Monday, June 07, 2010

One Comment Turned a Meeting Nasty!

This isn't about White on Black discrimination or harassment, but I wanted to share this anyway.

I was at work. There were about 20 workers and managers in the room. We were having a pre-shift meeting before starting our day in retail, when one of the managers (several were present) began to talk about all of the things that cashiers could do to build sales. As an on-floor supervisor of the cashiers, I spoke up and said that the managers had to hold everyone accountable for building sales because there was more potential to build a bigger sale on the sales floor as opposed to when a guest was checking out at the register. I said the burden shouldn't just be on cashiers, but everyone can look to see what a guest is holding and can recommend items that might go with it. They can tell guests we have 3 floors and engage with them. We ALL need to pitch in CONSISTENTLY with building sales.

Harmless enough.

A Black, male manager (from an earlier shift) took this as a personal attack and began challenging me by saying that someone in the store, who wasn't a cashier got a guest compliment.

So, I said that this had nothing to do with what I was talking about, I wasn't marginalizing other staff or saying they don't assist guests, I was simply saying that managers are on the sales floor talking only to the cashiers about building sales, when they should also speak to people replenishing the floors and to guest service associates. I said that cashiers were complaining amongst themselves and I was making management aware of the mood and issues on the sales floor.

You would think I told a Yo Mama joke to this man. He started to get personal and asked how I knew what everyone in the store was doing for 8 hours a day. I told him, again, that this had nothing to do with what I was saying. Of course I wasn't watching any one person for 8 hours. But, I told him that I have seen enough to know that the cashiers have a valid issue. I didn't need to watch anyone in particular for 8 hours. And, I was on the sales floor more than sales managers.

He wanted to escalate things and I was in the mood to oblige him, to be perfectly honest. So, we went back and forth, with him being slick mouthed and me being very direct and on topic and not backing down.

Finally, he asked if I wanted to have an honest discussion and I said, "Not with you! You aren't listening to a word I'm saying so there's no way we can have a conversation. You took my comments personally, for some unknown reason, and now you're being defensive. I have nothing else to say to you."

All he had to say to that was he could talk to me in the back, if I preferred. Yes, he went to a threat. I smiled, shrugged and said that was perfectly fine to me. "We can go now." He didn't like that much.

You know, I don't care if it seemed insubordinate. I am too old to allow someone to start wilding out on me for no reason. This is a manager, who goes on dates with workers and calls them at home after looking up their phone numbers in the employee database.

He called and questioned one female associate, who he saw flirting with guys in the store, "Oh, that's the type of broke a** n*ggers, you like? Don't you want a man who can do something for you?" This is after looking up her phone number on the workplace computer.

You wanna talk about violating workplace rights to privacy, sexual harassment and the like. So, I'm sorry, I just wasn't taking anything off this dude.

Funny thing is, when we got to the back, he was all soft-spoken and reasonable. I told him that I didn't like his tone or attitude. I kept it right up. I didn't care about being suspended or anything. I am tired of workplace hypocrisy. Rules for ones and none for the others.

This just reminded me of how easy it is for one person to get under your skin and get you to act out of character. People asked if I was angry. I told them I was annoyed.

I am tired of members of management thinking they can say and do what they want, even when it's unprovoked. I don't care if it's race-related or not. These people wouldn't dream of saying half the stuff they say at a bus-stop, for instance. They'd think about getting knocked out!! And, then they wouldn't say a word, in most cases.

That isn't a White issue or a Black issue. It's a butt-hole issue.

Anyway, that's my vent for the week. Thanks for reading and have a blessed day!!


Anonymous cassandrac2002 said...

I understand your rant, I honestly had encountered some people like that in the work place before. Sometimes you do have to make your patience longer, but I guess what you did was just right; showing them your real feelings toward the situation.. in a professional-ish way.

I find your blog a nice portal of career advice for everyone, because you know racism and discrimination is a fact that we have to live with, but should be faced bravely and positively.

2:14 AM  

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