Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Blue Flu?

Today started off as one of those kind of days when you wish you could just crawl in bed and go back to sleep. I Uttered about it this morning, but it didn't end there.

After being tailgated on the interstate by an inbred with his hi-beams on, I was met with the following when I arrived at work:
First one, then another employee called in sick. One opener, once closer. Short one person the entire day, and two during the overlapping middle portion of the day, is not a good way to be successful in Retail on a Saturday.

Four other employees were scheduled to work at 8:00 this morning. I Twittered about the results of that one. One guy showed up a little before 8:00. The others were unaccounted for. I also had an interview scheduled with a job applicant at 8:00, and I had already decided that I was going to have to reschedule due to the unexpected staffing shortage. No need: The interviewee did not show up, either.

I started working the phones to round up the missing employees. I caught one on his cell phone as he was pulling into the parking lot at 8:20. He had misread the schedule and thought he was scheduled at 8:30. Based upon his past attendance, I believe him and made no further issue of it.

I called the second employee and his wife answered the phone. "He's sleeping," she said. I asked her to wake him because he was late for work and ask him to call me. Moments later she called back to say that she didn't know where he was. Maybe he was already on his way to work.

Before I could call the third employee, he strolled in through the side door, walking casually, talking on his cell phone. As he went to clock in I pointed out to him that he was late. He said he had overslept a little. I said, "Well, here's what we're gonna do. You don't need to clock in. I'll punch you in and pay you for two hours for reporting to work. But I don't think it's gonna work out. We're gonna have to let you go." While that may seem harsh, he has been with the company for less than thirty days and has been on time only once. I explained to him, "You haven't been on time on a Saturday yet, and I need to know that I can count on you to be here when you're needed. If you can't be here when I need you, I don't need you here at all." He attempted to rebut, but I interrupted him, "When you come to pick up your last paycheck, please return your shirts."

It was about this time that the applicant scheduled for the interview called back and said that something had come up. He said he would understand if I didn't want to talk with him anymore, but offered to come in and speak with me next week. I said, "This isn't a good way to start off, and I'm a bit concerned with your availability on Saturdays, but if you can come in at 3:00 Monday afternoon, we can talk about it then." I have no intention of hiring him, unless he can really sell himself to me. I figure I'll give him the chance to do just that.

Still short-staffed, I received a phone call again from the wife of missing employee number two. She still hadn't seen him and wanted to know if I had. When I told her I hadn't, she suggested that I try to call his cell phone, which I had already done. I asked her if there was a different phone number, and she gave me one different from that which I had been calling. When I called it, another employee of mine answered the phone. The two are friends outside of work, but they hadn't seen each other since early morning.
As it stands now, as I write this at 1:06 pm ET, the store is short four people for the day. Two sick, one fired, and one status unknown. But our sales are the second highest in the District so far for the day, which means that those left behind have really hustled, and we really could have used the help of the others, and every dollar of sales will be just that much more profitable. I just hope that we've gotten to every customer this morning.


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