Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So, in the middle of the Christmas season rush, my stupid store manager sent me home. He basically told me to get back out on the floor or I could clock out and go home. In light of how angry and close to tears I was, I decided a the better option was indeed, the latter.

Where was I? I was in the back office trying to cool my head after he'd just decided to humilate me in front of a customer.

What happened? A mom and a daughter came up to find a book of poetry that turned out ot be relatively obscure and in the post-plague-of-locusts state of our store, really hard to track down. I looked dilligently for 5 solid minutes, but couldn't find it, and a line was forming back at Customer Service. The phone was ringing off the hook, 3 lines at a time. When situations like that arise, we're to help the person to the best of our ability and then offer to look at another store or order it for them. I did all three. The pair were polite, but declined. I went off and busted my ass for the next 3 1/2 hours.

What went wrong? I'm standing there at the desk, trying to wade through the piles and piles and piles of go-backs to sort them. Dil turns to me, holds up this particular book of poetry I'd looked for 3 hours ago and said, "JESSICA. Here it is. I just want you to KNOW. *I* found it, " like I'm a total moron. I knew exactly what he was trying to imply, because he's pulled it on at least 4 other co-workers in the last month: you suck, you don't do your job correctly, and that's why we aren't making money. ( It has been so bad with other employees that he's actually been reported to corporate THREE times since then. ) I was instantly angry, since while all of the booksellers were frenetically working this evening, he'd been roaming around the store randomly picking up misplaced or abandoned merchandise, at a leisurely pace. I knew the only reason he'd even found the damned thing was because he'd had nothing better to do, and perhaps mom and daughter had asked him --completely at random-- to help them find it ( as customers are wont to do; they often think if one person doesn't know, maybe someone else does. ). OR he asked them how they were doing, and they asked him then. There was simply no other explanation for it, since frankly, I know that store better than he does, as does everyone else.

So I said, "That was completely unneccesary. You didn't have to humilate me. " To which he snarkily responded "I'm sorry if you feel humilated, but apparently, you have a problem finding books." ( RIGHT. That's why the 300 other customers in the store are lined up in to check out and buy stuff. ) He walked off like the big man he was trying to be and I looked at my new Scheduling Manager ( you know, the one who just thinks I'm bitter?) and said, "That's it, Jay. He does it again and I quit. I don't need to be told I suck every day I'm here." ( Jay spoke to me last week about some customer complaining that I told him to not put his coffee cup on a book. I spent 20 minutes listening to that bitch fest. Two days later, two punk-assed girls were messing with our go-backs cart and I asked them to stop and if they needed something I would help them. They complained to Dil, and I spent 20 minutes listening to THAT.) Jay, who is a colossal ass-kisser to Dil said, "He didn't ACTUALLY say you sucked."

Oh, well, you're right. I guess I got the words wrong, but basically, I SUCK is all that's been coming out of your mouths lately. Meanwhile, I'm working every goddamned day untill midnight busting my ass. I've had one day off in 7 and while yes, some other people have had it far worse, I took someone's shift tonight as a favor. And hey, for the 3 customers I pissed off I can count 30 who thank me for doing my job well. But apparently, I can't do anything right.

Here's where everything takes a turn for the worse:
I'm sitting in back trying to calm down, and Dil comes in on his way to the safe room. I don't look up, I don't speak to him, I just keep breathing. And what is his brilliant employee relations idea at this moment? He turns to me and says, "YOU'RE the one making a big deal out of this NOT me, I just want you to know." Like, needling me into a fight. I said, "Del, that's crap. What you did was wrong. " He claimed the women had complained. I said I didn't beleieve him. He told me we were busy and he needed me out there or I could clock out and go home. I said, "Fine, I'm leaving." I put on my coat and left.

Excellent management there, eh? He was already short a person, too, because Girl ( HB's current love interest) had called out. 3 days before Christmas.

I'm sure I'll be written up for it. For what, though? I was just trying to chill out and he decided to yell at me some more and force me out on to the floor instead of behaving like a normal professional, and either talking it out, or leaving me alone. Any other manager would have done those things- it's not like I'm the first person to ever get into a spat with someone at work. For going home when he gave me the option? Was I supposed to summon the good-ol' company pride and cheer and go on out there? REALLY?

Furthermore, Jay, who was there the entire time this blow-out happened-- both out on the floor and in the back room-- said NOTHING. He didn't tell Dil to chill, he didn't try to negotitate, he just blew it off. That's completely inappropriate. I know he would not have sent me home if it were someone else, and I know any. Other. Manager in the store would have said something like, "Let's all just calm down, " at the very least.

The thing is, I don't know what to do. I can call HR tomorrow and ask what my options are if I get written up, or if I have to sign it if I disagree, etc. etc., I suppose, which will give them a heads up if something's happening and also let me know my options.

*Sigh*. I totally can't afford to lose this job, because I don't have another one to replace it with. And in this economy, that just isn't feasible.

Merry eefffing Christmas.