11 The Wide Grey Line Of Moral Ambiguity

April 24, 2009 at 11:54 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  A little of this and a little of that–

  I got a call on my cell from a number I didn’t recognize, but it was the local "314" area code.  I listened to the message.  Whoever it was, he laughed at my message, acted like he knew me, and said, "This is Tom, call me back."
  Who the hell is Tom, and where do I know him from?  Later I called, and the number was unavailable.  After that, he called me back.  Perceptively picking up on the fact that I didn’t know who it was, he said, "You don’t know who this is, do you?"
  "Nope."
  "Tom.  Tom Beach, from Domino’s"
  "Ooooohhhhh!"  Now I got it.  The supervisor.  The district manager.  The representation of "da Man."  We discussed two important topics–important to him, I mean–while I thought about the fact that this really wasn’t what I had signed up for.  *WHY* is a supervisor calling me *when I am off?*
  But I’ll leave that for the end, in the editorial portion of the blog.  We have a couple of odd things going on at work, and while none of it has been my fault, it has turned to become my responsibility to resolve since I’m the only grown-up in the store.
  First, the money.  Ah, the money.  Our store till, in theory, is 400 bones.  Usually it’s not because we borrow from it, creating an IOT–that’s "I Owe the Till."  For instance, currently I owe sixty bucks.  That’s not the problem..
  Kearbey needed some money the day before payday.  This is a normal thing and we do it all the time.  We’d give him the money out of the deposit, leave the deposit in the safe instead of driving to the bank, and then the next day when paychecks arrive, include his paycheck in the deposit.  Under normal circumstances, this is not a problem.
  The last few weeks have been anything but normal.
  I need to make note of the fact that although I mention Kearbey, none of this is his fault.  I am more certain of that than I am of any other information.  I do think that manipulating the money for him exacerbated the situation.
  A few weeks ago, I was going to give him three hundred, and then the next night they would give him the other 150.  Part of this was due to our volume–we’re not real busy–but also we have more credit card transactions, so even on a thousand-dollar night, we might not deposit over 300 in cash.
  I open the safe, and that is the moment I pinpoint our trouble:  I can see that we don’t have enough for the till, much less any sort of deposit.  "Dude, we don’t have the cash tonight.  At all."  Thinking that Stan or Dina or both knew about it but simply didn’t tell me, which was SOP, I made an "ideal" deposit:  I looked at what the deposit should have been, included the checks, and put some cash in it and some cash in the till.  I did not seal the bag, I did not take it to the bank.  I did not take the money, Sam I Am.
  Lots of creative bookkeeping went on the next several days.  I held onto it until Saturday, and took money from Saturday to make Wednesday’s deposit.  Same for Monday to Saturday.  Tuesday I called Dina and asked her about all of this…
  And she had no knowledge.  It all sounded like BS to me.  I’m still not sure who to believe.  Stan had no idea either.  The only thing I know for sure is that *I* didn’t take any money, I thought I was helping them by giving them time to replace it.
  I know this all sounds pretty odd, probably illegal, definitely unethical, and morally it’s a darker shade of grey than I care to be involved in.  In all my years as a manager, this is the most flagrant abuse of the system I have seen, and I have seen some shit. 
  I realized that I wasn’t helping by carrying the shortage in my deposit that I was hanging onto–it was kind of like floating a check:  each deposit was right, but they were about 4 days late getting to the bank.  The amount of money missing was initially 200 dollars.  However, once I confirmed with Dina and Stan that neither one of them had taken it (and confirmed for myself that one of them is a liar) I told Dina this:
  "It may take some time, but I can make the money come back.  A few weeks."  I’ll talk about that in a minute.
  But we didn’t have a few weeks.  Tom was coming down on her because the office was coming down on him because deposits weren’t being made on time.  And not just mine.  Everyone’s.  What the hell is going on here? 
  The shortage was small enough now that we could carry it in the till.  My sixty, plus the shortage was magically down to 117 dollars.  That leaves over 200 for the till, which is plenty, honestly.  Now, not only could our deposits be made on time, but just as important, I wasn’t solely responsible for repairing the damage.

 ~~ Damage Control~~

  Of course it’s not right, it’s stealing from the company–and I make no justification for it other than pragmatism:  it has to be done.  Later at night when we are down to one driver, if a carry out comes in and orders,  and if they pay cash, then that order does not get rung up, and the cash goes to cover the shortage.  If I can cover fifteen or 20 dollars a night, then in a few weeks it will have been "absorbed."
  The horrified and ethical among you might suggest that this is a slippery slope and I might continue to do this and pocket the money for myself.  I really don’t have an interest in doing that.  I–look, the only reason I would take the money is so I wouldn’t have to work so much.  But then I would have to work in order to take the money?  I’m many things, but I’m not a thief.  I do, however, take free food when I want to.  I don’t see the hypocrisy.  It’s all about loyalty.  Company loyalty.
  I don’t have any.

  Tick-tock

  Back to the call from Tom.  By this time, Dina and I had resolved the shortage to a containable amount within the till, the deposits would be right, and we would have transparency again.  Typically, being a supervisor is alot of backseat driving and hindsight.
  "Have you ever left a deposit in the safe?"
  "I have, in the past."  True, yet a measured response–because I knew this wasn’t the problem.  "However, Dina told me that we have had issues, and I am now and will take the deposits every night to the bank."
  He explained that the office was coming down on him about it; a tactic, I’m sure to try to get me on his side.  Next topic.  "What time did Dina leave last night?"  He meant Monday.  Mondays are slow.  She left about 5:30, shortly after I got there.
  "About 6:30."  Of course I lied.  But I didn’t say 8pm, which is how long she is supposed to stay, because, since he is asking, he knows something.  Otherwise, why would he ask?
  I texted Dina.  "Tom called me.  Yesterday you left at 630."
  I finally got to talk to her yesterday about it.  The money is starting to come back, or whatever.  Now the thing is her hours.  A manager is on salary.  A manager is on salary so upper management can get as many hours as they can out of them.  You KNOW how I feel about salary.
  Now I know that Dina is skirting the rules.  But that is her problem.  I’m not going to make excuses for her, but I see her point.  She has young daughters, and this job is not family-friendly.  When I finally left Domino’s management a long time ago, my wife at the time said that if I went back, we would get a divorce.  Knowing what I know now, I should have taken her up on it.
  Kearbey explained the Upper Management view.  She knew when she took the position the hours required, she could work her correct hours and cut other labor and profit more, et cetera.  I agree; like I said, I can see both sides even though I tilt towards her view:  If you are a salaried manager, one of your jobs is to see how few hours you can work.
  So, there is Dina’s side, and there is Tom’s side.  Here is MY side:
  (By the way, I know that I have already dug myself in deep here.  That is part of the point here is absolution.  The money issue, to me, is a separate issue.  For Dina, however, I think they are both symptoms of a larger illness.)
  My side?  I’m not in love with Dina or anything like that–and I told her that–but what little loyalty I have goes to her just because I know her.  I have no sense of loyalty whatsoever to this Domino’s franchise.  I just can’t make myself care.
  If Tom as a problem with Dina and the hours that she keeps, he needs to check on it himself.  I should not be asked to "spy" on her, or report back.  He said if I am caught covering for her, it will come back badly to me.  Really.  What are they going to do, fire me?  Honestly?  Is that the best you got?  The worst that they actually could do is offer me a promotion.  For the right money and right position, I would consider it.  Not as a store manager, obviously.  Maybe as a trainer, at 40k per year.
  That might suck me in. Then, there I’d be, sucked in.  But do you understand where I am coming from?  If I had voluntarily come forward and agreed to narc her out, that would be one thing.  But asking me and pressuring me–I don’t believe that’s right.  If you want to know her comings and goings, then sit outside the store and wait for her to leave.  If you ask me to spy, then you are splitting my loyalty and straining my relationship with her in the store.
  I understand that what she is doing is "wrong" according to your rules, however I don’t agree with your rules either, so I can’t be your hall monitor.
  We have a pretty sweet setup here in this store, all of us.  Dina only wants to work about 40 hours, and she does.  Stan wants to work alot because he gets paid overtime, and he does.  I want to work (if that’s what you call it) exactly what I do work, in the loosest sense of the word.
  Even Kearbey–Mike bitches about how things are run (again, using the loosest definition), but he realizes that the laxness also allows him to do as he pleases.  Hell, every night we work, after 830 is bourbon and coke time.
  And yet the store profits, as it had for the last six months, and as it hadn’t, coincidentally, the previous several years.  Notice that a little over 8 months ago, I started running shifts, and then we start to profit.  It may not be entirely my responsibility, but I can sure as hell put it on a resume.
  The thing is, I know–I *know*–that things here will not change.  Tom can’t make Dina change and start doing things right.  She will do some things different in some ways, and for a brief period, and then it will all slip back.  I know that the only way things will change is for a big shake up to happen.
  And that is my prediction.  I don’t know what the big shakeup will be, but we are headed for one.  Mark my words.

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