 6:00, the last customer did not leave until 5:30. 

The SM called at least three times after she left to see what the sales were (why the heck she just didn't stay all day is beyond me...well yeah, she's the SM, if she doesn't want to work a full day she doesn't schedule herself for one). I finally got back to her at 5:45 to tell her that we were at almost $2500 in sales (more than double what we do on a 'normal' Sunday).  When you consider that the sale was basically half price, we sold about $5,000 in merchandise.  SM tells me to start the ad change so we can be out by 6:30. 

OCTOCAROL 075I couldn't find the signs I needed because the SM didn't put them back in the right place when she did the last sign change, and the window signs were torn from when they were changed for the last sale (again, the SM's doing).  By the time we got everything together, finally got the window signs put up, we had about 10 minutes to change the rest of the we basically were running like headless chickens to get the signs up.  We didn't even touch the rest of the store...the SMs mess was just as she left it (maybe a little worse because custys shopped it), stuff was still in the fitting room from the last custys.  We ended up punching out and leaving at 6:45.  Monday morning SM sends a nasty group text yelling about the state of the store and since we only had two transactions in the last hour we weren't busy...then she threatened a write up.  

R responded that most of that was HER (SMs) mess that she left, and I responded that if she even tried to write us up for having a $2500 sales day that I would turn in my keys.  R had already given her notice and only had two more days to work.  I wasn't scheduled again until Friday.  I punch in, check my time and find out that SM had adjusted R and my time back to 6:30 on Sunday...basically having us working the last 15 minutes without pay.  I talked to R on Friday, she said she has already contacted the DM and was going to go to the RM and HR about it.  I said I'll find a way to get my 15 minutes back (which I did...that's coming in the next paragraph).  

Friday I worked and I was livid about the time adjustment.  The AM opened and I closed.  All the AM could do was complain about her period, left me to deal with the custys while she hid in the back.  My first hour at the store we did $1100 in sales.  After the AM left another part timer, T came in and worked a 4 hour shift.  Before she left, the AM decided she needed to talk down to us like we were children and tell us what needed to be done, and tells us not to worry about recovery since it was just two of us and it was a busy day.  T and I worked our butts off, did another $1,000 in sales and got everything done that we were supposed to.   Saturday morning, the SM says we didn't recover the store because we only sold $57 in the last hour and she found one hanger out of place.  Commence another 5 year old discussion that we aren't doing our jobs...despite the fact that we had high sales for the rest of the day.  (Yes, the SM judges the entire day based on the last hour). With everything we did, one hanger out of place isn't all that bad.

How did I get my 15 minutes back? 

I volunteered to take our deposit to the bank on Saturday.  There's a McDonald's on the way to the bank so I pulled in, got some breakfast, sat in the parking lot and ate it, then went to the bank.  When I got back to the store I told the SM that the bank was busy.  So basically I got paid  for sitting at McDonalds eating a sausage biscuit with a cup of coffee.



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Retail Hell Memories: Bad Management - Why Can't To Leave The Emergency Room And Come In?


This story was originally posted on September 18, 2010


Carolanne axeFrom Melpomene

I called in sick last week, for the first time since our store opened (almost a year ago now).

In this year I have worked when suffering from flu (I don't remember much of that time...), I've worked 60 hour weeks, 13 days straight, (which may not seem like much in comparison to the conditions a lot of you have worked in, but it's not a common thing at our store - you work either 5 weekdays, or you work the weekends, with maybe 3 weekdays if you sign up for overtime), I've been the only supervisor/manager on my department for a full weekend (we take about 55% of the overall takings for the week, with the rest split between 8 other departments, across 2 other floors.

The other 2 floors have 2 managers and 2 supervisors each, but I've been left alone on the busiest floor), I've worked after being up all night vomiting. Basically I don't call in sick unless I cannot stand up. And even then I feel guilty, and try to get to work. So when I couldn't sleep on Tuesday night because of chest pain and breathing problems (as in, I couldn't breathe because the pain was so bad) I was mentally calculating how many pain killers I'd need to take to get through the day of overtime I was guilted into signing up for. The pain got worse. So Wednesday morning I called NHS direct for advice.

Go to A&E was the advice. I got shouted at when I said I'd take the bus, and ordered to call a taxi immediately and go to A&E.

So I called work. We have a designated 'sick phone' which a manager always has on them, and always answers (often the store phone isn't answered, and when it is, messages don't get passed on).

The person I was supposed to be covering that day answered the phone, which threw me to begin with. Why was it so urgent that I sign up for overtime if she's in the store?

Oh well, I carried on.

"Hi, it's Melpomene....*gasp for tiny bit of breath* I just thought I'd *gasp* let you know *gasp* I don't know when *gasp* I'll be in today."


"I'm on my way *gasp* to A&E. Chest pains... can't breathe.

"So why can't you work?"

I was stunned at this.

Jason doctorI never call in sick, I've just managed to get out that I can't breathe and am going to hospital, and I get asked "Why can't you work"?

I hadn't even said I was calling in sick, just that I didn't know what time I'd be in.

So I repeated (slowly, as I genuinely couldn't get enough breath to speak) that I was on my way to A&E and I'd let them know when I'd be in.

After 3 hours in A&E I was admitted to a ward. So I had to call work again and let them know there was no way I was making it at all that day.

"Hi, Melpomene again."

"Hey, when are you coming in?"

"I've been admitted.... Not going to make it in.... really sorry but can't.... make contracted shift either."

"You mean you're not even going to bother turning up for your contracted hours?"


"You realize we've not got X or Y, so we'll have no supervisors in this evening!"


"Fine. Let us know if you're turning up tomorrow."

I now understand why people don't call in sick.

The thing is, I love working with the 2 people that answered the sick line. When I called in sick the following day (seriously, my friends were worried I was dying, this is so unusual for me), I got a bit more sympathy from the second person to answer, but she was still narky with me.

I'm fine now, thankfully, but have had blood tests, urine tests, chest X-Rays, ECGs, and now have to have an ultrasound to rule out gallbladder problems.

I was poked and prodded, not allowed any food all day (and hadn't eaten dinner the night before because of the pain), and told I had: gallbladder problems, cracked ribs, pneumonia, infection of the pleura, gilbert's syndrome (a metabolic disorder that has nothing to do with the pain) and finally decided it's probably costochondritis. Fun day for me!

To top it all off, they still haven't fired AA, although this is now week 3 of AWOL, so hopefully he's not coming back anyway. Not that they've fired him, I just don't think he wants to come back.



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Secret Shopper Hell: Stopping Them Cold


Carolanne 005From Dr_StrangeloveGA, TalesFromRetail

I detest secret shoppers with the fiery intensity of a thousand suns. They lie, they don't follow their shops, and half the time when I was in wireless, they just ran in, grabbed someone's business card and ran out.

The one time I was faced with a write-up for a shop, I knew who the shopper was. I asked what the profile was, it was supposed to be a shopper alone asking for a family plan. I knew who the shopper was because of the few questions she asked. She had a friend with her. I gave her the full sales spiel, much to her annoyance, as she clearly wanted to be gone.

"Pull the tapes," I said.

"Not allowed," I was told.

"I see, in that case, seeing as how I'm not allowed to defend myself, I'm not taking a write-up based on the fraudulent actions of someone who is not only not a member of management of this company, but is not even an employee of this company. I'd like for this to be forwarded to HR and will not speak to you about this subject until an HR representative is present."

Magically, it suddenly wasn't such a big deal at all.

By the way, I kept my job and worked many more years for the company.



To The Bosses Who Expect Us To Work During a Hurricane



From The Bitchy Waiter

As Hurricane Florence makes a beeline for the coast of the Carolinas and Virginia, millions of people are being advised to evacuate the area immediately and take shelter from the massive Category 4 storm. Most people will heed that advice, but plenty of others will be forced to stay and weather the storm because they have no place to go or simply cannot afford to leave. Others will make the possibly unwise decision to stay in place because of a reason that is completely out of their control: stupid ass restaurant owners and managers requiring them to come to work.

Every time there is a natural disaster of some sort, I’m bombarded with stories from servers and restaurant employees who tell me that their boss made them go to work. Such is the case with Beth who, despite living in a mandatory evacuation zone, will get written up as a “no-show” if she chooses to focus on the safety and welfare of herself and her family rather than the livelihood of her restaurant. “Even Wal-Mart is closed,” she says. And we all know that when the fucking Wal-Mart closes, that shit is serious.

I want to take a minute to speak directly to the restaurant managers and owners who are expecting their servers to drive through 125 mile per hour wind and sheets of rain just so they can sit in an empty restaurant making $2.13 an hour:

Fuck that. If you want to keep your restaurant open during a Category 4 hurricane, fine, but you better find yourself an apron, a chef’s hat and a clipboard because you should be the one who waits tables, cooks the food and seats the customers. Let your servers, cooks and hosts take care of their own property while you take care of yours. You can argue that you want to remain open to help serve the community in this time of need, but you shouldn’t expect your staff to do it. Why would you think they’d want to put your needs ahead of their own? So, what, they work their seven hour shift and then they can’t get home because the road have been washed out and there’s a fucking tree laying on their car? No. Just, no. For the sake of everyone’s safety, including your own, accept that a Category 4 is a major problem and it’s alright to let the restaurant be closed for a few days while you focus on more important things like sandbagging your home, securing outdoor furniture and staying fucking alive.

To all of you who are in the path of this hurricane, I wish you well. I hope it’s not as bad as they say it is and I hope the recovery is swift. Most of all, I hope that if you work for a boss who expects you to ignore this storm and come to work that your boss gets hit in the head by a tree limb just hard enough to know some fucking sense into them.

--The Bitchy Waiter


Bad Management: I Knew She Was Lying, But Gave Her A Discount Anyway


Carolanne Has FreddyFrom kmclaire-chanTalesFromRetail

My tale took place just five hours ago, while I was counting down the minutes until lunch. A customer had asked me for help with a tv console, so I grabbed a coworker and we loaded it up onto a flatbed.

While we were working with the furniture piece, another customer came up to me with a question.

Customer: Excuse me, could you tell me the price of this item?

Now, the item she was holding was a fake autumn-themed plant. Another customer came up to me earlier in the day with the same question for the same item, so I knew the price.

Me: Oh, that item is $39.99.

Customer: Okay, thank you.

She then walked away, and I thought that was that. That is, until around twenty minutes later, when another coworker pulled me aside.

Coworker: Hey, what did you tell a customer who asked you for a price while you were loading a piece of furniture?

Me: I told her it was $39.99. I knew that because a customer asked me about the exact same item earlier.

Jason confusedCoworker: Okay. I only ask because [other manager] gave her a 10% discount on her transaction because she claimed that you said, "We're too busy to help you."

WHAT. First of all, I would never say that to a customer. Ever. Second, I very clearly told her the price while loading a piece of furniture, and she acknowledged my doing so.

I made a beeline for the manager's office at this, where the other manager was filling out paperwork.

Manager: Oh, kmclaire-chan, have a seat.

Me: Okay, I didn't tell that customer that we were "too busy to help her," I told her that the item in question was $39.99.

Manager: Yeah, I knew that wasn't something you would say. I just felt like that lady had some problems - she said she gets bad service every time she comes in here and that you guys scared her dog with the flatbed.

In other words, she knowingly gave a discount to a lying customer because she "had problems." And they wonder why our customers think they can walk all over us?