I want to provide some background first. I’m in the
military, and so is my husband. I was overseas for 3 months in 2004.
Two weeks after I got home, my husband went overseas for 9 months, was home for
6 months, then gone for another 9 months. With that being said, here goes
My commander (big boss of where I work, she will be known as
Broom Hilda), does not treat her employees well at all. I was on medical
leave from having surgery (not once was I called to see if I needed anything,
even with my work knowing my husband was gone and I was taking care of three
kids by myself), during my last week on leave my husband came home from his
second tour in Iraq. When we are gone a certain number of days, we get up
to 2 weeks off. Well, my husband was on his second week off, and I had
returned back to work. He came to see me two mornings in a row to bring me
breakfast, and was there a total of 5 minutes both times. Mind you, I
hadn’t really seen him much in the past 18 months. Broom Hilda told my
immediate boss (IB) that my husband was around too much and she didn’t like
him being there. She told my IB that she needed to tell me he couldn’t
come in and “hang” out anymore. I flipped out on my boss. She
understood, but was just “following orders”. Okay, fine whatever.
Every day I was told I was incompetent and didn’t know how
to do my job. I kept things running in the office, and I wasn’t allowed
to take leave (vacation time) because no one else knew what I knew or would do
the job that I did, although we were all trained and I would leave explicit
instructions on what needed to be done. One time I was on vacation for my
nephew’s Christening, and I was called because Broom Hilda couldn’t log onto
her computer. We had had a terrible lightening storm and her computer got
fried. I was asked to drive 10 hours back home to take care of it.
Umm, that wasn’t going to happen.
When I got back to work I was counseled, which happened at
least once a week for something or other (to this day I still don’t know what
I was doing that was so terrible), for not knowing this could happen. We
were always told we had to expect the unexpected. Okay, and when we would
and something else would come up (something we didn’t prepare for) we would
get in trouble. Broom Hilda would yell at me in front of other people
(people that I was in charge of) and then come up to me the next day and act
like nothing was wrong.
I had left the office for an appointment one day. When I
came in I had the girl that was under me asking me if my boss called me the
night before. I told her no, and then asked why. She said that Broom
Hilda started yelling at her, my IB. Saying my IB didn’t know how to run
an office and she was taking all rights away from her. She was no longer
allowed to make any decisions; we were all incompetent and didn’t know what we
were doing. She was tired of doing our jobs for us. Broom Hilda was
always trying to find ways to “fry” us, but we always made sure our stuff
was in order.
She has told upper management that she only has one person
that can run the squadron (unit, work place) and everyone else is worthless.
When I was finally transferred to a different job, everyone has told me that the
lady that took my job over doesn’t know half of what I know. They ended
up working 7-days a week to get ready for an evaluation/inspection that was
coming up. Everyone else on base was working regular shifts. Then
she couldn’t figure out why everyone was tired. Everyone keeps hope
alive, telling me that one of us escaped, so there’s hope for others.
I’m going to try and make this story as short as humanly
possible, but it does require a bit of back story.
A couple of years ago I worked for a company that’s sole
purpose was having their employees transcribe pre-recorded customer
commentary/surveys. We were paid by the amount of work we got done rather than
an hourly wage, but if you worked at a decent pace you could easily make ten to
twelve dollars an hour… and even more if you hauled butt… at first…
A few months after I started working there they dropped the
pay percentage per word. That was okay, if I hauled butt I could still pull nine
to ten dollars an hour. I worked a full time shift and lived in an apartment
with a couple of roommates so the pay drop wasn't devastating… but then the
work load started dropping. My hours dropped… sometimes I, and a few others,
would be “rotated” and asked not to come in for a few days to let some of
the others work. I didn’t immediately blame this on the company… I don’t
know that many people who want to spend even five minutes basically leaving an
answering machine message saying what they liked or disliked about their
experience shopping at this store or banking at this bank… unless the service
was REALLY bad. So of course most of the calls I listened to were all “I hate
(insert client company name) for this (inevitably long-winded) reason.”
A few months later there was a change in managers. The new
manager seemed nice enough and SEEMED to do his job well. There were few
complaints except that the work queue seemed to take a sudden nose dive about a
month or so later despite the promises that it would pick up again soon. The
next several months were a kiddie rollercoaster of minor ups and downs.
Close to a year into this job I got pretty sick. I had the
Flu, which laid me out for two weeks, followed shortly after by a major tooth
infection that required not only surgery but about a week’s stay in hospital
and another week to convalesce at home and generally recover. (Note: I did not
receive health benefits from this company and did not have insurance of any
sort.) This was fine with the company I worked for as, by this time, I was
pretty much taken off the work schedule. My team leader and co-workers were very
sweet and sent me a card that they’d all signed. I think I would have left the
company long before any of this happened had it not been for them. We all had
sort of formed a family and treated each other more like siblings than
I eventually went back to work, only working a few days a
week, and continued in this vein for a few months. I was fine with only working
a few days a week. I was still ill in that I was easily fatigued and I’d lost
a good deal of weight after having been sick for basically six weeks straight. I
had come out of the hospital weighing, quite literally, 90 pounds. I have one of
those pesky metabolisms where I can eat anything and still not gain weight. It
took over a year for me to get back above 100 pounds and stay there… but I
Eventually the work load dropped again and I was rotated off
the schedule. I called in at least once a week to see if maybe I could get a few
hours but was always told there wasn’t enough work. After several weeks I was
getting annoyed. Meanwhile, my brother, who also worked there, was telling me
how the air conditioner was apparently broken and had been that way for weeks.
By this time it was well into spring and approaching summer. We live in the
South so it was just plain too hot for there not to be a working AC. The manager
kept telling everyone that it would be fixed soon while my team leader kept
telling me there wasn’t enough work and to try again later; that the manager
said there would be new clients soon and the work would pick up again.
After roughly a month of this I pretty much gave up and
didn’t call in for a couple of weeks. During this time that Manager quit and
was replaced by my team leader. At this time my former team leader, and now
manager, found out that, not only had the former manager not informed anyone
about the AC so it could be fixed, he’d apparently fired me back when I'd been
told I was merely being rotated off schedule and hadn’t informed my team
leader or me about it.
I had already completely given up on that job by the time I'd
finally learned that I'd been fired, but you know, it would have been nice if
someone had told me I was no longer employed there.
One summer during college I worked at a small family
restaurant in my hometown, which happened to be run by a Greek family and was
staffed by many of their Greek friends. One of those friends was a cook
named Steve who thought he was a total Don Juan, but really just looked like a
greasy extra from a bad 80s movie (this was the late 90s and the
everything-80s-is-cool fad hadn't happened yet). Sexual harassment does
not begin to describe the situation!! Although it's cliché to say this, I
am definitely not a prude, and that is probably why the situation escalated
since I usually just laughed it off. But he began making really, really
inappropriate comments in front of customers, one of whom actually told me if I
didn't talk to my boss about it, she would! I assured her that I would do
what I could to put a stop to it, but I was 19 and needed the job....
Anyway, the breaking point came when Steve picked me up, threw me over his
shoulder and proceeded to carry me around the restaurant like some cave man
dragging his woman home! He then takes me into the bathroom, locks the
door, starts unbuttoning his pants and says "it's time to clean the
So, I'd finally had it. I told the boss that I would not
work the same shifts as Steve. Boss's response? "That's what us
Greeks do! You should feel flattered!"
In the summer of 1998, I took a job with an American defense
contractor to assist the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces in upgrading their HAWK
missile system. When I arrived in Jeddah, KSA, after a long
and very tiring flight, via Frankfurt, Germany, I was met by one of my
co-workers who assisted me in getting my bags and getting through customs.
I was taken to a very nice apartment, told to get some rest, and go to the
office the next day (supposed to be a day off). I thought it was just to
let them know I was alright after the flight and then I could return to my
apartment and get some more much-needed rest. Imagine my surprise when I
found myself on the way to work with the Boss from Hell!! This man
was a reformed smoker and took great delight in telling me that I stank!!
I passed over that and continued to pass over little snide comments he made.
Then we received new instructions on filling out our time
cards and were told to ask a particular individual if we had problems.
Well, I had a question, this person answered it, and I filled out my card
according to his instructions. The next thing I know, I'm called
into the Boss from Hell's office and am treated to a thirty minute screaming
tirade that questioned my ancestry, my mother's species, and several other
things. I am a retired senior noncommissioned officer of the United States
Army. In all of my twenty-one years of service, not even a four-star
general had ever talked to me the way this mental midget did!!! When
he finally wound down, he glared at me and said, "Get out of my
office!" I quietly smiled (to my friends, this is an obvious
danger signal!!) and told him that the only reason I did not take him outside
and administer the beating of his life was that he was too old and too sick for
me to dirty my hands on. That said, I also informed him that if he ever
referred to me again as either a S.O.B. or B******, that I would forget that he
was old and sick. I was called into the Project Manager's
office that afternoon and asked if I had, indeed, threatened to administer a
beating to this person. I again smiled and said, "No, I didn't
threaten him. That was a promise. I don't take those names from any
man. If you want to give me a ticket out of here, I'll leave just as soon
as you can get me on a flight. Keep in mind that I am not offering my
The Project Manager, much to his credit, had this individual
recalled to the States for a 'conference'. I don't know what was said, but
he had a whole different attitude when he came back. When I left
Jeddah, this same man came around grinning in my face and sticking his hand out
to me. I looked at his hand, looked him square in the eye, and told him,
"I've never received an apology for your language and attitude toward me,
therefore I see no reason to shake your hand or pretend to like you."
I learned afterward that not even his own family would have anything to do with
him because of his arrogant, overbearing behavior toward others.
After I graduated college, I went to work for a rather nice
little bar-and-grill establishment to earn money towards graduate school, and
while I was there, I do believe I worked for the worst boss in town, if not one
of the worst in the state.
To make things clearer, the restaurant had three managers who
would take turns looking after things. The third manager changed several times
while I was there, but the other two were fixtures to the place: one, whom I
will call Robert, was very, very good at his job and has my undying respect; the
other, henceforth known as Mike, was about as bad as he could be.
He was vindictive: he would often announce to us that he was
simply in the mood to punish people, and would hand out punishments even to
people who had done nothing wrong (for example, if one person made a mistake, he
would take make everyone in the room stay on their shift an extra hour, even if
whatever had gone wrong wasn't their fault - even if they didn't even know what
had happened). I vividly recall the day when he threw a tantrum over some money
that had gotten lost somehow, and he accused us all of stealing the money and
called us "trifling little whores".
He goofed off. He had started dating one of the waitresses,
and would occasionally sneak her outside so they could stand behind the shed and
make out while the rest of us worked. On another occasion I watched him spend
the better part of an hour attempting to make fake blood out of a mixture of
ingredients off the line, so he could attempt to play a prank on someone. God
forbid any of us be caught resting our feet, though!
The worst thing about him, though, was his foul mouth. He was
notorious both for having a very poor diet, and for describing to us the effects
of this diet on his digestive system in vivid language - we were all kept
well-informed of the size, color, and frequency of his bowel movements whether
we wished to be or not. He was fond of telling vulgar stories, boasting about
his sexual prowess (in front of a predominantly female staff, keep in mind!),
and making up obscene lyrics to the music that played on the overhead speakers.
For example, "Almost Like Being In Love" became "Almost Like
Beating a Ho", while "Looking for Love In All the Wrong Places"
became "Sucking My D*ck In All the Right Places". I personally heard
him remark in front of me and two other servers that, "The best thing about
raping a two-year-old is hearing the bones break". I don't believe he ever
did such a thing, but to talk about it in front of female servers is
Amazingly, Mike was a model of good behavior as long as Robert
was around; it was only when he was managing alone that he unleashed his bad
side. I am convinced that the only reason Mike has never been hit with a sexual
harassment suit is that nobody ever works there long enough to get that fed up
with him. The last time I visited the restaurant (I was on break from graduate
school), I was asked why I didn't come back and work over break. I replied that
I would never go back, since Robert has taken a new job elsewhere. One of the
other workers told me that Mike has gotten a bit better since Robert left. I
said he couldn't have gotten worse, and all the old-timers laughed and agreed.
This little incident happened when I was waitressing for a
popular Italian restaurant which happens to have an open kitchen (the kind where
you can watch the cooks working). It was a rather busy night and we were all
running frantically as usual. As I'm passing by the area where the food comes
up, the manager hands me a ramekin and says, "Take this to table
such-and-such." He didn't tell me what was in the ramekin, but it looked
like Italian dressing so I didn't think twice. I was surprised to find it was
burning hot and I flinched and wound up spilling some of the liquid on my hand.
That caused an even bigger flinch because the liquid was incredibly hot (why
would Italian dressing be so hot?) and I spilled a large amount of it on my
hand. It was so painful that I dropped the ramekin and the remaining liquid
spilled on the floor.
I was clutching my hand and visibly in pain and this was
Manager's reaction in order of events: 1. told a passing server to clean up the
spill so none of the customers would slip, 2. told the kitchen to make up
another one, 3. Asked me if I was OK. I asked him what was in there and he told
me it had been drawn butter (which is butter that has been heated until it
melts, the kind you'd have with lobster). We didn't serve lobster so the drawn
butter had obviously been a special request from a customer, but again, Manager
had never said what was in the ramekin so I had no reason to suspect it would
even be hot. In retrospect, he should have put the ramekin on a plate or at
least warned me that it was hot before just handing it to me. The other
employees who had seen the whole thing happened agreed that Manager had acted
The burn was so bad that I had to keep my hand submerged in
ice water for much of the remainder of the night. I was allowed to leave ASAP,
but I still had to finish my shift because we were in the middle of the dinner
rush and couldn't afford losing a server. The hostesses tried to seat my section
very infrequently, but it was difficult. And I couldn't carry my ice bucket
around while tending my tables so I had to soak a cloth napkin in ice water and
wrap it over the burn. It was a temporary fix and I could hardly wait until I
could steal away for a minute or two and plunge my hand into the ice water I had
set up in the back.
Throughout the rest of the night Manager tried to play it all
off like it was no big deal (probably because he realized I could have sued and
won). He told me he had trained as a paramedic and "examined" my hand.
Lo and behold, it did not look serious to him. He also later tried to cover
things up by saying that the ramekin was burning HIS hand while he was holding
it which is why he was so quick to pass it off to me. Nice. That despite the
fact that he could have easily set it down on the countertop and at least gotten
a napkin to wrap around it.
I'm pretty sure I slept with my hand in a bucket of ice water
that night, it was just too painful. I had to take a week off from work (kind of'
hard to carry a tray with a burn on your palm) and I was lucky that it healed
well. Around the time when my burned skin was finally starting to peel off,
Manager called me on a night that I happened to have off and left me a message
saying they were short-handed and could I come in. He added that I had taken off
quite a bit of time because of my hand and I should try to make up that time.
Jerk. I still think he got off easy, I didn't even try to claim worker's comp.
When I moved to the south from the northeast, I landed a job
doing what I consider trained monkey work, but it was easy and they paid me well
enough. I was hired by a contracting company (CC1) to work for another contract
company (CC2) that was hired by a federal agency. I worked onsite at this
federal agency with CC2 contractors who had been there for decades (their
contract has been continually renewed for 20 years). In my office, there was a
supervisor, an editor, a desktop publisher, and two document specialists (of
which I was one).
My supervisor was a crystal meth addict. My proof is that she
had only a few teeth, and they were decaying. She took several smoke breaks a
day. She slurred her speech and blinked excessively. Her blinks often lasted
much longer than normal blinks, like she was trying to catch a nap. Sometimes
one eye would stay closed. On a few occasions, she would close her eyes for 30
seconds or more while she was having a conversation. Her addiction made her a
difficult manager. My training was spotty. She often gave conflicting
directives. It also made her a bad employee. She would disappear in the middle
of the day. She would not show up for weeks at a time without notifying anyone
of her absence. She would routinely be late and would leave early.
One day I left for lunch. I decided to take a long lunch and
informed her that I would be back in an hour. I left at 12:30 and came back at
1:40. She asked me to fill out a form explaining why I had exceeded the lunch
hour because “I had been gone for so long.” I said that I would fill it out
but pointed out that I had only been gone an hour and ten minutes. She corrected
me and said that I had left at noon. I politely disagreed. She became hostile. I
decided to leave it alone. Once at my desk, I remembered that I sent an e-mail
right before I left, so I forwarded her the e-mail and directed her attention to
the time stamp (12:35). She found me later that day and said “Oh, I’m not
worried about that anymore.” No apology, no assumption of responsibility.
The other documentation specialist and I had to split working
weekends. When we got our schedule, I was assigned for every holiday weekend
with the exception of one (Columbus Day). This is without exaggeration
(Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother’s Day, Independence Day, New Year’s
The capper was when I was “terminated.” One morning at
work I was told that I had a meeting with my account managers from CC1. At the
meeting, they told me that I was being terminated and that, according to the
contract, my employer didn’t have to give me 2 weeks notice or even an
explanation because I was hired for an indefinite amount of time. They seemed
really confused and asked why I should be fired. I told them about the lunch
incident, but they didn’t think that was a big deal. Then they said that I had
10 minutes to pack my things and then I would be lead out by security! I went to
my desk and started packing. My supervisor brought me a box and watched over my
shoulder wordlessly the whole time. I was speechless! Did they think I was going
to start a fight? Steal the CPU?
The worst part is that it’s hard to blame my supervisor. She
was an addict and totally sick. Her supervisors are to blame. They should have
noticed her downward spiral and taken the steps to replace her. In the end, I
think she had me canned because she was worried I wanted to steal her job or she
was paranoid about me turning the employees against her. In reality, I was more
qualified than she and was a far better worker than the other documentation
specialist, whose work week resembled that of my supervisor’s.
The whole incident was totally surreal. Luckily I found a new
job that I actually like with coworkers and managers who treat me like a human
Lots of little stories, but the last is the worst. I worked in
a Audio/Video dept. for a university. The dept. made videos for the school, both
student projects and school publicity video, mixed music for the arts depts.,
filmed events on campus, rented out their editing suites to student groups to
edit their own videos.
1. I heard through the grapevine one boss was busted, a year
after I left, for using video of an attractive co-ed on campus w/o permission of
the student group he filmed her in an advert for their group and used her as the
model for his hobby: nude paintings. he even displayed a nude painting of this
co-ed in his office. His defense, when people complained naked painting were not
appropriate in the office that, "It wasn't a real nude. I just used a real
student's face and imagined her body."
2. Main boss took a week's sick leave for "surgery"
but when he got back forgot he was supposed to be on sick leave and showed
everyone his photos from his trip to Sturgess...to the biggest motorcycle week
in the USA.
3. Main boss told 2 co-workers who were dating they were
violating the office dating policy...there was none except the one he made up on
the spot. He then proceeded to date a subordinate, when he was married.
4. At the wedding of the 2 dating co-workers he pulled the
bride aside and told her he was advertising her job b/c she was a
"disruptive influence on his best video editor," i.e. he was firing
her b/c the groom, the video editor, stopped working overtime without pay since
he got a life and met someone nice. She started crying and he told her if she
made a scene in front of "his employees" (not her guest, his
employees) he would fire her on the spot. When the groom came over and got mad
the boss said that since he paid both of them he was, in essence, paying for
this wedding so he was the boss there too and did not need to "act
This is *NOT* etiquette hell but heaven.
If you've ever known anyone who's gone to graduate school, you
know that the amount and quality of academic work expected is a BIG step up from
undergrad. I'm a graduate student ... I'm also 40 years old with a husband, two
school-age children, and a 45-minute commute each way, each day.
The coursework is very intellectually demanding and
time-consuming, but I love it nonetheless. One of the courses involves a subject
that is traditionally slippery, with much debate, few clear answers, and a long
history of dense, poorly written textbooks. The professor also was known to have
recorded 12 F's in a class of 30 on the first-semester final exam.
This semester, however, he made a point of ending class on
time instead of running 15 minutes over every session, extended the due dates
and exam dates for virtually every paper and exam, halved the amount of work
required for the final, made the final a take-home exam, and told us the final
would NOT be cumulative, since students' brains were worn-out and overtaxed in
May. In the penultimate class session passed around a sheet of paper for
students to write down their pizza and soft drink preferences.
On the last day of class, we were greeted with 8 large pizzas
and six two-liter bottles of soft drinks, on the house. He spent the class
period chatting with us, making a point to visit with those who were about to
graduate, and urged us to take home the leftover food and drink.
Even though we're all here because we want to be, and "we
asked for it," it's still very nice to receive such a kind gesture and such
thoughtful treatment. The deadline extensions have rescued all of us at one time
or another! BadBosses0503-07
Not long ago, I was working through college doing part time
jobs. Since, I have vowed never to work in the food industry again, even as the
director of the FDA. It isn't worth it. This story is my primary rational for
such a severe vow.
I started working at a semi-local chain ice cream and burger
shop. I has spent months looking for a job in a small college town with a native
population less than half of the student body, and finally, due to a friend who
had worked for that chain for six years and personally meeting one of the
managers at a party, I was able to be hired. I should have opted for
The first month went well, with the usual on the job (do or
die) training and regular introduction of new duties and quirky inner workings
of that particular restaurant. Then the lead manager came back from some kind of
vacation. She introduced herself, "I'm gonna count the registers and if
they're a penny short, somebody's gettin' fired!" Mrs. Gonnacount was what
people call 'high strung' (and 'fat' and 'hideous'). I had already noticed in
the previous month that I was one of only two men working for the restaurant,
which had an entirely female day crew, and the other guy was only called in
during rush hours for the night crew. Granted that I was an undergraduate
college student with little interest in the dairy and meat industry, I think I
did my job fairly well. I cleaned, I shelved, I sold things, I spoke to Hispanic
customer in Spanish which NOBODY ELSE on the staff could do, however the floors
and tables were never quite clean enough and the shelves were never completely
full (especially when things were out of stock), my sales were never fast
enough, and Gonnacount couldn't understand what I was saying when I spoke in
Spanish. Therefore, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday when she worked
ended with a thoroughly demeaning, devastating lecture on my failure to properly
exploit cattle. However, whenever any of the girls dropped food or drinks,
overcharged customers, shelved things upside down, or sat in the break room
smoking, nobody seemed to notice.
Don't get me wrong, I believe strong feminism is a necessity
of modern society to make up for the centuries of masculine oppression, however
fairness is also necessary. Gonnacount hated men, as the lazy, slow,
unappreciative, incomprehensible, divorcing her and taking the kids, bastards
that we are.
One day, while I was mopping the floor for a third time, I
noticed a customer having a little trouble breathing. Actually, he was having a
lot of trouble, and he was choking to death on a burger. I performed the
Heimlich maneuver, which I had learned from Boy Scout training. The man was
quite grateful, despite a ruined lunch. Unfortunately, I had little time to
chat, so I made sure he was okay and went on about my duties moping and later
shelving. I did mention it to the staff manager, who found the story
incredulous, however a few days later the man came back to ask for my name,
address and/or phone number so he could thank me with some gift or something,
however the company is forbidden from giving such info. *Note* He didn't know my
name because I forgot to tell him and after working for three months I was still
waiting to get a name tag. Mrs. Gonnacount was actually quite pleased,
apparently noticing that I wasn't the divorcing and taking the kids type.
There was talk of writing an article for the in-house
newsletter, doing a photo with the managerial staff and such, however none of
that ever came about. In fact, I quit four months later having never even
received a name tag. Mrs. Gonnacount was fired by the company in the following
year for some kind of misconduct.
I used to work at an upscale boutique on the main street of a
very ritzy town. We sold what I affectionately refer to as 'overpriced, useless
crap.' A typical example of our inventory was the $200 Swarovski crystal studded
*flip-flops.* My boss, "Queenie," was the owner and she was every bad
stereotype of a female boss there is. My job was to enter the inventory into the
computer and put items in the stockrooms. This entailed organizing the
stockrooms. A teenager's room has more order than the stockrooms did. But god
forbid I actually move anything because then how would she find it? I found a
huge box of beanie babies congratulating a graduating class from seven years
ago. Not knowing what else to do with them, I suggested that Queenie could
donate them to World Vision, or Operation Xmas child (kids who don't really care
what their toys say, they're are just happy to get one). Nope, I was to put the
box right back where I found it. Guess she's going to hang onto them for
the next graduating class of '00.
Then there was the day I found a cache of shoes that was worth
$10,000 easily. And although they had been there so long that they weren't in
the computer system, they were back in fashion. In fact an exclusive shoe
boutique up the street had the exact same style shoes in their window. I
suggested to Queenie we put our shoes on sale. I was informed that Queenie never
discounted items because then people would think she sold inferior items. The
shoes were buried in the stockroom again.
She blatantly played favorites with the staff. And with a
staff of four it was hard to hide that. She was also a vicious gossip.
(Especially about the customers). My last week there I was already feeling
pretty lousy about my job there. I had just convinced a little old lady that she
could make do with the $750 suitcase, but really what she 'needed' was the $1000
suitcase. (The old lady was wealthy enough to afford it no problem, but I
still had a bad taste in my mouth.) I was lauded as a hero for
not only racking up a huge sale, but the suitcase I sold was essentially our
white elephant, it had been on the sales floor for a year or so.
Later that week, Queenie left on one of her sales trips,
taking her favorite employee with her. While she was gone, we got a phone call
from a very nice woman inquiring about a special shoe order. Checking the
inventory I saw that we didn't have it in. Checking the special order book I saw
that she had ordered (and paid) for the shoes almost a year ago. I told her that
I didn't have the shoes in stock but they may have been backordered so I would
let her know as soon as I tracked them down. This was perfectly acceptable to
Very Nice Customer (VNC). Now when I sat down to look at the situation I saw
that, due to some oversight, the shoes actually hadn't been ordered yet. Oh
dear. I call the shoe company and find out that they have the exact size and
color in stock and yes, they can ship the shoes overnight
even. I called the customer back and said, "Well we have them on order but
they are backordered. Fortunately we have a shipment of shoes coming in this
week and your pair will be in the shipment." A lie, yes, but a face saving
one for everyone concerned. Practically dancing with joy I call Queenie to get
the authorization to order the shoes.
I diverge for just a moment here. A few months ago, having
encountered almost the exact same situation I did the same thing (with the exact
same lie) and was told that I did the exact right thing. When I call Queenie
regarding VNC, she SHRIEKS at me. How dare I get involved in this! What did I
say to VNC! What *exactly* did I say to VNC? When VNC calls back I better not
tell her anything else. More than a little confused I stutter my assent. VNC was
a loyal customer, she had accepted my explanation, the problem could be resolved
in less than 24 hours, and last time this situation came up
I handled it the same way and was told I was right. Needless to say I was very
confused. I figured there must have been some back story that I was unaware
When Queenie returns from her trip (that same afternoon) she
shrieks at me again. On the sales floor. In front of my co-workers. In front of
customers. I don't mean that she scolds me, or criticizes my techniques, I mean
she is shouting at me. "What the f*** did you tell VNC tell me exactly! Why
the f*** did you think you could talk to her! You f***** moron! You stay the
f*** out of this!" She goes on in this vein for at least two minutes while
I try to pick my jaw up off the floor. After the tirade is over I excuse myself
to the ladies room and splash water on my very hot face. Then I hauled off and
punched the door a few times. I went to work the next day and with my best
crap-eating insincere grin tendered my two weeks notice. She was actually
Having waited tables for a year and a half, I have some
FANTASTIC stories that should be subject to eternal etiquette damnation.
Bosses tend to treat waitstaff poorly, since the company only pays the
waitstaff $2.13 an hour in my state, we receive the least from the company of
any employees, and are thus not very valuable to them. This is one of the best
stories I have concerning a boss.
BACKGROUND: Being a waitress, I was required to lift trays of
about twenty lbs. weight regularly. All the waitstaff were supposed to do
such, and we all pitched in to take each others trays from the kitchen out to
the dining room in order to keep things running smoothly. Some pitched in more
than others, and while I sometimes failed to do my share in helping others get
their tables cleared or restock certain areas of the kitchen, I always ran
everyone's tray out consistently. Everyone noticed this, including cooks,
managers, and other waitstaff, and they were always appreciative.
However, at one point I developed tendonitis in my wrist,
making it EXTREMELY painful to lift anything over about five lbs. I let my
boss and my co-workers know this, and they all agreed to help run my trays out
until my condition improved, which my doctor said it would. In case I had not
made it clear enough, I had to wear a black brace on my wrist at all times.
SCENE: At one point in the day, a certain manager "D"
was shouting that trays needed to be taken from the kitchen to the dining room
(this is not considered rude in a restaurant, it is often necessary since most
are too busy to notice that trays need to be moved). However, D himself did
NOT pitch in to help move the trays (it is expected that managers should help
wherever needed if they are not otherwise occupied, which he was not - he was
simply standing still, staring at the trays). I was at that time otherwise
occupied, and though I normally would have moved quickly to finish what I was
doing and help run the trays, I was injured and did not want to, so I decided
to continue with what I was doing. I saw after a few minutes that no one else
was going to help run the trays (it was a very busy time in the restaurant,
and most of the waitstaff were occupied, and D was much too busy staring at
the trays to actually carry any of them). As I began to pick up a tray to take
it out, still wearing my brace at the time, D commented loudly, "Well if
you move any slower, the trays might take THEMSELVES out to the dining
I was appalled: I was injured, and going out of my way to do
work against my doctor's advice - he was healthy, yet not lifting a finger to
help us out, AND he insulted me on top of that. One of the other waitresses
walked in at that point and came to my defense, pointing out my injury and
helping me deliver the trays. D still did not lift a finger to help. He is no
longer employed at that restaurant.
Page Last Updated September 15, 2008