This blog has taken a back seat recently for numerous reasons. Firstly, I was very busy over the Christmas holidays. Secondly, I had lots of work to do for university after Christmas. Thirdly, Food Place hasn't been a fun place to be recently. I'll elaborate more on the third point in this post, but one thing I should say before I do: I will not apologise for the infrequency of the posts on this blog any more. I'll post when I have time, or something I feel like ranting about.
So, what's been going on at Food Place?
Well, since I haven't been blogging about Food Place matters for some time, it would be very difficult now to explain everything in retrospect. So, I think the best place to begin is to set the scene by quickly running through some of the recent events that have led to such a bitter state of affairs.
- Much loathed grocery department manager, Robert, suddenly disappeared in mid-December. He failed to turn up for work one day and nobody has seen him since. He could be dead for all we know.
- To cover his sudden absence, our Customer Services Manager, Lorraine, was shunted into his role and dairy supervisor Suzanne was hastily promoted to Lorraine's old job - making Suzanne my new line manager.
- I'm very happy with Suzanne's appointment as I think she's perfect for the job. However, she has little experience of the front-line nature of the Services department and requires full training in checkouts, checkout supervision, kiosk and cash office - as well as all the back-office tasks such as staff schedules and attendance management.
- I set about freeing up time to take her through these things, supporting her as much as I can. Wendy, my co-supervisor on Services (remember, the one who's obsessed with cash office and thinks that's her only job) doesn't support at all. She leaves all the gritty tasks to Suzanne and expects her to automatically know everything.
- Suzanne eventually finds her feet and, taking one look at the current supervisor schedules, decides that Wendy isn't pulling her weight. She has shifts that suit her, and she refuses to work weekends and late nights, leaving these undesirable shifts to be covered by me and other supervisor trained (but not paid) store staff.
- Suzanne changes Wendy's hours. Nothing drastic. She is now expected to work just one late-finish and one weekend in four.
- Wendy reacts bitterly and launches a campaign of hatred against everybody. She takes great delight in telling anybody who will listen that she's been wronged and is going to any extremes to try and get out of working these new shifts.
- Suzanne and myself become fed up of getting the cold shoulder and a meeting is called to talk the problems through.
- Wendy says Suzanne and me have formed a little clique and have turned against her. We reassure her this is not the case, and point out that we've spent a lot of time together through Suzanne's training. Things seem to be partially resolved...
- But it doesn't take long for it to become clear that Wendy is still not calmed. She continues to be cold and distant when spoken to and goes out of her way to cause problems. For instance, granting four holiday requents on the week she's on holiday without making arrangements to cover it, leaving Suzanne and me struggling.
- Wendy returns from holiday and moans to Terry (the boss, lest anybody has forgotten) that the place fell apart without her. Terry retorts: "Well maybe that's what you had in mind when you let all those staff have holidays? Suzanne coped extremely well under the circumstances you left her in." Wendy is not amused.
- The hate campaign deepens. Wendy rips down some photographs I had pinned up in the cash office. Doesn't sound like much, but it really, really bothered me. What justification did she have to do that? The only good thing it did was banish my suspicion that it was 'all in my mind'.
Stupid isn't it? All this ill-feeling and resentment over something relatively minor that could have been settled so easily. But the result of it all is that Suzanne has been left doubting whether or not she wants to keep this job. She's brilliant at it and has so much respect from her team (with the obvious notable exception) and she shouldn't be made to feel like this over a bitter old sow who doesn't like it when things don't go her own way.
And just what am I supposed to have done to deserve what I'm getting at the moment. Wendy is refusing to alter her hours to cover my forthcoming holidays - which has led to me having to agree to work part of them. She can't even be bothered to say hello or goodbye to me.
The only consolation I have is that the Services team are, in general, supportive of me. They kindly report back to me the things that Wendy has been saying behind my back. They stubbornly refuse to co-operate when she tried to get them to bitch about me.
All in all, the atmosphere has been terrible recently. Absolutely nothing on the relaxed, casual and fun way of working we had only a short while ago. Everybody got along, even if we did get on each other's nerves from time to time, and work wasn't really such a bad place to be. Now that Wendy has almost totally withdrawn from speaking to anybody, I can't see that she'll last much longer - she's a reasonably proud woman and I doubt she'll stick around when people are beginning to laugh at her. No doubt she'll claim constructive dismissal though.
This hasn't been the only saga going on at Food Place. A huge fuss-and-nonsense errupted just after New Year when it became common-knowledge on the shop-floor that extra-marital shananigans were going on between two married colleagues - one of whom's wife also works in Food Place. I've well and truly kept my distance from this one, but things get complicated. You aren't quite sure who is on who's side and every conversation in the canteen is frought with politics.
A long-serving colleague was suddenly dismissed last week when it transpired that they'd been passing boxes of high-value stock through the back gates. It's reckoned that the losses the store incurred because of it run into the tens of thousands of pounds. It's left us all completely shocked because nobody had even the slightest notion that they were the type to do something like this - it only came to light because a customer who lives back-to-back with the service yard passed comment on what they'd observed to one of the cashiers.
So, that's the miserable post done. I've actually sat down and attempted to write something about it all several times, but I get depressed just thinking about it. The next post, I promise, will be about the customers!