To celebrate Labor Day I’m gonna talk about my crappy old job and why I left it, though these pictures should say more than enough.
They sent between 1300 and 2000 cases a week on the delivery truck, but gave the freight team only ONE FOUR HOUR SHIFT to stock out the weeks delivery to the sales floor, if we were LUCKY they’d give us five hours.
So that means each week we’d pack out several hundred cases, only for 1000 to 2000 more to show up the next week and cause the clutter in the stock room to become even more severe.
These pictures were taken BEFORE we had to cram a 1400 piece truck into the stockroom, so afterwards it looked EVEN WORSE than in these pictures.
And see all that Halloween and THANKSGIVING stuff in those pictures? That was taken IN THE SECOND WEEK OF JULY.
Also, maybe 1/4th of that stock room is stuff we re-packed from previous holidays like last years Halloween, Christmas, and Thanksgiving, but the computer that supplied the store doesn’t take packaways into consideration, so by the time I left it was already sending a WHOLE STORE’S worth of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and so on and by now when I’m writing this on September 1st can tell you they’re getting AT LEAST a couple dozen cases of Christmas supplies on the truck this week.
Oh, and check out how they’ve got Graduation 2014 packaways, I guarantee Graduation 2014 won’t be happening again in human history, that stuff is packed away for nothing.
And speaking of that last picture, that wasn’t taken in the stock room, that was taken in what was supposed the employee break room. Try taking a break with all that crap cluttering the overlarge closet they called a break room.
But of course a lot of the times they didn’t actually let me take a break, but instead would either falsely enter my breaks into the computer after I left, or would force me to stay in the break room at the end of my work day like some form of after school detention, returning to the registers every fifteen or thirty minutes to punch in and out consecutively for the breaks i SHOULD have been getting throughout my shift.
To add to that, productivity standards they expected of us were set impossibly high, they were basically designed so that even working your absolute hardest, you’d always be just below the official standards. They didn’t “punish” us for this, but it was a serious drain on morale and there was the constant fear that they could use your “subpar” productivity as an excuse to cut your hours even lower than what the were already offering.
Several times I came to work and punched in and started working, only to be told to punch out and go home. Once this happened to me AFTER PUNCHING IN AT FOUR O CLOCK IN THE MORNING.
Other times I’ve had the days and hours of my shifts changed with as few as five minutes notice from when I as about to leave home, and other times I literally just walked in the door and was immediately told to come back either in several hours, or tomorrow.
After working at this place for about nine months, a new employee my own age joined the freight crew, and I trained him and showed him how to do everything.
He was immediately issued an official company shirt to wear as his uniform. I was never offered a company shirt and I had to wear a dress code compliant shirt I provided myself, and for most of my time as an employee there I had to sew it back together weekly to keep it presentable.
Within a week, the new employee was “chosen for his exceptional work ethic” and was given his own section of the store to manage, something that I NEVER received in all my months of working there.
Within two weeks, the new employee had more than twice my hours at my store (i was often only allowed to work four to eight hours a week by then), and was being allowed to work at multiple stores in the chain for even more hours.
At the end of three weeks, the new employee WHO I TRAINED MYSELF was given a raise, promoted to the position of assistant store manager, and transferred out to another location of his choice, where as I’d been working there for TEN MONTHS and got absolutely no raises, promotions, or recognition of any kind.
And here’s the part where I need to mention that I’m black and the other guy who was promoted ahead of me and got all sort of special treatment happened to be white.
And that’s not the only time this has happened. Another black employee about my own age who I’ll call J was working at the chain at an older store about a mile away. J had been working there for a couple of years when a new employee came, a white woman who I’ll call A who was about old enough to be J’s mom.
J trained the new employee, A, and about a year later when they opened up the new store, A WAS CHOSEN TO BE THE STORE MANAGER while the girl who trained her remained a cashier and received absolutely no promotion, but was transferred to the store where the employee she trained herself was now her own boss.
Oh, and when i came into work the day following a massive snowstorm, A asked me to walk down the street to this diner and get her and the other store managers coffee and bagels and gave me the money for it.
So I put my coat back on and went out in the snow and crossed the still mostly unplowed street of a major trunk route, went to the diner, and brought them their food.
Later on, A pulled me aside and asked me “why did I punch in early?”
Yeah evidently I was supposed to go out in the snow carrying coffee cups and sandwiches trying not to slip and drop them on the frozen slippery sidewalks, and avoiding cars that were slipping and spinning out on the icy roads, WITHOUT GETTING PAID FOR IT so that the managers could have coffee and sandwiches, and so that if I slipped and hurt myself, or if a car hit me, I’d be stuck with the hospital bills for it because I wasn’t on company time.
Well I told her that I punched in because she as a manager asked me to perform a task, so I took that as WORKING so I punched in so I’d get paid for it.
That same day I coincidentally happen to have gotten written up by the assistant manager for “making a mess of the store”, in which I got yelled at by him on the floor, AND had to hear it from both him and the store manager in the office, where they made me sign a paper “admitting” that I did something wrong.
This was especially stupid since I had a unique reputation in that store of working as cleanly and meticulously as possible to the point where they SPECIFICALLY selected me to recover the store when a Vice President of the corporation was coming to inspect the store the following day.
The manager also threatened to fire me for attending class at college instead of skipping class to show up for work at the times SHE specified, and told me “there was no point in them even hiring me”, which lead to me accepting shifts in which I’d miss about half of the class session. (I still got an A in the class, only for the college to refuse to give me credit for it, which is a whole other story lol)
Eventually the manager who did this got fired for telling employees to work off the clock, and the new store manager actually liked me and respected the work I did, though in the framework of THIS store that wasn’t able to count for much.
Also, the district manager “blacklisted” me because I was one of three employees who was still at the store when the old manager was there, and the district manager actually supposedly said that she couldnt fire me because I “technically ” didn’t do anything wrong, but to give me as few hours as possible anyway.
and the store had to get around that by not listing me on the schedule and calling me to say that there happened to be “extra hours” and inviting me to work, though with the very few hours they had in the first place that often meant I sometimes got between four and zero hours on some weeks.
I actually managed to win a productivity award during this period, but of course the district manager, when realizing that it was ME that won the award, just happened to lose the prize, which was a company shirt which i was DESPERATE for because my work shirt was so tattered and I had to sew it back together AFTER EVERY SHIFT by then.
I also had to work on Easter and Independence Day without holiday pay, and if I still worked there I’d be working on Labor Day without holiday pay as well.
And this is all in the context of the second store manager AND the freight manager LIKING ME and telling me that I’m one of the hardest working employees in the store and the freight manager ALWAYS choosing me to help him load the weekly delivery truck until he was finally specifically instructed to send me home, and at this point I finally left, and every authority figure at the store basically congratulated me for not putting up with it anymore.
Yeah my new job is good, it doesn’t suck at all.
Happy Labor Day.
I hope all of you dealing with sucky jobs get an upgrade for yourselves soon.