The other day, all employees were told to focus on customer service, customers, and upselling ONLY.
No projects. No tasking.
(What exactly is it that makes them think our focus drives people into the store? “Oh? There aren’t any customers here? It must be because we aren’t working hard enough! Let’s mentally prepare and the customers will sense our preparedness and come into our store!”)
So I walk up to the registers to start my shift and reluctantly stand there and do nothing. There are zero customers in the store. Why can’t I be cleaning? Grr.
After a few hours, the other cashier arrives and our shifts overlap for 5 hours. Not to mention, there is a THIRD cashier coming in shortly. (Normally, only 1 person is needed.)
He and I are standing up there doing nothing. I can feel time moving and I hate it but we were told not to task and to focus on our (invisible) customers.
That same manager that told us not to do anything, came walking up the registers to micromanage. He gave us a judging look and said in a bitchy tone
“So what’s going on up here?”
I look around to emphasize that there aren’t any customers in my entire side of the store and reply, “Nooot much.”
In a snarky voice he says, “Why not?”, and stalks off before we can answer.
Uhh…because you told us not to do anything. Trust me I RATHER be doing something. Anything.
So, taking his not-so-subtle hint, I call customer service and I tell the other manager that answers that if he has anything that needs done, I would be happy to do it.
A couple of minutes later he comes to me with a project. Thank god. He asks me to work in our bargain section which is right near the registers. Then he hands me a stack of stickers that I need to put on the books. He tells me to cut them in half to get more use out of them.
These are full sheets and there are a hundred of them. I’m not cutting them by hand. That would be stupid. So, I tell the other cashier, who has the ability to page me if needed, that I’m running back into the office quickly to cut these with the huge weapon of death paper cutting thing.
I don’t know the technical name.
So I go back there and start cutting (I’m only planning on cutting a few sheets), and this has taken all of 2 minutes. The snarky manager is back there too and sees me. He looks me over with that damn judgey face and tells me that I need to go to customer service and cover a break. He was mad that as I was working I was smiling because I was talking to a co-worker that was on break back there. He smelled happiness and wanted to destroy it.
What he said:
“Uuum we’re going to have you come to customer service now to cover Missy’s break. So you can go do that and help with frontlist n stuff. How’s that sound? Great.”
What he meant:
“Why the fuck are you smiling and laughing? We don’t pay you to smile and laugh because no work can possibly get done when you’re smiling and/or laughing. Go cover missy’s break because whatever it is that you are doing, it’s obviously not important. You’re lazy so I’ll give you something to do. I don’t care how you feel about it but I’m going to ask you anyway and answer for you then leave victorious in all of my micromanagement glory! Mwuahahahaha!”
I just say “ok”, say a few choice words about the situation to the co-worker that’s back there, tell the other cashier where I’ll be since no one else did, and go to customer service.
At customer service, the manager that gave me the sticker project is there. I tell him that I decided to use the paper cutter instead of scissors. He replies “oh! That’s brilliant! I didn’t even think about that!” Then Snarky McMicromanage of course had to chime in with “YEEEAAAHHH….but it wasn’t cleared with ME, so I had NO idea what was going on.”
Oh dear God! You didn’t know what was going on? You mean you saw me clearly doing something non-cash related (which I’m always doing) for 3 seconds and assumed I’m obviously using company time to cut my own stickers because I now own some kind of underground sticker facility that competes with this bookstore! It’s all an evil plot! How dare I leave the other cashier up there alone! It takes TWO to stand there and twiddle his thumbs!
I look at the other manager and say:
"So, just to sum up, I get told to not do anything. Then I get criticised for not doing anything. Then I take it upon myself to find something to do. Then I get yelled at for doing something but the wrong kind of something because I didn’t ask permission to cut stickers so that he’d know where I was even though I was right next to him. That sound about right?"