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Is my boss overreacting?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by fourstringdrums, Jan 18, 2012.

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  1. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I know a lot of you guys work in retail, so you might be able to shed some light on a situation I may not be seeing the right side of.

    To make a long story short, I may be getting fired. My primary income is from SSDI, but a few days a month and when I can get extra hours I work at a drum shop (drummer primarily). As one of the perks of working there and really our only benefit, we get things at cost. One of our rules is that you don't take the last of an item in stock and for the obvious reason that we'd rather run out of an item because a customer purchased it and not an employee. This is of course just on principle, but also because we'd rather that if we run out of something, especially something common, that we make a profit on it rather than only getting back cost.

    I understand this.. however on Sunday I had an emergency. My band is recording and I needed a drumhead. We only had one left of what I needed, and if I didn't take it I was going to be hard off for recording. I knew this, and the employee working at the time knew this, yet for some reason we debated and figured that the head I was buying was not a big deal if I took the last. It's a common size and model yes, but not something someone was going to buy every day and most likely we'd have the new head order in by then.

    Well I was wrong. The owner called me, furious because a customer came in, wanted that particular head and we were out. I apologized and told him to charge me MAP for it so at least we were making some profit for my mistake. He didn't care about that, he cared of the fact that a customer wanted something and to quote him "Now I look like an ******* for not having something common in stock". I completely understand this, yet I told him that while the principle of a customer not getting something because an employee took it is understandable, it really is no different of a situation than if a customer had came in and purchased it. Yes I may have cost us business on that item, because I'm the reason it's not in stock, but the customer doesn't know why it's not in stock any more than another customer would.

    So again I apologized and told him I understand where he's coming from and I wish I could fix the situation but I can't. He told me he has fired someone for that before and is trying to think of a reason as to why he shouldn't fire me. He wants to talk to the other employee to figure out why he let me take the head even though he knew it was the last one in stock, and how we could debate over the rule when we knew what it was...again I acknowledged that error in judgement.

    I will accept whatever happens, and in a way I will be a little relieved. For various reasons, this is a difficult place to work at times because lack of communication and organization and I can only think there is a positive spin around the corner to this happening.

    But I just feel that if I get fired for this, it would have been an overreaction. This is my first actual "offense" and any other issues I've had have been a result of again, lack of communication or organization in the store, which the owner has always acknowledged (ie. a customer comes into the store to pick up a custom order, the owner never told me where it was, and we miss it because it was buried somewhere in back, so the customer wasted a trip).

    What do you guys think? I don't know if while I get all the angles here, if I'm missing something. I am a very dedicated person, and have bent over backwards without even being asked for our store, and while I had a momentary lapse in judgement, it is small compared to what I have done for the store.
  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I hope the other guy doesn't get fired too.

    A rule is a rule, and in this economy I can see your owner being upset enough to let you go. Maybe that same customer drives past your shop to the one down the street the next time he needs something remembering the time you all didn't have that drumhead he needed.

  3. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Wait, you mean commonly items are occasionally out of stock?! HOLY TAPDANCING DOG**** I NEED TO RUN TO WALMART AND BUY ALL THE OLD SPICE DEODORANT I CAN!!1!!!1one!1

    If you offered to pay full price and he wouldn't let you then he's probably not worth working for. If your boss is exploding on you because of this then he probably looks like an ******* to the customer on his own account. Whenever something like that happened at any of the retail places I worked at I'd simply say "I'm sorry, we sold out of that model earlier this morning but we'll get more in on Xday." If they asked "HERP DERP Y U NO ORDER WEN U LOW STOCK ON?" the response is typically "We order them in bulk to keep our prices low and we don't have the storage to keep more than # at a time."

    I wouldn't worry too much about it if I were you, your boss sounds like a blowhard and you'll be better working without him.
  4. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I definitely see both sides of it. Yes, I was the reason why it wasn't in stock and that cost us a sale, though I know that the money is not the issue. He's upset because he wasn't able to provide something for a customer and I get that.. however I see that to the customer, it's the same as us just not being in stock for the fact that we sold out.

    The end result is that I was the cause and I know that's why he was upset, but for a first offense I think my getting fired is a bit extreme considering he has admitted to me that employees have made mistakes that cost the shop money (taking in bad trades etc..) and they kept their jobs.
  5. i work in retail, the management practically encourages purchasing the last of anything we have in stock.

    employees should also be happy customers!
  6. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    And what could you have done differently? It looks like your only option was to go to a different store to buy your head.

    Wouldn't that have looked worse for your store than the way it played out?
  7. I understand where he's coming from and his point of view. I also think he sounds like a douche. If he decides to fire you tell him you want it in writing.

    Also, it sounds like a small music store. Is he paying you under the table/no paperwork?
  8. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    It prolly woulda played out better if you paid full price and had the sale ring up like a walk-in, and the co-worker shoulda been cool and had your back....

    Beyond that, sucks that a store rule is a rule, but the guy is kinda being overly prick about it... good luck with the outcome.
  9. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I would have bought it someplace else and I'm sure he'd rather I didn't go to our local competition or god forbid, musicians friend. I know he'd rather get the money back at cost and have the business from an employee even if it meant that he didn't make a profit necessarily.

    Why would I want his reasoning in writing, curious?

    It is a small drum shop. I don't get paid under the table, he's very good with keeping things legal.

  10. Just to make him nervous. I'm suggesting this only if/after (hopefully not) he fires you.
  11. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    We usually have employee purchases taken out of payroll, but that's each person's decision. I like it because I don't have to worry about having the money off hand or putting it on credit card. If the other employee ran it as a sale, it would be noted in the daily sales report and the owner would have wondered why they were sold at cost and inquired anyway. I would have been better off paying for the drumhead in question in full and running it as if I was a customer. But as it's been said a rule is a rule..

    ..and like I said, I told him that when he does the payroll, to just take it out as MAP, but he doesn't care about the money in this case. He's pissed that he looked bad by not having something in stock because an employee took the last one, even though the customer doesn't know that.
  12. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    If the owner is available for a situation like this, he should have been called. Customers of the store come first- it's true that employees have to receive credit for being the ones doing business and getting things done, but the store exists for the purpose of selling goods and services.

    An employee doesn't get to justify "what I have done for the store vs what I did to the store by taking the last of an item". It's not a democracy and employees don't get to make the rules.
  13. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I completely agree, and I don't dispute that with him. I just made an error in judgement..the thing is, I've called him up for questions less than this situation, yet on this one I didn't and I don't know why. I think my mind was elsewhere, and he said that to me "Why didn't you call and ask? You've asked dumber questions than that" which kind of bothered me the way he phrased it. I have only been there 6 months, and don't work all that much so in a way I'm still learning, and I have had to call him a bit with questions, but they were mostly things like procedural that I wouldn't have known, or certain items not being marked and where to look it up not being obvious (we don't have everything electronically inventoried, we're strictly paper, which I hate but what can you do..)
  14. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Just so I understand correctly, you guys only had one head of that size in the entire store, or just in that particular brand? Could you have bought a different brand that had more than one left?
  15. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Just that one particular brand/model we were out of. In retrospect I could have gone with the other brand, but I didn't think of it at the time because I've had so many problems with the other brand that I didn't even want to take a chance in buying it. When you buy 5 of a particular brand/model in a row, and 2 out of the 5 are bad, you stop buying that brand.
  16. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    I understand his POV perfectly well because, as they say, it's easier to retain a customer than it is to gain a new one. That particular patron might now be a lost customer that you'll never get back because you guys are 'unreliable at stocking even common items.'

    Do I agree with your manager's logic? Yes. Is he a douche for acting the way he is to you? Yes. Is there a right or wrong answer? I dunno. I wouldn't blame him for firing you. I'd think he was a butt for doing so, but rules (especially rules like that) are rules for a reason.
  17. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    He has never been clear about why that rule was in place. He has only spoken about it in regard to losing an opportunity to make a profit, so it never occurred to me that he'd get so mad about letting down a customer because again, the same scenario could have played out if a customer bought the item instead of an employee.

    We just moved to a new location and he's extremely stressed about that. I think that is adding to how he is handling this.
  18. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    You're looking at this particular scenario as if it's just a one time transaction between the customer and the shop - and it very well might be - but your manager is looking at it as a potential returning customer who might spend a few hundred bucks in the store over the course of the year.

    If employees are able to buy at cost then he's not gaining anything by selling to you. However, by making that initial sale to an actual customer he is not only making profit that one time but every time that customer returns to the store. By not having a common item in stock that customer may never come back, which means your manager potentially lost profit off that customer for years and years to come. You offering to pay full price this one time won't make up for the additional profit he might of made off of this customer in the future.

    Make sense?
  19. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Oh believe me, as I've said previously, I completely get where he's coming from. I know that he's more upset at letting down a customer and losing a potential future sale than he is about losing the profit. I offered to pay MAP to at least rectify that part of it and he basically shrugged it off. But as I've said, I see both sides that in the end, the customer doesn't know why the item was not in stock and the customer likely doesn't care. On paper regarding the availability it's the same as if another customer bought the item. It's just in principle in regards to the rule that this scenario is a little more serious..I messed up and broke a rule.

    But that was why I started the thread because I think that for a first time offense, and for on its face a fairly small one, that he's overreacting. I didn't cost the store money because I will pay him the difference between cost and MAP, and as far as the customer experience, someone else could face the same problem tomorrow for no reason other than we just sold out of an item.

    There are plenty of stores where people take in bad trades and make bad deals, costing the store money, it has happened to us in the past with other employees from what I've been told...and there are plenty of stores where employees just have no customer service sense and are horrible with dealing with people.. we see threads about that all the time, yet I may get fired because I cause us to run out of a $12 item that we can restock in 4 days?
  20. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    I understand, and to be clear I really hope you don't get fired. You've always seemed like a nice guy on the forums and I honestly hope nothing but the best for you :) I think you should talk to him in person about it as soon as you can if you haven't already.

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