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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 story. 

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 co-workers.

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 digress.

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 pipes." 

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 resignation."   

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 unacceptable!

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 poorly.

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. Nothing.

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 Day, etc).

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 being.  BadBosses0319-07


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 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 professionally."



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 homelessness. 

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 of. 

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 surprised.


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 room."
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