Archive for the Terrible work 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.


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)*