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by mona
(lr, arkansas, )

I was a retail manager in a big chain video store FRANCHISE for over 8 years. I had an employee who would consume soft drinks while at work. This employee had a problem of not paying for his drinks when he consumed them, but he always paid for them by the end of the week. Our soda inventory numbers where no better or worse than those of other locations. I had wrote this employee up over a year and a half ago for poor overall performance. In this write up I included specific areas of improvement which included paying for sodas when he got them. I also had implemented a "soda for employees" program. This was where I purchased can sodas (we only sold bottles) and kept them in the office refrigerator. Employees were no longer allowed to drink the bottle sodas that the company sold; however, for 50 cents they could purchase a can soda from the office. I would use the money paid for the sodas to purchase more sodas. This was to help prevent the employees from not paying for their sodas at all and to prevent them from stealing from the company. And it worked. In the few months that the program was intact, we were only missing 8 sodas. I received a call from my boss (the man who fired me) about my program. I explained the reasonings for needing the program and he insisted that I end the program due to it being "against company policy." So we are now back to the "honor system" of employees paying for sodas when they get them. The employee that had the problem, continued with his paying for several at one time, and I let him, because as long as they were paid for and the inventory was not bad, I felt he was not stealing from the company. I constantly asked him to not do this because he was putting me in a bad position. I began asking him to ring them up on his account when he got them- sort of a line of credit- but when my boss came in and saw this two

months ago- he made the employee pay for balance. The employee still continued to drink his sodas and pay later since he couldn't ring them up as he got them. This past sunday evening during my shift, my boss came in and fired me for letting him do this. I am not the only manager this employee worked with that let him get away with this. He wasn't technically stealing because he paid for them eventually. I was fired, but the employee who caused me to be fired is still employeed and is now running shifts on his own- unsupervised where he can drink as many sodas as he can without anyone knowing. Now if it's such a big deal to fire me, why wait two months after you discovered this was still going on? also, why not fire the employee who caused the original problem? I feel that I made too much money for them and I was about to get 4 weeks of vacation in October. They have already replaced my position with a female much younger than me who they could pay a lot less. I am a decorated store manager. I won 7 of 12 trophies franchise wide in 2007. I did not deserve to have my job ripped out from under me like a petty crook. I was the most devoted employee any company could have asked for. My pride and faith in my fellow co-workers has been destroyed. Please let me know what you think. Thanks! Mona

Hi Mona,

I'm trying to find your defining act of "dishonesty" in your story. I see the employees act as possibly dishonest and I see that you may have handled the situation with the sodas badly .. including not terminating the employee for not following company policy with regard to how sodas are bought, but I keep thinking I must be missing something else because it just doesn't make much sense to fire you and not the employee as well.

Did you receive written warnings? Were you put on a performance plan? Were you informed in writing ever that if this continued you would be terminated?

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