I took the job a few years back more as a crutch. I needed money, and more importantly, I needed to get away from my family as I was unemployed and desperately trying to find a real job. It was at a gas station and I lasted about four months.
When I got hired, the woman who hired me was immediately promoted to District Manager and my coworker was promoted to Store Manager. My relationship with them quickly soured.
District Manager asked me early in October if I would be willing to come in on my day off (I'd get paid) to sort through some Halloween decorations as she wanted to decorate the store. I agreed thinking it'd be a box or two.
When I came to work that Saturday what I walked into was a hoarders situation. Next to the dumpsters was a countless amount of blue plastic totes DM had salvaged from her flooded basement. Inside them were decorations that suited any holiday need, old candy and food, and mold so slimy, so strong, it was eating through some of the plastic. I worked like that for 45 minutes before some girls from the coffee shop inside the gas station came out for some smokes.
They looked to me in horror when they saw what I was working with when finally one piped up and said: "Oh hunny, remember, you're doing a favor. Nothing is keeping you here."
I looked at her and after a minute had a "Come to Jesus Moment," agreed with her, walked in, and told the Store Manager that we shouldn't allow any of the decorations into the store as they are potential health hazards from the mold. She told me to clock out and go home, then.
When I came back to work that Sunday evening, the store was dressed to the nines for Halloween... using the stuff that had only been wafted in the general direction of a cleaning rag. I wanted to vomit.
A short time after that we heard about a hurricane forming off in the Atlantic: Hurricane Sandy. People in New England usually pay no mind to hurricanes as it's uncommon for them to make it up this way and the year before we had Irene pay us a visit, so no one thought we'd get a twofer.
Oh how wrong they were.
As soon as we heard Sandy was making her way up, people panicked. Up here, it's more or less like a progression: at first some people mosey about and get a few bottles of water still thinking the hurricane will blow out or something, but the closer a storm gets, the more people scurry and the more they panic as they discover that their assumptions are wrong.
I soon found out that I'd be the lucky bastard to run the store when Sandy was a day away from landfall. Now, to clarify, at this location, it doesn't matter if it was morning, midday, or evening. At this location you almost always only had one person running the whole shit show. But do you think a place that sells gas would staff more than one person when there is a huge influx of demand?
The answer is no.
There was one person to deal with everything, and I was it.
Also, do you think the store manager would expedite the gas shipment, or maybe stock up on bottled water or batteries?
The answer, again, is no.
Our shelves were nearly picked clean, and we were low on gas to begin with, and he did nothing.
I honestly didn't think I'd get left there by my lonesome when I came in at 7:30, but when Store Manager left at 8, my heart dropped. I felt like a prisoner that had just been locked in his cell and the guard was walking off with my key to freedom.
Same thing happened to a poor kid and the donut shop, when he came in a few hours later. His only defense to the insanity was that he was oblivious to everything so everything was sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows and where life was happy, all the time. (They're coming to take me away, ha ha!)
At first it was overwhelming as everyone and their mange ridden mutts came in demanding gas, buying me out of batteries, medicine, bottled water, and --today was the first time I had actually sold it-- wine.
God help me.
That lasted a few hours and it soon died down. Only today instead of dealing with a customer here and there like normal, I was dealing with mobs that would come in droves; like angry village people visiting the sword maker to have their pitchforks sharpened and they were all pissed because it was time out of their lives to have it done because the monsters were soon to be upon their village.
I cannot tell you how many times I was cussed out, threatened, or screamed at. It finally became too much and I called Store Manager.
Me: "I'm having a hard time keeping up with everything, I really would like your help."
RHUers, when you have an employee call you asking for help, what do you do?
That's right! Sit at home, call them incompetent, remind them you hired them for a reason and hang up. That's what I got. I also got the lovely piece of information that the only other groundling who ran the counter wasn't going to be in and it was now up to me to close the store.
I slowly hung up the phone. I wanted to cry. I was scared to death and also angry. I was a stew of emotions set on the back burner with the heat turned to 'HI'. It meant I was working all by myself, with a hurricane a day away from landfall from 7:30am to 9pm.
At around 2pm it finally died down. I finally was able to try and relax and do some paperwork. I decided to go out for a cigarette and look at the clouds, which were gray, dark, and shockingly enough, they seemed thick....
As I was enjoying my nicotine buzz, a woman came up to me from the pump to ask why it wasn't working. Confused I pulled out my sin stick and followed her to her car. Swiped her card and sure enough, the pump wasn't dispensing gas. A quick check on the systems confirmed that we were now out of premium and midgrade.
The woman left for another station and I again called Store Manager, who told me to put up signs saying "Regular gas only."
That was probably a bad idea as what happened a short while after that will haunt me the rest of my life.
At about 3:30 a man came in, smoke pouring out of his ears. "What do you mean 'regular only'!?" He shouted as soon as he was through the door.
Taken aback, I respond as politely as I am able. "I'm very sorry sir, our shipment got stuck in Jersey because of the storm. I can call other stations save you a tr-"
Man: "I'm sick and fucking tired of incompetent people trying to tickle my balls! I need premium, now!"
I was stunned, the pot was starting to boil over.
Me: "I'm sorry you feel that way sir. However, there is no way I can get you premium gas, not at this location."
At this point the man storms the desk and gets into my face, demanding to speak to my manager. Naturally, I picked up the phone to call Store Manager.
The guy snapped. "The fuck are you doing!?"
Me: "Calling my manager for you."
Man: "You know what, you little shit! I'm gonna bash your skull in!"
Now was my turn to snap. "Get the fuck out of my store! I don't like being threatened, and I have no problem calling the police!"
At this point the man tries to get a leg up on the counter, screaming again about how he was going to 'bash my skull in.'
I stepped back and dialed three random numbers as I was shaking at couldn't make out what I was dialing.
The man panics and runs to his SUV where he peels out of the lot. I watch him leave and as soon as he's gone, I collapse onto the floor. I cannot breathe, I'm trembling, I'm crying, and my heart is beating out of it's chest.
I lay like this for what I'm guessing was 15 minutes before I managed to crawl out of the store and smoke a cigarette to calm myself down.
Once I was composed enough to actually stand, I called Store Manager for a third time to explain what happened. I told him I didn't feel safe. I asked if I should call the police. I asked if I could close early.
I should have known, but I was still surprised by his answers. I got yelled at about how he had to be up at 6 the next morning. I got told to not involve the police and that it was a "stupid reason to get them involved," and I got told to suck it up and not to shut the store down early.
When I hung up, I bawled my eyes out. I'm not afraid to admit it. I cried like a child. I would have gone against Store Manager and shut down the store early, but the coffee shop was open and there was no way to seal off the gas station.
For whatever reason, the doorway between their store and ours didn't have a way to close/lock/gate. We opened at the exact same time, so for the most part, it wasn't a thing. But I got horrible pangs of guilt at the thought of leaving the kid having no way to ring up our products and leaving him responsible for dealing with customers who may or may not loot the closed gas station. The way customers were acting, I didn't want to leave him alone with no witnesses to his potential lynching.
I stuck it for the rest of the evening, returning home emotionally drained. I went without supper and went straight to bed, where I slept like I was dead.
Two weeks later District Manager came up from Rhode Island and fired me for a made up reason. I was happy to be rid of that place.