In the “what the fuck is wrong with people” department.
A young man was temporarily suspended after he offered to pay for an on-duty police officer’s order, which upset a family who witnessed the act.
The man is an employee at Great American Cookies at Katy Mills Mall, where he was working Sunday. During his shift, an officer approached the store and placed an order. His mother said her son purchased it with his own money, and the officer thanked him before walking away.
A family who was in line behind the officer allegedly became upset because he would not pay for their order, too.
Basically, the family behind the officer got upset that the police officer in front of them got a free brownie (paid for out of the employee’s own pocket)–and demanded their order be free as well. When the employee pointed out he paid for the order out of respect for the officer, the father sat her daughter down and tried to come behind the counter, threatening to beat the employee up.
“He was told the upper managers want him fired. Thankfully his manager refused and said you are an excellent worker and and everyone agreed that you did nothing wrong,” she wrote, adding that the manager issued a warning and said he’ was suspended for a week following his shift.
“(The warning) says ‘he bought a cookie for a police officer and a customer wanted to physically fight him’ it does state if this happens again he will be terminated.'”
So he was suspended by Great American Cookies at Katy Mills in Houston, told if this happens again he will be terminated from his job–had it indicated to him that Great American Cookies wanted him fired, not just suspended.
And then they backtracked.
“Great American Cookies proudly supports Law Enforcement, First Responders and all who serve our country,” David Kaiser, executive vice president at Great American Cookies said via email Thursday.
I’m sorry, but my ass.
I remember working for a summer at Radio Shack, and part of the policies they outlined in their employee handbook was a requirement that customers–regardless of cause, regardless if they are in the right, regardless even if they fear for their lives–may not engage in any action which may appear in any way violent. Even self-defense. Even running away.
And to violate this policy meant termination.
When reviewing this policy, my teenage self knew better, and I flat out told the manager that they would have to terminate me, because I intend to defend myself by running away–which was clearly a violation of policy. When the hiring manager asked if I should even be hired, I pointed out the phrasing, and pointed out that, in an extreme situation I’d rather run to the back room and lock the door than be killed–and if they couldn’t live with that, then I’ll find a summer job elsewhere.
So this whole “we support law enforcement” is bullshit. Management at Great American Cookies were simply following the handbook–which is to terminate any employee for creating a circumstance which creates an altercation, no matter how fucking absurd it is, no matter how fucking stupid the customer is.
Then they realized the optics of supporting letter and verse of their employment handbook was absolutely fucking stupid–because in essence they were terminating an employee for being kind to a police officer, and then being forced to deal with the bat-shit crazy family that was next in line.
Because the customer, in their view, is always right. Even if “right” means a bat-shit crazy family who deserves a conversation with law enforcement for threatening to hurt someone for no good reason.
I do fault Great American Cookies for their failure to understand and rationally evaluate the situation before applying what is undoubtedly letter and verse of their employee handbook, and for suspending the employee and threatening to terminate him prior to understanding the facts on the ground. I support the manager of the local store for standing by his employee in the face of upper management.
And I think this is an excellent example of the same sort of “zero-tolerance” bullshit that we see permeating the public space in schools and colleges and corporations, with “suspend first, think second” being the rule in cases like this.
And it makes me want to pay for the order of any law enforcement official or first responder in line in front of me.