Posted by: corozmum | May 6, 2011

Doing Dishes At Work

I’ve been temping for my former employer, a retailer. 3weeks in my old home town store, led to 4 weeks in the city store half an hours drive away from my new home.

I turned up for my first day in the city on a Wednesday. I spied a sink full of dirty dishes in the back room!

After a few hours, out of curiosity, I inquired about vacuuming, dishes and shelf cleaning.

Vacuuming was done twice a week in the late afternoon. The city store is twice as busy as my former store where we vacuumed every second day, in the morning when it is quieter. More if needed when busy and dust and dirt is tracked in by customers. My former Manager would never have stood for the carpet looking as it did in the city store!

Dishes, again were done twice a week in the late afternoon!! Dishes in the other store are done daily before going home. The person who made the most dishes at lunch would do them or we would take turns.

The city store has 26 bays of shelves. The answer about cleaning them was airy fairy. Just when ever, mostly on a Tuesday. The other store (which followed the company policy incidentally) had each staff member clean 2 bays of shelves per day. To track this, a check list was on the back room with all bays identified, and staff signed off the bays they cleaned. As we were all part timers we could walk in and check the list and know where to start cleaning our quota.

Being new to the city store and not knowing where cleaning gear was or how and when this Manager liked things done, I decided to wait for some direction or guidance. As it was quiet on my first 2 days, I was sent home early. I was interested to note that on neither day was the vacuuming or dishes done!! by the Manager!!

I figured maybe I was to get the hint and do the dishes but I sure wasn’t doing a pile I hadn’t contributed to. This posed a problem in locating clean cups and spoons to make a cuppa. With no tapped hot water (you have to boil the jug) it was a mission to achieve!

Saturday I worked with the university student. She was a mine of useful information. She showed me the cleaning gear. I never thought to look in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet!! There are no tea towels!?! You dry with clean cleaning cloths!?! The Manager (in her 20’s) doesn’t do dishes and will do anything to avoid them and hence the uni student does dishes on Saturday. A whole pile she hasn’t contributed and yes it annoys her! I was very indiscreet and said the Manager should get over herself!! I felt sorry for the uni student having a whole weeks worth to do because I hadn’t been asked to (only hinted at) so I ended up doing them!! The following Saturday the uni student choose to do the dishes while I vacuumed.

The uni student had no idea what happened with shelf cleaning as none were ever done on a Saturday. She had previously worked in the store in the capital and they had the 2 bays a day rule with a check list in the back room so you knew what to clean next too.

When complaining about the hassle of getting clean cups and spoons The Ref suggested I take my own in, and keep them clean. I felt this was a little confrontational, and I wanted to stay on friendly terms as I was only there for a few weeks. Subtlety was called for. I managed to locate a clean cup in the cupboard the next week and made a point of washing what I had used and putting it away.

I never cleaned any shelves, I wasn’t asked to or directed to the ones that needed doing (I could actually tell just by looking). Many shelves remained uncleaned the whole time I was there.

I was eventually asked to vacuum Friday morning in my 3rd week. Again it wasn’t done on the Wednesday or the Thursday. We’d been cutting foils for the hairdressing salon owned by my employers the afternoon before. I was instructed to just vacuum behind the counter where tiny bits of aluminium foil covered the carpet. Once I started I couldn’t help myself and kept going! I was 3/4 of the way around the shop when a Sales Rep came in. I was told to put the vacuum cleaner away. I asked didn’t she want me to finish the shop after the Rep left. No as it wasn’t the day we vacuumed the shop????? The next day (Saturday) it didn’t look like I’d vacuumed at all! Which shows it needs doing daily.

There is a job going at the city store but I refuse to apply for it. Working in the store reinforced how intellectually bored I am and strengthened my resolve to find a more interesting and challenging job, preferably utilising my degree.

So it was with relief I got a 3 month temporary assignment in an office starting next week! I have one more Saturday to do in the shop and as I love working with the uni student I’m looking forward to it  🙂


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