“Not Always Right” A Workplace Tale – “Monday Writing Essential”

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on September 12, 2011 0 Comments

Greg’s challenge: tell a workplace tale.

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I’ve worked in retail for just as long as I’ve had a job.

I take that back.  I did work for one month at a fast food place.

I quit when my manger chewed me out in front of the co-workers and everyone waiting in line.  For what?  For asking the kitchen staff what the hold up was on my customers very simple order which they had been waiting on for nearly half an hour.

Then I worked briefly in a Christian bookstore that went out of business.  Dull, but easy.  It went out of business because we never had any customers.

Well, that isn’t exactly true.  We had a lot of customers.  Churches mostly.  They would come in and place a special order for several books.  The Prayer of Jabez was big at that time.  Lots of church groups wanted to order it.

Then, when their order came in and we called them to pick it up, they would never come get their order.

The place went out of business because religious institutions would not honor their promise to pay for goods ordered.  And the corporation would never make them pay up front.  I would have made them pay up front.

From there I went to work for a privately owned pet store, which changed hands once while I was working there.

I loved my job there.  I loved taking care of the puppies and kittens.  It was there than I met and fell in love with my first rat.

It was also there that I realized the customer is NOT always right, and that usually the customer is just a jerk.

I remember having to work one Easter where lots of people were coming in to pet the bunnies, but nobody was buying anything at all.  One man, who had brought his family in, seemed angry.”

“Why are you open?” he demanded.  “Shouldn’t you be closed on Easter?”

“We’re open on Easter because you’re in here shopping on Easter,” I told him.

Later that same day I caught a girl of about 10 shoving a parakeet perch into her tiny little purse.

“That’s three dollars,” I told her.  “Are you going to pay for it, or is your mom?  Where IS your mom anyway?”

“You got to pay for this?” she said, “I thought it was free!”  She put it back and ran back to her family.

Meanwhile, a guy shoved a betta fish (bowl and all) down the front of his pants trying to steal it.

Yeah, no man in the world has a “package” that big!

Then there was the person who adopted a kitten from us, then called us back shortly thereafter and asked, “Do kittens drink water?”

Why yes, yes they do.  Maybe you should bring that one back to us though and buy yourself a stuffed kitty cat.

Eventually the pet store started going under too, and I jumped ship and went to work where I do now, a big box arts and crafts store.

I miss the friendlier more family-like atmosphere of working at a privately owned place, and I really miss working with the animals.  Now I have all the same people, without the puppy kisses to make it better once they leave.

And the customers got MEAN here.  Not just rude, but MEAN.

I’ve been called stupid, lazy, a b**ch and a fata** by my customers.  I’ve been run over with shopping carts hard enough to leave bruises.  When I was 8 months pregnant with my son a little old lady rammed into me with her walking stick hard enough to leave a walking stick shaped bruise on my ribs.

One customer reached across the counter and slapped one of my co-workers, and TWO of my co-workers have been run over by customers in the parking lot now.   Purely “accidental” of course.

The only saving grace of my job was the fact that I really like working stock.  I like downstocking and setting planograms and putting freight out.

But I don’t get to do that now.  Nope, our store has implimented the “store of the future” which means my job is now entirely recovery and customer service.  I get to help people who are mean to me all day, and I get to clean up after people who mess up the store all day.

I think it is time to look for a new place to work.  Maybe somewhere I can get some workplace stories that don’t involve customers.

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