Off With Their Heads(wear)!

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.”

What?!

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.

Bad Bandana! Bad!!!

Bad Bandana! Bad!!

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.

What changed?

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.

So.

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.

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The steam finally cools with Fry’s Food

The flames of frustration with Fry’s Food are at last subsiding.

Let’s review briefly the course of irritants in the past 48 hours.

1. A company email informs me that if I need to reschedule an interview to call Ms. R. at the store directly.

2. I do so, only to be told that no, you don’t call the store, you email her.

3. I’m told that her email is such-and-such. I insist that she spell it out and she obliges. Only, it turns out, it isn’t correct. My emails bounce back.

4. I call the store again seeking the correct email and confirming spelling. A staffer tells me that the “k” in the woman’s name must be capitalized. Ooooooooh-kay.

5. I make the change, send the emails. Wait a while. No response. They bounce back again.

6. I call the store now for the fourth time in two days and present the problem. Though the interview’s several days away, the time to reschedule is vanishing fast on repeated wasted efforts (through no fault of my own).

Regarding the yet-again incorrect email: “Oh, no, there’s no ‘s’ in ‘foods,” a woman tells me. Ohhhhhh-kay!

7. I send now the 6th or 7th email in two days that includes a brief recount and a sense of frustration and exasperation, understandably.

8. I nearly fall off my chair when I receive a response!! I rejoice! At last we have contact! After a stream of incorrect email info from the staff, this one’s right!

9. Unfortunately, all interview slots for the day we both have available next week are filled, in no small part I’m sure due to the two days lost in trying to get a hold of Ms. R.!

So an open interview it’ll be. I and who knows how many others on a first-come first-served basis between 12-3 p.m.

I’m nothing if not persistent — and responsible. Lesser souls attempting to reschedule and hitting wall after wall might’ve said “screw it!” Can’t say I’d blame ’em.

And no, my persistence isn’t rooted in any yearning or deep desire to work at a supermarket for minimum wage!

I persisted because I feel responsible. If I can’t make an interview, I’m not gonna be a no-show. I’m gonna reschedule — if I’m able … and this arduous Fry’s run-around called that into question!

I’m gonna do the right thing. The responsible thing.

I hear so many stories of people — especially young folks — who simply don’t show up at work as scheduled. Who quit without giving a head’s up to a manager. Who simply “don’t feel like working there anymore so I’m not ever going back in.”

Such behavior — and it’s far more common than you think! — appalls. It revolts me. No sense of responsibility or respect or work ethic.

A part of me thinks I should be hired simply for all the grief, frustration and aggravation imposed by Fry’s! A case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand’s doing.

I don’t *really* think that of course.

I do, however, think that anyone who went through as much trouble as I did and still stuck it out to do the right thing shows an aspect of character — an admirable aspect — that should cause a potential employer to sit up and take notice.

I know I’d notice were I a hiring manager.

But then again, were I a manager, none of these in-house missteps and failures to communicate would’ve occurred. Not on my watch. And if they did, I’d correct them immediately.

Guess that’s why I remain a peon in a cog in someone else’s wheel rather than a manager or high-level administrator. I’m too intelligent, too efficient, too orderly, too adept at identifying and solving problems, too thorough, too meticulous, too conscientious and adept at a job.

In a nutshell, I’m the worst candidate for a managerial post in Corporate!

Glad this mess is behind me — for now. I want to celebrate. A round for everyone!

Pick Your Pretty, Please!

Pick Your Pretty, Please!