Story Time

The Time My Boss Accused Me Of Stealing

I will be honest. I kind of forgot that this happened or well it didn’t cross my mind to write a story time blog about it…but when I wrote the Christmas blog and I briefly touched ground about horrible Christmas’s…this came to mind. This happened in 2014 so it’s been a long time since then but it’s an entertaining read. I figured why not write it?

I’ve never stolen in my entire life. Something I’m very proud of and intend to keep for the rest of my life. Although if I’m 100% honest when I was young (7-9) I always took coins from my mother’s purse in the morning for candy at school but I don’t really see it as stealing (in a technical sense it would’ve been)…I just see it as lunch money. It’s not like I got a lunchbox for school. I have to eat somehow. It was never bank notes, I always took coins. If you translate the amount into Euros it was never more than 1 euro. Directly translated though it was probably 50 cents. Just enough to buy a cheap packet of chips and candy. Obviously my mom knew, as all her silver coins (ZAR 1, ZAR 2, ZAR 5) was always missing. When I got older I took the silver coins out of the glove basket in the car in the mornings (in front of my mom). Eventually I was old enough to receive the maintenance money from my father and started to work. I now had my own money. I paid for my own cosmetics (shampoo, soap, etc.), phone internet and my half of the house internet, filled up the car and bought the basics every now and again (milk, bread). I however did waste a lot of money on candy and going to the mall with friends. I do want to add that I did pay for my own drivers license and all of my lessons. I also bought anything I might need for school and etc. Oh and I bought treats and toys for my dog.

So back when I was still in high school I would work as a baby sitter in the year and in December I would travel to my aunt who worked for a restaurant. December is the summer holiday and that’s when people really spend money. You want to work in the service industry so you can get tips. She always organized a job for me. It was my second year of working there and in this time the restaurant got new owners. I arrived in the beginning of the month and it started off the same as the year before. I slipped in the schedule with the other waiters and started to work my ass off. Every tip would count as this money would be used in the Netherlands a few months later. I was working there for two weeks, it was two days after Christmas when it happened.

I’m going to have to give a little back story though otherwise this won’t make sense. In front of the kitchen, in the mini kitchen where they make the beverages and where the food get placed for final touches before it goes to the tables, stood the register. It was chaos at the time so tables would be closing every 30 minutes. There must have been 9 waiters on the floor. Each of us balancing three tables at a time. So when the customer has paid, card or check, we will put it on the right side of the till for the manager or owner to close the table. If they pay cash, the manager/owner will put the change (your tip as indicated) in the empty bill case for you to pick up when you have a moment) and if they pay card they will staple the closed bill slip to the proof of payment from the card machine. Something your also supposed to pick up if you have moment. You need all of your tables bill slips at the end of your shift. After all those tables closing, the left side of the till would stack up really quickly. Now the outside of the bill case all looks the same so the only way of knowing that it’s your table and your money is to open the case and check. Everyone does it, looking or theirs and putting the empty cases where they belong (so we don’t run out).

It’s completely normal to check every moment you have a chance if you know one of your tables finished to see if your bill slip is between the stack. That’s was what I was doing when the owner found me. I was going through the cases, looking for mine (I had three tables that would be mine between everything) when I picked up one bill case and money fell out. It was really a small coin, worth 1 euro. I picked it up and put it back in the case. She saw this and thought I was stealing money. She immediately screamed at me IN FRONT of the entire restaurant, staff and customers included. Accusing me of stealing money and calling me every dirty name she could think off. She didn’t give me one second to defend my honor or explain what was happening. My aunt stepped in, seeing what happened and explained the situation. The owner simply said ‘oh’ and then walked off. I was in tears. Absolutely humiliated and so hurt. Everyone gathered to watch the show and after a few moments, I had to calm myself because I still had work. But I had enough. I didn’t want to work at this place for the rest of my holiday. Heck I could be spending this time with family and friends and instead I’m being treated like some common criminal. A thief. I finished my last bit of tables, asked my aunt to cash me up (so I can leave) before I grabbed my bag and said my goodbyes. The owner never even bothered to apologize and I never bothered to go back.

The funny thing is in that same bill case the 1 Euro fell and I picked up, laid 10 Euros. If I really was going to steal, would I really have taken the 1 euro? Maybe I overacted, by immediately quitting, the pure exhaustion from the 12 hours shifts surely didn’t help, but I never regretted my decision. Yes I lost out on a lot of money but it just wasn’t worth it.

Story Time

The Time I Quit My Job After Only Two Working Days

This happened around the time I just came back from the Netherlands after my three month visit. I stayed with my dad for a month before going back to Cape Town to live with my mother. There I started to job search. I knew I was going to be in South Africa for a few months and I could finally get a well paying job. Most employers wouldn’t want to employ me after hearing I’m only available for six to nine months at most. So finding the right job that paid well was difficult. Eventually I looked for something temporary and that’s when I found the position. Receptionist at a car repair shop. It was a three month position and they didn’t require any experience as all the training you would need could be done in one day. The salary was good and the work day wasn’t too out of the ordinary. It was the normal 8am – 6pm job. It also required two Saturdays per month (9am – 3pm) and it seemed like a good fit. The interview went well and I felt hopeful. They called me the Friday afternoon and said I got the job. They wanted me to come in for a few hours the next day for some training. I was excited. The lady I was replacing would help me will all my training and it felt like a good fit. I felt like I hit the jackpot. I found a good paying job and the work seemed like something I could easily do. I just had to greet new customers, make some calls and do some quotes and that was about it.

On Saturday however I quickly saw that this might be a little more difficult. I figured the bad feeling I was getting was just nerves and it was because they were busy and it would be all ay okay. While there, I met the other staff member who I would share the office with. I also met the boss who…in the best way I can describe him…is a cocky man who thinks he is the king of the town. The way he carries himself and the way he treats women. He was constantly making comments on where the women belongs (the kitchen, what a surprise) and if I could handle all the men around the office. He also said I should brush aside all sexual and sexist comments from him and his men or I won’t make it. I didn’t think too much about it. I didn’t like it but I also figured well how many times would I leave the office and if I tell the guys personally what they could do with that comment it would be fine…They were also making fun of other temps they’ve had these last few weeks (apparently they all quit within a week because they’re weak and JUST girls) and just over all making the office a very hostile environment. They were treating me like a dumb little girl that is just looks and no brains. They constantly brought up my appearance, what I should wear the next day, how I should do my hair and makeup etc. They also couldn’t let go of the fact that I was engaged and preparing to leave my country to move abroad for my fiancé. They couldn’t help themselves with their snide comments and how dumb I was being. I should go have fun. Play the field. I’m still young. The men in the office was disgusting (the boss and the other admin guy). The short work day finally ended and I went home feeling annoyed and unsure what I should. The lady I was replacing was leaving on Wednesday and I got shivers just thinking of being alone with those two men (mainly the boss though) for three months. I was also really worried as I haven’t received any training and only had three days to know enough to do it all by myself for three months.

On Monday, I started my work day ready to face whatever they throw at me and boy did they throw a lot of shit to me. I got minimal training and was just trying to figure what I was supposed to do while talking to the supplier, finding out prices and making quotes for customers. Around lunch time the boss came up to me and asked me to drop a car off for him. I had no right to refuse so I climbed into the strange car and followed him as we drove to the customers place. It was only when I dropped it off that it clicked that I was driving the customers car and he was driving his own personal car. The bastard wanted me to take the risk of anything going wrong on the road. If I crashed or something broke it would’ve been on me. My wallet. He didn’t even care enough to explain this to me. I unwillingly took that risk and he would’ve left me on the side of the road if anything went South. I was livid but went back to work all the while listening to his snide comments. He also said he expected me to work through lunch (take no break) and work every Saturday. He demanded this of me. Once back at the office, I continued with my training (by myself getting minimal guidance as I go) all the while the boss, admin guy and receptionist I was replacing, couldn’t stop talking on how much work I will have to do when she is gone and how much will be on my head. I won’t lie. At this moment I got scared. How the hell was I going to survive three months in the toxic environment. Around the afternoon I had to take customer to the shopping mall nearby with my own car (at least they gave me petrol money) and by then I started to feel that maybe this job wasn’t meant for me and I should get the fuck out to say it nicely. Once back at the office I got some more nasty comments, sexual jokes and eventually my work day came to an end. I grabbed my stuff, ignored the last snide comment from big boss man and left.

Once my mom heard everything I went through the day and I informed my husband of the real story (I felt hesitant to share about the sexual harassment as the salary was good and it would help us). I wanted to stick it through and just get through these next three months. It would be anything but pleasant but I could do it. I was prepared to but my mother and husband (fiancé back then) just said quit that shop. So I did. I emailed my resignation (I haven’t signed any contract nor have they received any person information of mine) at this point. The next morning I got a few calls from them, one snide message from the boss and from that point I never heard from them again.

I don’t regret quitting before giving the place a proper try. It was the right decision to make in the long run. Two weeks later I got a new job that was a lot of fun and a new experience. Although the company went bankrupt after a month. What I learned while working for them served to help me even today so it was definitely worth it.