His Manager Tried to Save the Store Money, but Ended Up $3000 in the Hole!

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your boss has asked you to do something that seems illogical or counterproductive, but you had to comply anyway?

Today’s story is a perfect example of this kind of situation, as Jim, a hardworking supermarket employee, finds himself caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare that results in thousands of dollars of waste.

A Small Time Worker

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Jim used to work for a small, locally-owned supermarket chain. The store had a small level of bureaucracy, and the main focus was on selling products.

The store was doing well, and Jim had been working there for a few years when the store was taken over by a national chain. 

New Management Brings New Problems

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The new management brought in a lot of bureaucracy, and Jim noticed that emails and phone calls from the bottom to the top were lost in the ether and left unanswered.

The new management’s main focus was on image. They had staff at the head office who worked hard to ensure that similar-sized products sat next to each other on each shelf so that they looked nice.

They Didn’t Get What Would Work in the Store

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The new management also changed the shop manager’s incentives. Their bonuses were now dependent on the operating budget of their store minus wages, expenses, and written-off stock.

This meant that they were now operating on a shoestring budget, and the manager was trying to get as much money as possible.

Their Priority Was Their Bonus!

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Before the takeover, Jim’s store had an award-winning butcher department that worked with local farms and catered to customer requests.

But the new management immediately closed the counter and filled chillers full of pre-packed sliced meats instead, which they frequently discounted to prevent them from going to the bin.

No Labels?

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One day, the store received a dozen cases of a high-end cut of meat – way more than they would usually stock of an affordable packet!

This made it at risk of running past its sell-by date and being thrown out.

And because it was a new product, they didn’t have a price label for it. 

He Took the Initiative

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After waiting a weekend for the system to update, Jim emailed head office for a label and filled the chiller, using a pricing gun left over from the takeover to label each individual packet.

Those “Ugly” Labels That Were Selling the Meat

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They sold a few by the time Jim came back the following week, but he was pulled aside by the management.

The area manager had been in to inspect the shop and was “horrified” at the “ugly” labels and demanded that they be taken off the shelves until a label was ready!

Jim explained the issue, but they wouldn’t have it, so he took them down as instructed and left them in the big fridge at the back of the store.

Too Late!

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They sat there for a month until they expired, after which someone else recorded them for disposal.

A few days later, someone at the head office noticed the enormous increase in wastage and reported it. 

Was He in Trouble?

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Down the chain, it came, and the red-faced area manager stormed in to shout at the stern-faced store manager, who in turn called over the tannoy for Jim to drop everything and get to his office.

The Perfect Response

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“I’m just waiting for the label,” Jim told them both as they searched for a scapegoat for the £3,000 write-off.

It Wasn’t His Problem

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Jim has since had similar experiences at other employers where department heads had bonuses tied to sales but didn’t like him pricing up produce.

So, he didn’t bother arguing the case, as he was paid by the hour and didn’t receive any bonuses.

A Frustrating Situation

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These kinds of situations can be frustrating for employees who are just trying to do their job and provide good customer service.

Unfortunately, sometimes management incentives can lead to decisions that don’t make sense for the business or the customers.

In this case, the new management was so focused on image and bonuses that they overlooked the practicalities of selling products and avoiding waste.

They Just Don’t Care

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It’s frustrating to see that some managers are more concerned about their bonuses than doing what’s best for the store and its customers.

Malicious Compliance Can Help

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Sometimes when employees get told to do something that doesn’t make sense, they can respond with malicious compliance.

They may follow the letter of the law or the instructions given to them, but they do it in a way that highlights the flaws in the system.

This can be a powerful tool for employees who want to make a point without getting into trouble.

Businesses Need to Strike a Good Balance

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It’s important for businesses to strike a balance between profitability and providing value to customers and employees.

This requires a commitment to quality products and service, as well as a willingness to listen to feedback from customers and employees.

Not All Companies Are the Same

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It is also important to recognize that not all companies operate in the same way.

While some may prioritize profits above all else, there are many businesses that take a more ethical and sustainable approach.

By supporting these companies and pushing for change within the industry, we can create a more just and responsible economy that benefits everyone.

Have you ever experienced a situation where following orders resulted in waste or inefficiency? Did you follow the orders or speak up?

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The post His Manager Tried to Save the Store Money, but Ended Up $3000 in the Hole! first appeared on Career Step Up.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / AshTproductions. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

Source: Reddit