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Fired For “Misconduct”

5 Sep

Have you ever been fired from a job for “misconduct”?

I quote the word because usually when someone loses a job for “misconduct” the very meaning of the word suddenly becomes subjective to opinion, as in employer vs. employee.

Gosh, there are so very many reasons one can be fired from a job, so many sticky situations. Think about it: most people do something “fire-able” at each and every job at some point.

For instance, do you “steal” office products? Those cute purple clicker ink pens you like so much? Paper? Make copies on their dime? Talk on the telephone for two hours a day (15 minutes here, 30 minutes there)? Do you “steal” away time during what should be your one-hour lunch break? File your nails? Snoop in confidential files?

I could keep going but I won’t. You get the picture.

Well, take a wince at this story…

A Wal-Mart greeter in St. Petersburg, FL was fired from her job after 22 years with the company. The reason? Well, there was a “scuffle” involving her and a customer who shoved her and the employee grabbed the customer’s sweater.

Now the employee, 73-year-old Jan Sullivan, not only lost her job but lost her home from being fired and quickly falling behind on her bills.  She’s not entitled to unemployment benefits because she was fired for–misconduct.


My thing is this…If you have an employee working for you for 22 years that should imply a great deal of good about that employee. I mean, she’s been dealing with customers–every Tom, Dick & Scary–for 22 years! Do you know how many personalities, nuances, idiosyncrasies that is?!

So when a willy-nilly customer comes in and physically messes with that 22-year employee, you should think twice about EVERYTHING. Especially terminating the aforementioned employee.

Wal-Mart has a sad history of treating employees like crapola. They do. All one has to do is Google Wal-Mart to read the gobs of stories about the company and the lawsuits against them. Sure, I know they’re a dynasty practically, very powerful, extremely cautious about lawsuits involving customers particularly, but 22 years?! 


I wish Ms. Jan Sullivan well. I do, I do. Imagine being 73 years old and having to be in this sharky job market starting over.


It Could Be Worse (Series): The Wonderful World of Waiting Tables

23 Apr

If you’ve read my book you know that I once waited tables. While free food and employee camaraderie was the only thing I enjoyed about it, being stiffed by poor tippers far too often was a reason I loathe to return to such an occupation, even now as I grovel for another cubicle stance.

The average tip/gratuity now is a standard 15% of the total amount of food one is served with waiters earning around $2.15 per hour sans tips. Since tipping is primarily suggested, of course there are huge swings in the amount that is often given. Online one can find horror stories of poor tippers, rude customers, etc. Sure, there have been the unlikely fairytale stories of huge tips (even waiters being left in longtime customers’ Last Will & Testaments) that pop up out of the rubbage but most of the wowza tipping stories that make headlines are just plain dogged.

Like this one:

Mostly pennies left by a patron.

This kind of stuff happened to me all the time while in Baltimore waiting tables. You should’ve seen how wide my nostrils could flare.

Or this one:

Looks like a $10 tip, eh? Also looks as if they thoroughly enjoyed their meal. Is that a  mere trace of pasta I see left on the plate?

Well, that “$10” turned out to be THIS:

It’s what waiters/waitresses call “Fake Jesus Money” or “religious tips.” These are typically left on tables particularly on Sundays across America.

Seriously, what would Jesus do? 

I mean, technically it’s a tip, sure, but who in the dickens goes to work to receive written tips?!

Oy. Customers can be quite testy. It’s why I tend to avoid retail/restaurant work altogether.

Some other “tips” waiters have received after working a table and providing excellent customer service:

Pennies in water

A Wendy’s fast food restaurant gift card (with enough on it for a Frostie drink)

A Wal-Mart store gift card

Drawings on napkins


Here’s one that will make a waitress contemplate a career change for sure:

In case you can’t read it, it states:

“P.S.:  You could stand to loose [sic] a few pounds.”


A side note:

Results of a poll shows it pays to be blonde if you’re a waitress in France. According to the findings, tips are 25% bigger for blondes, compared to those left for brunettes. The finding comes from The University of Southern Brittany. But that only holds true for men who tip – women diners showed no preference for blonde waitresses.

Now don’t get me wrong, I truly realize the table waiting profession can be and is quite lucrative and satisfying and all that. I get it. Oh, I get it. But it’s the uncertainty of each day or night’s tally, particularly in an average restaurant, that makes me return to CubicleVille instead.

Customers can be the worst. At least in CubicleVille I only have the usual suspects to deal with; once I master them and their idiosyncrasies I’m coasting. Sort of. With public service jobs any ole random goofball can enter your job stance and wreak havoc on not only your head but your fluctuating finances.

For surely the customer ain’t always right…in the head.