Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Causality of Retail Casualties

The title has a nice ring, doesn't it? Don't worry -- neither myself nor anyone else is dying. The title merely reflects my own innocence's death among the plastic hanger jungle of retail clothing.

Because, you see, I have officially been at my job over a month now and finally found someone to dislike enough, someone who makes work feel like a bottomless Dantesque Hell. This person is strangely named [blank] despite looking [blank], and is also way too [blank] to be working retail. Basically [blank] is just a big [blank].

However, enough mad-libs. Let's get to the part where I'm physically assaulted.

[Caution: post contains strong language]

This story begins during a seemingly regular day on the job. Showed up early, as is my want. Checked in with management and began doing my thing: cleaning, organizing the store, helping customers, slanging the merchandise like an old-school drug-dealing pro. I was on golden-fire of some sort, because the whole day nothing I did could go wrong.

Until this motherfucking [blank] had to ruin it.

My female coworkers sent me across the street to our third store to get some back-stock jewelry to refill our own displays. Pretty typical work-related errand. As I arrive at the store [blank] is the first person I see. I ask, "Hey, [blank] & [blank] sent me to get some more jewelry for our store. Can you show me where your back-stock is?"

"Hi. I know you. You're the guy who was running past with those sweatpants. You're not supposed to do that. You need to get a plastic bag."

"Okay, sorry. I was just in a hurry. Like right now; can you help me get the jewelry?"

"No, listen, you're supposed to get a black plastic bag. It's the rules. Next time you need to go all the way to the back of the store and get some from right next to the cash register and --"

Now I'm starting to get impatient. [blank[ is wearing teeny tiny black sunglasses that make [blank] look like some kind of cheap 90's movie villain. "Okay, like I said sorry, but right now I really need to get some jewelry. It's very busy at our store."

"Because last time I saw you I didn't know who you were. I thought maybe you were stealing something and almost hit you in the face."

Pause... And paused. Still pausing. Decide to act professional. "Well, thanks for not hitting me in the face. Now can you show me where the jewelry is?"

"Go ask the manager." [blank] points towards the back of their store. I walk over and the manager on duty helps me get the jewelry.

After heading back to my store and restocking everything, I tell my coworkers what happened. They're shocked. One of the cashiers tells me, "You're too nice. I would've went off on [blank]." After we all agree that the situation was unacceptable, we try to forget it and get back to our jobs.

I was working swing shift that day, so I was there from late-morning shift till early-evening shift. One of the people working the second shift was my store's manager. Later, when they came in business had started to pick up. As we were working our literal asses off, [blank] comes for whatever reason, either to get an item for the other store or maybe his own personal amusement. Meanwhile, I'm walking over to our jewelry table to help a customer who has cash in hand, ready to pay-n-go, but suddenly I feel a hard tapping on my back and on the back of my head. I figure it was the crowd (there were a lot of people in the store that day) and as I turn around to see I get yanked by the back of my sweater over to the beanies where I'm surprised to see [blank] launching into a lecture at me about watching out for the people at the beanies, telling me they're going to steal them. I look to see a family of four trying them on. Hardly a theft problem.

In my head thoughts start rolling into each other. Did this motherfucker just poke me and grab me? Did [blank] just tell me how to do my job? Is [blank] trying to run shit here when the store [blank] works at is across the motherfucking street? As the expletives and connections get stronger, I decide I'm actually pissed off! This person isn't a manager, nor an assistant manager. Not even a goddamn glorified supervisor. [Blank] is a goddamn regular low-level sales-clerk -- just like me. So what gives [blank] the right to tell me how to do my job? Especially when [blank] doesn't even work in our store!

Why the fuck ain't [blank] over at [blank's] store? Focus on your own work for fuck's sake!

Anyways, after this incident I talked to my manager at the store who tried -- mostly successfully -- to calm me down. I talked with the other employee on shift and we both agreed that I should tell one of the main managers at our #1 store.

When my shift ended I went and told the main boss on shift about what happened. He listened politely, with just a hint of surprise. I explained the whole story over and over again, because I wasn't sure he understood exactly what occurred.

After this I went home to bitch about it to my girlfriend, who was (of course) on my side and made me feel better.

Weeks go by. The whole thing is somewhat forgotten. Then comes my shift from a few days ago. I'm working with a different coworker from my store and we're again really busy. Earlier we had a huge box of bags dropped off that I needed to get organized and placed somewhere in the store. Meanwhile, we've got tons of foot-traffic so our attention is divided between watching the store and helping customers. I barely have time to hang all the bags.

At some point, [blank] comes in. Again, I have no idea why. As I'm working on the bags while my coworker handles the customers, [blank] tries telling me again about people over at the beanies. I look and say, "okay, thanks," then try to go about my job. [Blank] stops me and tells me again that I need to go over to the beanies. I look over, and two older women are just looking around over there. My coworker is nearby in case they need help. [Blank] tries to explain why he's telling me how to do my job again, and my patience finally can't take it anymore. I'm busy, I'm tired, and I don't give a shit. I ask him what is it? He starts the same spiel over again, so right in the middle of it I just cut [blank] off and walk away to go help the two older women. With my gameface on I sell them one beanie and a sweater.

Afterwards [blank] asks to talk with me. Asks me what the problem is. Tries to explain. The whole time [blank] is being really offensive and rude. Thinks I shouldn't have gone to the manager if I had an issue. Says something about not wanting to hurt anyone. I try to get my side in but the motherfucker just keeps speaking, and English not being [blank's] first language, horribly messes up the attempted apology.

At some point [blank] goes off on a tangent about how tough, how hard, how supercop [blank] is. Talks about making citizen's arrest. Apprehending shoplifters. Chasing people. Blah blah blah. I don't give a fuck and try to say so. Eventually the conversation starts to become really bad.

Apparently there were some Black kids walking around earlier. [Blank] says there were like 19-20 of them, real rowdy, shoplifting from the store, and tells me that's why [blank] came over to make sure we didn't get robbed. The problem is: I know what group of people [blank's] talking about.

It was really three Black guys -- teenagers, I think -- and they were noisy because they were freezing their asses off because they're from Houston. It's around 50 here in SF. They bought a bracelet and a beanie, and we talked for a minute about the weather. All in all hardly a gang of thieves...

So it's at this point in the conversation that I've completely written off [blank] as a racist asshole douchebag cocksucking motherfucking piece of shit. Basically a bad dude.

And everyone at work I've talked to agrees with me. We're planning on making a large scale formal complaint about it to the big boss later next week. Hopefully something gets done about it.

Or else the next time, I'm going to politely smack the dumbass out of this guy once my shift ends.


2 footnotes:

Mira said...

Sounds like a nasty situation. But why did he go after you, and not somebody else? Are you a new worker (so he thinks you're an easy target)?

I honestly don't get what this guy is trying to do. But not engaging in an open fight was a smart idea. YOU don't need problems because he (unsuccessfully) tries to impress the management (or whatever he wants to do).

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: yeah, i think it's partially because i'm a newer employee. however, he's also had problems with other people on the job, and has gotten a lot of individual complaints from my different coworkers.

it seems like he's always trying to be a badass, or take charge. basically trying to be top dog, even though this is just a job. nothing to take so seriously.

i'm glad i didn't overreact or get into a fight over it, but it's certainly difficult when someone's in your face one time too many. hopefully my bosses will do something about it.