Tales from the crypt. The Fry’s Food crypt.
So the other week I’m called into the office by the day manager, “Joan.” Name’s been altered (slightly) to protect the (so-called) innocent.
Also called in is a young pert coworker “Lisa.”
Fry’s doesn’t call someone into the office to praise or appreciate or thank. “What did Lisa and I do wrong?” I wonder.
We quickly learn.
“You are not allowed to wear scarves or bandanas.”
FYI aside, I’m a “head-dresser.” Baseball hats, scarves, caps. Long time back I got this pretty little scarf from the Goodwill. I love it. At Fry’s, I fold and tie it — with a small square knot, if you must know — at the back crook of the neck.
Customers love it. Their positive comments are plentiful. It cheers them up. It cheers me up.
Although Fry’s thinks otherwise, I am not a robot or a simpleton tool for their gains. In their drab (and depressing) world, I like and need to express myself. Just a smidge. To peep out from under the rock. Just a tad. To express my light. If not for a blip of a moment. To bring color and a smile to the customers.
Befitting the Fry’s Food motto: Friendly Customer Service.
“Lisa” too, wears a simple headscarf. Hers aren’t quite as boldly floral. A splash of red or black or such against her dark hair. They suit her. They convey a creativity and cheeriness that, truth told, are absent at Fry’s.
When we’re told scarves or bandanas are not allowed, our jaws drop and eyes roll.
How utterly ridiculous. Stupid. Small-minded. Petty. I say so to “Julie.”
Especially in light of the GINORMOUS sea of problems Fry’s Food has. Starting with no carts for customers (see prior entry). I don’t say that.
“You can wear a headband or bows or ribbons or hairclips from a store. But no scarves or bandanas.”
I debate manager Julie on this inane “policy” while Lisa sits silently. Her eyes, however, convey concurrence. The manager could not argue for the policy on grounds of sanity or reason. She acknowledges lameness, to a point. She’s a kiss-ass. A lap dog to the Big Store Manager “Tom.”
She likes her job. She wants to keep her job. She would not rock the boat if her life depended on it. If Fry’s Food changed its dress code from black pants and white shirts to bikinis (eeewwwww!), Julie would abide. That’s who she is.
So while I offer inarguably sound and intelligent response to the No Scarves or Bandanas policy — knowing full well too that it’s within Julie’s discretionary power to enforce or not policies based on grades of ridiculousness and productiveness, she chooses to abide nonetheless — my points stand no chance of survival in the muck, mire and seamless sea of insanity that ARE Fry’s Food.
So Lisa and I are stripped of our scarves.
Alas, that’s neither the point nor end of the story.
You see, those blips of color on our heads were looooved by the customers.. Appreciated. Enjoyed. Valued.
Moreover, a mere 24 hours earlier, both manager Julie and Big Store Manager Tom are admiring Lisa’s scarf, telling her how lovely it is!
I am not making this up.
For months our scarves were enjoyed by management and coworkers and customers alike.
Then BOOOM! One day. Outta nowhere. The axe falls. Or scissors, as the case may be.
Absolutely nothing except the opinion of one man.
The Big Store Manager Tom.
He’s there on the daily. He’s seen our scarves many a time.
But this one particular day, just before we’re called into the office, he stood at the sidelines, with arms folded, surveying the store action with the stern countenance of a sheriff deciding whether the ruffian should be hanged or permanently jailed.
Big Store Manager Tom chose the gallows. For me and Lisa and any employee who might dare headwear.
To the story’s end.
Nowhere in the company handbook is it written that scarves or bandanas are prohibited.
It DOES explicitly state that no liquids may be drunk during shifts except CLEAR WATER.
It DOES explicitly state the color of our pants (black or khaki) and shirt (white or black).
It DOES state that no more than two earrings in one ear are allowed.
Big Store Manager Tom hasn’t a leg to stand on, in truth.
Yet here’s a fairly universal Truth About Managers:
- They like to throw their weight around. Just because they can.
- They have egos and arrogance bigger than half the size of America. That’s how they get ahead. And stay ahead.
- They like to issue edicts and dictates, regardless of soundness, reason, logic or sanity or lack thereof. Just because they can.
- They like to mark their territory, like a hound. Just because they can.
So there ya have it. The customers’ loss is Tom’s gain.
So hat’s off — scarves or bandanas too! — to Tom and Julie and Fry’s Food for upholding those little insignificant yet uplifting personal touches and pleasures amongst customers. Y’all wear the Friendly Customer Service motto so very well.