Monday, October 11, 2004

And so the mop bucket sat...

As you have read previously, I'm a bit of a firebrand when it comes to management by intimidation. I've never been easily intimidated, especially when it comes to a minimum wage job for spare cash. Nevertheless, I take every opportunity to stand up when the Man tries to push me back down with his greasy cheese remnant covered hands.

And so it was, that the perfect storm of working conditions and tyrannical management occurred one summer morning.

Ideally, the person opening gets right down to getting stuff ready and making pizzas. You see, there's a buffet (neither Warren or Jimmy) on weekdays, so you need to build up a buffer of pizzas to keep up with demand later. This is made possible by the person who closed the store the previous night. Having cleaned everything up and put everything away, they have made it possible for you to take everything out again and start getting down to the making of the pizzas.

However, this one particular day, not one thing had been done the night before. Not only was all the pizza topping layed out on the table, ruined, but a nasty bucket of grey sludge that had been mop water in a previous, less caustic, life was sitting in the middle of the kitchen breeding mutant life forms. None of the machines had been cleaned. To make a long story short, I was pissed. And then even more pissed later when I found out that the assistant manager had been the closing person the night before.

Linda was her name. Linda looked like more of a man than I did. Her best friend was Jamie, the manager. Jamie later took out a restraining order (for unknown reasons) against Linda long after I went to college and became productive. The manager opening the store that day with me was... Yes, you guessed it, Linda. (see the perfect storm brewing?)

I knew that Linda did not know that I knew she had closed the night before. I had read this information off the schedule, but knew she was not smart enough to figure out that I knew. So I complained, loudly, about the shiftless morons who closed the previous night. She yelled at me and told me to take care of it because the district manager was going to stop by that day. Ahh, the ingredients for the perfect storm...

Imagining the chaos that was about to ensue, I went about ignoring everything that had not been done, and started making pizzas amidst the rubble of last nights massive onslaught (yes, I did get rid of all the ruined toppings).

Linda told me to clean it up again, and again, and again. I said no every time, but she wouldn't cave in and take care of it herself. So the mop bucket sat.

"Clean it or your fired!" She screamed in my ear, as I made pizzas. My reluctance only seemed to invigorate her anger and give fuel to the fire of the madness that infected her mind. Another thing I knew that she didn't, she couldn't fire me for not doing someone else’s job, particularly hers!

And so it was, the district manager arrived, and was being held, distracted by Linda, at the front of the store, while the mop bucket loomed in the kitchen. By this time, I had been threatened with bodily harm, termination of employment, and coaxed many four letter words out of the Assistant Managers vile maw (much to the enjoyment of my fellow workers). I specifically remember Derrick and I cracking up after every threat.

It was time to strike. I walked out front, interrupted the ass kissing session between Linda and David, the district manager, and said, "Can I show you something?"

He said sure.

I took him on a tour, pointing out every single thing that had not been taken care of properly the night before. He kept saying, "I see."

A meeting occurred shortly thereafter, the result of which involved Linda cleaning out the mob bucket and muttering verbiage at me more deadly that the stuff in the bucket. The district manager, an ultimately reasonable individual, dished out the management lessons that day.

Thus began the great, "We must find a way to fire that little punk" project. It never happened. But many more confrontations ensued. Stay tuned for more, and more fallout from Labor Wars!

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