Where to start?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Well ... it's been quite a week.  (This a long post, sorry.)

Short version: Monday was absolute hell.  I nearly walked out.  I was shaking with stress and misery all day long and I went home in tears.  I also had Thursdays shift taken away from me without notice so I'm a days pay down from what I was expecting this month.

It's a bit hard to know where to start.  I didn't post on Monday or even Tuesday because I was so upset and this would be nothing but an outpouring of misery.  At least today I can type a lot more calmly as things have settled down a little.

My previous post - I commented on my day of but a single sale.  One paying customer at the end of the day.  Well, Nora made it clear on Monday that she believed I wasn't doing enough - a mix of not doing enough to get customers to buy and not doing enough in the Shop in general.   It would seem that, to Nora, customers who come in "just to look" or otherwise browse, get ideas for presents etc, magically do not take up any of my time whatsoever.   She was quite scathing about it and not interesting in how much time I did spend helping and advising people - one sale was just not good enough.  The time I spent with the other customers should have been spent cleaning, organising, getting stock out, updating the website and a dozen other things I just didn't have time to do in one day.

So I got severely berated for that one sale.

During the course of that Monday, when I finally got to sit down to eat some lunch around 3pm, I happened to look at the calender.  Several weeks ago, Nora had told me she needed me to cover Thursday, and I just wanted to make certain that it was this Thursday ...

My name had been scribbled out and Billy's name had been put in instead.

Nora had not said one word to me about the change of plans.  I was still down for Thursday last Friday.  She hadn't asked me - she'd just changed it.  I didn't say anything, mostly because of everything else that was going on, and partly because I wanted to see whether Nora would say anything about it to me before the end of the day.  Suffice to say she did not.  Had I not checked the calender I would have gone to work yesterday, unneeded, wasting petrol and parking money.

I was not happy.

Nora expects me to be at her beck and call whenever it suits her, and yet favours her own son whenever it's convenient.

Backtracking slightly (sorry this is a little disjointed, it was a hectic day) right at the beginning of the day, I arrive to open the Shop only to discover to my horror that the front window had been broken.  It was like a spiders web, cracked all over.  Luckily there was no hole and no stock had been stolen from the window.  But I was shocked and quite upset at this discovery, so I rush inside and phone Nora immediately.  Understandably she was not happy with the news, but not so understandable was the way she spoke to me - I clarified, several times, that no stock had been stolen, no there was no hole in the glass, it was just cracked - yet she kept asking me over and over, there's no hole?  Are you sure?  There's no hole?  There's nothing missing??    Bearing in mind I was shaking a bit at this discovery I raising my voice just a little and said firmly, yet again, no hole, no stolen stock.   Nora then raged at me that it was her business not mine and how dare I speak to her like that and that I should 'put on my smiley face for the customers'.

I beg your pardon?  Put on my smiley face?  I'm not eight years old!  I was upset by the vandalism, I wasn't indifferent to it.   Nora, now in a foul mood, was on her way in.

Wonderful.  I've always worked Mondays on my own and I'd been looking forward to a day of working without her, now she was coming in.  I prayed that she would arrive, assess the damage, get the repair work organised and then go home.

Alas, she stayed all day long.  Almost immediately berating me about the one-sale-day and demanding to know what I was doing all day!   There was an angry comment along the lines of 'I see you were job hunting!!' gesturing at the computer ... we have an agreement that I can use the Internet during my lunch break.  Nora is also completely aware that I am looking for full time work.  I failed to see what the issue was considering I had had a brief, as in a mere five-minutes, look at direct gov.  Five minutes, on my lunch break.  Nora did not clarify why it was a problem.  Grasping at straws as to evidence of time-wasting?

Product photos on the website - all of them need to be on black backgrounds.  I do spend time making the product photos look good, I take pride in my work, I think I do a good job.  I got six up on the website on Friday, all brand new stock.   Not enough for Nora - I'd only done the new bracelets, not the pendants.  She ranted that each photo from preparing it to uploading to the website should only take 45 minutes.

OK.  45 minutes times 6 photos, is 270 minutes / 4 and a half hours.  The Shop is open for 7 and half hours.  Minus half an hour for my break - which I don't always get in full.  That gives me only two and half hours remaining to clean, rotate stock etc etc  plus selling a few hundred pounds worth of goods to customers and replenishing sold stock.

But the real kicker of the day was that on Friday I had left a note about a customers earrings that were in for repair - they hadn't received a quote yet.  I put the note, with the bag containing the earrings together on the work cabinet behind the till.  Emphasis on together.

Nora claims they weren't there and she's never seen them.  The note is here but the earrings are nowhere to be found.  They aren't with the rest of the repairs.  I'm not convinced that Nora didn't see them; as far as I'm concerned, she moved them at some point on Saturday and doesn't know where she put them.  Nora was the only person in on Saturday and the earrings were with the note when I locked up on Friday.

Yet Nora is blaming me for the earrings going missing.  She has been on my back since Monday about finding them.  I've been crawling on my hands and knees, searching in nooks and crannies, in stock drawers, everywhere Nora dictates that I should search in an effort to find them.  Nora stubbornly denies all knowledge of the earrings.  Sorry, but fairies didn't magic them away - those earrings were in their repair bag and it was moved by human hands.  Logically, it can't be anyone except Nora.  But I'm to blame somehow ...

So the Shop has been vandalised, I'm effectively being called lazy and incompetent, and at fault for losing some earrings of great sentimental value to the customer - I felt worse than crap.

To cap it all off, a customer declares that she is taking a ring outside 'to see it better'.   Now, call me crazy, but you don't take anything out of a shop that you haven't paid for.  I wasn't about to accuse this woman of trying to steal the ring, certainly not, but what if she dropped it?  The stone could crack against the pavement, it could roll down a drain, some nasty individual might try to snatch it off her - let your imagination run wild as to the 'what ifs' but common sense says you don't let your stock, whatever it might be, off your premises unless it's paid for.

I politely ask her not to step outside - she's more than welcome to stand by the door (there's plenty of light there) but I can't allow anything to leave the shop unless it's been paid for.   That's a fair comment, right?

Oh no.  The woman shot me a chilling look and refused to talk to me, except to say that I was extremely rude, that I'd misunderstood, and that I should 'go away' waving her hands as if she were shooing away a stray dog!   Nora swoops in, beaming smile fixed in place, gushing about her long-standing valued and loyal customer, 'how nice to see you back!'    Wonderful - I'd somehow managed to insult one of Nora's most loyal customers simply by trying to ensure nothing untoward happens to our valuable stock.   Quite how I'd insulted her I don't know, but surely people know better than to wander out of shops with pricey rings they don't own!

Monday was a day that just wouldn't get better.  Nora had me rushed off my feet all day long, I didn't get my lunch break until quite late and even then I didn't get more than ten minutes to rest.

By the end of the day I was beyond exhausted and I was craving an alcoholic drink.  That's a pretty big deal for someone who rarely drinks.  Seriously, I can hardly manage a single can on a weekend.  So to go home and head for Tescos for a 4-pack of lager ... it was clearly a very bad day.

Tuesday - I wake up early, deliver my leaflets, get back home and on the Internet.  By the end of the day I'd applied to seven jobs and printed off a stack of CVs.

Wednesday - into town I approach just about every shop in the area inquiring about vacancies, even temporary Christmas work.  Several CV's handed out and a few applications to fill in.

I now have two interviews set up for next week.  One full time and permanant, the other is temporary Christmas work.  Either one will be great - I was so close to walking out on Monday and I want something to walk to.

I don't deserve to be treated like crap, a skivy and a scapegoat.  I deserve to be thanked once in a blue moon for all the hard work I do not berated shamelessly for what I haven't been able to do.  I don't want to go home in tears wanting to turn to alcohol!!   No one deserves that.

Oh, and yesterday, Thursday that Billy got the shift for instead of me?  He failed to take ANY money at all.  Not ONE sale.   Funny how Nora didn't mention it on the phone today (she wasn't in, thank goodness) - I wonder if he got berated as much I did ... somehow I doubt it.


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