Wednesday, April 25, 2007


It always happens to me. I turn my back for five days to go on holiday and when I return the place isn't the same. Everybody's fallen out with each other, so-and-so and so-and-so have got together, so-and-so and so-and-so have split up, so-and-so's been suspended and so-and-so's been sacked.

Well, it's not quite as drastic as that, but you follow my meaning. And I should add that, somehow, I always seem to become involved in this disputes and dramas despite not being there!

It began with huge bitch-fight that took place between two female cashiers on Monday afternoon. Tensions had been frothing ever since Jean's surprise ruby wedding anniversary party last month. To cut a long story short, some people were miffed not to have been invited. Not me though. Personally, I can't think of a worse way to spend an evening than watching old people try to dance to crap music. But the tensions have been directed at Marjorie who was given the task, by Jean's family, to compile a list of who, from Food Place, they should invite to the party.

Anyway, feelings were bitter as it was. Now, if there's anybody you can always count upon to make a situation worse it's Sandra. She just can't keep her mouth shut about anybody or anything. She's a born stirrer and there's nothing she loves more than trying to humiliate people by shouting at them. "I tell it like it is!" is her strap line. Personally, I would go for: "I shout utter bollocks to try and make myself look tough and morally superior to everybody!"

What started it all, I don't know for sure. I presume Marjorie was having a dig at Sandra for not rotating the checkout confectionery properly - or something of the sort. Whatever happened, Sandra burst out with this:

"Wait a minute darling! You can back off speaking to me like that, because I don't know who you think you are. You've caused so much trouble in here and now everybody feels bad. What right did you have not to invite some of Jean's friends to her party? You're just a manipulative old..."

At which point she was cut off by Marjorie bellowing that the party was none of Sandra's business. She had a point there, it wasn't. Sandra would never have been invited in a month of Sundays because everybody hates her and she makes no secret of the fact that she hates everybody else. It's not easy to like somebody who, having been in the job three days, declares: "I don't care who I stand on to do it, I'm rising to the top in here!" (I just thought it made her sound dull - if you've got burning ambition like that, why waste it on Food Place?)

Sandra retorted with more utter tripe about Marjorie's involvement in the invitation list for the Godforsaken party. I don't normally defend Marjorie, but on this occasion I will. She was told she could only invite 10 people. So for everybody else it was tough luck. What else could she do?

But the row soon turned to much nastier. Here's a rundown: Marjorie called Sandra an evil, twisted liar. Sandra came off her till and, in front of customers, yelled "come on then!" in Marjorie's face to try and start a fight before accused her of being a coward. Marjorie told her she wasn't worth it. Sandra ran off the canteen and started blubbing to anybody who'd listen that everybody had it in for her and what had she done to deserve it? She then ran to the manager and told him a pack of lies about what had just happened. Wendy became involved because she'd witnessed part of the action and, her self-control failing her, told Sandra that she brings everything she gets on herself.

At this point Sandra changed tack. Before Terry got hold of the true account of what had gone on, she began to 'open her heart' to him about how ill-treated she felt by ME.

ME! ME? ME! I'm supposed to have upset Sandra! There I am naked on a beach in the Algarve (not literally) and, halfway across the continent, I'm being dragged into rows going on in Food Place!

She told Terry I bully her over her working hours. I'm supposed to have promised to raise her contract to full-time (I would never promise that because I don't have the authority to do it) before cutting her hours down and taking shifts from her to give to other people. Without consulting her.

Here's the truth: I gave Sandra three weeks' notice that she was losing her Friday evening shift (which she isn't contracted to) because she was consistently late for it. She told me this was to do with bus timetables so I gave her a shorter shift in the afternoon.

And now I've discriminated against an employee because they can't drive! You work it out, because I can't. I just flamin' well give up with doing the hours. Wendy and I are presently lumbered with the task because there isn't enough management cover for one of them to be able to do it. We'd had no experience of planning a checkout schedule so we found it hard. But we approached it with a simple philosophy. We said we'd be fair to everybody and we'd do what we could to accommodate peoples' requests.

But Sandra has just taken the Michael out of us from the word go. At first, she tried to tell us that Terry had promised her 35 hours a week - hoping we'd just give them to her without checking. It was total bollocks, Terry had said nothing of the sort. Next, she told us she was available to work until 10.15pm each evening. We gave her the shifts believing it to be a good move. She got extra hours, we got cover for the graveyard shifts. It was only three weeks later we discovered she'd been leaving at 9.45pm every day to catch her bus home - conveniently forgetting to clock out. With those shifts promptly taken away from her she looked elsewhere for overtime. Next thing you know, she brings us a typed letter signed by another employee "officially handing over" 5 hours of their contract to Sandra. What the Hell? She thinks it's OK to alter employment contracts without consulting a manager? In fact, who does she think she is doing things like that full stop?

I've had more than enough of this shite from her now. It's not the first time she's gone running to Terry about me. Last time it was to discuss with him my lack of supervisory skills. I confronted the issue with her and said: "if you'd like to try doing the work of four supervisors on your own with very little support from above for peanuts more than the minimum wage, you're welcome to try it out."

Argh, my rambling about Sandra is becoming disjointed now. I need to go away and forget about her for a few hours before I get in my car, kidnap her and throw her off Beachy Head!

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