Scheduling Nightmares: Why Can't Eight People Do The Work Of Twelve?!


SCHEDULING_HELLFrom: Kahnonymous

I've been part of the truck unload team for a national department store going on 4 years now. There's no regular day for trucks, just that we get one per week on any given day.  

A few terms and details to comprehend my tale:

Thrower: Person who is physically on the trailer putting boxes on the line; usual guy doesn't work Sundays because public transportation doesn't run, so I'm his back up.

Cutter/Sorter: Person who cuts open boxes and determines which way down the line they go (either clothes or everything else); usually done by the supervisor with me as backup when he has to attend to store functions or just isn't there.

Unload time: Expected time for the truck to be empty so we can then push merchandise to the sales floor or backstock. Figured by some corporate standard on total man hours it should take divided by actual employee count. Ignores dock size, set up, and amount of usable equipment (racks and u-boats) of every store, which is different and does matter.

It was a Sunday in which the supervisor had off, and no one else with experience doing either primary function is there, so an older guy who usually single handedly takes care of the non-clothes steps up as the cutter/sorter (C/S) while I throw. The store manager is the opening manager, but isn't at all involved in the unload process. Which brings me to the specific tale:

Two hours into the unloading, store manager (SM) comes back to check on us:

SM: "What row are you on?" [there are 26 total rows]

Kahn: "Just past halfway."

SM: "Unload time is 8:30! [half hour from this point] What's taking so long?"

C/S: "We don't have enough people."

Carolanne tinsel 2I mention this a lot during trucks, but it's often dismissed, as the SM proceeded to demonstrate.

SM: "There were no call offs (lie), we're not missing anyone."

C/S: "How many are we supposed to have?"

SM: "Twelve"

C/S: "How many do you see?"

Store manager shuts up after looking around and realizing there's only eight of us. Later says he'll finally do something about scheduling for future trucks.

The lie: I noticed during our break that there were two more names on the schedule to work truck, one was crossed off on the daily who's who, the other wasn't. Not sure if one called in other was fired/quit or what, but still means they intended 10 people there, not 12.



Scheduling Nightmares: Clueless Management Schedules Slave On Times When They Can't Work


Carolanne naughty 2From: rosseloh

In my experience, the bigger the store, the more clueless upper management gets regarding scheduling....

I worked at a big office-supply chain in high school, and had a calendar made up of days I couldn't work due to playing in the school band (at this time the scheduling manager had to manually input availability dates).

It never failed, I would be on the schedule nearly every night that I had specifically said I couldn't work.

And the GM never understood when I said "I've had this day marked off for months now," (he was an idiot).




Scheduling Nightmares: "Everyone Works Christmas Eve. Everyone."


Xmas2009 178bFrom: Holly

I had a doctor appointment this month, and I have a doctor appointment every month, not because I’m “trying to get out of work” but because I need to go. People still exist outside of work, there’s nothing magical about December that makes the rest of these issues stop happening just because the store is busy.

Absolutely no problem to give me that time off any other month of the year.

December rolls around? Suddenly the Time Off Blackout is in effect and I'm pulling teeth with a pair of tweezers to have this day off when the managers decided that suddenly I needed to be there.

Even worse? A few years ago I had a manager who decided everyone had to work at least two hours on Christmas Eve.

It didn’t matter what their situation was; if they requested it off months ago, if they had to drive 30 miles one way for a two hour shift; no exceptions. She wanted to be “fair.”

This doesn’t take into account that everyone’s situation is different, and it actually encourages people to call off.

We also went so far over our allotted hours doing that we didn’t have enough hours for the store after Christmas. It was so bad that there were huge holes in the schedule, were we didn’t even have a cashier scheduled.



Scheduling Nightmares: That Sick Bird Is Such An Ill Eagle...



I work at a popular Fast Food chain. I started working in late May, so I'm still relatively new. I like my coworkers and my manager isn't mean but because of her management this place is a real shit hole.

First of all, there are supposed to be three people scheduled during summer hours, but my manager only ever schedules two. For about two hours a day DURING LUNCH RUSH there is only one employee on. Needless to say there have been countless days where I was the only employee on and had to deal with never ending lines out the door for that entire time. The first time was when I had only been working a week and it took everything I had to not break into tears from the stress.

Second, she waits to post the schedule till the very last minute. While I was waiting an entire week for her to finally post it, my boss at my other job that I love a lot asked me if I could work certain days. Since those days were ones I typically don't get scheduled at Fast Food Job, I said yes.

When I told Fast Food Manager about the very slight change in availability, she barked "I thought you said when you were hired that THIS job is your priority!"

She didn't even schedule me for the days my other boss did, so I didn't see the problem. When you delay making the schedule for an entire week, I gotta give answers to my other obligations.

But the third thing that really makes me angry about this job is that you HAVE to clock out when your shift is technically up, no matter how much work there is actually left to do. This means that if you're closing and your shift ends at 9:30, you absolutely must be clocked out by 9:30 even if you have to stay and finish closing procedures. That puts you in the position of either getting fired for clocking out and subsequently leaving and not finishing the job, or getting fired for 'milking the clock' if you stay clocked on while you finish your work. And I put emphasis on the 'clocking out with work left to do' because there is ALWAYS work left to do. Like I said, there are only ever two employees on during busy summer nights.

Closing procedures take at least two hours to complete even with two people when you factor in all the cleaning and dishes to be done. So if we close at 9, we really need to start closing at 7. But if we're absolutely slammed until the minute we close, which we often are, and the only two people on are feverishly working on the line and cash register, there is usually very little time to close. Therefore there have been many times where my coworkers and/or I have been stuck working off the clock to get stuff done.

I can't count how many times I've been yelled at by co-workers who have been here longer, "You NEED to clock off NOW" while I still have a mountain of dishes and prep to do.

Xmas2009 040Also, there are security cameras on us at all times. Pretty normal right? Except there is actually someone watching us on the screens from the moment we open to the moment we close. Do something wrong? Get a phone call saying they saw what you did. If that's not skeevy I don't know what is.

All this is very relevant to my story. I'm definitely going to at least quit and file a complaint. But right now, allow me to tell you about the hellish shift itself. It happened yesterday.

I was awoken from blissful sleep by a call from my boss at about 8am. She's practically begging me to close that night, guilting me that she'll be working 15 hours if I don't come in. I had only closed once before, but I needed the money so I agreed. It was the biggest mistake of my life.

It was about 95 degrees Fahrenheit outside, not a cloud in the sky, and at least 70% humidity. It was as hot in the restaurant as it was outside. I don't do well in such extreme heat, so by the time I got there I was feeling very nauseous and dizzy. Told my manager, she gave me a funny look and basically said that if you don't call in 4 hours prior you'll get fired so deal with it.


She and her cousin (another employee, but not working at the time) were chatting idly and slowly working. For about an hour my manager prepped bread to be baked (we are big on sandwiches and the like) and kept promising she would finish the rest of prep so we wouldn't have to that night. By the time my coworker (whom we'll call "Sarah") arrived an hour later, the bread was only just ready to be proofed (it must be proofed first for an hour, and then baked for another 15 minutes). There was almost no baked bread left for us to use, and there was nothing else prepped. Not lettuce, not tomatoes, not peppers, nothing that goes on the stuff we serve. Manager clocks out, leaving us completely unprepared to serve a high volume of customers. Of course, the minute Sarah clocks in and Managers leave, customers start lining up.

We're doing fine for a good hour, food-wise. The ingredients are lasting and the line is moving. Unfortunately, the heat was making me sweat like hairy balls and nearly sway back and forth with dizziness. I kept telling myself that once the line died down I could go get a drink of water. But of course it never did.

More and more people start to come in, all with screaming children and huge orders. By the time an hour and a half has past, the restaurant is slammed with hot, sweaty people tapping their feet impatiently as me and Sarah desperately try to move things along. Sarah is a veteran worker here, and even she couldn't handle the size of the line in this heat. Of course, we start running out of things. First green peppers. Then American cheese. Then bread itself. People demand sandwiches on a certain kind of bread, and we have to tell them we only have one kind left (out of about 6 types total). Despite the fact that the bread is clearly in the ovens behind us, people just don't understand that it takes a good hour to bake. And since the line of customers has only intensified as the hours progressed, we literally haven't had time to run back and finish the prep my boss "started".

Xmas2009 088It got so bad that at one point we were literally running back and prepping things on demand by customers, because fuck it. Finally, around 7:30pm, we get a small break. The mountain of dishes has only gotten bigger. The floor of the restaurant is filthy. None of the closing procedures we were supposed to start by now, including simple things re-stocking chips, lids, etc has been even started. As we scramble to figure out how to divide the work, another customer comes in.

Anyone who has worked fast food knows that it's never just one customer. When it's dead, it's dead, but the minute one customer comes in, 5 more immediately come in after. And this is exactly what happens.

Finally the bread is out and we've managed to cut more lettuce and tomatoes. So we start again. Basically, repeat the past two hours for the next two hours. Literally not 5 minutes passed where we didn't have customers. At various points in the night multiple customers ended up leaving in angry huffs because the two of us couldn't work any faster. Wednesdays usually aren't busy, but on that day all the residents of my village of less than 2,000 people decided they wanted to eat out. They all have young annoying children, and they all have ridiculously big orders.

By this point it's 8 o'clock and I'd been holding in my pee for the past 5 hours. I had time to have only one drink of water during the entire shift so far, in 95 degree weather. I literally cannot exaggerate how busy this night was. Customers finally start to leave, so Sarah and I start looking around in dismay at all the things we have to do.

Finally, she tells me, "Oh and [Manager] says I can stay until 8:30 to help you."

Wait, I think, You were about to fucking leave?

Now Sarah is a minor so she cannot legally stay past 9. So she had a half hour to an hour to help me finish 2+ hours of closing duties, absolutely none of which have even been started, plus customers to deal with. You can see where this is going for me. Sarah ultimately agreed to stay until 8:45.

Xmas2009 180Of course at 8:30, about 5 customers (all separate from each other) file in at the same goddamn time. 15 minutes until Sarah leaves, only the dishes and minor cleaning have been touched. And yet again, we are almost completely out of bread and ingredients. Each customer wants a very complicated order and of course orders everything we don't have.

3 out of the 5 orders involved us telling the customer "No, sorry, we're out of that" about 3 times per order. We apologetically explained to a particularly rude lady that we've been so busy that we simply haven't had time to prep anything, to which she responded, "Well if you knew you were going to busy why didn't you prepare anything?!?!"

Wow lady, you sure told us. When we only have 3 customers left to serve, I shit you not, six people walk in at the same goddamn time. At 8:45 in the fucking evening, 15 fucking minutes before we fucking close. The first of them orders five things. The second orders three.

Sarah stays for these, and then one last customer. This one is another bitchy lady who wants three (but seriously, do people not understand how rude it is to order so much food minutes before closing?!) She orders something, we don't have it. She swears at us and sends her daughter out to the car to see what else the waiting passenger wants.

Daughter comes back with a different order. They order again, and again it's something we don't have. The lady literally slaps her forehead and exclaims, "Jesus CHRIST you guys don't have fucking ANYTHING do you? FUCK!!!"

Literally about to have a full-on tantrum as she's the victim for deciding to come in with a huge order right before close. I try to make suggestions to her based on what we have left, to which she agrees with exasperated grunts. By now it is 8:55 and Sarah clocks out, leaving me with the last 2 customers (Although she did say nothing to me but "I'm so sorry" for the last 15 minutes of her shift).

At exactly 9:00 all the customers are finally gone. I lock that fucking door faster than... well I'm too tired to think of a clever analogy.

Freddy bah HumbugI look around the restaurant in despair. The floor is filthy. The tables are filthy. The counter and line are filthy. The back is filthy. There are boxes strewn everywhere (manager's fault). There is yet another mountain of dishes. I still have to take out the fucking trash. In addition, I have to count all the money, do a whole bunch of inventory, put away the line, close the register officially, clean the fridge, etc etc et-fucking-cetera. And I have a half hour left before I have to clock off.

I call my manager, panicked, and she flat out tells me that she's watching me on camera and that I should calm down. Nah, really?! She tells me just to worry about the dishes, money-counting, inventory and stocking, POS-related things, and a few other "small" things I don't remember.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong, because this will still all take about an hour. So I put my ass in gear and get to work. The dishes themselves take a half hour. I'm supposed to clock out, but I grew a back bone and decided not to. At 9:45 my boss has the audacity to text me and tell me to "hurry it up a little," while I'm running around the store trying to count how much money and ingredients we have and put everything away (including all the plates and silverware I had just washed).

Like I said, I had only closed by myself once before, and it was a shit show due to crappy training. I only barely had an idea of what I was doing, so considering the predicament she left us in, I think I was doing pretty good. At 10:15 I was finally out, 45 minutes after I was supposed to clock off. I clocked off, ran out, locked up, and promptly called my boyfriend to vent while stuffing my face with pasta the minute I got home.

Later, I learned that the village was having some sort of free concert at a park, which explains all the people. Manager obviously didn't consider this influx of people when scheduling us.

You know what the real tragedy about all this is? I wasn't even supposed to be there that day.



Scheduling Nightmares: "Next Time, Tell Him To Die At A More Convenient Time"


SCHEDULING_HELLFrom: giaquintor

Background: This story took place about 3 weeks before American Thanksgiving. This is a really busy time for Discount Liquor Store, and it's a all-hands-on-deck time for all of us retail slaves cashiers.

I had came down with the flu to the point where I had a 103 degree fever for a couple days and just felt like absolute crap. I got sick on a Monday, my day off, but decided to suck it up and go in to work on Tuesday, even with a 100+ degree fever. That Tuesday I had the opening shift, which meant I needed to come in at 8:30. The first thing I tell my managers when I get there is that I felt like absolute crap and wasn't sure how long I'd be able to stay. They both tell me that's fine and I go about my business.

About an hour later and a half later, I start to feel nauseous and I run off to the bathroom to tell my manager. He rolls his eyes and says "whatever." Needless to say I got sick in the bathroom and knew it was time for me to go. I tell my manager and he gives me a nod and calls for someone on stock to get on register.

Fast forward to the next day, I'm still feeling like ass, so I call out from work. Another manager (the nicest one) answers the phone and actually tells me to feel better. The next day I do the same, but this time the GM answers the phone and I explain to her my situation. She then, tells me that I need to start working the days I'm given and that we need to sit down to talk about things. At this time I'm crapping my self (both literally and figuratively) thinking that I'm going to be fired, but luckily nothing came of it.

Now, the week of Thanksgiving, and the weekend after, is really, really busy for us. The Tuesday before, I find out that my best friend of 11 years' father had passed away. Him and his family had been there for me during some very tough times in my life and when I found out I was devastated. The Friday after Thanksgiving, I went in to tell my scheduling manager that I needed to leave my Saturday shift early to go to the funeral. Here is the conversation that follows:

Me: "Hey Ass-hat Manager (AHM) I have a problem. My friend's father had passed away earlier this week and his memorial service is tomorrow. I know I work until 5, but I was wondering if I would be able to leave at 1 so I can get to the service."

Santa Skull FU 2AHM: [sigs] "You know giaquintor, you REALLY need to start working the hours you're given. You are very easy to replace. Do you see this pile of applications on my desk? Any one of these people here would gladly have your job. I can just as easily replace you. I'll give you one more chance, but if you call out again I'm going to have to write you up for skipping out on your job."

Me: "I completely understand but I couldn't help that I was sick a few weeks ago. Please, I need to leave just a little bit early so I can go there. I can even come in earlier if you'd like so I can help out the other cashiers if you need."

AHM: "No. You don't need to come in. I have enough cashiers opening, I don't need you then. I need you during YOUR shift that YOU'RE scheduled for. But whatever, do what you think is right."

At this time I leave and thank him for letting me go, but I think to myself, "Yeah next time I'll just tell my friend's dad to die at a time that's more convenient for Discount Liquor Store's managers and cashiers."



Scheduling Nightmares: Navy Meetings Make Work Difficult


Xmas2009 080From: Godolin

My scheduling manager requires at at least two WEEKS to ensure you get requested days off.

I work at a fairly small establishment. Eight workers, plus four mangers. Given the fact that 7/8 workers had different types of schooling to work around, we'd reached the point that any given day had just enough people that could work it, with MAYBE one person to spare if someone called in sick.

And then I decided to join the Navy. Since I hadn't graduated yet, I didn't ship out right away after swearing in. Still haven't, actually. But I digress. What my recruiter failed to tell me was that it was customary to have a meeting between your parents and the recruiter within three days of swearing in. I swore in on a Friday, and I worked the next Monday. Which was one of the days we didn't have anyone else that could work.

Over the weekend, I manage to find someone that could somehow actually cover my shift. I could finally stop sweating. And then, at my meeting on Monday, I was told for the first time that there were required meetings on the first Thursday of every month. Which was the Thursday in exactly two days. Which was also one of the days we didn't have anyone extra.

Now, my one of my managers had a son that used to work there before joining the Marines. So it's not like they weren't used to working around military obligations. Miraculously, they actually found someone who could cover for Thursday.

Thursday rolls around, and we get a freak snow storm. The meeting is re-scheduled. For the next Tuesday. Which was a day I worked. And, you guessed it, had no one to cover for me. At that point, I just flat out told my recruiter that there was no way for me to get in. I'm surprised my manager didn't go bald those two weeks because of me.