The last bookstore I worked in was run by a collection of cliques. If you weren't part of the various in-crowds, you were pretty well screwed. Everything from the shifts people worked to the music that was played in-store, was determined by a few people. Now, we all have those moments, the ones where you want to look around for the hidden cameras because SURELY the events transpiring before you can't seriously be happening. Here are a few of mine from working there:
1. My mother called me at work one afternoon, about an two hours before my shift ended. This was almost unheard of- Mom believes that if you are at work, you should be working and personal phone calls should be in case of emergency only. So when my coworker told me it was my mom, I knew something was wrong. It was. Dad had suffered a heart attack. He seemed to be ok, but they wanted me to know what was going on. I numbly hung up the phone and burst into tears. Luckily I was in the special orders office, out of customer sight. One of the SPO guys tried to calm me down while the other one ran to get the manager on duty, who I will refer to as Cleve. Cleve stomped into the office, ignored the fact that I was an uncharacteristically sobbing wreck, and informed me that I needed to go work at the service desk so his girlfriend could take a coffee break with him. "I need to go home- to North Carolina. My father has had a heart attack." He rolled his eyes and said "You don't need to go now. Get your crap together and get out to the desk." And then he stomped back out.
The SPO guys were furious. I was hysterical. Just then, Audrey, one of the store owners (and the only one I would give you a nickel for to this day), came in. She took one look at me and asked what was wrong. Pat & Mike told her about my bad news and Cleve's response to it. "Oh, we'll see about that."
Bless her, Audrey went out to the service counter and ripped old Cleve a new one in front of God and everybody. We could actually hear her yelling at him in the back. (this didn't endear me to him, BTW, even though it was his own fault) Then she came back and told me I could go home and not to worry about my schedule for the week. I could go to NC and to let her know when I was coming back and she'd make sure I was put on the schedule properly. (She knew they'd try to jerk me around otherwise) Then she asked if I needed money since she knew payday wasn't for a few more days. I hadn't even thought that far and realized I only had about $20 to my name and that was NOT going to get me to NC. Audrey told me to wait there, went out to the registers and cashed a check, came back and handed me $100. "Is this enough?" She also made me promise not to try to make that drive until the next morning, after I'd had time to calm down.
To this day, I adore Audrey. My only regret about quitting my job there is that I don't get to work with/for her anymore. She was the only one of the four owners who genuinely gave a damn about the employees.