Author Topic: From E-Hell Blog: When The Sale Is Vastly More Important Than Death And Marriage  (Read 9612 times)

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Asharah

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   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.” Asharah's comment: My jaw just hit the ground and drilled a hole through!  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
Asharah

VorFemme

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I can certainly understand the percussive meeting of her jaw and the ground...........heck, in her place I think my jaw might have hit the ground in the basement!  I did have to take off a Saturday to get married - but I was lucky enough that there were no funerals for months before and after (thirty-four years ago all the relatives were a lot younger, for some reason).

There are some people out there who are either really focused on their jobs or have not really listened to the words coming out of their mouth because they are trying to stay in control of a situation............I can't tell which the store manager was - but her immediate manager certainly seems to have been focused on HER job, which was staffing for the sale come heck, high water, snow, or a funeral!
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

KenveeB

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She works in retail and wants three weekends off right before Christmas?  And right before she's quitting at that?  I understand that she had some hard circumstances, but she was probably forcing a lot of her coworkers into making some hard choices of their own to cover for all of her time off.  Bosses have to juggle all of their workers' needs, and if I was the boss, I would probably be more focused on helping the employees who were staying with me rather than the one who'd already given notice she was leaving.  I probably would've agreed in the end as this boss did, but I would expect my employee to at least understand that she was placing the rest of us in hard positions too.

AngelicGamer

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She works in retail and wants three weekends off right before Christmas?  And right before she's quitting at that?  I understand that she had some hard circumstances, but she was probably forcing a lot of her coworkers into making some hard choices of their own to cover for all of her time off.  Bosses have to juggle all of their workers' needs, and if I was the boss, I would probably be more focused on helping the employees who were staying with me rather than the one who'd already given notice she was leaving.  I probably would've agreed in the end as this boss did, but I would expect my employee to at least understand that she was placing the rest of us in hard positions too.

Yes, because she just planned to have her great-grandmother die along with another family member in the Marines.  

I'm glad the Boss gave in at the end.  I did work in retail for a while and I would just suck it up and take on the extra hours for the LW to have time with her family.  The LW did not plan for anything, save her marriage, and I would give her a pass.

Edit to explain myself better.




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KenveeB

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I did say that I would've agreed like the boss did.  But just because you're having problems with your life doesn't mean that no one else's lives matter.  Other people were going to have to cover for her -- not once, not twice, but three times.  In a row.  At an incredibly busy time of year.  When she's already planning on leaving and thus won't be able to repay the favor.  If she'd come in with "I know this is going to be really hard on everyone and I'll do what I can to make it up" instead of just "I'm doing this", then she probably would've gotten a better reception.  The boss didn't say no at the beginning -- he asked her to think about how it was going to affect everyone else. 
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 11:06:37 PM by KenveeB »

Amava

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She works in retail and wants three weekends off right before Christmas?  And right before she's quitting at that?  I understand that she had some hard circumstances, but she was probably forcing a lot of her coworkers into making some hard choices of their own to cover for all of her time off.  Bosses have to juggle all of their workers' needs, and if I was the boss, I would probably be more focused on helping the employees who were staying with me rather than the one who'd already given notice she was leaving.  I probably would've agreed in the end as this boss did, but I would expect my employee to at least understand that she was placing the rest of us in hard positions too.

If the reason why she asked for these Saturdays off were just whimsical, I would agree with you. But we are talking about the death of a loved one here - I can't feel anything but sad and compassionate for this woman. I think it must be very hard if you have to bury a beloved family member just a week before your wedding. A very unfortunate timing of fate.  :-\

KenveeB

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It's possible to feel sympathy for someone and still have to worry about practical considerations.  The boss was still going to have to cover these shifts around employees who'd already put in for all of their time off around Christmas.  He can't just wave a magic wand and everything will be fine.  He would have to get other employees to rearrange their schedules to cover the time, to give up time they'd already arranged to have off around Christmas, to deal with all of their complaints, to maybe call in temp help during a time of year when they're all booked early.  While, as I said several times, I completely agree that she needed to be given the time off, I can also feel sympathy for a boss suddenly having all of these last-minute problems during the busiest time of his year and probably the time period that all of his performance reviews and thus his ability to still have a job is based.  I think he could've said it better, but I don't think he deserves to be thrown into the deepest depths of E-hell.

shhh its me

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She works in retail and wants three weekends off right before Christmas?  And right before she's quitting at that?  I understand that she had some hard circumstances, but she was probably forcing a lot of her coworkers into making some hard choices of their own to cover for all of her time off.  Bosses have to juggle all of their workers' needs, and if I was the boss, I would probably be more focused on helping the employees who were staying with me rather than the one who'd already given notice she was leaving.  I probably would've agreed in the end as this boss did, but I would expect my employee to at least understand that she was placing the rest of us in hard positions too.

If the reason why she asked for these Saturdays off were just whimsical, I would agree with you. But we are talking about the death of a loved one here - I can't feel anything but sad and compassionate for this woman. I think it must be very hard if you have to bury a beloved family member just a week before your wedding. A very unfortunate timing of fate.  :-\

After working years in retail I have to say I have some sympathy for her co-workers

Once we had a very nice woman we all really like her have a bad stretch and I mean really bad.

She first took 6 weeks off for a medical leave...that meant we had to work 60 hours a week and 6 days a week to cover her time, she needed a second medical leave for 2-4 weeks back to 60 hour weeks then her son died of course she needed leave again 60 hours weeks.    Then of course in during this six months other people had emergencies. We had nothing but sympathy for her but we were exhausted people had to cancel vacations never saw their families and everyone was miserably.  Of course what she went through was worse but that doesn't mean I don't want to dinner with my family.

It sounds like she was taking off the weekends just before thanksgiving , after Thanksgiving I work 70-85 hours a week 7 days a week till Christmas, we all took some time off right before the Christmas rush.  I would have given her the time off but I would have went home and just cried.   

hot_shaker

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It's possible to feel sympathy for someone and still have to worry about practical considerations.  The boss was still going to have to cover these shifts around employees who'd already put in for all of their time off around Christmas.  He can't just wave a magic wand and everything will be fine.  He would have to get other employees to rearrange their schedules to cover the time, to give up time they'd already arranged to have off around Christmas, to deal with all of their complaints, to maybe call in temp help during a time of year when they're all booked early.  While, as I said several times, I completely agree that she needed to be given the time off, I can also feel sympathy for a boss suddenly having all of these last-minute problems during the busiest time of his year and probably the time period that all of his performance reviews and thus his ability to still have a job is based.  I think he could've said it better, but I don't think he deserves to be thrown into the deepest depths of E-hell.

Exactly.  I work a part-time retail job in a addition to a full-time+ job (meaning > 40hours/week).  There were 4 people with keys to the store (two of whom are managers) meaning that there were only 4 people who can open/close the store.  The other keyholder and I closed 4-5 nights a week between the two of us.  Right before Thanksgiving she found out she was pregnant. It was a difficult pregnancy and her doctor ordered her to take a leave of absence immediately.  With her gone, all of a sudden they needed me to close 4 or 5 nights a week through Christmas.  Also, I had arranged to visit my extended family out of state, who I haven't seen in two plus years.  Those plans had to be canceled because I was needed at the store (maybe next year . . .).

While this keyholder and I are friends and I was happy to help her out, that doesn't mean that my life was affected.  She was going through an awful time (she ended up miscarrying  :'() and had no choice but to quit but it was burden on me.  I don't blame the manager in the story for trying to find way not to place a huge burden on all of the other employees.

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SkyTalon

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When I read that I cringed. I know exactly the chain of Department Stores that has that sale, my Girlfriend works there (and sells curtains). I'm pretty sure at her store, the manager would've been signing her termination papers.
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Asharah

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I did say that I would've agreed like the boss did.  But just because you're having problems with your life doesn't mean that no one else's lives matter.  Other people were going to have to cover for her -- not once, not twice, but three times.  In a row.  At an incredibly busy time of year.  When she's already planning on leaving and thus won't be able to repay the favor.  If she'd come in with "I know this is going to be really hard on everyone and I'll do what I can to make it up" instead of just "I'm doing this", then she probably would've gotten a better reception.  The boss didn't say no at the beginning -- he asked her to think about how it was going to affect everyone else. 
How do you know she hasn't covered for other people in the past? Maybe it's their turn to return the favor to her.
Also, the store probably has at least a couple of employees who would jump at the chance for extra hours and pay right before Christmas.
Asharah

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I did say that I would've agreed like the boss did.  But just because you're having problems with your life doesn't mean that no one else's lives matter.  Other people were going to have to cover for her -- not once, not twice, but three times.  In a row.  At an incredibly busy time of year.  When she's already planning on leaving and thus won't be able to repay the favor.  If she'd come in with "I know this is going to be really hard on everyone and I'll do what I can to make it up" instead of just "I'm doing this", then she probably would've gotten a better reception.  The boss didn't say no at the beginning -- he asked her to think about how it was going to affect everyone else. 


If you read the post carefully, she says that this happened before thanksgiving.
Quote
through the coming holiday season, including Black Friday and Saturdays
She wasn't taking three Saturdays off during December, this was either in October or November. Yes, other people would have to cover for her, but it's not unreasonable to expect that you will be able to attend funerals and your own wedding. The boss's response was way off base.

shhh its me

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You(general) can need something , the fact the you need it is reasonable. That doesn't make not a burden and or even possible.

KenveeB

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If you read the post carefully, she says that this happened before thanksgiving.
Quote
through the coming holiday season, including Black Friday and Saturdays
She wasn't taking three Saturdays off during December, this was either in October or November. Yes, other people would have to cover for her, but it's not unreasonable to expect that you will be able to attend funerals and your own wedding. The boss's response was way off base.

You're right, I got thrown by the mention of her last day being right before Christmas, so she could enjoy her wedding and graduation.  I had them closer together in my mind.  But still, this has to be after she gave 2 months notice, since she mentioned that had happened first, so this is no later than the very end of October and probably later in November.  From her mentioning being able to work "Black Friday and other Saturdays" and it being "The Biggest Sale of Them All", then it sounds like the requested weekend off is the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which is a hugely important time in retail. (And when it's a situation where no one can get time off without advance approval because of the Big Sale, then no, you're not likely to be able to just easily pick up another coworker who wants extra hours.  They'd already be scheduled.)

And again, I didn't say it's not reasonable for her to expect the time off, but it's also reasonable for the boss to point out the huge inconvenience she's causing and expect some help with it.  After being asked why she should get three Saturdays off right in the busy time, she could have said "I know it's a lot of trouble, but it's my great-grandma's funeral so obviously I have to be there.  I can take extra shifts on XYZ to make up for whoever needs to cover me, and I know Coworker A & B should be able to come in."  Then I think she would've gotten a much better response.  Part of being an adult is solving your own problems, not just dumping them on someone else.

Miss Marple

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I really don't understand people thinking the boss was OK in his response.

If I had lost a loved ones I would expect a little bit of compassion and understanding from my boss, not made to feel like an inconvenience. If that is his management style, then I daresay he will over time get the staff he deserves.

It is not as if the employee was asking for time off for trivial reasons, they were out of her control.

A good manager handles the unexpected, that is why they have the title and are earning extra money. If his idea of managing is to make a grieving staff member feel bad, then he shouldn't be a manager.


She gave him 2 months notice, which is more than the majority of employees would have done.

If his management option is that they are short staffed for the sale then so be it. You just let the appropriate people know to cover yourself and handle the irate customers.