The Peasants are Rioting in the Streets

It is doubtful that Marie Antoinette ever said, “Let them eat cake.” For one thing, by the time things were quiet enough to write things down, everyone who would have been present had been separated from his/her head and was unable to verify the quote. It’s too bad they didn’t have Facebook (the Queen sounds like the type who would have loved tagging pictures). It appears that things stay on there forever.

The exchange kept coming to mind last week at work. You may recall me talking about a woman who was told that she couldn’t take a vacation because they are too short-staffed in the deli. She has chosen to retire at the beginning of December. She’s decided that if they are that short-staffed, once winter arrives she’ll be stuck by herself on the days when everyone else is either sick or staying home because of the snow . I’m guessing that was not the company’s goal when they denied the vacation.

I learned that a couple of Saturdays ago, they were short-staffed (surprise!!), There were only three people on the counter, scheduled in such a way that one person would be alone at the end of her shift. It was so busy, that they weren’t able to take their breaks. When they called management to say they needed coverage for lunch, management told them to stay on the counter. The best part was that the team leader left before noon because she had to go to a birthday party. (They probably ate cake.)

The union steward reprimanded the team leader and manager. I’m sure the employees felt much better knowing that management is now aware that employees should be allowed to go to lunch. Apparently, Ralph’s does not know that the Department of Labor also has an issue with making people work for 8 hours without a break. (I think France had indentured servants prior to the Revolution, so we’re still on track).

Moving on to Tuesday, one of the male stockers came in and said he needed the rest of the week off because his grandmother was having surgery (that’s more time than he would have gotten if she died). The team leader said he would have to tell the manager, apparently thinking this would dissuade him from leaving. The manager looked at him in disbelief and let him go. I guess the way to get time off is just to say you are going.

He decided that he could be back on Friday.  The team leader switched the other stocker’s day off from Wednesday to Friday to cover. When the first stocker came back, he was angry because he didn’t have any help on his busiest day. Guess he didn’t get the message about being short-staffed. He lost all sympathy when we discovered that the surgery was for a knee infection, not something life-threatening. The team leader lost all sympathy when she welcomed him back like a returning hero.

One of the people who needs to keep filling the staffing holes has a job similar to mine, except in the “fine” cheese (you can pronounce all the ingredients, but not the names of the cheeses). The team leader kept asking for “favors”. Finally the woman ignored one of the “requests”. The team leader told her she had to see the manager NOW. I guess it’s like being sent to the principal’s office.

Finally, I was sick on Thursday (one point on my record, no pay). Of course, no one could cover. On Friday, the manager comes by and says that the vice-president is expected and I need to fill in the holes before I do anything else. I’m not sure what he meant – the whole section was holes. Not that it matters. In the (almost) two years I’ve been there, she has never even looked in my direction on one of her tours. And she didn’t look this time either.

I really think all we need is a leader and something to tear down.