And in conclusion to yesterday’s epic post, which I know you lost sleep over…
“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen” -Douglas Adams
With the exception of some shameless mocking that carried on over the rest of the week, the intensity of The Lemonface Debacle faded. I still had some residual misgivings, and wondered when, not if, it would come back to bite us in the ass.
On our way home from dinner a week later, I get a phone call from my boss. I debated whether to answer, as it was my day off, and whatever she needed, I wasn’t going to give it to her. But the funny feeling I had got the better of me and I took the call.
Apparently our District Manager was off the rails about a customer complaint he received- and sent an email demanding that Boss “find out who was working that day and fire them”. Apparently, he wasn’t interested in asking whether we had any idea what happened. Just “fire them”.
Well. I listened to her have a mental cow for about 15 minutes, told her to bloody calm down, and we would deal with it in the morning. When I was being paid to care about it.
Still, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that the speeding bus was about to hit a slick patch, and I was right in the middle of the road. I suggested just telling the truth, but I think she knew just as well as I did, the DM had already decided someone really screwed up, and someone was going to have to eat it.
I didn’t like where this was going. I didn’t like the tone of desperation in her voice. And I didn’t like that there were still more than 12 hours between that moment and when I would be there to try to keep our collective asses out of the sling.
In that space of time, Boss did tell DM that it was in fact the two of us working that day and he comes back with “I sure hope it wasn’t you (boss)”. Meaning that he was still convinced that someone needed smiting, and if he fires the manager, he’s going to have trouble keeping that particular store open. Meaning that I’m seriously overpaid (my perk coming down from Ft Mc) and at only 16 hrs a week, I’m not necessarily necessary at all.
A copy of the “complaint” made its way into our hands, and there it was, in all it’s gory incriminating detail. How we tortured and abused a helpless little old lady, screamed at her to get out of the store, refused to provide our names and contact information, refused the use of our restroom (she has a medical condition don’t you know and the stress of our verbal assault on her nearly caused her to mess herself)… It was worse than bad. According to the complaint, we all but frog-marched her out and threw her into the gutter.
And what the hell with this “WE” business anyway?
I clearly recall being awfully busy and NOT INVOLVED at all…
In any case, the problem was, the basic details of the incident were technically accurate. I have many many years of customer service experience- and many more years of experience with getting into and out of trouble. There is no tactic more powerful than being the first one to the Principal’s office with your side of the story, and we blew that opportunity over a week before. *shit*
So now the only plan of action was damage control. I don’t like being threatened- and we had more than one written and verbal arbitrary threat of termination to hand, and I had had it with DM’s little tantrum. I told Boss to call the Human Resources manager and explain “we have a customer complaint that is seriously exaggerated, and DM has threatened to fire the people involved. What do we do?”
HR lady’s response was no less than this “That was your store?! Who was it? Why are you even talking to me about this!? I’m going to call (DM) and have him call you right away!”
And another Last Nerve went *poink*. It was mine. By this time Boss was almost in tears and panicking. The bus was full tilt in a Tokyo Drift and headed straight for us. And judging by the desperate look on Boss’ face, she was about ready to trip me before I could get off the road.
I waited a few seconds so she could collect herself, and just before the phone rang again, I looked at her and said very calmly and very clearly “Don’t you dare sell me out. I did not speak more than three words to that woman, and I am not getting fired over this”.
She hesitated ever so slightly and then nodded, and picked up the phone.
Her plan was apparently quite simple. Lie. “No, of course I didn’t kick her out of the store!”… “No, I didn’t know she needed the bathroom!”… “I don’t understand where this is coming from, I had no idea she was so upset- I just told her she couldn’t use one raincheck for all her flats”…
And evidently the other side of the conversation included making sure we knew that we had absolutely no right to refuse service under any circumstances, and were not ever allowed to ask anyone to leave the store, and that of course we knew that we should allow customers the use of our facilities, especially for elderly people… He admitted that he had been receiving an unusual amount of customer complaints from several stores- mostly Chelada/Raincheck related and that he was frustrated. But at no point made any apology, and insisted that if he ever found out that any one of us had thrown a customer out for any reason, they would be immediately terminated.
And thus, DM, our fearless leader, ground any lingering sense of duty, loyalty or inspiration I might have been clinging to, right into the dirt.
I was still in shock. Totally and completely blown away. I toyed with the idea of just walking out the door and going home- but didn’t think it was fair to Boss to leave her in the lurch like that- even though just moments before I was sure she was going to throw me to the wolves to save her own ass. And so I said “You realize that now he thinks he can treat you like that…and that crap with Human Resources, you know that’s wrong don’t you?” and she agreed with me and said I was right.
We worked slowly and without much enthusiasm for the rest of the day.
I made it back to my next shift and announced that after the next week, I was done. That not for any dollars-an-hour would I subject myself to shit and abuse from customers without recourse, nor would I tolerate it from upper management or work for a company whose Human Resources department was so willing to buy into the drama and hysteria and allow the rest of the management to bully the staff.
I miss my old store. It was well run, busy, and had absolutely awesome staff and our regular customers were for the most part pretty terrific. When we had assholes to face, we faced them together and never had a second thought about getting fired for refusing service- my old boss would have put her foot up the DM’s ass for a stunt like that.
So moving down here to the other store, was a letdown in more ways than one. And I decided I didn’t owe them a damn thing.
And so ends my illustrious career as The Beer Store Girl… and on to… well… something else.