View Full Version : you dont know what "hell" is untill you work at a place like this *long*

07-20-2006, 03:02 AM
*takes a deep breath*

After this job I actually felt the urge to email/write my previous employers to apologize for quitting (not wanting any of my old jobs back but simply to apologize). General crappy working conditions, ridiculously low wages with an 11 cents a year raise, an overnight shift in a crappy area of town, and a manager who sexually harassed(not just me but every female)/had a coke habit didn’t seem so bad anymore...

My previous employer was a somewhat high end restaurant that boasted of a huge building, full arcade, 17 billiard tables, four shuffleboard tables, a virtual golf game, two full dining areas (plus full cocktail service in the billiard areas), two full size bars, and two huge rooms that can be rented out for events.

I applied and was hired for the front desk position. It seemed like the best option for me at the time, I figured that it would look better on a resume then waiting tables, and could give me skills I would use toward getting an office job in the future.

I was told by my interviewer (useless but looks good in a suit type) that I would be paid $8.00 an hour for 30 days, and at that time it would be raised up. He gave me the distinct impression that the $8.00 wage was extremely temporary and was even almost apologetic about how low it was. It may seem like a decent starting wage, but in south Florida cost of living is extremely high.

Cost of living wasn’t the only thing that made $8.00 an hour a bad starting rate-the job itself really deserved a bit more. For starters they do an insane amount of background/credit checking on you because you are a "banked employee". That meant I was one of the VERY few employees who have their own bank and are responsible for large amounts of money. You also have complete access to your own till, and can open it at any time - and often do for making change for customers/the servers/ staff/ managers.

Some of your basic responsibilities- not counting the random things that pop up throughout the day:

- Processing extremely large cc transactions in upwards of $60,000 for deposits on corporate parties/buyouts.

- A lengthy checkout/in and paperwork session at the beginning and end of each shift (in a casino like atmosphere having to pass through several security checkpoints), which means you are NEVER out or in at your scheduled time.

- Taking every phone call that comes in the building, which is difficult for a place with over 150 employees and a very busy special events office. Of course you are also available to customers who call and want a complete run down of pricing/what the place is all about/ and all sorts of other long winded info speeches.

- Answering up to 5 calls at once and NEVER being allowed to let the phone ring more then twice, regardless of whether or not you are on the phone with 4 other people. You don’t simply transfer the calls that come in you have to screen them first. (Find out who they are and what they want with whom -sounds dirty doesn’t it;-).

- Processing a fair amount of paperwork for special events and sending several faxes daily (fax machine is located in the special events office- so ever time you need to send one you have to step away from your desk, and often end up running back and forth frantically.

- Greeting every person who walks in the door, sell them the version of "arcade chips" offered, and give info/directions.

- Renting out all of the billiard tables/shuffleboard. (Includes starting and stopping rental times, collecting payment, and making announcements to customers who are next on the list.) There are usually multiple parties wanting to stop/start a rental at once- and time is money so you had better be ready to drop whatever you are doing for them.

- Making all of the intercom pages made in the building.

- All to-go orders.

- Setting up a full day of interview appointments with the above "look good in a suit but otherwise useless" manager.

Ooh I forgot to mention that you are usually doing several of these things at once... on the phone with 4 people while processing any of the transactions above AND directing customers.

There are of course many more things you are responsible for but I just wanted to give you an idea.You are also trained on a strictly retail position (in the arcade) as well as hostessing if they can force you into it.

I was told by my trainer that it takes approx 2 weeks to train a front desk person. There is just so much to learn. I had never stepped into the place before I worked there- and I was to be “info” for customers. My first day I didn’t learn anything due to there being a huge corporate party and my trainer was just too busy to show me anything. My second day they decided they needed an extra cocktail waitress and had her fill in... Leaving me by MYSELF on my second day. I almost had a nervous break down.

My third day (still alone) I was forced to work for 12 hours straight. I was scheduled for 8, however my relief just decided not to show up. I tried to contact the managers for almost an hour before someone finally acknowledged the situation. They did not ask me if I could or would be willing to stay, they simply left me there. Due to the whole "banked employee" thing I wasn’t able to leave without a manager’s assistance, and I couldn’t exactly just leave my bank and go either. So I ended up staying for 12 hours straight and of course I had to fill in for the employee the next day (opening shift) because she decided not to show up for that either.

That pretty much set the tone for the rest of my time there... 10-12 hour shifts with NO notice or consideration. Every time someone called in late or didn’t show up for their shift (happened more then you’d think) I was simply required to stay late. EVEN if that meant that I was getting out of there at 3:30 am and opening at 9am the same morning.

I should also mention that in the state of Florida employers aren’t legally required to give you breaks... of any kind. So I would work those 10-12 hour shifts without so much as a bathroom break. We were not allowed to take any kind of meal break either.

The ONLY way that I could use the bathroom was if I was extremely lucky to have another of the few employees that could do front desk in the building and if they were able to step away from their position. I had to do it without being caught and had to give another person access to my till.... putting me at extreme risk.

Even if I was able to steal away for a few seconds I usually had to go across the street to use the bathroom. The restrooms were so disgusting they were completely unusable. The cleaning crew only comes in from around 2am to opening. Hundreds of people would go through the restrooms and by around noon they were simply disgusting (think parents and kids in large groups). Overflowing, urine/feces sprayed all over the seat, walls and floor. I always took for something for granted at previous jobs- basic human rights.

Around a month and a half there I went to the manager that hired me and asked him tactfully about the raise I was promised after 30 days. He told me to ask the general manager for a review but we were interrupted. I caught up with him again later that shift and asked him for more specific instructions on how to approach the GM with my request. He completely went back on what he had said earlier and informed me that he had said after 3 months. No “oops” I made a mistake, he pretended like that is what he had said all along.

At this point I was starting to get a bit frustrated, but I was determined to stick this job out for 6 months. I had also become fond of many of my fellow employees. This job was so stressful that drinkers and non drinkers alike would go next door to the alehouse EVERY night after work and hang out/drink. I also have to admit that I did on some level enjoy the level of activity at work. When I’m at work I want to be doing a million things at once, it makes the shift go by faster.

As you can imagine the turn over rate for this job was extremely high… even McDonalds only has their “instant interview” day once a week. We had one manager on staff that did nothing but conduct interviews from open to 5pm.

I will not get too far into detail on the managers, I will however mention that we had very few permanent ones. Most of our day to day management was actually temporary. The company would fly in managers from everywhere- Ohio, Georgia you name it. They would stay for a week or so and then leave. One of them told me that in Ohio they start you at $10 for my position. (Or anyone who handles money that is not waiting tables.)

Now to skip to the beginning of the end.

I managed to eat some yogurt that had been FAR expired. I was sick, the kind of sick that isn’t very work friendly. So I attempted to call in. I was scheduled for a shift in the arcade area and was not crucial/important for the shift, so I wrongly assumed that since I was not truly needed they would have no problem with me calling in that day. But I was told flat out no, I had to come in, period. (Right to work state so yeah they could easily fire me for that.) I came into work and spent more then half of it in the bathroom (no one said anything). Something about that just got to me, more so then all the other abuses. There was never any question about me being truthful that day, I was a model employee. They just didn’t care.

Pt. 2 on reply – post was too long to fit.

07-20-2006, 03:31 AM
The next "strike" was during an extremely busy night. It was on the weekend (normally packed) and we were showing the heat game. Now I was schedualed for front desk that night and we were simply falling apart from the inside. We were understaffed for a normal night, and certianly not prepared to handle such a crazy evening. There wasnt a place to sit in the entire building and I recieve many of the customer complaints (they simply cant get ahold of anyone else when its that busy). Now believe it or not I was standing there twidling my thumbs, everyone was so tuned into the tv I literally had NOTHING to do but stand there. Now I hate working with food but I couldnt just stand there and do nothing while my co-workers fell apart. I actually cleared this with a manager first- and I started to do what I could. Everything from bringing a freaking glass of water to a guest that had been waiting for an hour to bussing the tables that were literally PILED high with food from 3 tables ago (with new guests sitting there in the middle of the mess). I busted my ass and got disgustingly dirty in the process. I filled up 8bus tubs in the course of about 10 minutes.

I also managed to placate an extremely angry and famous guest (I met a lot of famous/rich people working there). He was some sort of famous athlete and was very pissed at the service (understandably). He came up to me after getting bs answers from 3 other people. I simply leveled with him honestly, no generic "Im sorry sir..blahblahblah.. Ill get that taken care of" I was straight up and almost harsh. I was completely honest with him, and what he could expect to happen that night to make things better. I offered the gms name/number and I didnt kiss his ass. He was so impressed that he tipped me $50 and booked an event. (probably several thousand dollars). This after swearing he would never set foot in there again, AND would tell his "people" to do the same (losing the company tons of money as people like that were the lifeblood money wise).

What did I get for all this? A stern talking to by an a-hole manager. Yes I actually got in trouble. I was extremely careful to get permission and make sure I was in direct view of my station at all times just in case. And in the course of that evening I probably saved them 100 complaints the next day and a ton of "free" comps. I even asked the manager if he would rather deal with a complaint tommorow then get a customer a freakin glass of water. He said yes... (of course he wasnt schedualed the next day and wouldnt have to deal with the mess.. classic passing the buck). I am the type of person that honestly CARES about my job and the people I work with. I even offered to clean the freakin bathroom so that people could use it (that night). I was SO frusterated I almost walked out!

pt.3 in next reply

07-20-2006, 03:54 AM
At that point I was getting so tired and fed up that it wasnt a surprise I got sick. (this was about a month and a half after the last time, and I still worked so the first time didnt count) Not to mention the fact that I came in contact with hundreds of people every day. It was some messed up version of the cold/flu and I was in bed for 3 days straight. Luckily it coincided with my two days off and I was able to get another person to fill in for me on the 3rd.

I called my department head with the intention of telling her I simply couldnt come in on thursday. She told me that it was ok, because I wasnt on the scheduale. I was very relieved, and called the next day to see when I was working on friday. I was told that indeed I was on the scheduale for that day (thursday). I called my dp again and she told me she had accidentally looked at next weeks scheduale when she spoke to me. She told me that she would be in class untill the evening and asked if I could just "make it" for 3 hours. I bit my lip but honestly yes, even if it would be hell I could do it. So I came in... well after 4 or so hours she called me at work.. "Oh I'm sorry my class ran late... ooh you sound so much better! you dont even need me to come in" I didnt even know what to say. I hadnt ate or slept in 4 days and was still miserable. She told me to transfer her to a manager and that was the last I heard of it. I had to stay there. I was so close to quiting I could taste it.

The next day **** really hit the fan. I was schedualed for a 10 hour shift and honestly I just didnt know how I was going to do it. So I called and basically said that I wasnt calling in, but if they could somehow make it so that I wasnt working for that long I would really appreciate it. That was the one day of the week there are two people on front desk so once again I was thinking of the wellfare of the store before myself. The only condition is that they didnt ask my co worker with the busted leg (motorcycle accident left it utterly messed up) stay late. So they called me back in 10 min or so and told me to come in at 7 instead of 4:30.

It wasnt to be however, my poor co-worker with the busted leg called me almost in tears saying that they had informed him over the walkie talkie that he would be staying late. No asking or begging, just informed him. His leg was killing him after being on it all day and he just couldnt take it. I felt horrible! I came in on time to relieve him.

Unfortunatly I had decided to take some cold/flue pills before I came in that day in a vain attempt to make it tolerable. BAD BAD idea on an 5 day empty stomach. I was royally messed up. I could barely cordinate myself enough to walk. I made it through shift change and tried to do my job. I felt like I was going to pass out and so I went into the little room behind the front desk and sat down. Luckily I had a WONDERFUL coworker nearby who knew how to do my job and he just started to take care of things. Didnt say anything, just did it. If I were coherant I would have cried. I kept trying to go back out there but every time I did I felt like I was going to pass out. So after trying 10 or so times I was sitting in the room just crying. Eventually a manager came back there and asked me what was going on. I dont remember most of what happend, but I said something along the lines of not being able to get up without passing out. He came back a few min later and told me to just go home and show up for my next shift. I had to sit there for a few min before I could even get up. All the while he was bitching at me to hurry up. So I carefully made my way outside and waited for my ride home.

On a side note I had actually recieved an award that day for having PERFECT banks for the entire time I had been working there. As in down to the cent! VERY hard to do.

pt4 in reply

07-20-2006, 04:14 AM
As you can imagine I was very upset. But in a wierd way once you reach a breaking point sometimes you just get it all out and are ok again. That night I went home, had a good cry (very out of character for me) and I had honestly come to the conclusion that the only reason I wanted to quit was because I had been overtired and sick. I slept well that night, and the next day I returned to work renewed. I was HAPPY to be there, I did my job at my usual 110% and was in a generally good mood.

Well after everything I have told you nothing compares to the last and final thing that happend at this job.

After my shift that day I was told that I was wanted in the managers office. I honestly had no idea what it was all about. Once in there he made sure another manager was present. Both a**holes started utterly laying into me. Aparently on thursday my till was short. It was a cc mistake (not like I was missing cash). I process several thousand in cc transactions per day. And that day I was utterly sick/tired. It didnt matter that I had just recieved and award for having utterly perfect banks, it didnt matter that there were extreme circumstances. They basically told me I was an inch away from getting fired. But not just for that, also for "improper checkout" on friday. I tried to explain what happend and that I was told to simply go home. I hadnt laid a finger on my bank that night. It didnt matter. That wasnt even the worst part. I could have probably just taken the reprimand and been a bit pissed and in some corporate fashion I guess it made since. But no, they proceeded to tell me that they could tell I was frusterated... aparently even though I still smiled and did my job they could tell that "underneath I was frusterated" WTF I was shaking I was sooo mad. They asked me what was going on, I told them honestly I would prefer not to get into it then, I wanted to write it down and submit it. But they kept pushing me. So I started to tell them why... basically laying out the issues in this post (censored and as respectfully as I could). They actually laughed at me.. aparently they only get 2 hours of sleep per night and work so much harder and thought my issues were just silly. They also laughed at the idea of me getting a raise after 3 months (no not because of my performance-but because it was just bs they told you during the intervew). They told me that unless I could turn back into the person I was in the beginning I would get fired. I can do my job, WELL, but I cant just not be frusterated at the hell they put me through. I had NEVER had a customer complain about me, I even recieved on average $30 in tips for a NON tipping position because I went above and beyond for EVERYONE. They told me to seriously think about my future with the company and make a decision before my next shift.

Now keep in mind this is the FIRST time I have ever complained about anything. I had done EVERYTHING they asked of me and more. I put 110% into that job. I walked upstairs calmy, turned in my bank, and told my dp that I quit. I did this so quietly that none of my coworkers even knew I quit when I came for my last check.

*takes another deep breath and steps off the soap box*

Im not really sure how to end this post... I guess it will have to speak for itself.

07-20-2006, 04:46 AM
Any chance this place had a name that rhymes with "Grave and Custer's"? Just as a thought.
I can't believe all that they put you through.

07-20-2006, 04:53 AM

Glad you got out of there, but had it been me, I'd have turned them in a LONG time ago for hostile work enviornment, unsafe working conditions, and a whole plethora of other things. I'd have nailed their sorry asses to the wall.

But then, I'm vindictive like that.

Think Blue
07-20-2006, 05:28 AM
Damn that is horrible, good for you getting out of that hell hole. Plus a person with your work ethic should have no problem, hell I want to hire you :D. I'm also under the impression that this is "Grave and Custer's" from what I heard grave is alright, but custer is an as*hole.:)

07-20-2006, 06:07 AM
Thank you for your replies, it means a lot to me. I thought the post was just too long for anyone to want to finish. I have been wanting to post about that job since Ive had it, but I just didnt have the energy to do anything more then read the other posts on the board. So when I did finally post about that hellhole it ended up being 3 months worth in one:lol: .


*yes it definantly falled in the catagory of unsafe working conditions- not just because of the bathrooms. Often the ice machine would melt and cause a flood that put an inch or two of water in the entire kitchen/service area. I honestly dont know how the servers kept from hurting themselves. Everyone has to go back there, if not to do service related things then to "checkout". We also had to come in from the back door and walkthrough through the dumpster area. yummy...

-Think Blue

*Thank you for your compliments. I do actually like to work, for me doing nothing and staring at the wall is almost torture. I also care about the place that I work, its wellbeing and my coworkers wellbeing as well. Many of the people I worked with were exactly the same way. Which, in my opinion is the ONLY reason the place has stayed open and has still managed to pull in a tidy profit. Even with the high turnover rate the backbone of the company, the employees that have been there for years (since before it all went to hell) really kept it going. I certianly wasnt the only one pulling ridiculous hours and putting up with it all. There are soo many people out there who are capable of the same ethic...I just wish companies would realize it and start treating their employees like human beings. How can large corporations expect the same level of loyalty from people they lay off at the drop of a hat as they enjoyed by the people who worked 30-40 years for them and were paid back with a secure retirement.

07-20-2006, 06:15 AM
I don't even know what to say. How did you last that long? I'd have quit in the first week. No amount of money is worth putting up with that.

07-20-2006, 07:33 AM
Sorry to sound dumb, but isn't a "Right to work state" a state that simply does not require you to be part of a union as a condition of employment? Here are some of the definitions I found.

A Right to Work law secures the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union.

A majority of the states have passed laws that give workers the right to hold a job without joining a union or paying union dues. The union must still represent all employees within its bargaining unit, regardless of whether you are a paying member.

It's kind of funny to google the subject and see what people wright about RTW laws. I still don't understand how being in a RTW state would make it easier to fire you?:confused: Or am I missing something.

07-20-2006, 07:40 AM
From what I understand, a right to work state means that either you or your employer can end the job for no reason. Which means you can just quit, or the employer can fire you for just about anything

07-20-2006, 09:29 AM
No salary is worth those working conditions. i should think you could turn them in to any of several different departments, including environmental health if the bathrooms were that bad.

I know everyone has to eat and put a roof over their heads, but still. A good work ethic is an admirable thing, but no job is worth making yourself ill for.

Irving Patrick Freleigh
07-20-2006, 12:26 PM
Wow. This rivals the vinegar boy saga.

Props to you for getting out of there.

07-20-2006, 03:53 PM
Basically Right To Work means simply that you can be fired for any reason as long as it does not violate federal or state laws such as discrimination based on sex/age/race. Normally management will still pin a reason even if it is bogus to avoid unemployment (such as employee theft) voluntary termination and other reasons that void your ability to get unemployement (since it counts against them).

07-20-2006, 03:55 PM
Wow. I'm glad you escaped, but I agree with those that say you should've gotten out sooner. Of course, it's hard, especially if you're a sweet person with a damn good work ethic, as your story makes you sound.

:comforting pats: there, there™®

07-20-2006, 04:00 PM
a definition of 'right to work', from the national right to work legal defense foundation:

A Right to Work law secures the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. However, employees who work in the railway or airline industries are not protected by a Right to Work law, and employees who work on a federal enclave may not be.

i think the phrase being looked for wherein either the employer or employee can terminate employment at any time for any or no reason is 'at will'. from legaldefinitions.com:

If an employee is not under contract, he or she is an at-will employee. An employer can dismiss an at-will employee hired for an indefinite term at any time for any non-discriminatory reason. Likewise, the at-will employee is free to terminate their employment at any time. The at-will employment doctrine, however, is being eroded in many states. Some challenges and exceptions to at-will employment include: breach of implied contracts through employee handbooks, public policy violations, reliance on an offer of employment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Unfortunately for at-will employees, you can get fired for any number of job-related, and non-job related reasons; for instance, your supervisor can fire you if he or she doesn’t like the clothes you wear, of if you tell lame jokes, or even if you simply rub your employer the wrong way.

that being said, that sounds like a horrible place to work, so good for you for leaving it.

07-20-2006, 05:10 PM
I wouldnt have lasted a week.

That wasnt work, that was punishment :(

Think Blue
07-20-2006, 10:10 PM
I'm wondering if this place is an at will employer. beacuse an at will hiring is defined as, any hiring is presumed to be "at will"; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work

07-20-2006, 11:22 PM
So I started to tell them why... basically laying out the issues in this post (censored and as respectfully as I could). They actually laughed at me.. aparently they only get 2 hours of sleep per night and work so much harder and thought my issues were just silly.
Did you check their backs to see if they had wind-up keys sticking out?!

I bet you anything they were lying to you (two hours of sleep per night, my arse!) to make you feel wimpish for demanding basic human rights. These guys weren't bosses, they were slave drivers. :pissed: And I feel awful you had to put up with that abuse.

Glad you got out of there, but had it been me, I'd have turned them in a LONG time ago for hostile work enviornment, unsafe working conditions, and a whole plethora of other things. I'd have nailed their sorry asses to the wall.
Same here. Nobody should have to work in those conditions. No lunch breaks, no bathroom breaks, filthy conditions, 12 hour shifts?! That's inhumane. Divine Justice / Karma / Fate / whatever will get them, but not quickly enough. They deserve to have the Law throw the book at them.

07-21-2006, 02:38 AM
This whole at will employment thing is really a pain. I cant believe they even try and make it sound fair "you can quit or leave at any time" . Of COURSE we can, we arent chained to the station in a sweatshop. We can always leave at any time. They are the only ones benefiting from this arrangement. It sure goes a long way in keeping people from complaining... about anything. It really makes a joke of the anti discrimination thing too. "ooh we didnt fire her because she was in a protected class" ... "we didnt like the way she tied her shoes... or the fact that she uses two taco bell sauce packets rather then one on her taco..."

I would also like to mention that they bold faced lied to me about several things. I was shown during my orientation HOW to clock out for a lunch break. (leading me to believe that I would have one- and having never worked at a job before that didnt give you one- even down in florida- added to my assumption) They even had my trainer let me go on lunch my first day.. but when I asked for it the next the manager literally didnt know what I was talking about..."lunch break"??

I understand the concept "if you dont like it here work somewhere else", in fact its almost an irrefutable arguement. However after youve invested $150 on your uniform you are hesitant to let it go to waste. Also if you have bills that must be paid at a certain time each month it is hard to afford the 2-3 week period (if you are lucky) of no income while you get another paycheck from a different job. There are so many ways to manipulate people into doing what you want *sighs*

07-21-2006, 06:45 AM
For the sake of everyone else working there (as well as the general public), I'd contact OSHA. Basically, show them this post and it should speak for itself. Also, you could call the Health Department. As a food-serving establishment, some of the stuff I saw (i.e. water on the floor of the kitchen) is a HUGE no-no. I'm in Florida and work at a grocery store, so we get visits in our fresh departments (bakery, deli, etc). It's really sad that you hd to go through this - you absolutely shouldn't have. At any rate, OSHA and the Health Department would be incredibly interested to hear what you have to say, I'm sure. :)

07-21-2006, 10:17 AM
I may do that it wasnt as if it would be flooded and cleaned imediatly. I went to work several days where I had to sat to myself "crap its going to be flooded all day AGAIN". I knew it would stay that way for the entire day- the didnt have cleaning staff on during the day (only overnight and they leave before the store opens)

07-21-2006, 01:53 PM
Oh my god, you poor thing. I felt so incredibly sorry for you after reading that, that I almost cried! I have no idea how you managed to last as long as you did *HUGS*

07-21-2006, 03:09 PM
I still don't understand how being in a RTW state would make it easier to fire you?
If I understand it (and that's always a big if ;) ), what Florida calls "right to work" is what we in Washington call "at-will," meaning that an employee can leave at any time without notice or cause, and likewise an employer terminate employment at any time without notice or cause. It's basically the no-fault divorce of the working world. :D

07-23-2006, 06:35 PM
I would have been on the phone with OSHA within the first month... from my desk while on the clock. If the store had a digital camera (for taking pictures of theives, damaged stuff for insurance purposes, etc) I'd have used it to send evidence to OSHA. Believe it or not just not giving you your lunch break will result in a HUGE fine from OSHA if you hurt yourself toward the end of a shift. You would have been more able to avoid the situation if the company didn't cause you fatigue.

But that's just me. I'm usually nice, and like you can put up with alot of shite for the sake of the customers and good employees, but everybody has a breaking point and you don't want to cross mine.