Aug 05 2016

The Worst Person I’ve Ever Worked With – Part 1

As I make known enough for what it’s worth, my “day job” is in retail. Now, I do like what I do, but like any job it invariably has it’s less desirable moments. I sometimes share those, for what they are worth in either an educational sense, or just out of curiosity, for those who care to read.

This is one of the latter. Get ready for a tale that will, in the end, just make you wonder what the hell just happened.

Sometime in late May, early June, at my day job, we got a new employee. We will just call her L. Now, my day job is pretty great, aside from normal retail nuances. We have an awesome team and everyone generally gets along great. Adding in new people is usually not a bad process, but sometimes, the wrong person gets selected, and things go south quickly.

This is one of those times.

On L’s 1st or 2nd day, I met her. She seemed like a nice woman, a little shy at first but once you spoke to her she opened up. By opened up, I mean she wouldn’t shut up. Now, I like chatting. I feel any workplace should allow reasonable conversation when the store isn’t busy, but this girl took every chance she could to talk.

Our first conversation, that I can recall, was about what stores we liked to shop at, and our opinions on various other retailers, and what makes a good shopping experience. Now, with my odd interest in sociology and psychology, this is the kind of conversation I love, as it combines those elements and my years of retail experience together into a fun little analysis. I thought L was going to be really awesome to keep talking to. As time passed,  she would continually come up and talk, leaving her register while I was in my area managing things. That’s not cool, but my area is near the main checkout lane, so that wasn’t too much of an issue.

Random Korean store checkout, just to take up space.

Random Korean store checkout, just to take up space.

It did get annoying, though, her constantly wanting to talk. Not bad annoying, but the conversations quickly lost substance – they were so bland that at this stage I have forgotten most of them. I remember that often they were questions about the electronics we sold (really simple questions, too) or were about retail in general. I thought that odd, considering word was the woman was hired based on her “years of retail experience.” Why would she be asking basic questions?

Things came to a head one Thursday afternoon. By this time, a few weeks in, L was getting to a point where when the store wasn’t busy she would pretty much just go exploring – leaving her register completely to just walk around, with no one else to check out. This just isn’t something you do. Period.

At one point, while I and a few others were at the customer service desk getting our shifts started, she comes up and begins talking to another friend who had been on vacation for a few weeks, wanting to meet him. At that very moment I noticed that a customer was walking to her register to check out, and I suggested to her politely, as anyone in a superior position would, that she should head back to her register as people are going to see the light on, with no one there, and get very very confused.

Her response to me was, dead seriously in an almost 1990’s “valley girl” tone “Uhm, I’m conversing, and I’m keeping an eye on it so don’t worry about it.”

I just stared back, stunned that her, someone who had been here for about 2 weeks, would talk like this to me for suggesting she do her job correctly. This all happened as the woman, who I mentioned earlier was heading to main line to check out, comes over to customer service to check out and literally as L is replying to me, says “Yeah the light was on but no one was over there so I came here, if that’s okay”.

The customer literally did, and said, exactly what I told L they would do!

I went on and just walked away, to let her do whatever she was going to do, and thought it a one off event, until later that afternoon, when she was slated to leave for the day. This is where things go crazy.. but I’ll leave that, and the rest of the story, for another day.

UPDATE! See part 2 here:

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