Great, honest, positive worker. Honest, caring, happy person. HONEST! Don't lie, don't cheat, don't steal....somewhere along the way to the top, AutoZone (upper management) lost…
aggresive customers, AutoZone policy, corporate assholes, lazy managers, liars, wittdtjr, wrongful termination, zoners
Sunday, June 26, 2011
My name is Beth L. Uhrine and I am 29 as of May 27th, 2011. I moved to Texas in January of 2008 from a Northwest Chicago suburb. I quickly found work doing something I really enjoyed more than I ever thought possible. Not a tough job in terms of physical labor, but still challenging because the particular industry I had little knowledge about. I was constantly trying to learn more and possibly open some doors for myself in the proccess of performing the tasks that I was expected to do each shift.
The first AutoZone I worked at was about the size of a Seven-Eleven store. For two years I work side-by-side with the store manager, Jorge Romero, which at the time I didn't know was brand new to the store as well as new to the management position that he was performing. He had been transfered from another store with next to no training on how to perform his tasks that he was resposible for completing on a daily basis. So, not only was I learning, but he was learning. Training for me came little by little and most of the time it was rediculously busy at that store. On top of that, I would estimate that over seventy percent of the customers were Spanish speaking. Did I mention that I do not speak spanish? I started to! By the end of my first year at AutoZone, I was comprehending spanish, if spoken slow enough, and learning to speak simple sentences for the sole purpose of helping the customer.
Nearing the end of my second year with AutoZone, I was feeling the need to learn more about the business and felt I could get better training at a bigger store where I could focus on learning to do things the way they are supposed to be done, rather than taking a guess on what to do. There were more employees(and managers) that would act as mentors. I thought this was great! I was learning the right way things were done, and still able to work quickly from my experience at the smaller, busy store. I worked for a year at the second, bigger store. I loved it! I loved the people I was working with, loved the variation of the shifts, the rotation of the schedules, the tasks I performed, and I loved to talk with customers about their automobiles. It was the perfect type of work for me at this point in my life; and maybe forever.
Just after compeleting my first full year at the bigger store, the quality of work deteriorated rapidly. The store manager that had taken me under his wing was transfered to a different store and was replaced with yet another new store manager that was still in training. Everyday I walked into that store with a smile and said hello to everyone, and immediatley got to work. Whether it was taking care of customers, front facing the products, stocking the truck shipment we had recieved, cleaning the store, pulling overstock, or re-setting a plan-o-gram. Once I walked into the store my time was directed fully to AutoZone. The only breaks I took were my scheduled meal breaks, and occasionally I'd have to use the restroom once after my meal break. I filled my day at AutoZone entirely with tasks that I was asked to complete while the store was slow. I always made sure that the customers never had to wait too long for their parts. In fact, most of the time I was told to stay behind the parts counter to help customers because, "I was good at it!" What a joke!
Then one day comes along that I'm scheduled for a six and a half hour shift. No lunch was scheduled for me, however there were several other employees that were there to take some of the load off, so I thought. As I stayed behind the counter helping the continuous line of customers that were starting to get irritated because of the length of time they were wasting in line, two other employees were filling the shelves with newly recieved products. I asked for help from the others, but was ignored as if they couldn't hear me. The store manager finally comes out from his office directly behind the wall that is four feet from me and asks if I need help. Still with a smile, I say, "PLEASE!" His response was, "OK." He shot me a snobby looking smirk and shrugged his shoulders while the line of customers waited for someone to help them.
His fake efforts to lend a hand were only sincere to the customers that had walked in within the last few seconds of his display. As for the customers that had been waiting five, ten, or possibly even fifteen minutes, they could sense that I was not a happy employee. Alfonzo's day went on, normal as could be. Not mine. No, no! Customer after customer I was required to stay at the counter. When I tried to explain to Alfonzo that I needed to go to the washroom or I was going to have my period staining my pants, he blurted out "I just really need you here right now, OK?" Forcing me to explain loud enough for all the customers to hear that I had to change my tampon because I had my period. Just as snobby as the look he'd given me just moments before he said, and I quote, "No you may not use the washroom right now, Beth."
Five hours and forty-five minutes into my shift I had to ask to use the restroom. I hadn't taken even so much as a snack break all day. I had been working the parts couter alone since the moment I walked in the door. Please let me remind you that I was scheduled for six and a half hours with NO lunch. Then I'm told I cannot use the bathroom almost six hours into my shift. Why is it that people whom are very good, hard workers seem to grab the short end of the stick? If I was a man this would have never happened. My hard work that I had put in while the manager that gave me the opportunity to work at 1516 in the first place didn't matter at all anymore. It was as if I was being punished by someone that didn't know the first thing about me or my work ethics. While I was busting my butt, working as fast as I could, the two other employees played games in the aisle with the new goods.
I told Alfonzo that I needed a bathroom break very badly. I had already been there five hours and forty-five minutes and the night was going to be over in just forty-five more minutes. However, this was an emergency. I had my period and after just a couple hours, leaking is a possibilty. FIVE HOURS and FORTY-FIVE minutes is an emergency! Instead of saying, "Sure Beth, take a bathroom break," what came out of his mouth made me have to announce loud enough for all the customers to hear that I had to go to the bathroom to change my tampon.
"I just really need you here right now, OK!," were his exact words. I again said that this was an emergency. That I would be very quick and that one of the other employees could always help out. Before I could say anymore, he told me that I couldn't use the bathroom right then, which forced me to say loudly and clearly to him that I had to change my tampon or I was going to have a big mess all over myself. With that, I turned towards the rear of the store where the restrooms are and almost jogged there as I burst into tears. I was viciously forced into yelling what was a very private thing, loud enough for people at the end of the long line to hear. Three or four minutes later I was right back at the counter; helping more customers! Forced to pull it back together in such a short time because the other employees had "their assigned tasks" to do.
After the never ending line dies down, and now five hours and forty-five minutes into my shift, I need to excuse myself to use the restroom(it was that time of month). When I start heading in the direction of the bathroom I am stopped by my store manager and told I couldn't leave the counter. When I told him I had been there almost six hours with no breaks, his reply was, "Beth, I just really need you to stay up here for me right now." As I explained my situation to him quietly he made no attempt to get the other employees to help at the counter and instead started to raise his voice in front of the customers. Keeping the volume down wasn't an option for me anymore. Alfonzo had stated loud and clear that I had to stay there. If I waited one more minute for my "potty break," I'd have an awfully embarassing mess staining my pants. Still trying to tell him that I had not gone to the restroom at all since before my shift began I gave in and finally had to tell him loud enough for everyone to hear, that I was going to the bathroom to change my tampon. I walked away from him before the tears burst out, thank goodness, but with tons of customers to witness it all I couldn't help but feel embarassed. I was sobbing on the walk through the store to the restroom.
*Just a couple weeks later this kicks me in the teeth, as well.*
F.Y.I. - Total number(#) of weeks Alfonzo has worked at 1516 as the new Store Manager= 3 weeks.
Total number(#) of years I've been employed by AutoZone = 3 years.
Total number(#) of points I had when I was terminated= 1 point.
While the other employees strolled around the store pretending to be engulfed in conversations related to their work, I was busting my butt to help every person as quickly and accurately as possible before I would ring them at the register or POD I was working at and send them on their way. "Thank you very much! Have a nice night!" These words flowed out of my mouth one thousand times easier than the word that I've been accused of using the night that a customer stood in my line, caused a scene in front of other customers, had me crying uncontrolably, trembling with fear after threats like, "I'll be back around closing time to kick her ass! That little CUNT better watch herself!" She was screaming this loudly enough for the whole store to hear. The entire time I hid. Like a scared little kid, I stayed away from her for fear of what was to happen. It's when she started coming behind the counter to come and find me in the office that I picked up the phone to call the police. I was stopped immediately by the closing manager, Pedro. He said, "Don't...You can't call police. You'll get fired." He quit the next day. The other employee that worked that night also quit. There was another manager that showed there that night (off the clock), but he was fired after I was. He also was interroganted by HR. For some reason they talked to him before me. Something just doesnt add up to me.
It was only the matter of ONE day until the Regional HR manager suspended me(with pay) after an hour or so interrogation. Then another few days until he had that new manager fire me. Get this; I had to call them to ask what my schedule was for the next week. Only after I call did that new manager tell me that I would have to talk to Mike Hamilton(HR) about it. Alfonzo, the new manager, called back moments later stating that Mike Hamilton decided to terminate me. I've tried calling AutoZone, I've written letters, and I get no response from them. Meanwhile I'm having a terrible time getting past this because I loved my job! It's been almost nine months since this happened and still I'm upset about it! Very upset! They fired the wrong person. . I was wrongfully terminated.
By Chris McCoy
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