Archive for the Bad employment Category

The Outback Chronicles: Part 4

Posted in Alcohol Involved, Bad employment, Downtown Bristol, Local, Modern, Outback Steakhouse, Terrible work on February 24, 2011 by Divide By Zero

This time in my little OS-Lounge mini-saga, I’m going to tell you about the time that guy that got fired for drinking at work in the dish pit.

Let me set the “dish pit” up a little bit first.  I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I haven’t done it justice.  It’s hard to communicate with the other people in the kitchen, it’s hard to see who’s walking by, and more or less, it was like a dungeon.  I guess it really wasn’t that bad, but that’s how you feel about your little corner of hell after a million 13 hour shifts.

It was so weird working in that stuffy little corner that… check this out:

One kid about 19 years old or so, we’ll call him Dusty.  He worked there for about 3 weeks, and then one day while he was on break, he went outside to call someone back who had called his cell earlier in the day.  After his break, he came back in and said “I think I have to go to jail.”  He told Ted about it, and cleared it with everyone he needed to and left.  His story didn’t add up, and no one ever saw him again.  That’s right, the dude faked a jail sentence in order to get out of working there.   It makes more sense now that I said it like that.

Back to the story at hand though; the person who trained the guy with the jail situation, we’ll call him Bruce, was not very professional at all.  He showed up to work every day hungover or buzzed.  Either way, he had the stench of alcohol all over him most of the time.  Granted, most of the kitchen staff was like that too, but they got their job done.  They also didn’t empty their paycheck out at the gas station and liquor store every week, either.  He was borderline, if not a full blown alcoholic.  And he was in charge of training most of the new dishwashers.

Before too long, he had trained one of the busboys’ brothers, and they were in the dish pit together most nights for the next few months.  At least until one fateful night, when everything Bruce was doing outside of work came to a boil at work and exploded all over his face.

The busboys brother, we’re going to call Scruffy.  He had a perpetual 5 o’clock shadow, and that’s the first word that came to my mind. And it’s my story, so I can name him whatever I want.

Anyways, one night, Bruce came in with 2 water bottles.  Not just the standard 12 oz. size water bottle that most people carry.  It was the big, I don’t know, 28 or 32 ounce bottles.  However you want to slice it, those 2 bottles were big enough to hold a fifth of vodka.  And back when I knew him, Bruce drank cheap, cheap vodka.  The kind of cheap vodka that should have eaten straight through anything plastic.  It was gross.

He brought in 2 bottles because he didn’t want to drink alone, so one bottle was for Scruffy, and the other was for Bruce.  I could kind of see the thought process behind Bruce’s thinking, because the dish guys were so disconnected from everyone else, he figured no one would really notice that he was tying one on, while he was on the clock.  Also I think his biggest problem was that he planned on his share of the vodka lasting his entire 10 hour shift.  When in all actuality it lasted about 2 hours before it was gone.. and I don’t think Bruce ever ate anything before he clocked in.

So one sip of the vodka led to another.  Then one broken plate led to another.  Then one fall led to another.  Larry ended up stepping in when Bruce was taking forever and a day to load dishes onto a tray, and push them through the dishwasher.  Scruffy told me later that he could have smoked an entire cigarette in between each one of the trays that came out of the dishwasher.  For anyone who hasn’t worked a commercial dishwasher, you can usually push about 40 trays through the machine in one minute.  Needless to say it’s super slow when you’re only pushing 1 through every 7 minutes.  Poor Bruce.

To this day I don’t know if Larry stepped in because he didn’t want Bruce to get in trouble, of because Ted & the management told him to.  Larry made Bruce sit on a milk crate in the corner for a bit, to see if he would be able to sober up quickly.  I think that if Bruce would have done as he was told – which was sit and stay like a good boy – he may have been alright, and been able to finish his shift without any help from Larry.  BUT.. as drunk people are prone to not listening to what other people tell them to do, Bruce kept trying to stand up.  He’d fall, then he’d break more dishes.

So Scruffy took it upon himself to take Bruce to the employee bathrooms in the back of the restaurant.  Scruffy basically had to carry Bruce all the way to the bathroom, and sit him down on one of the 5 gallon buckets that littered the floor of the employee bathrooms.  He wanted to keep Bruce there so he could smoke, and also to keep him away from any and all management that happened to be there that night.  Bruce passed out on that 5 gallon bucket, only to wake up 20 minutes later.  Determined as all get out, he tried to work again.  He fell again.  Now the management really knew about what was going on with him and was fed up enough with it (and rightfully so), so Bruce got sent out of the building, so he wouldn’t hurt himself or anyone else.

He was instructed not to drive home.  And before long, he was gone.. so was his car.  We all thought that he drove himself home, and everyone immediately got pissed because he drove home drunk.  Not.  Ever.  Cool.  We all found out later though that he had some people pick him up and take his car back to his house.  Bruce was a good guy, so I believe it.

Some hours later (that same night), Bruce’s mom called the restaurant.  She proceeded to yell at Ted, and then again at Larry.  I don’t know, nor can I imagine what was said over the phone, but I know the guys in the BOH passed the phone around and let Bruce’s mom yell at one another for a while.  The phone finally ended up in the hands of the head waiter/host (I’m not really sure what his official title was), but his name was Kyle.  It’s against any restaurants policy to give out information on their workers, so Kyle wouldn’t answer any of Bruce’s mom’s questions.  I can’t imagine how mad she got after that.

After that happened, Larry smoothed everything over with Bruce’s mom.  He at least got her to hang up the phone.  He went back to work along-side Ted, and Ted was so fed up with the whole situation that he fired Bruce.  It was kind of hasty, but it had to be done.

The next morning, the owner’s husband, Houston, calls Bruce and tells him to “get his ass back to work, no matter how bad his hangover was.”

Everyone goes through hard times, sure.  And I think everyone deserves to be forgiven at work once for something really bad like what happened that night.  They forgave Bruce for that night, and he didn’t let it happen again [that anyone knew of, anyway].

A few months later, the owner came back to work after a period of leave.  Bruce showed up one day on his day off to check the schedule while he was wearing an Outback work shirt.  The owner smelled booze on Bruce (which was typical for him).  After he left, she had a meeting with the other managers and anyone who was connected to the situation.  I don’t know what was said but I know that they either called him that same day, or the next morning to fire him for real.  To my understanding, he has never been back to the OS-Lounge since.

It’s weird how peoples’ moods change and the past is brought back around full circle.  In my opinion Bruce should have been terminated the night he got plastered at work.  That’s what he deserved.  And in any other job he would have been.  But since he worked in a restaurant.. C’est la vie.

See you by table 7.

The Jester.

Nerdy Monday 15: My Tribute to a Little Game Entitled Simply: PAPERBOY!

Posted in 1980's, 1990's, Bad employment, Nerdy Monday, NES, Retro, T.V. shows, Video Game on January 17, 2011 by Divide By Zero

Oh my gosh.  Paperboys.  What can I say about them?  I was never a paperboy, but if being one were anything like the movies or T.V. shows made them out to be, it was a rite of passage into the work force.  It helped boys become men.  It was a fast track to manhood.  However you want to say it, it was a huge responsibility.

This brings me to my first point, why is it that all the way through the entire game of paperboy, you’re delivering papers during mid day?  All the paperboys I knew growing up had to wake up at 3:30am, and deliver all of their newspapers before everyone woke up.  Not while they were out mowing their grass and sending their lawnmower at you at 25 miles an hour, or letting their dogs out of their house as you rode by.  I’d bet you that if the paperboy in the popular video game wasn’t so lazy and got up before mid afternoon, he wouldn’t run into half of the inane obstacles he did!  I’d play that game, it’d be more like having a real paper route.

Paperboy was an arcade game released in 1984.  There was a movie released about it at the PEAK of paperboy’s popularity, in 1994.  So there was a good 10 year run right there.  I can’t remember if paper boy was on the regular Nintendo (NES), but I know there was a version of it released for the Sega Genesis.  There was a sequel to paperboy entitled just: PAPERBOY 2 released on the Super Nintendo (SNES).  And as far as I can tell, they are the exact game.  LET’S CHECK OUT SOME SCREEN SHOTS!

Here’s paperboy 1:

Right?

And here’s paperboy 2:

Okay?

Not much of a difference there.  I was going to dedicate an entire section of this article to comparing, and another entire section was going to be dedicated to contrasting Paperboy & Paperboy 2.  But check it out, in Paperboy 1, you ride your bike, try not to crash, refill papers as needed, dodge hazards, deliver papers to white houses, don’t deliver to red houses, and try not to break anybody’s window.  IF POSSIBLE, you try to make the paper go into the mailbox.  In Paperboy 2, you ride your bike, try not to crash, refill papers as needed, dodge hazards, deliver papers to white houses, don’t deliver to red houses, and try not to break anybody’s window.  And IF POSSIBLE, you try to make the paper go into the mailbox.  In a Venn diagram, these 2 games would be the exact same circle intersecting at every possible point.

Which begs the question:  Why was this game so popular?  Everyone had, or has played this game.  It seeped its way into our pop-culture.  Perfect example:

PAPERBOY THE MOVIE: TRAILER

Sorry, that was going to be a picture, but the file corrupted.  But the video is even better.

So seriously, why was this game so great?  Was it the simplistic concept?  Was it how easily relatable the game play was?  Was it the innocence of the subject matter?  Was it the family friendly tone?

My theory is your parents bought it for you in hopes that it’d inspire you to get your own damn job in order to be able to buy your own video games.  See the logic there?  They bought you a video game, because they were hoping that they’d never have to get you another one in real life.  They were hoping that you would get so good at it on your Sega Genesis, that it would act as a simulator (of sorts) to get you a bunch of practice.  Do you see?  Then once you beat the game once or twice, they’d drop the bomb on you, saying “well, try it in real life”.

Knowing you though, I hope your parents didn’t hold their breath.

Because God forbid they’d have to keep spending $28.99 (the original retail price of Paperboy) on some dag-gone video games!  And seriously, did anyone ever beat it?  Did you ever beat Paperboy?  I never did, and I don’t know anyone who ever has, so we all would have made horrible paperboys in real life.

All kidding aside though, I think it was something about the lines, the restricted areas and the random obstacles that make this a rare game insomuch as it is both fun AND difficult.  Kind of like Bubble Bobble!  Any way you slice it though (I like it julienne), be it innocence, ease, or just simple nostalgic value this game somehow rode off the virtual streets of a fictitious neighborhood full of people that just wanted to read the news… and rolled right into our hearts.

See you at the mailbox, neighbor.

The Jester.

The Outback Chronicles: Part 2

Posted in Alcohol Involved, Bad employment, Downtown Bristol, Gourmet, Outback Steakhouse, Restaurants with tags , , , on December 5, 2010 by Divide By Zero

Working in the restaurant industry, when you’re not some stupid kid on Summer Break, or saving up for a car or something, you get to watch things unfold that probably wouldn’t happen outside of a restaurant kitchen.  Some things are funny and everyone tells the story for a while and laughs about it.  Other things are terrible, and you spend years drinking and trying to repress the memory.  It depends on the day you show up to work.

Down here in Bristol, we have a NASCAR racetrack.  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, or have ever been here to visit it, or even follow NASCAR at all.  I don’t, I did a whole write up about how awkward that whole situation is.  But I digress, there are 2 “race weekends” a year, and our simple, slow-paced little town turns into a touristy, throbbing metropolis.  People travel from all across the nation to be here for the race, it’s crazy.  They spend tons of money to get here, tons of money to stay here, and tons of money on souvenirs, entertainment, and food.  Food being the key word in that sentence.  They go out to eat 3-4 times a day, and when the race is a few hours away, they don’t mind waiting an hour and a half to sit down and have a steak and some beer.

Tensions run high, and I mean that is putting it very, very mildly.  And Larry, one of my best friends to this day through my former job at the OS-Lounge, is a trained chef.  He is a no nonsense kind of guy, and gets the job done by any means necessary.  As I said in my previous post, Larry worked prep, he was on the back line.  When we were slow, Larry had time to relax, have a good time, and show his true colors.  During race weekends, he would help do everything involved with the inner-workings of the kitchen because he knew how to, had the physical ability to, and was willing to, no matter how hard it may have been.  He was the owner’s “Ace-in-the-Hole”.

I forgot to mention this, but it is pertinent to the story.  Before I started in the dish room of the OS-Lounge, there was another dishwasher there.  For all intents and purposes, we’re going to call him “SWard” (short for “Socially Awkward”).  I didn’t like working with him.  I worked with him, and I bit my tongue when he talked, because he was very awkward.  I didn’t want to provoke him talking to me any more than he already did.  I think a lot of people felt the same way, or at least that’s the general consensus I got while on my breaks with other employees.  One thing he did have going for him though is he was one heck of a musician.  From what I heard, he was mostly interested in the drums, and played all the time, and was rather good at them.  Other people told me stories of him playing guitar and keyboard and being at least better than average at anything else he picked up that could play music.  Okay, back to the story…

One crazy race weekend (before I had been hired on), SWard was using a crutch, and had a cast or a sling or something.  Whatever it was, he was too crippled to be working in the dish pit, so the management put him out front as a bus boy.  No one was in the dish area, and all the cooks, prep guys, and servers were pitching in to keep up with the dishes.  If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant kitchen, you know that is a slippery slope and can get really backed up, really fast.  That was the case at the OS-Lounge this particular night as well.  So then Larry, being the man he is, jumped back there to help get everything done, so he could get back to his regular job.  When he went around the corner, SWard was in there doing nothing but drumming on shelves and any stainless steel surface he could find.  That is the kind of thing he did all the time, even when he wasn’t crippled.

Larry then told him in a very commanding, very stern voice “You either need to get to work, or get * out of my kitchen!” (*insert whatever colorful language you’d like here).  In all honesty, you learn to take those kind of comments in stride while in a commercial kitchen.  As soon as I walk into the kitchen, I know I am the low man on the totem pole, so when someone tells me “move”, “GTFO”, “coming down”, or anything like that, that’s exactly what I do.  Also though, I never stand around on company time drumming on stuff with spoons.  In this case, SWard didn’t want to move or go back to work or anything.  So while Larry hopped to it and started pushing dishes through the machine, SWard started to get angry and hobbled himself out of the way a little bit, while cursing Larry out under his breath.

Well, another thing you know not to do around a bunch of irate cooks is to piss them off any more than they already are.  This is exactly what SWard did to Larry, and Larry is not the type of guy to mess with like that.  Especially not on race weekends.

This is my artist's rendition of why SWard shouldn't mess with Larry. And why he should have pee-pee'd himself.

When Larry tells me this story, the words he uses is “yolked-up”.  What that means is that Larry backed SWard into a corner and made it so SWard wasn’t getting away from Larry without Larry being able to do something about it.  Arm-bar, Head-lock, whatever it was, whatever you want to call it, that’s what being “yolked-up” means.

While in the corner, Larry pretty forcefully explained to SWard that if he had something to say he’d better * come out and say it.  If he didn’t have anything to say, he’d better shut * up and get * back to work.  Yes, all the asterisks mean there was some colorful language involved, way more colorful than I’d like to post on the internet, but you get the idea.  With that, SWard didn’t have anything to say, so Larry let him down, let him go, and turned to walk away.  He was walking from the dish area towards the fryers, into the cold-side of the cook line.

This will help.

As soon as Larry turned to walk away, SWard decided to start cursing Larry under his breath again.  Since Larry had already yolked-up SWard, warned him, and let him have a moment to respond, Larry didn’t take very kindly to SWard being a little girl about the situation.  Larry wanted you to say something to his face, not behind his back, (literally and figuratively) he didn’t play that game.  So Sward got hit a time or two.  He was already crippled, yes, but it wouldn’t have made a difference even if he was in great shape, and uninjured.

Pandemonium broke loose in the kitchen.  Whatever orders were being made, whatever tickets were in the window, whatever anything anyone was doing, came to a nasty halt.  Papa had to hurry his self over toward Larry, grab him and drag him to the employee bathrooms, where Larry was then locked in.  Rightfully so too.  There may have been people in that kitchen that could match, or beat Larry in speed, no one could match him for power.  So Papa was freaking out because of how volatile of a situation he was in, Ted was screaming and crying because he didn’t want to get near Larry.  SWard was threatening to call the police, and sue Larry, and the restaurant.  Everyone else in the kitchen was laughing their butts off.  I would have been too, had I been there.

Like I said, this happened before I started working there.  I kind of wish I could have seen it because apparently it was a paramount event.  Everyone talked about it later like it was epic.

I remember hearing about it when I was in one of the employee bathrooms with the employees who smoked, while we were all on break.  One of the other people in there, a waiter, said: “Yeah, if I knew we were allowed to hit one person and get away with it, I’d have hit someone like that a while back.”  Which begged me to ask the question.. what happened to Larry after that?  Lose his job?  Cops get called?  Fines & penalties?

A verbal warning.  Nothing else came of that situation.  And that, I believe is the way it should be.  Especially in any high-stress situation, or career-field.  If two people have a disagreement, they should be able to smack each other around a few times, then get back to work.

This was a few years ago, maybe the policies have changed since then.  I don’t know.  I do know, and can tell you that back then, the owner/manager had a bail bondsman on speed dial because of the staff.  That’s right, on more than one occasion the management had to bail out their better cooks/preps to make sure they made it to work.  They also had to invest in a breathalyzer so that people would stop showing up to work plastered.  So maybe a few things have changed.

That’s the kind of stuff that’s going on while things are busy at that place.  Don’t worry, there’s more to come.  Be patient.

The Jester.

What’s the deal, [name redacted]?

Posted in Bad employment, Terrible work on September 17, 2010 by Divide By Zero

I think we can all agree on two things.  1) We all work hard for our paycheck.  B) The economy sucks.  And a follow-up to that last one is that it’s not getting better anytime soon.  As I’ve said before, the economy has hit me pretty hard, as I know it has for most other people.  I’ve been in and out of work for a few years now, and so has my mother — who has had a steady job since I was 12.  It’s rough times.  But that certainly doesn’t mean that employers should take advantage of us as employees.

If you live in the area, I’m sure you know about [name redacted].  If you have ever worked there, like most of us (myself included) have, you already know a little bit about the company.  Here are 4 basic reasons why [name redacted] is not a great place to work.

#4. Bathroom breaks are frowned upon.

I noticed this a little bit while I was working there, but the more current employees I talk to about it, the more I find out how much the management doesn’t like its employees to take bathroom breaks.  I understand that while running a business, the more productivity there is, the better the overall numbers look, the more contracts you get, and the more money you make.  That’s all well and good and everything, but there’s a few lines between you and your employees that you do not cross.  And repeatedly telling people “you’re not supposed to be up, walking around” when they are going to the bathroom is one of them.  A few of the people I know that are currently employed at [name redacted] work the 6AM-4:30PM shift.  I don’t know anyone that can function properly that early in the morning without a few cups of strong, dark, bold coffee.  That increases productivity, right?  Of course it does.  The more awake/alert you are, the more efficient your motor skills will be, and there’s your productivity, it makes sense.  It bumps up the productivity so much that it would offset any productivity lost while taking a bathroom break.  I have 5 cups of coffee every morning, and I have to pee 3 or 4 times before everything is out of my system.  Neither I, nor anyone else should be penalized for waking up and being fresh to go to work, regardless of how often we have to go to the bathroom.

What I suggest should be done:

Either stop hassling your employees about taking a whiz, or set everyone up in a chair that has a built in toilet.  That would maximize productivity right there.  Give everyone a coffee pot & their own port-o-pottie.  Sure there would be some sanitary issues, and a smell would linger around all the employees all day long, but if you get to that point, you aren’t even trying to pretend about care and consideration for your employees, are you?

#3.  There are whole departments who have no chairs.

This is kind of a minor thing, unless you work in either [redacted], or [redacted], in which case it’s a huge deal.  When you get hired to work at [name redacted] and you get told you’ll be working on phones, you think of sitting in a chair.  No one needs to stand up for 8-12 hours a day to work on cellular telephones, AMIRIGHT?!  Only a sadistic type of management structure would do that, right?  Right you are, my friend!  [name redacted] is guilty of making some of their employees stand for the duration of their shift.  The reason for this, I was told when I worked there, is that someone fell asleep in a chair some 3 or 4 years ago.  He got fired on the spot and the chairs were taken awayfor the whole department.  Some time later, the same thing happened in a different department, and the consequences were the very same.

I can understand punishing someone for falling asleep at work, that’s unacceptable.  I can also understand making an example out of the first person that does it, so that other people see what would happen to them, and discourage them from doing the same thing.  In this case, I think firing the person on the spot would send a strong enough signal out to everyone in the place that says: “THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO SLEEP!”  But to punish everyone in that whole department, by taking away something as basically comforting as a chair?  That’s a little cold hearted.  I would agree with the management if they took away the chair “privileges” (I guess) for a week or so.  [name redacted] took them away for not just one, but two departments.. indefinitely.  Aren’t we in America?  By 2010 America, sitting in a chair at shouldn’t be a privilege that can be this easily taken away.

 

What I suggest should be done:

Port-o-Potties, see above.  OR just have everyone bring their own harness in, and suspend them from wires, then you can regulate where everyone is, AND assure that none of them are sitting down, thus are not likely to fall asleep.  You can get 2 birds stoned at once if you implement this.  If that fails, you can give them all magnetic boots that control where they walk, monitor where they are, and lock them down should things get rowdy like that prison in the movie Face/Off.  Man, that was a great prison.

#2  No Re-Hire Policy.

That’s right, [name redacted] will not hire you back if something happens and you can’t work there continuously for the near to distant future.  Once you’re gone, you’re gone.  This is directly taking advantage of all Bristoleans, or anyone from the Tri-Cities that works there.  It takes advantage of everyone, in the entire community, and the community itself.  This type of policy might work in a big city like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or in a country like India.  Those places have the population to do that, but Bristol doesn’t.  We have modest population numbers.  The people that live here, like living here, like working here, like raising a family here, and they’re proud of all of that.  Some people spend their whole lives here and can get fired and re-hired at the same company many times over.  I think that’s awesome.  [name redacted] (in this regard) reminds me of the factories in New York when all of the European Immigrants (especially the Irish) were coming in onthe ships into New York Harbor.  If the Irish could find a job back then, which was rare, they got paid next to nothing.  And if it should happen that that person loses an arm in a piece of company machinery, there was no insurance, no worker’s comp, the guy didn’t even get to keep his job.  Why should he, there were hundreds and thousands of people just like him coming over every week.  Having a no re-hire policy the way [name redacted] does says to me that when it comes to their employees: “if you don’t like it here, leave and never come back, there are more people out there just like you, you are totally replaceable.”

Welcome to [name redacted], are you here for orientation?”

I really disagree with any kind of no re-hire policy.  Because there are people like myself out there who are trying to finish up school.  For one reason or another, a lot of people take semesters off from college and work.  At restaurants and other such establishments you can still remain an employee, and they just won’t schedule you until your next break, long weekend, or whatever.  I got fired from [name redacted] because I wanted to go back to school, and when school for that semester didn’t work out, I didn’t even have a job to go back to.  It was rough times.  I think it took them 3 days to replace me.  That includes training, orientation, and all the paperwork you have to fill out for a new job.

I called back to the hiring agency, and the managers at [name redacted], and there was nothing anyone could do about my situation.  Thanks for looking out for your employees there [name redacted]!

What I suggest should be done:

Either abolish the no re-hire policy for the Bristol branch of [name redacted], or move that location to Russia in the 1950’s where it would be the norm.  Let another entrepreneur take over that property and open up jobs that the locals actually enjoy and want to go to.

#1  The Attendance Policy.

This is probably the most common frustration for anyone that works there.  It’s the reason why no one smiles while on the clock, and they line up in fear of getting “an occurrence”.  That’s right, they basically have a merit/demerit system.  You get warnings along the way as your occurrences pile up.  They range from verbal warnings, to getting fired.  It takes 10 occurrences in one year to get fired.  Don’t worry though, if you try hard enough you can get 3 in a day.  And by “try hard enough” I mean “don’t try at all”.  You’re allowed to clock in 5 minutes early, and 5 minutes late, on that sixth minute, you’re late.  There’s one occurrence.  For lunch, you can clock out at the scheduled time, or 5 minutes late.  If you clock out one minute early, or 6 minutes late, there’s your second occurrence.  When you clock back in from lunch, you can clock in right on time or 5 minutes early.  One minute late or any earlier than that 5 minutes, there’s you’re third occurrence.  If you clock out early to go home, or there’s an emergency and you can’t clock out on your scheduled time, there’s 4 occurrences.  That’s past your verbal warning and on your way to a formal written warning.  Like a teacher’s note being sent home, that’s what it feels like.

Our management style is based on giving the finger and making fun of your mom!

People cling to their jobs tightly there and still, people (like myself) can get canned at any time.  They fired 350 people at the beginning of this year alone.  There wasn’t any reason for it, there was a loose rumor running around town that had something to do with budget cuts.  I might have believed that if I didn’t find out about one of the owners of that place erecting a $3,000,000 house around here.

What I suggest should be done:

This is simple.  Take care of your employees.  Relax about the attendance policy a little bit.  I also forgot to mention this in the last few paragraphs. [name redacted]’s time clock doesn’t record minutes.  It recognizes if you punched in within the grace period or not.  So even if you clock in 5 minutes early every day, you don’t get paid for those 5 minutes.  Get on the ball, [name redacted]!

In all honesty though, if they chilled on the regulations, cut out the no re-hire policy, and gave everyone some chairs, I’d work there again.  I love technical things, and as you know, am pretty dorky.  Working on cell phones was fun for me.  The management, policies, and requirements are a huge downer, and they need re-vamping.  I wish it were a better place to work, and I hope one day people enjoy their job there.  But for now though, it doesn’t look like the “big-boys upstairs” are focused on anything except their money.

*All photos are subject to copyright, and are property of their respective owners (I obtained these images off of Google Image Search)*

Nightmare on Commonwealth Ave.

Posted in Bad employment, Hell on August 15, 2010 by Divide By Zero

As most of us know by now, it’s pretty difficult to find a job in this economy.  And really, when it comes down to it beggars cannot be choosers.  I myself have been in and out of work for the past 2 years trying to finish up college.  In that short span of time, I’ve worked in different counties and cities in Virginia and Tennessee.  I’ve worked in restaurants and cafeterias, maintained lawns, worked on cell phones, become a temp, been a telemarketer, and have donated plasma countless times.  But the absolute worst job I’ve ever had since I joined the work force almost a decade ago was right here in Bristol.  For a very long month, I was employed as a cashier at Quick Stop #38.  You may know it as The Marathon convenience store on Commonwealth Ave.

In that month I experienced the worst of nearly every facet of any job I’ve ever had.  The hours were long and unpredictable, I was there by myself most of the time, and certainly by myself on the graveyard shift, 11pm-7am (the most dangerous shift).  Now I know, working at a gas station I have to accept the risks of being robbed or someone threatening my life.  That would have been all well and good if I weren’t getting paid minimum wage.  I think we can all agree that your responsibilities should match your pay rate.  Risk equals reward, right?

While there, I was almost on a first name basis with the local Police Dispatcher.  I was calling them every other day on average, sometimes 4-5 times a week.  The management was very shoddy and if something happened, even if I followed the procedure I was told to, I still got in trouble.  I was never allowed a bathroom break, because I was the only one there, even though we had 2 cash registers.  They didn’t even have 2 people in that store during race weekends.  Again, it turned out to be my fault that I had a line out the door.  I had worked a total of 48 hours before my first race weekend.  I was inexperienced, and alone.  It proved to me that the Green Oil Company, the owners of Quick Stop #38 (and to my understanding subsidiary of BP), wanted to run that location as cheaply as possible.  Even if it meant treating their employees the way one would treat a leaky bucket full of crap, rotting fish, and vomit (both human and cat).

The General Manager at the time was lazy, didn’t care about his job, and was very poorly qualified.  He struck me as the type of man who chose paperclips over staples because they were more fun to straighten out.  And coincidentally when he didn’t want to come in to work “he hurt his back”.  Despite him bragging about being the portrait of health and acting like some huge tough guy he could hurt his back while driving down the road.  He was so lazy he couldn’t even change his excuse.

I had minimal training (my orientation took 4 minutes), and the technology reminded me of 1996.  The whole place needs to be remodeled; you can notice even today that none of the fluorescent lights have covers on them.  The restrooms are breeding grounds for diseases; so much so that I refused to clean them while I was working there.  To be fair though, I also wouldn’t let any customers use them.  Minimum wage doesn’t cover the typhoid fever-scurvy-tetanus cocktail I would have gotten by going into those bathrooms.  Instead I stayed sure that no one was stealing things from inside, by staying inside.  God forbid ANYTHING happen during my shift for fear of being written up, or fired.  This all lead me to believe that Green Oil Co. was taking advantage of peoples financial situation during these recessive times.  They knew they could treat anyone however they want because jobs are few and far between.

Overall, even if you’re desperate for something quick I recommend going somewhere else.  There’s at least 3 other gas stations within a mile of that place, and they’re all much better.  There probably aren’t drug deals going on in their parking lots either.  I sometimes refrain from stopping there just based on the recent oil spill caused by British Petroleum.  It’s simple; it doesn’t make sense to me to give money to an irresponsible company.  And what would the founding fathers say?  Wasn’t America formed to get away from Great Britain?  As an American, I consider it my own little patriotic ritual every time I pass by Quick Stop #38.  Sometimes I even do it while saying Pledge of Allegiance.

POSTSCRIPT (30 Aug. 2010):  I’m not picking on the managers, or the company for that matter.  I really liked my GM as a person while I worked there, and I’m sure he had talents and work ethic that benefited him.  There was just something about that ONE location of this particular chain.  I wanted to point it out because there could be room for improvements there, and I hope it changes into an enjoyable place to work.  Family members of mine (and yes, even I am guilty of this) have been customers there since my employment has ended, and I can see slow but steady steps the company is taking to remedy situations that I found less than appealing.