Or Chinese Food Day, or Taco Take Out Day or Whatever you’re doing today! Today is the first day in my life that retailers do NOT have to go to work today whatsoever. I cannot believe it. I get to eat Thanksgiving dinner, I get to spend time with my family AND I get to sleep! Usually one of those things are not an option, typically the latter. Well, I usually get the shit shift and pull a 12hr starting at 4am. And I’ll be doing a regular old 9hr shift, 12pm-930pm with a dinner break, TOMORROW. It feels like I’ve hit the lottery.
Yesterday went well. My store is absolutely beautiful. Well, not absolutely. There are a few things I wish were a bit better because I am a perfectionist, but the store looks better than it has in a long time, and like I said in prior entry, everything I have is out and available, and we’re ready to go. My vacuum broke I think, my mirrors are smudgey, so I asked Jess if she has time in the morning to attempt a quick vacuum in case I can’t figure out how to get it to go, and to have either her or Krissy do the mirrors.
I ran out of time. I had to haul out the giant ceiling ladder to change lightbulbs. Prior to holiday I ordered a case of 12, and its a good thing because 12 lightbulbs were out. There are also a different type of lightbulb we have that is also out- more than I’d like to admit, but they don’t do much in the way of lighting up my store which is probably why I didn’t notice they were out. They’re interesting. They burn pink before they blow completely. I didn’t realize we didn’t have any of those bulbs- they’re shaped like a U and embedded in the ceiling… I don’t even know how to get to them anyway. So whatever. Win some, lose some. I have ridiculously bright, shiny new spotlights, but no ceiling lights. Ambiance- that’s what we’ll call it. Like Hollister- haha! Too dark in there to see the price tags of what you’re buying so you spend more.
Conversation with Carol went well. I had to be brave because she is relentless. Her initial reaction to me was very passive aggressive- even Jess noticed, and after we went in the back to chat I asked her what was up because even Jess noticed her behavior was odd. And of course Carol went straight to Saturday and talked about how I’ve been the one acting immaturely and inappropriately toward her. She insisted she’s on her best behavior. And she probably believes she is- she’s a pompous creature. Takes one to know one, Carol. Talking to her was like a game of chess because I recognized a lot of me in her, and blow for blow she met me head on. In fact, she opened the table up for it. She went so far as to tell me that if we can’t get along she didn’t know if she could work here. That working here used to be fun, and now it isn’t anymore. Funny how nobody else feels that way. I asked her if this was her official resignation with a straight face, and she probably didn’t expect me to ask that. She said she’d have to think about it.
Since she opened it up in that way and flipped the script on me literally… I tried to explain my side of things. She kept butting in and I kept saying wait, let me talk. Just listen to me so you can actually understand where I’m coming from. At one point, I did apologize for not speaking to her on Saturday but explained that I needed time to decompress so I didn’t act or speak out of anger, and I pointed out that while I was apologizing she still refused to recognize her part in situation and her lack of introspection was sad. Talking to her rationally wasn’t proving to do anything, so I pulled the rank card. I pulled out her personnel file that she didn’t know she had, because she didn’t have one before I came. Nobody did. Can you believe that? A place of employment with no employee files? Anyway…
We weren’t getting anywhere so I pulled out our documentation and coaching log and asked her if she knew what this was and of course she didn’t because they’ve never had a manager who managed things before. I told her that when we have conversations like this, they require documentation and that she wasn’t in trouble today, but they need to be notated in the event that we need to refer to them in the future. I had typed out a statement because the boxes they give us are too small as they’re only for notes and dates, and I explained that I am not required to share with her what I write in her file. I told her at this point she was free to resign or make any decision she’d like, and I asked if she wanted me to read her what I was putting in her file. It was very formal, very scary sounding. Dates, times, specifics, all in a folder with her name on them. Expectations, “effective immediately” and a failure to comply may result in further disciplinary action up to termination.
As I read to her my official statement, signed and dated, her attitude changed. She scoffed and laughed a few times, and I stopped and asked if this was funny to her, and she said no, so I kept going. And she got quieter, and quieter. And in the end, she kind of stuck her nose in the air at what was going on and gave me a whatever. But I could tell that the chess board had shifted in my favor, so I kept talking. I shared with her which was risky, all the rumors I heard about her. I told her that I’ve been informed by several people that she and the prior assistant manager bullied the previous manager to the point that she quit. That Lisa herself mentioned that Carol had called her to complain inappropriately. That she left me with a foul first impression because she told me what she would and would not do, how she had to have 15hrs and then requested to go home early. And that could have gone very badly, but knowing what other people really thought of her broke her. Checkmate. She thought she was the Queen Bee around here and because she wasn’t having “fun”, nobody else was, but that isn’t quite true.
At that, I reminded her that regardless of the impression she gave me, or the impression she’s given other people, I’ve always believed in her and have never once judged her based on a rumor. That we are the same, her and I, and we’re probably more alike in personality than we are different but through being in positions of leadership most of career, I’ve learned to not voice everything that I think and feel because sometimes when you have such strong opinions and feelings, some you should keep to yourself and some should be delivered with tact- in the right place, at the right time, to the right people. And I asked her if she knew on Saturday that last week our store was #2 in the district for the first time ever? That we were in the top 4 in all other KPIS, one of them being #1? She said no, she did not know those things. And I told her that she didn’t know because she was too busy lashing me for something I didn’t even know was an issue to ask about our business which is the whole reason why we’re here. That if she had stopped to listen, she’d have a better understanding of what was going on around here.
And I told her that I understand that her and Barb took care of this store while there was no manager for a very long time. I told her they did a good job with the store- they kept the customers happy and the doors open, and there’s a lot to be said for that. But I pleaded with her to trust me. That this isn’t just a fun hobby for me- this job might give her extra pocket money but it keeps clothes on my son’s back and a roof over his head. This isn’t something I just do here and there when I have the time. That I believe in her, and everyone in the store, and that everything that I’ve said thus far was 100% the truth. And I told her that with her knowledge of the product and our customers, plus my knowledge of running a business, we can work together to go from being good to being great- maybe even being the best. We were the best last week and that was because of her, and them, AND me. We can be that all the time. I reminded her that her old district manager is gone, and Lisa was given our store and this district to save it. And Lisa hired me to save this store. Literally, to save it so it does not close. So I pleaded with her to trust me, and let me do that. And if she wants to quit, I’m not going to stop her, but I’m not going to stop trying to save this store, either. So I told her to make a choice and tell me what she wanted to do.
She said she wanted to work.
By this point the tension in the room was erased. I won, and I knew it. But damn it was hard. It gave me the butt sweats. Haha, okay, TMI, but that’s my thing. When I get nervous- when I’m on the spot and I’m losing my confidence, my cool, but I’m fighting not to show it because I’m not ready to bow out, I get the butt sweats. The thigh sweats. The boob sweats. I am not a sweaty individual and have to do some serious vigorous activity to even get a little glisten. Like, steep uphill rock climbing vigorous. Haha- ask Reign about the day we went hiking on the Appalachian trail and I misread the map… what I thought was a shortcut which technically was shorter in distance actually took HOURS because it was damn near a straight up wall of rock, to which, we climbed. Reign thought we were needing to call the park police to get a helicopter to us out. Woops! Point is, I’m a nervous sweater.
I gave her a charming side smile and said… well, alright, you’re pissed at me now aren’t you? She said she wasn’t, but she was upset. And I said yeah, I was upset on Saturday. And she said she wasn’t trying to come across the way she did- she didn’t mean to. And again, I apologized for giving her the silent treatment. And I paused and asked if she can recommit not just to our company but to ME. To believe in me, like I believe in her, and to trust me and my guidance. She said she would, and I took the paper I wrote up out of her file and I ripped it up in front of her. I said okay, because you commit to me, this goes away. But this isn’t going to happen again. And she agreed and asked if I’d hug her. I told her I don’t hug but she ended up hugging me twice that day and offered to buy me a hot dog from Dairy Queen. In fact, she was all of a sudden super cheery and pleasant, and offered Jess something from Dairy Queen as well. Jess noticed the sudden change in Carol’s attitude and all I could say is…
… I’m a magician.
That is all.
Sheesh. In my mind, going toe to toe with Carol, I felt like Beth from The Queens Gambit, hence the chess references. If you have Netflix but haven’t watched that show, I highly recommend.
Alright, now I got that out of my head and can move on with my day. Thanksgiving dinner is supposed to start at 4 which is rather early for us, but whatever, which means that Turkey needs to go in the oven at 11, which means I have 4hrs to relax, clean up the house a little bit. Hour 5 will be spent prepping the turkey for the oven. It brined for several days and is now in the fridge allowing the skin to dry so it’ll crisp up. I could use a shower.
Everyone- Enjoy your families today! Have a good one! See ya on BLACK FRIDAY!!!!!