Monday, August 1, 2011

Fighting Back

I have to say I'm more than a little proud of myself today.

I actually stood up for myself at work, and I don't mean to a customer. (I do that all of the time.) I stood up to a coworker, and I claimed what was mine.

I generally try not to make waves at work between myself and my coworkers. I've been with the company for three and a half years as of August 6th, and it's a fairly pleasant working environment despite the obvious imperfections and the lack of structure. (And even I have to admit that expecting a lot of structure is ridiculous since we all are first and foremost musicians, and a general laid back attitude is common in the music world. Though I still don't see why everybody can't just get their asses to work on time if I can do it.) Things do happen sometimes that are unfair, but I believe in picking my battles. The past inconveniences and cheats have been minor, small, relatively unimportant.

But was different.

I don't know why she did it.

Actually, I do know why she did it. I just don't understand how she thought she'd get away with it. 

About a month ago, I had a family come in looking to find out about flutes and clarinets. A clarinet for the son, and a flute for the daughter. The son, they knew, was definitely in band, and so they purchased a clarinet from me. (And my commission was freaking awesome, just for the record.) They didn't buy the flute because there was a scheduling conflict, and while they were almost sure the band and athletics schedule would work out, they didn't want to purchase until they knew for sure. So after I sold them the clarinet I gave them my card. (You know, the cards I got with my name on them and my business e-mail address that are all professional and awesome looking that I was so very proud of and I wrote a whole post about them.) I told them when they decided to come back, they just had to give my card to whoever was at the counter, and they would get me and I could give them a super awesome deal on a flute because they got the clarinet. (Clarinets cost also twice what a student flute costs.)

They came back today.

With my card. They had stapled it to the list with the flutes the school required. 

I didn't see them come in. I was answering questions about a clarinet rental and had my back to the door. I was standing next to Raver. I wasn't listening to her. I only heard a few words and then she left, came back with a flute, and started ringing it up. I got off the phone, happened to catch the list out of the corner of my eye.

And saw my card stapled to the list she was looking at as she was ringing up this flute. I looked at the customer, saw the little girl who I had talked to for an hour, who had charmed me with her desire to learn notes and her general knowledge of woodwinds. I saw the family I had worked so hard to find a perfect clarinet for, and when they saw me the girl said, "Hi, Miss Chanel! Look, we came back for my flute just like we promised! And we still have your card!" And she waved the list.

Raver was ringing it up. She heard this conversation take place. And she rang it up under her numbers.

My hard work. My customer. My commission. 

I work really hard to keep my customers coming back to me. You establish a good relationship with a customer, and then they keep coming back. They recommend you to friends. You get a web of people who will only shop with you. Keeping your customers is how you make your money. God knows I don't get enough hourly to keep me in the lifestyle to which I am accustomed. My sales matter.

Well, I wasn't entirely sure how to handle the situation. Like I said, I always pick my battles, and a forty some odd dollar commission was entirely too big a sale to let slide. And they were my customers. 

First I said something to B-Money. As the assistant manager, he knows the protocol better than anybody else. I told him what had happened, and he got very quiet for a second, then told me point blank, "Wait until she goes on lunch, then go to Manager Man. She does that kind of thing all the time, and it was your card. That means the sale was your's, and he'll fix it."

Well, I waited until she was on lunch and then I went up to Manger Man and said, "When you've got a moment, I need to talk to you privately."

Ten minutes later we were at his desk.

I was so upset I nearly cried. Because it hurts my feelings. That she would be so sneaky, try to take my repeat customers and a sale that I worked hard for just to try to make a little more to make up for the fact that she calls in twice a week and shows up thirty minutes late without so much as a phone call, it was beyond my ability to bear it. 

I said, "Raver sold a flute today to a customer who came in my with card." I told him about how I'd sold them the clarinet, about how I'd worked with them on flutes, and how I'd told them I'd get them a really good deal when they came back for the flute because of the clarinet. I told him about how the family recognized me, about how I knew it was mine because they had my card and showed it to me.

Then he said, "Okay. We'll get this taken care of."

Then he talked to Raver.

And he called me back at about six o'clock and said, "Chanel, Raver says they never showed her a card. She didn't see it."

And I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Manager Man, the only reason I know they came in was because I happened to see my card stapled to the list they handed her. And then they greeted me and we talked about it! You can call the customer and ask if they had my card!"

"No, that's not necessary."

Then he went to talk to Raver again.

After the store closed, he pulled Raver and me back to his desk and gave each of us a chair, saying, "Chanel, Raver says she really didn't see your card and they didn't mention you."

"We had a conversation!" I repeated it.

"I didn't hear that. I didn't even see you talking to them."

Are you fucking stupid or do you just thing I am?

And then she had the audacity, before I could respond, to open her mouth and say, "I worked really hard on this sale. They had questions, I told them all about it. I even showed them how to use the rod! It took a lot of my time!"

Bull. Fucking. Shit. 

First of all, Raver doesn't even know the proper name of the tuning and cleaning rod, let alone how to use it. 

And second...

They were there all of five minutes. They didn't ask any questions because I'd given the whole rundown to them before and showed the girl how to clean and tune and take proper care of her flute. As a flutist myself do you think I would ever let a customer leave me without a thorough knowledge of how to love, respect, and care for an instrument that I have loved and played with joy for ten years? 

I would never, and I certainly have never. 

I leave my customers with a thorough knowledge of whatever instrument they leave my hands with: how to assemble them correctly to prevent key bending or damage, how to clean them out, how to dry them out, how to oil the keys or valves or the rotary parts. I do not sell or rent instruments without first making sure that they can be cared for. I do this so the customer needs fewer maintenance and repairs, thereby saving them money, and also for the sake of the instruments. They are each of them beautiful, wonderful pieces of equipment that can express a wide range of human emotions and create beauty and peace without effort. They deserve to be cared for.

So I know for a fact that they didn't ask questions, not only because I was standing behind her the whole time watching, but also because I know what information I left with them, and that girl made a fine point of learning from what I had to teach.

Until that moment, when she sat there lying straight to my face, I had thought to be magnanimous and gracious and let her have half of the commission. But the second she looked me dead in the eye, with that sour look on her face, and had the nerve to feed me that load of bullshit, I decided to keep it all for myself.

And Manager Man told her, "Well, I think this is an honest mistake, but they did have Chanel's card, Raver, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to change the sale to Chanel's name. Its her commission."

"Oh, that's fine."

And then she clocked out, grabbed her things, and slammed the door behind her.

And the part that bothers me most about this is that the customers that I had liked so much thought they were getting a super deal on the flute they bought, when in fact they were getting it for the normal Sale Price. Which is still a good three hundred dollars in savings, but I would have given them an even better deal, at a lower commission for myself, to show my appreciation for their business. And Raver just treated them like the average customers when they were so nice, so polite, so kind interested in learning about their purchases and what to expect.

And there's nothing I can do about it now. It's already been rung up and paid for and finished.

Tomorrow I suspect that Raver will either call in to be spiteful, or she will come in late (as always) and be three times the bitch that she normally is, but mostly directed at me since I just claimed what was mine. I may be really laid back about the little things, but if you're going to interfere with me and mine then you had better at least be nice to my awesome customers.


  1. Wow, what a bitch. I would have been so frustrated! That's so unfair. At least you got the commission you deserved. It's sad that the family didn't get the super cheap price they should have though :\

    I'm so glad I found your blog. I'm loving it so far :)

  2. Good for you Chanel! I'm glad you stood up and reclaimed what clearly belonged to you. Raver is dangerously close to being placed on The List. I hate people like that, who will blatantly screw over anyone and everyone for any personal gain--no matter how small.

    Grrr...Anyway, I say again, good for you!

  3. Great job at sticking up for what is yours. I've work with this type of person everyday. There are no sales involved, but he's here coming in late or leaving early or calling in sick. I don't understand how he keeps getting away with it.

  4. Well I can't see the Overlordess taking that kind of nonsense lying down anyway. Put that raggedy beeotch in her place!

    Just because you are little and nice doesn't mean you are a doormat.

  5. Good for you. Sounds like the water park isn't the only place where you have to worry about sharks [cue Jaws theme].


    Seriously, though, I'm so glad you stood up for your sale. Seriously-- you earned it and you deserved it.

  7. I hate when a co-worker (or more accurately a manager) steals an idea you have or any kudos that is rightfully your own to further their interest in the company. I can not tell you how many procedures I developed long before coming under my new role that I put out there for my manager, who shot them down only to add the very same ones as "his" yearly goals and projects. That is why I write post about him and his stank M&M candy jar, which is no longer filled with goodies. I think he might have caught glimpse of my post once upon a time...damn it!

  8. Good for you. Seriously. And hopefully the boss dude knows she is a liar and a piece of shit.

  9. Luckily for me there's no monetary competition in my field. All there is, is survival. Not to say I don't get thrown under the bus now and then.

  10. So proud of you!!! I can't believe she bold-face lied to you and Manager Man!!! Actually, I can. People suck sometimes, I swear.

    I'm hoping because you stood up to her and her lies, she won't try to screw you over again. Maybe she thought she could get away with it. Bet she won't think that way again! :)

    See, this is just another reason why you HAD to have the Blog On Fire award! ;)

  11. I have used my detective skills to deduce that you may be disguising some of these names, but I could have told you someone named B-Money is gonna know all about them protocols and shit. But seriously, FUCK. THAT. BITCH. Being a flutist you don't even want to know what I would have done to her involving a flute for that. Sounds like you handled it exceptionally well. And I'm glad you didn't let her have half. To be honest, I'm not sure that would have been the right thing to do regardless. I think you might be being a little too nice there.
    p.s. This post got me all amped up and I want to fight someone now.

  12. Where are you AT, girl child? (taps his foot impatiently)

  13. Anna, it's okay. When they come back I'll make them a deal on their accessories since Raver didn't sell them any of the accessories the needed with it. (Because she was in a hurry to get it done so I wouldn't notice. Or that's my suspicion.)

    Candice, after the way she treated me for the next few days I have to say that she's not only on The List, but she's at the top of it! We've made up now, of course, but I don't forget these things.

    George, our companies need suggestion boxes where employees can just suggest what's wrong and how to fix it. Everybody should be held to the same standards. And for goodness sake, we're all adults. It's time to grow up and get up on time!

    Rev, no I am most certainly nobody's doormat. I am entirely used to having my own way when it's important. I should declare myself Overlordess at work and just make everybody follow my command.

    Bryan, clearly I'm not nearly as paranoid as everybody seems to think. Sharks are among us!

    Nicki, it's mine now, definitely. I have a copy of the sales sheet with my name on it, no commission split. She saw it and disappeared for an hour after that. *shrug*

    Scott, if your manager is stealing your ideas (which is far worse than a coworker stealing from you) then you should just start going over his head or suggesting the idea with trusted coworkers present. It's hard to steal an idea when several people know it wasn't your idea to being with.

    Doug, he thinks it was an honest mistake and that she honestly didn't see my card or hear the conversation. But this is a store that never fires anyone, so of course he believes in giving her the benefit of the doubt.

  14. Darev, if they tried offering extra monetary incentive in a setting like that I think things would go very badly. (Though for every plot you thwart, you should be getting an extra something in your paycheck.)

    Frisky, she did it because it was an easy sale. If she had HAD to spend any real time explaining things she wouldn't have bothered with them. But I'll be watching her from now on. Let's see if she learned a lesson. And thanks for the award. I should put it up today.

    Elliot, your deduction is correct. I can't in good conscience use anybody's real name except my own and my dog's. B-Money is definitely the go to guy for any problem. And as a flutist who adores her instrument of choice, I say you're right. I don't want to know, though I have a pretty good idea. And the general consensus among my coworkers is that I am too nice to everyone in general and that I need to be more forceful.

    PS. Thanks.

    Rev again, I'm sorry. I'm so overworked and tired that I fall asleep on the couch trying to answer my comments. But look! I'm here now!

  15. As long as you're okay, then all is well, dear. You know how your mother and I worry when we don't hear from you. (grin)

    Let's see what kind of snit that stirs up, shall we?

    Just go ahead and declare your supreme Overlordessness to the world and make them all start toeing the line!


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