I'm a cash office supervisor. But Terry seems to think that makes me a supervisor of everything that general managers prefer to ignore. And, in his case, that means the entire Services department.
I'm sick to the back teeth of running an entire department single-handed with no managerial support. It wouldn't bother me so much if Terry didn't spend approximately 94% of his time nannying the grocery supervisors. He can't even trust them to pull in a delivery without his support. If they have a problem, he'd gladly spend hours on end trying to sort it out for them. But when it comes to a problem with checkouts or cash office or personnel or EPOS, we can sod off.
The finest example of this came today.
Last night there was a leaving party and most of the staff attended, myself included. A group of about six of us came home at midnight after three or four drinks because we all knew we were due in work early and didn't want to have a hangover. The rest stayed, got leathered and didn't roll home until about 6.00am.
So, naturally, two cashiers, one grocery assistant and the grocery supervisor (bloody Ed) failed to turn in for work. And what was Terry more concerned about? Needless to say, his beloved grocery department. But as for my checkouts being understaffed, he couldn't give a stuff.
So I spent an hour and a half serving between the kiosk and the checkouts when I should have been in the cash office. At one point I didn't have any prepared till floats ready for an arriving cashier and called Terry to fetch one from the cash office. He gave me the "what the hell am I paying you for?" look.
After I managed to get away from the tills I decided to update him on how short-staffed we were going to be in the last two hours of opening. He had the cheek to turn round and say: "we can't lend you anybody because we're short ourselves."
I was on the verge of entering into an almighty row. "We're short? Aren't you the general manager? Or have I missed something? Are you now the grocery manager and not responsible at all for Services?" I felt like thundering. I managed to hold back, briefly - it was the next comment that saw me slam the keys on his desk and stomp off on my break:
"I need you to do the section count for pet-foods since Ed's sick."
"You what? You want me to do Ed's job for him because he stayed out on the razz until 4 o'clock this morning and was too hungover to drag himself into work? What about me? I'm about an hour behind in the cash office because I've been sat on a till covering another two hangover-cases. It's ten to two anyways and I've been in since 9 without a break. I'm going on my dinner."
And off I stormed. Terry wasn't amused because he kept coming into the canteen and bothering me - it's a sign he's in a mood. He'd come in and announce things like: "the stamps are running low", "I can't find the keys for the supplies cupboard [that I've never set foot in nor taken any interest in ever]", "Is there a carrier bag order coming in because there's only two sleeves down there?"
By the time I came back from my break, however, he seemed to have mellowed and spent the rest of the day calling me mate and sucking up to me. He even kept coming to the cash office to see me, but didn't seem to have any particular reason for doing so. He'd just watch me for a few minutes in silence, before checking the sales figure and leaving again. But the ultimate act of sucking-up came at the end of the day. "Are you behind with refloating the tills? Because I can help if you like."
If he hadn't offered out of pure guilt, I might have collapsed and died at this unprecedented gesture. As it was I declined the help. If it's only on the menu as a peace-offering he can stick it. I'll cope alone.
But things had better change soon, or I'll go. I'm not one for making empty resignation threats - I normally sit down and talk to Terry about whatever is bothering me. But I've raised the lack of support and the grocery-worshipping issue with him countless times and nothing is done about it. He puts so much pressure onto whichever Services supervisor (me, Wendy or an acting-up-general-assistant) is on shift that we can't cope. Some days I'm expected to supervise the checkouts whilst I'm upstairs in the Training Room updating the training charts - unless I can learn to split myself in half, I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. Yet Terry still wants the highest standard. He wants cashier bells answered immediately when he knows fine well I'm upstairs doing work he's thrown at me. He only peeks at our department about three times a day and every time, he wants to see perfection.
So today, as we were getting ready to leave, I said: "you'll either have to lower your expectations of how checkouts should run or give us a bit of help now and then."
I doubt I've got the message over though.