Manager angry at me for cleaning my counter

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vividgroovy
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29 Jul 2022, 4:59 am

You might think I meant to write, "Manager angry for at me for NOT cleaning my counter."

No.

This is the topsy-turvy nature of the store I work at.

Management is obsessed with "THE ZONE." (A.k.a., facing the shelves, or straightening up the merchandise.) I agree that it's important, but they believe it's the only thing that matters. I spent all day zoning the Jewelry department. The visiting Market Manager decided I should stay in Jewelry, because the locked cases have been broken into a couple times this year. Normally, our managers have me running all over the place and I only go to Jewelry to help customers. So, finally having had a chance to straighten up over there, I thought it would be nice if the counter was clean as well. Generally, I am not into cleaning, but was actually kind of happy that the department would look good for once.

I am the only employee who ever cleans that counter, but with management threatening my job based on my "zone" I've let it go for some time. It was covered in fingerprints and grime. For that, I didn't get in trouble at all. Tonight I had been cleaning it for one minute when one of our managers happened by and demanded to know,

"Is cleaning the counter more important than zoning and doing go-backs?!"

I explained the situation and she was acted incredulous that I would be doing such a thing as cleaning the counter for one minute. She acted as if she had caught me goofing off.

I don't know what to do with this kind of management anymore. A while back, a customer pointed out that some of our infant formula was expired. The Infants Associate and I took it upon ourselves to clear out the expired formulas. The next day, we were chewed out for it because we should have been zoning instead.



SpaceMartian
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29 Jul 2022, 8:16 am

Well, at the end of the month you get paid counter clean or not. No cleaning, just zooning and looking for another job with competent management. Not easy, I know, but looking for a change probably won't hurt, meanwhile, just do the bare minimum to not get fired, don't burn yourself over this. It's not your business, if they want to have it all nasty, that's management's problem, as long you get paid, at this point you shouldn't be the one who cares about... anything really, other than yourself.



vividgroovy
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30 Jul 2022, 4:46 am

^ You're right. That's what I had been doing. I guess it was because I finally had the opportunity to focus on one department instead of being pulled all over the place that I slipped up and started to care for a moment. What upset me was how instantly an authority figure materialized to crush that feeling.

I don't even usually have an issue with that manager. She probably had been yelled at by the Market Manager and was taking it out on me. A corporate "visit" makes them so tense, it's like the Queen of Hearts is coming to inspect the rose bushes. Once, we had a Store Manager who was yelled at so badly by corporate that he came in and quit the next day. Also, I once had a former Assistant Manager as my Uber driver and he told me how glad he was to be out of there.

The other thing that bothers me is that tone that conveys "Caught you red handed, you dirty crook!" when I'm doing something innocent. I've been hearing that tone from people my whole life and I'm just done with it.



kraftiekortie
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04 Aug 2022, 7:44 am

This is why I never worked in retail….



vividgroovy
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09 Aug 2022, 9:47 pm

Earlier this year, I was formally written up for my zone not being perfect. One of the main things I got in trouble for was spending too much time in Shoes and not enough in Jewelry and Accessories (I did so because Shoes is the messiest.) In my manager's mind, I had all day to go through my three departments "row by row" and put everything where it's supposed to go. She didn't account for customer service or picking up piles of merchandise off the floor. (I will also get in trouble if I don't do those things.) Now, everything in Jewelry is perfectly zoned, because I can stay there and have time to do it. (I have done everything there is to be done over there except clean the counter.) This is closer to the job I was hired for before all these extra duties were added to it. The same manager who wrote me up commented that she hates this new system because she "loses an associate." In fairness to her, Shoes and Accessories are wrecked in my absence.



beady
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09 Aug 2022, 10:23 pm

I wouldn’t take anything this management is saying to you as a personal insult.
The managers must be judged by only certain jobs being done by the people they manage so they only focus on those job. They don’t care about any other metric. In jobs like those I would never argue or respond. Just do what you’re told like a zombie, smile and nod, and get paid.



vividgroovy
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10 Aug 2022, 10:44 pm

beady wrote:
I wouldn’t take anything this management is saying to you as a personal insult.
The managers must be judged by only certain jobs being done by the people they manage so they only focus on those job. They don’t care about any other metric. In jobs like those I would never argue or respond. Just do what you’re told like a zombie, smile and nod, and get paid.


Earlier the same day as the counter incident, I attended a "shame on all of you" staff meeting and I smiled and nodded my way through it :). Getting formally written up earlier this year made this kind of stuff sting a little more. Like, if they decide they're mad enough at me, even for reasons that make no sense, I won't get paid anymore. I struggled to find a job before I got hired by this company.

When I transferred to this store, they put me in Maintenance and the manager I had at that time (who is long gone now) threatened my job constantly. She also had all of us in Maintenance put on knee and elbow pads and crawl on the floor to clean things on a daily basis. No other manager ever did this, so I think she just got a kick out of making us crawl. She never actually wrote me up though.

I want to be fair, so I'll mention that the other day a different manager complimented how neat Jewelry was and sent pictures to Corporate.



beady
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10 Aug 2022, 11:59 pm

That place sounds horrible. I hope you don’t give up trying to find a new job somewhere else even if it takes awhile.



vividgroovy
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09 Sep 2022, 4:36 am

Today I was called back in the office to be reprimanded for spending "too long" helping a customer the other day. The two managers essentially told me that I need to be more willing to blow customers off so I can focus on my zone. I said I sent photos to the work chat to show that I zoned. They zoomed in on one of my photos and were like "Look! A crooked pair of shoes!" I told them that might have been from a day when I was in Jewelry and was not allowed to go pick up Shoes until the store closed. In, like, the 12th out-of-nowhere re-interpretation of the "someone must be in Jewelry at all times" rule, they said that I AM allowed to pick up Shoes while I'm watching Jewelry.

I mentioned that Jewelry was perfectly zoned according to Corporate standards when I was not allowed to leave there, but that counts for nothing.

Ultimately, they told me they want me out of their department and tried to make it sound like they were doing me a favor. It sounds like I may be a cashier instead. I think they have actually lost their grip on reality. It's so hard to predict what random thing will set them off next.



beady
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10 Sep 2022, 2:23 pm

Yikes - sure makes you wonder how they got the jobs they have. It always seems to be more of popularity contest than skill based.
Hope you can hang in there if you really need the job. And hopefully in one of their crazier moments they end up promoting you. *fingers crossed*



klanka
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10 Sep 2022, 5:02 pm

Is it less pressure being a cashier?

If they are putting the same amount of pressure on 'Zoners' as doctors who work in the flippin' emergency room , then you should be getting paid the same wage.



vividgroovy
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13 Sep 2022, 9:59 pm

beady wrote:
Yikes - sure makes you wonder how they got the jobs they have. It always seems to be more of popularity contest than skill based.
Hope you can hang in there if you really need the job. And hopefully in one of their crazier moments they end up promoting you. *fingers crossed*


A lot of our managers are very nice, but the team that's currently over us in Apparel seems to have drunk the corporate Kool-aid.

Crazier things have happened. Right before this negative evaluation, they scheduled me for a bunch of additional work hours, which seems like a positive thing. I can't imagine being promoted, though. Just like when people on TV shows get offered jobs they didn't even apply for. I know that happens to people in real life, but it seems like a fantasy to me. (In fairness, I was once offered a freelance writing gig I didn't apply for, but none of the newspapers ever actually hired me.) The only thing you can get promoted to at this store is management, which sounds like a nightmare.

One random good thing that happened is that a bunch of "legacy" paid vacation hours suddenly became available to use. (I don't understand where they came from or why we couldn't use them before.) So I am taking a week off next month.

klanka wrote:
Is it less pressure being a cashier?

If they are putting the same amount of pressure on 'Zoners' as doctors who work in the flippin' emergency room , then you should be getting paid the same wage.


Yes, thank you! :)

I've done cashiering before. I wouldn't say it's less pressure, but it's different. The zoning standards shouldn't apply, unless they are really severe about how the candy bars and magazines in the checkout lane are zoned.

Changes in my life give me anxiety, though. At this store, I've been in this position for 7 years. And cashiering pays less, which may be their motivation for forcing me out of Jewelry.

Several years ago, they slashed the hours in Jewelry and my manager at that time asked if I'd like to switch jobs to get more hours. I became a cashier for a couple months, but that manager left and the switch was never made official. So one day, another manager (also long gone now) asked if I would pick up a shift in Apparel and from then on I was scheduled in my old position with all my hours. The Front End said "They stole him from us!" :D At my recent evaluation, I told the two managers I would have been out of Apparel before either of them even worked there if I hadn't gone along with management switching me back.

It's funny that you mention the Emergency Room. When I was in Maintenance, I was constantly told the store had to be "Hospital Clean." I always thought, "I'm pretty sure one person isn't responsible for cleaning the entire hospital."

Even when it comes to my dream jobs, like working in animation, I imagine they would have been too much pressure. No matter how many hundreds of things I do during my work day, it's never "enough." The American Workplace is one of the reasons I relate to the name "Wrong Planet." Coming out of these meetings with management, I always feel like I am on the wrong planet.



klanka
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14 Sep 2022, 9:02 am

Oh they might be hinting that you shouldn't work in zoning by being overly strict?

It don't sound good tho



jimmyjazzuk
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26 Sep 2022, 10:02 am

Your department sounds insane and bullying