Monday, June 04, 2007

Another Day From Hell

Today was one of those awful days, that I seem to have a lot of lately, that starts off terrible and doesn't get any better.

Cleo pushes her luck

It was exceptionally busy today, for a Monday, and we hadn't really budgeted for this when we compiled the staff schedules. So we were a bit thin on the ground with checkout staff and I was running between departments like a blue-arsed-fly borrowing staff. The last thing you want in that situation is a member of staff failing to turn up on time for their shift.

Just as I realised Cleo was AWOL and was about the phone her, she came sauntering in looking like she'd been run over by a tram and said: "Andrew I feel terrible, like I'm going to faint, I don't think I'm fit for work."

I was ready to wrap my hands round her throat and finish her off. How dare she do this to me. "I'm sorry Cleo, you know the company policy. You need to give us an hours notice at the very least if you're ill. You will have to work you shift."

This might sound cold-hearted. Not if you know Cleo. She can be a good worker for months on end and then all of a sudden she goes through a phase of constantly coming up with any excuse not to work. She never phones the store if she's 'ill' - just turns up and demands to be sent straight home.

"I couldn't phone you, I had no credit."

"Well you have a land line phone don't you?"

"It's only taking incoming calls. I didn't know what to do."

"Well you could have gone to the phone box." (I know perfectly well she lives right beside one). "Or at the very least came to the store earlier to let us know in person."

"I'm really not well," she droned, putting on the 'please feel sorry for me, I have a hangover' voice.

"Well, if you're telling me you're not fit for work, all I can say is that you haven't followed the procedure correctly, so it's out of my hands. You'll have to go and see Terry and see what he says."

Half an hour later she came to the tills and sat herself down - with a face like a smacked arse. She managed to sit there for exactly an hour before deciding to have another go. This time she bypassed me and went to Terry again, who'd evidently told her the first time to see how she felt in an hour. She was evidently unsuccessful as she worked the remainder of her shift, sat on the till sulking.

I'm sorry, but I just do not have time to indulge staff when they start swinging the lead. If she was genuinely ill I'd have known just by looking at her. But her acting skills aren't worthy of an Oscar, so I knew she was faking it. All the empty threats of "I think I'm going to be sick" came to nothing. I'm not going to put myself through the stress of trying to cover a shift at the eleventh hour for somebody who just wants to go back to bed.

New Manager Gets Shirty

I've mentioned in passing that Sean, one of the department managers in our store, left rather suddenly. It's THE bit of juicy gossip in Food Place at the moment and I'd love nothing more than to discuss the ins and outs of it here. But, for rather obvious reasons, I don't want to go giving too much away. Suffice to say he was given a very clear-cut choice and he took the sensible option.

He's quickly been replaced by a man called Robert, who'd already passed the interviews and assessments and was just waiting for a managerial position to arise in one of the stores. I don't like to give the impression that I'm reacting unduly negatively towards a new colleague before giving them a fair chance, but the man's an arse.

The current management team in our store are the first fully-functional lot the store has had in a long time and they've worked very hard to throw Food Place's past in the bin and start again. They've brought the staff together to work as a team and have eliminated most of the weak links among us. They've tried their best to stamp out the old ways that were embedded by the piss-poor management of the past and the store really has benefited from it. And now this Robert has waltzed in and rattled enough cages in a mere four days to risk stamping over all the hard work.

It started, quite literally, the second he walked into the store. He walked along the diary aisle and collected four pieces of loose cardboard from the shelves and retrieved a multi pack of yoghurts that were on-sale despite having split outer packaging. Fine. But to herd together five team members that he hasn't met before and berate them for 'failing to do their job properly' and 'poor standards' without even having the courtesy to introduce himself first - is not fine.

He then proceeded to complain to Terry that customers were being kept waiting at the tills whilst supervisors 'faffed about' looking in the till drawers to see what change was required. 'Could that not be done before the store opens?' he asked. Except, he didn't ask. He set it as a rhetorical question. Well. For somebody who doesn't have a clear understanding of how Food Place's cash flow system operates, he's nobody to barge in and start poking his nose into it. I should point out that, and I've timed it, it takes takes around 15 seconds to check a till drawer for change.

So he's got up mine and Wendy's nose too. Even Terry has admitted that he's came in with completely the wrong attitude. He hasn't yet taken the time to introduce himself to anybody and hasn't gone out of his way to build bridges with the team.

It's all going to end in tears. I just hope we don't go through the living hell of having another manager like Nick again.

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