When The Sale Is Vastly More Important Than Death And Marriage

by admin on February 4, 2010

While working a retail job part time in college, I was dealing with a full classload, my upcoming wedding, a move out of state, and my very ill great-grandmother, who had helped to raise me and so of course we were very close.  The holiday season was coming up, so I had tried to be a good employee by telling the company 2 MONTHS in advance when my last day on the job would be, which was the Wednesday before Christmas that year (which fell on a Friday), in order to enjoy my graduation, my wedding, and pack for my move, all while trying to spend one weekend day with my ailing great-grandmother.   I did this out of loyalty to the job; they had been good to me through the last two years that I had worked for them, and I didn’t want to leave them short-staffed at the holidays.

Being that I was part-time, and in school, I would work usually on Saturdays and spend Sundays with my great-grandmother.  I also worked 2 – 3 nights per week as a closer.  Everyone was happy, I had a good schedule, was keeping up on my classes, the wedding was coming together (and I promise I was an extremely laid-back bride, you won’t find me on the Bridezilla pages!) and I was able to see my great-grandmother at least once a week, which meant everything to me.  Unfortunately she passed away on a Friday afternoon, so I called in to my Saturday shift explaining that I needed to be with my family that day as we made her funeral arrangements.  Nothing was said at that time, other than expressions of sympathy since my co-workers knew how close we were.

I had a cousin who was in basic training for the Marines at the time, and was not able to get back in state the following weekend, so we agreed to have the funeral the next weekend, which was the weekend before the wedding.  I had already put in for the wedding weekend off, and had it approved, so again, I had no reason to believe that there would be any problems.  I worked that Saturday between the one I took off after her death and the one I intended to take off for her funeral, but stopped dead when my immediate manager told me I had to work the day of the funeral.  She said that it was “The Biggest Sale Of Them All” and that nobody could have the day off without permission from the store manager.  So I made an appointment to see him.

He proceeded to pull up my work file and say, “Well, you took off last Saturday and you want off the next two Saturdays.  How is that fair to anyone else that you work with?”  I pointed out that my great-grandmother had died, and that I was asking off for her funeral the one Saturday and my wedding the following Saturday.  He said, “Well, you can’t have both.  You need to decide which is more important.”  I told him that there was no way for me to choose between my great-grandmother and my wedding, and it was bad enough that I had to bury someone I loved so much so close to the wedding, and either he could approve both days off and keep an otherwise exemplary employee through the coming holiday season, including Black Friday and Saturdays, or he could sign my termination papers right then and there because there was no way I was going to miss the funeral or my wedding for a stupid sale.

Finally he realized what he was asking me to do, and signed the paper allowing me to have the day off for the funeral.  I continued to work through my planned departure date, but it was never really the same after that.  I was very happy to leave.   1128-08

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Claddagh Lass February 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong but by law isn’t an employeer supposed to give an employee three days off for a funeral?


Fanboy Wife February 4, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Ugh, that is terrible!


Laura February 10, 2010 at 1:10 pm

An employer is not required to provide any time off. Most places do offer bereavement leave, so many days depending on the relationship of the person who passed. In a place like this, which sounds like a store of some kind where most people are part time, or full time without benefits, I doubt they have bereavement leave.


Patti March 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm

This is just ridiculous. You could bend over backwards for the company but you need a little leeway and oops can’t be done.


Maryann July 7, 2010 at 9:17 am

I congratulate you on your guts! So often speaking up is all you really need to do. But, honestly, who asks you to choose between the funeral of the woman who raised you and your wedding? Ugh, I don’t blame you for being happy to be out of there. Not a good work environment.


RP July 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

And these higher ups wonder why people aren’t loyal to companies. It’s because the companies aren’t loyal to us! Patti and Maryann, those are my thoughts exactly. Claddagh Lass, I think it depends on where you live. Laura’s answer is correct for the United States but the OP doesn’t say which country they live in.


Amber August 29, 2010 at 12:50 pm

This reminds me of my first job. I’d worked there (full time) almost a year when I had a call from my mother asking if I could get her from her work and take her home. My mother was an absolute workaholic, in early and staying late every day, in on the weekends, so if she was sick enough that she needed to go home then she was really sick. I went to my supervisor and explained the situation and that I really needed to take my mother home, and she told me no, I couldn’t leave. I was a file clerk, not exactly a crucial position. I tried again to explain that my mother had to be really sick to ask me to do this, and at that point my supervisor told me that I had better decide what was more important to me, my family or my job. I left to take my mother home and handed in my resignation the next day.


lkb September 22, 2010 at 11:18 am

This is a bit off topic, but I laughed out loud when I saw the headline for this post. Years and years ago, Highland Appliance, a Michigan appliance store had a commercial in which a young bride, in the “bride room” before the ceremony is talking to her mother. The mother breaks it to her that the grandmother would not be attending the wedding because, “she broke something.”
“Oh no! Not her hip?”
“No…her dishwasher.”
“Mom, where’s Daddy?”
Turns out he’s out buying a new t.v.
The last shot is of the bride at the altar — alone. In the background we see the mother exiting out the church with the “Thud!” of the church doors behind her.
That’s what the headline reminded me of. (You can find the original ad on YouTube. That store had a lot of cute ads back in the day.) Thanks for the chuckle.


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