How many anti-stealing policies does it take to annoy people?

Here’s what a reasonable rule for employee purchases would look like:

  • Stealing from the company is grounds for termination.

It’s possible to argue against that rule, but it’s reasonable.

They might feel a need to elaborate:

  • Unauthorized discounts or IOUs count as stealing.

And maybe:

  • Employees can get coffee or fountain sodas for free.

Free coffee is nice. I won’t insist on more of an employee discount than that – not in a retail job, anyway. In a food-service job, where the company would be selling me my own labor at a profit, it’d be a bit different.

My employer has these policies. If only that was all.

But no:

  • Unless you’re the only one on shift, you aren’t allowed to ring up your own purchases.

That’s both insulting and puzzling. I’m trusted enough to put the money in the drawer when a stranger buys a sandwich but not when I buy a sandwich?

That last policy came out a few months ago. No, check that, corporate has printouts to prove to its own satisfaction that all their policies have been in force for years, but the first anyone heard of that one was a few months ago.

If only that was all, it would have stayed only mildly insulting. But no.

Two and a half pages of manualese (it’s like legalese, but less dense, because most of its intended audience is presumed stupid) appeared behind the counter a few days ago. It repeated the above policies and added:

  • Nothing you buy is to be left on the premises after you leave for the day.

This, presumably, makes surveillance easier, because it means management has to watch only one day’s camera footage to check to see if we put money in the drawer.

  • You have to attach a copy of the receipt to the thing you bought. (This is probably about camera surveillance again.)
  • You have to attach another copy of the receipt to a “Consumption Log,” on which you have to write your name, the date and time, and the receipt’s seven-digit transaction number. A manager then has to cosign for each transaction.

Side note: the store manager can cosign her own purchases, because she isn’t presumed guilty.

  • Take-home purchases must be made after clocking out (to avoid fifteen or thirty seconds of “time theft,” I guess) and must be bagged.
  • If one employee is working at closing time, take-home purchases must be the last transaction of the day, a copy of the receipt must be attached to the bag, and the employee should leave through the front door.

If you can’t use the register after you clock out, or if you have to leave through the back door because that’s the way the building’s locks and/or security system are set up, then too bad.

  • That free coffee or fountain soda must be in a special mug with the corporate logo and some customer-service slogans on it, and that mug can’t leave the premises.
  • Speaking of coffee, hot chocolate counts as coffee for the customers (there isn’t even a way to ring up a “hot chocolate”), but it doesn’t for you.

My response, about halfway through skimming through the manualese, was to swear at the paper in my hand, and as word of it spread no one substantially disagreed. Well, almost no one – one guy who was on loan from another location was cheerful about it, because his store manager had told him that corporate was measuring interest in a possible employee discount, and that was why he made six different purchases the day he was here, the poor gullible bastard.

Everyone else’s reaction has ranged from scorn to indignation to speculation about the thoroughness of the surveillance – does the time part of the Consumption Log suggest that management is watching the cameras to see if we put money from our pockets in the drawer at that time? (Probably.)

Not even the store manager who’d printed the thing out could muster much energy to defend it, barely responding to questions and giving the vague impression that she’d been ordered to change the policy (no, I don’t care that the manualese is dated 2016, it’s a new policy in every way that matters) in response to an email from higher up.

And the most telling response has been the Consumption Log itself – the first couple of days it was nearly full, but yesterday there were only six transactions on it, three of which were by managers. I haven’t bought anything here since the Consumption Log appeared, and I’m obviously not alone in not wanting to put up with it.


Categories: PiecesTags: ,

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