For those of you who don’t know, I began my illustrious (illustrious means “lamenting the fact that Egg McMuffins arent available all day”, right?) writing career by chronicling my adventures in retail at the blog, The Checkout Girl. The site is offline for now, but the thought of my stories sitting around, collecting dust, makes me sad, so I’ll be sharing my favorites here, on Mondays.
About a month ago, within a week, both our Regional Manager and District Manager were suddenly transferred. The Regional Manager was put on desk duty at our corporate office, and the District Manager was assigned to another district. It was a bit unsettling, as they had been with us for years, but not fatal. They were replaced by other, generic managers. Both fine, but obviously not paid for their personalities, if you get me. In fact, Im convinced that there is a Corporate Drone Factory somewhere that is turning these guys out. They even look alike (small, pasty, eyes that are decidedly too small for their heads) and have the same voice.
While Im a grownup checkout girl (big panties and all) and have lost managers before, the personnel shuffle gave me pause. I knew something must be wrong to replace the boss boss and the boss boss boss so quickly and unceremoniously. Maybe it was that sales were down? No, that is a company-wide (and, frankly, country-wide) problem, I suspect. Perhaps, instead, corporate had gotten wind of the shenanigans that were a daily occurrence at our store? That was probably TOO much to hope for. Regardless, of the reason, I knew that the troops were advancing and it wouldnt be long before they arrived at our front door. I got my ducks in a row, climbed in my foxhole, and started writing letters to my sweetheart back home while I waited. It wasnt long before I heard bootsteps.
Last Tuesday, I was having a perfectly normal day. Tuesdays arent particularly busy, but I DO get a big shipment of flowers and plants and I am usually steadily busy. I worked hard all morning chopping stems and helping customers and, eventually, got a rumbly in my tumbly. I sought out the boss to tell him I was going to grab some lunch. Fine. See you in a bit, he said. It was the same thing he always said. I went to lunch for an hour and returned to chopping. One of my less-genteel coworkers ran up behind me at the flower guillotine (never, ever a good idea) and said, Dude! Where were you? Uh, when? I asked, then decided it didnt matter, Lunch, I guess. Well manager (not his real name, doy) just got fired! Wait, what? I just saw him! How could he be gone?
Turns out that as soon as I left, a duo from corporate had: stopped in, asked him to turn in his keys, assured he had left the premises, and then left, themselves. Apparently these things take less than an hour to accomplish. Anyway, I was disconcerted, but not shocked. Anyone who was caught by surprise just wasnt paying attention. By anyone, of course, I mean the whole staff. The next day, a memo that had been sent to every store in the company was posted on the timeclock. It was an announcement, full of typical corpspeak, saying that our store was to get a new manager, as our manager had left the company to pursue other interests. For those of you who do not dwell in corporate culture, pursuing other interests is always, without exception, code for got shitcanned. Oh, and the announcement included the name of our new manager. And she is a, well, she.
Now, Ive not yet formed an opinion. After all, Ive not even met the woman and know very little about her. I DO know that Ive never had a female manager. Not once. Ive BEEN a female manager and know its not easy. I also know that she faces an uphill battle against the boys club that was cultivated by our previous manager. His bros hold the best jobs in the store and always got away with murder, including setting their own hours and walking out with inventory. Ive also heard that she is only 30 and think that may make it more difficult for her to be taken seriously. Her assistant managers are 35 and 50 and were really bromantic with the former manager, as well.
All in all, Im sure shell do fine. Someone, somewhere higher up on the ladder (and, really, who isnt?), has confidence in her and thats good enough for me. I will help as much as I can (even if its just by spreading the rumor that shes supercool) but am not invested enough to throw myself into it. I will, however, be watching my back to ensure that I am not the next one caught off guard by corporates rolling destruction, thereby becoming one more casualty of the Grocery Wars.
Also, its Monday, which means its time for a new Off the Clock over at RVA News. This week, prune smoothies!