Thoughts

Published September 25, 2010

I had an experience recently that isn't per se employment but it got me thinking about employment issues in the workplace. I am remodeling ( for what seems like forever) and purchased new kitchen appliances. I purchased these kitchen appliances from a certain fancy store in Houston. I did this because I was told that you got good service and that this store would make sure everything fit correctly. So believing this I did so. Well, when it came time -9 months later- to have the appliances delivered– disaster struck.

First this fancy store (hereafter referred to as BAD FANCY STORE) did not have my appliances even though I bought them 9 months earlier. So when my contractor was ready to get them installed it threw a monkey wrench in the timing of everything. (You can't cut the openings in the counter top for the cooktop, if you don't have the cooktop,as an example.) When two weeks later I finally get the appliances they are the wrong color and wrong size. Plus, the dishwasher door can't open all the way because it hits the refrigerator.

So, I finally lost it and called the salesman from the BAD FANCY STORE. That's when I discovered that he was moose hunting in Montana or wherever. By this time my tail feathers were out and up. When he returned the following week, I called him and said "You should have taken care of your business before you went on vacation. I have flunked my house inspection because I have no appliances." The next thing that happened shocked me. The salesman went off. He became abusive and began a verbal attack on me. Hey I am a lawyer and used to jerk mean lawyers but this totally floored me. So I did the sensible thing and hung up the phone on him. (I once was accused of hanging up the phone on someone. I said no I didn't hang up on them, I just didn't say goodbye.)

Well, I won't bore you with any of the further messy details (still can't open the dishwasher all the way and the vent hood knob is broken) but this attack caused me to start some inquiries. I cancelled what I could from this BAD FANCY STORE and went to their competitor. While at this store, I told the salesman what I had been through with the BAD FANCY STORE. He instantly named the salesman. Seems he had worked with him before.

I started thinking if this salesguy was so hateful to me, what must he be like to work with. Being one to not let something drop, I discovered that he was horrible to work with and had a bad reputation for a quick temper and an abusive mouth. When the delivery guys from the BAD FANCY STORE came to pick up the appliances that were the wrong size and color, I asked them about this particular jerk salesman. They just shook their heads in disgust. Putting it the nicest possible way, "He was no fun to work with at all".

So why does the BAD FANCY STORE keep him on board. Because, he has the kind of personality that somehow lets him make a lot of sales. Never mind, how he treats his co- workers.

I have reflected on this a lot. Companies many times look the other way when they have an abusive personality employee–if that employee makes them money. I guess they figure that the money offsets any personality flaws. I think they are playing with a loaded gun. The day will come when someone has enough of this abusive jerk employee and will sue. Then the company will be paying for their oversight.

This doesn't take into account the horrible work environment that has existed because of this jerk. It undermines morale and drags everyone down. I think employers need to realize that the happy employee is the more productive employee.

As for the dishwasher door that doesn't open, I plan to have the wall behind the refrigerator moved back one inch and call it a day. Remodeling is not for the faint of heart.

Contact Carla

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