26th Sep2004

More H&M Bullshit

by Will

This Episode: “Westman: Disassembled – The Final Cut”

Previously: Two managers went on vacation at the same time, leaving one manager, Susan, to have to stretch for a stint of about 10 days. With this clusterfuck of a scheduling job, the blameless are nowhere to be found, and I find myself somewhat deputized as a pseudo-Asst. Manager. As a result, I also begin to stretch, my days going from standard 8 hrs to 14 hrs. It wasn’t about the money. Eventually, you come to a point in life where you no longer have a price. You can’t be bought. I was there because it was the right thing to do, and I didn’t want to abandon Susan. She didn’t ask to be in that situation, and the least I could do was be there, if only for moral support. As the days roll by, the stress increases. Everything that could go bad, has, such as power outages, shoplift attempts, flaky employees, register shortages, and abandonment by the head honchos at corporate. We come to realize that help isn’t coming, so we brace ourselves for the rest of the wild ride. This is what happened on the final day of our stretch…

The store opened at 10, just like it did the day before, and like it will the day after. I was “running racks” along with my colleague, Jeff. Our job was to put the previous night’s clothes back in their respective depts. Why is it, around 10:15, a trio of young Black guys comes into the store, in sort of a V-formation? Yeah, I’m profiling, but it’s done for a reason. I saw them go back into the Men’s dept, but I was really too groggy to care. I don’t really wake up until about 1 PM, so anything before that is kinda like a dream.

So, I continue running my clothes, when one of the guys kinda eyes me, and says “‘Sup?” I kinda nod at him, but really don’t pay him any mind ’cause I hate customers. So, he pretends to look at a few womens clothes, which i note as peculiar, but really don’t care yet because, Hey, maybe he’s one of those Down Low gay guys I’ve been reading so much about these days. Next thing I know, the phone rings…

I go over to answer, but no one’s on the other end. I say, “Hello? Hello?” but there’s no response. So, once I hang up, I notice Jeff coming over to me, with an empty pant hanger in hand. “We got lifted,” he says. I look over, and The Three A-Negroes are definitely gone. Not sure if the whole phone call thing had anything to do with them, or if it was just a diversion, but we had definitely been lifted.

Let’s be real. H&M’s easy’s to steal from. I’m not condoning it, nor am I telling anyone anything they didn’t already know. The shit’s cheap. If you wanna risk prosecution for that shit, I pity you, but hey, “To each, his own…”

This was just the beginning of the days drama, though…

While we try to figure out what had gone wrong, Demetrius, the cleaning guy, comes over and tells us that some old guy had fallen near the mall’s escalator. Apparently, he had witnessed it, and now there was a crowd forming around the guy. “I had to share it with somebody!” he told us. Well, these things are like car accidents, and you HAVE to see what’s going on. I couldn’t leave the store, so Jeff went out to see what was going on. Sure enough, some old guy had fallen and they wouldn’t let him get up. We knew this sucked for the old guy, but c’mon, you had to laugh a little. Well, those were chuckles I’d be paying for soon enough…

About an hr later, after we’d told Susan about the morning’s events, Jeff and I noticed another guy in the Men’s dept. with a whole bunch of shopping bags. He was kinda watching him, but I was busy and also pretty convinced that there was no way we’d be ganked twice in the same morning. Next thing I knew, here comes Jeff with another jeans hanger. “I refuse to believe that guy stole anything!” I said. Yes, there was a hanger, and yes, he’d been in the department, and yes, he had the bags, but I couldn’t believe life worked like that. I COULD NOT believe that.

It was like we were being studied and targeted. Everything up to this day had been trying, and we were slowly dragging across the finish line of our stretch days. We couldn’t take anymore. It was the WORST possible day for us, staffing-wise. It was just me and Jeff on the floor. No one to watch the blindspots. No one to watch customers. Just the two of us, and we couldn’t make it if we tried…

So, it’s about noon now, and we’ve had an old man fall, and two shopliftings…It was gonna be “one of those days”…

Well, I’ve told people that, as bad as the customers are, I’ve yet to have my own irate, disagrreable customer. In fact, I’d welcomed it, ’cause as smary as I can be, I couldn’t wait to tell off some old bitch. Well, Hate, as I suppose Love, comes when you’re not looking for it. And I wasn’t ready for it today.

I had jumped on the register to help Jeff out, and this guy came up who wanted to return a fleece for his girlfriend. He had her credit card and all, but I’m not allowed to swipe a card without ID. I told him this, and he blows up, “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard all day! If I’d known that, I’d have gotten her ID as I left this morning!”

I proceed to tell him that, honestly, I couldn’t have done it WITH the ID. She really needed to be there with her card. I can’t do anything with a CC without ID and the cardholder needs to be present.

“That’s not what you just told me! You told me something different before! Get me the manager, ’cause you’re obviously not him!”

He’s all huffing and puffing, and pissing me off to boot.

“The manager’s not available, so you’ll have to wait.”

“I don’t care where she is, get her out here!”

“Look,” I said, “you don’t have the ID, and your gf’s not here. It’s a moot point. It’s done!”

“I want the manager!”

“She’s in a meeting!”

“I don’t care. I’ll wait”

“You’re gonna have to wait!”

“I’ll WAIT!”

“Then, WAIT!”

“Hey, there’s no need to give me attitude!”

“Actually, SIR, you’re the one giving ME attitude!”

He starts to grumble, but I hear him call me an asshole. I wanted to jump over the counter and kick his ass. i mean beat his ass. Not just for me, but for every other stupid injustice in the world over the ages. I wanted to beat him for shit I didn’t even care about. I wanted to beat him for shit he hadn’t even anything to do with. I wanted to beat him for slavery. i wanted to beat him for the atrocities that befell the Native Americans. I wanted to beat him for the cancellation of Knight Rider. But most of all, i just wanted to beat him. There were tears welling up, and I just wanted his blood. Somehow, I kept my composure, as he stood there, waiting for a manager.

He tired of waiting, and began to ask Jeff for the number for Corporate. Well, two things, dipshit! NONE of us know the number to corporate. Hell, maybe that’s something he could help ME with! Secondly, Corporate gives two shits about customers. They’re the ones who tell us to be like this! You think you’re gonna find a European that promotes politeness?!! Good luck, bitch! So, of course, Jeff has to ask me, and I give him the standard, “Go to the website, hm.com” He just kinda ignored me.

Suddenly, Caroline walks in. Another manager. The stretch is over. But I didn’t feel like celebrating. I just needed someone to take care of this asshole so I didn’t have to see his ugly ass anymore. Girlfriend, my ass! Ohh..so many things went through my head. “Apparently, she’s not with you for your personality,” I thought. But the time for smarmy was over. The way i’d be happy was feeling my fist go into his eye.

Caroline talks to him, and he changes his tune with her. No mention of calling me an asshole or anything. She proceeds to tell him how it’s our policy, and I figure he’s gonna kirk out on her, too. I was preparing my smug smile, followed by a “Who’s the asshole now?”, but the next thing I knew, she was doing the return like we’re NOT supposed to do. It’s a fucking liability issue. She fucking sold out.

This, folks, is why I hate this place. I deal with sons-of-bitches like this everyday, but it never escalates to this point. And the customer is NOT always right. At H&M, the customer wants something for nothing. I’d understand if my clientelle matched my merchandise. Meaning, I’d much rather deal with ghetto-ass people buying $4.90 spandex tops than deal with rich, fat, W.A.S.P.’s trying to haggle on a $4.90 spandex top. And we’re taught all this stuff about what we are and aren’t to do, only to be punked by a manager who “breaks the rules just this once” to make some asshole happy. If this is what retail’s all about, count me out. I was about to walk out.

Susan knows me, and knew that i was MAJORLY upset about it. She and Caroline took me into the office, and tried to calm me down. Starting telling me how much of an asset I was to them, etc. Then, they mentioned something that surprised me. Something I wasn’t really ready for. It was meant to cheer me up. Did it? Yes. I mean, it had been a LONG 10 days, but the war was finally over. Susan and I could resume our lives. I was glad Caroline was back to alleviate the burden, but this new nugget, this was more than a carrot being dangled. This was, to quote a cliche, “An offer I couldn’t refuse.”

What was it? Well, I can’t say right now… Why? because it’s too soon, and nothing’s set in stone. Also, because someone who may be reading this site might be in for a rude awakening. And, because I LOVE a good dangling plotline. So, stay tuned, ’cause I’m gonna reveal “the offer” very soon…