hitting and swearing at customers, using leave time after you resign, and more

It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. My manager offered to let me use up all my leave time while I’m working for my new company

I notified my current supervisor that I’d received a job offer and am going to take it. In discussing my end date for my current job and beginning date for my new job, she basically encouraged me to use up my medical leave, etc. She also vaguely referred to starting with them while using my leave at my current spot — meaning that I would start working my new job while still technically employed by the old one and using paid leave.

Would this open me up to any potential legal issues? Ethically it feels squidgy, but I hate my old job so much that I want everything out of them possible.

There’s no legal issue here, but you should take a look at your company’s policies. You’re probably not allowed to use medical leave unless it’s for a legitimate medical reason. And if they pay out your accrued vacation time when you leave, then it’s going to have the same impact anyway — because without the deceptive “still working here” when you’re really not. If they don’t pay out accrued leave, then you can certainly take your manager up on her offer to let you use vacation time up before your official end date — that’s her call to make, and if she tells you it’s okay (and it doesn’t violate any clear policies of your employer), there’s no reason you can’t do that.

But if there’s any grey area in their policies, I wouldn’t — if it turns out that it’s not okay and you get caught, you could burn a bridge, which generally you want to avoid.

2. Do raises really depend on the company budget?

I asked my boss for a promotion/raise and they told me they would work on it and that it will depend the budget in the next fiscal year. How much of that answer is true and is that always the case? Other departments have went through a rapid serious of promotions in this company very recently and I’m pretty sure that was not “planned” for.

It’s pretty common for raises and promotions to be dependent on budget issues — just like your ability to pay more for something at home is dependent on your home budget. Businesses have budgets too and don’t generally just hand out money without first making sure that they have room for it in their finances. And while your saw another department do a bunch of promotions, either they had room for it in their existing budget or the money was reallocated for that purpose. It’s always a question of where it gets allocated, which is essentially what your manager was saying to you.

3. References when your managers have died

My mom, at the age of 68, has decided to seek part-time work. She was an elementary school teacher for 30+ years in the local county school system and retired 6 years ago. She worked at 4 or 5 schools through her tenure — and all of the principals have either died, or are in states where they should not be giving references. She’s lost track of most of her colleagues as well.

I was thinking she could call the school system to at least get some of the data in relation to her personnel record. She’s planning on applying for tutoring positions, so I am wondering if they’ve encountered this before. We’re working on her resume, but this really threw for me for a loop. In lieu of direct work colleagues or principals, what is her next best option?

Calling the school district is a good idea, but she should also try to track down some of her former coworkers. Try LinkedIn or Google or the schools themselves.

4. Can my employer dock salaried workers’ pay?

My place of employment has implemented a new policy that if any employee steps outside for a phone call or so forth, all managers will be docked from their salaried pay because they had no knowledge that the employee stepped outside. Basically they expect us to know what the employees are doing at all times. I was under the impression that your salaried pay could not be docked for any reason unless stated in your signed contract. Can they do this?

If you’re exempt, your pay can’t be docked like this. If they do, they risk losing the exemption and having you reclassified as non-exempt, which would require them to pay you overtime for all hours over 40 you work in a week — and that could be applied retroactively, meaning they could have to pay you overtime for the past as well.

5. Hitting and swearing at customers

I work in McDonalds and was just wondering, say that one day a customer wants to take their anger out on someone (that someone being me) and they spit in my face. Would I get the sack for reacting in a violent or self-defensive manner, e.g swearing at them or hitting them?

Uh, yes. Hitting customers is generally frowned upon.

6. A high-ranking person in a field I’m interested in connected with me on LinkedIn

A few days ago, I got a request for connection on LinkedIn. Most have been people I have known, colleagues and perhaps people in my general professional neighborhood in town. I’m not a big LinkedIn maven. That said, out of the blue, I got a connection request from my city communications manager, a rather high ranking person in a position/professional avenue I could see myself in. I connected with him. I am currently job seeking in a related field (freelance writer); is there any way to actual connect to maybe see if there are any opportunities. The curiosity also is — why did he connect to me? Is that something you can professionally ask?

I think it would be awkward to ask why he connected with you (it implies you don’t think there’s any reason to be in touch, which undermines what you want to do here), but you could definitely write to him and tell him that you’re very interested in doing the type of work he does and telling him a bit about yourself.

7. When my employer sends me home earlier than scheduled, do I have to go?

I know my employer can schedule me overtime. Two days a week, I am being scheduled overtime. If on either of these scheduled overtime days they do not need me and they tell me to go home at my regular shift time, do I have to leave? Or can I stay and get the overtime pay?

No, if they tell you to go home, you can’t overrule them; you can’t just stay and get paid when they’ve told you to leave. I think maybe you’re wondering whether there’s some legal requirement that they allow you to work that time since they booked it with you and you cleared your schedule for it, but there is not.

{ 149 comments… read them below }

  1. doreen*

    # 1 My last employer did not pay a lump sum for accrued leave. When you resigned or retired,by policy you stayed on the payroll until your leave was exhausted. There’s a very big and important difference between this and getting a lump sum – as I was still on the payroll , my insurance coverage continued.

    1. Cathy*

      Also, you keep accruing more leave as long as you’re on the payroll; so if you have a large bank of accrued time, you could end up getting an extra day or two by letting them pay it out over time.

    2. COT*

      When I left my last job I had 3.5 weeks of unused PTO that they paid out. I was given the option to get it in a lump sum or stay on the payroll for the next few weeks.

      I’m not a tax expert, but apparently the lump sum would have been taxed at a higher rate (because my income would have appeared higher). I would’ve gotten that overtax back in my tax refund, but my boss encouraged me to just spread the payment out over a few weeks to avoid the higher tax rate completely.

      Technically I was on the payrolls at both my old and new jobs for a few weeks, but my benefits from my old job ended and I was only using the PTO that my organization paid out to all departing employees. Our “extended illness” leave was not paid out and so I left it unused and unpaid.

      1. Chuchundra*

        It’s better to just take the lump sum. You might pay a little more in withholding, but it will all even out when you file your tax return, one way or another.

        1. doreen*

          Why would it be better to take the lump sum? I know the taxes even out in the end , but it seems to me that whether a lump sum or remaining on the payroll is better is purely a matter of personal preference unless staying on the payroll keeps you insured and/or accruing more leave.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            If nothing else, you’re earning interest on the money while it sits in your account rather than in theirs. (That assumes you don’t immediately spend it, of course. And also that it’s a large enough amount where the interest during that period would be notable, which it probably isn’t at today’s interest rates.)

            1. Anonymous*

              Unless you are earning time. Because at my rate of time accrued it would be FAR more valuable (no interest rate would be that high) for me to take it over the weeks.

        2. Anna*

          You can also fix the lump sum overpayment by adjusting your withholding at your new job to “cover” it so that your total tax rate for the year is less than what you’ll eventually owe.

          But ultimately, it shouldn’t matter at all.

          1. anon-2*

            Or another thing you can do – if the withholding amount isn’t enough – and you want to avoid a penalty – just file a quarterly payment with the IRS.

            When you do your 1040 next spring, you’ll note that there’s a line item for taxes paid during the year.

  2. Sabrina*

    #1 – I’m not quite sure what medical leave is at your company, if it’s separate than PTO or what, but if it’s actually short term disability paid out by an insurance company, then taking that while working somewhere else is insurance fraud.

    1. Editor*

      Taking medical leave sounds fishy to me unless they routinely pay out for unused medical leave when someone retires or leaves. Is the job a government or civil service job where all accrued leave is banked and paid out?

      At one place I worked, it was much better to take all remaining vacation before giving notice, because the handbook said that supervisors had no obligation to approve vacation during the notice period. There were people who thought they could resign, take two weeks of vacation instead of working the last two weeks, or give four weeks notice and work two weeks of notice and then take two weeks of vacation that overlapped with the start of the new job. After we had a round of layoffs, supervisors stopped allowing people to use up their vacation during the notice period. It angered a lot of departing workers, but the corporate attitude was “so what — they were leaving anyway.”

      Check the handbook.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Even in government now sick leave isn’t paid out when you leave, although it does count toward retirement age.

  3. Anonymous*

    Maybe a reference from a parent of one of her later students? Since she’s staying in the teaching field, that might help if she can’t locate former coworkers.

    1. Rayner*

      Not really going to work – many parents don’t have a detailed understand of the work teachers do, and can’t speak to the ‘behind the scenes’ work either, such as documentation, lesson plans, and conduct with both other students and teachers. And they have no knowledge of the HR things, such as previous complaints, disciplinary notices, or even praise on the teacher’s file/in their experience.

      Nice thought but I don’t think it would work. It would be like someone in a grocery store asking their customer for a reference.

      1. A Teacher*

        It depends ont the parents level of involvement. My mom is a newly retired teacher and there is a group of Girl Scouts that used her old room last year. My mom actually “taught” the girls a few art lessons because the parent leader asked her to. The parent leader was a parent of a former student. She could totally work as a reference for my mom in a position like that.

        I also have some parents that just know me and the things I’ve done for their kids over the years. They could serve as a general reference if I needed one-I don’t, but it would be possible and a few have offered if I ever need them.

    2. Editor*

      For a superb teacher, the best reference after a supervisor is a teacher who taught at a the next higher grade or level and can say something like “I worked with students who had Mrs. Superb for English 10, and they were consistently the best-prepared students I received for English 11. While her strengths are in X and Y, she does not neglect other areas of the curriculum. Generally her students entered my classroom at grade level or above for W, X, Y and Z skills.”

      If the mom taught during the recent years of metrics, any data she has that shows students advanced more than a year in learning would also show her competence. Say a child goes into fourth grade with math skills at the mid-third grade level (3.5 or however it is denoted), but after a year with Mrs. Superb ends fourth grade at grade level (4.9), then the student has made more than a year’s progress. If Mrs. Superb doesn’t have that data, it is possible the state education department has it somewhere, perhaps even on the state website. If she’s the only teacher in a school for a subject that was tested, as a teacher might be in a small school system, then the metrics for each cohort should show her performance.

      But anyway, co-workers are probably the best bet.

  4. Felicia*

    Someone thinks it’s ok to hit someone for spitting on them? Even if it’s not a work situation, hitting someone for that is not ok. I mean spitting on someone is horrible behavior, but we don’t hit is a kindergarten lesson.

    1. Jessa*

      Exactly. Proportionate and all. If someone takes a punch at you, obviously you can touch them to get away from them. But something where they throw something or do something from a distance, you do not want to close in with that person. You want to try and get AWAY from them and call for help. At least reasonable people do.

    2. WIncredible*

      If you’re spit on, that’s assault/battery, disorderly conduct at least. I’d think McDonald’s would have some kind of policy to deal with customers like this. What I’m hearing is that this employee was treated horribly by a customer and management didn’t do anything, is what I’m thinking.

      1. WWWONKA*

        If I was spit on I would call the police and have the person arrested/cited for assault/battery. If you are touched you have every right to defend yourself to whatever degree you need to until you are safe. If you are cussed at you stand there with a smile and tell the person to have a nice day.

        1. Elizabeth*

          Hitting seems like unnecessary force in response to spitting, though. To make yourself safe from someone spitting at you, all you need to do is step backwards.

      2. A Dispatcher*

        Absolutely not assault in the State of NY; it would be harassment and by physically retaliating you would likely be the one who is charged.

        Either way though, yes, call the police rather than retaliating. If the customer wants to leave, absolutely let them but get their license plate and color/make/model of their vehicle. Get th

        1. A Dispatcher*

          Comment cut off – get the description of the person as well, and see if your store cameras caught their actions or them getting into their vehicle on tape. A direction of travel on the vehicle is also helpful.

          1. A Dispatcher*

            Do not believe battery is an actual charge in NYS. What would be battery in most states (the actual bodily injury) is assault, and it can then be combined with other charges such as menacing. At any rate, assault here requires an actual injury, so it’s just important to know how your stated handles things.

        2. Police Officer's Spouse*

          Spitting is assault in Texas, and a fairly big deal. Check with your state laws. But yes- call the cops, don’t retaliate yourself.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      OP, if you have seen this happen or been threatened with spitting or other things- please let your manager know. Ask him what he wants you to do if this happens.

      The first thing I would do is take a few steps backward. Seriously. When you fill out the police report they will ask you what you said or did. If you say very little and back away this makes the officer’s next steps very clear. You have done nothing wrong and they need to go talk to the other guy.

      I have spent decades working with the public. I have never been spit at or hit. But I know it can happen. I have to believe that a person who does these things is not in control at the moment- for whatever reason (mental health issues, drugs, alcohol, a serious upset in their lives, etc.) If you try to remember that it might be a little bit easier not to get caught up in their anger. It is their anger, not yours, OP.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This is excellent advice. OP, I know it’s frustrating when customers act like that, but if you retaliate, you put yourself in a very bad position. You can be fired for that, and also arrested.

    4. Anonymous*

      Sorry, that’s just gross to me. I personally wouldn’t punch someone at work for spitting on me, but I have in the past outside of work. Not to be an e-thug, but it was intensely satisfying and that person never messed with me again or spit on anyone else to me knowledge. I’m just not from the same culture of calling the police on a bully and filing charges.

    5. Pussyfooter*

      Be the smart one who shuts down the drama, not the other idiot who escalates a really tense situation into a physically dangerous one.

  5. Jen*

    # 3– Elementary educators aren’t prolific Linked In users, as a general rule (I am in my 20th year and I have only found about a dozen of my current and former coworkers there). She may want to connect with former colleagues on Facebook, too, and may find more there. Also, is there a Retired Teachers Association for her former district? Maybe they have contact info for some former colleagues as well.

    1. Michael*

      It’s a gray area. As people we have a right to defend ourselves. You shouldn’t get belligerent and cuss them out. However, if someone started an altercation with me then company policy be damned. I’m defending myself. Spitting in the face is a pretty grave insult. If you do it to a cop you might as well have thrown a fist. There’s a lot of instances where those two things are equivalent.

      In the same vein, while I understand policies about not provoking an armed assailant and being fired over them, that would very hard for me. I can’t back a policy that says I should stand and offer no resistance to a situation where I could potentially be killed. I know that didn’t happen here. I’m just speaking to the general policy of not responding to aggression.

      1. Felicia*

        I think there is a big difference between “if a customer hits me, can i hit them back?” to “if a customer spits on me, can I hit them?” Sure you have a right to defend yourself, but that generally means doing what is necessary to get out of the situation. All the self defense laws i’ve seen talk about reasonable force, and can it really be called reasonable to hit someone who hasn’t physically touched you? Sure contact security or a manager, get away from them as quickly as possible, but someone spitting on you, no matter how horrible it is, doesn’t mean they’re going to hit you, or kill you . If someone spit on me, I would be upset and frightened, but i think the reasonable response to that is getting away from teh situation as quickly as possible and contacting the proper authorities. If you spit on a cop, maybe they’ll arrest you, but they’re not going to hit you. (maybe they will, but that would be wrong and threaten their own careers if anyone caught them on tape doing that)

      2. EngineerGirl*

        The first line on protecting yourself is to get away, not get back. If you don’t try to get away first then you lose the high ground, both legally and morally.

        The appropriate response is to step back and tell the shift lead.

        1. Anonymous*

          There are many states where this is not the case. Florida being the most notorious example, but certainly not the only one. The “trend” for self-defense laws now generally doesn’t require you to flee.

          I lived in Michigan for a while. The self-defense law there allowed you to kill someone if you reasonably believed that they were attempting to sexually assault you. I explained that to my boss once after a co-worker decided to do something in that vein and the boss told me I was over-reacting.

    2. Anonymously Anonymous*

      I don’t know what happen to my comment.

      But what would you do if someone threw urine, feces, blood at you? It’s a gray area,imo, because bodily fluids poses risks! IMHO, it’s flight or fight response. While I may decide to get away and call the police someone else may decide to knock the crap out of that person then call the police. I’m not sure how the police will view the situation. It would be better if people would just keep their ‘hands, feet and saliva’ to themselves.

      1. fposte*

        They don’t pose risks landing on your skin, and hitting somebody afterwards doesn’t mitigate the risk, so the explanation doesn’t really fly as a justification.

        And people still get arrested for striking a response blow. It’s not self-defense, it’s payback. While state law varies on what exactly the level of expectation is, if you hit somebody when you could have walked away, the law generally considers that you made a choice there and that it wasn’t self-defense. And, of course, even if no charges are brought, your employer can fire you.

        But I’m totally with you on people keeping their hands, feet, and saliva to themselves. Would that more people subscribed to that theory.

        1. Anonymously Anonymous*

          If someone spits in your face. There are entry points eyes, nose and mouth where it poses a risk. If that person has broken skin– the risk is higher. Of course this is all relative. I’m just saying, doing any of the above things to a law enforcement officer will land you aggravated assault here not sure about regular citizens. Of course I don’t believe hitting the person is necessarily justified but it just might be a knee-jerk response and imo totally reasonable. Now, I’m not saying the employee can’t get fired because obviously the company is well within their rights to do so. I just think it’s a really gray area as far as self-defense.

          1. SCW*

            Plus there are more strict rules regarding behavior directed towards a police officer–they can decide how strict to be with the enforcement of laws. So someone tagging my car would hardly get a slap on the wrist, if they did it to a police car it would be more serious. Same with spitting, disrespect, etc. In fact there are a number of stories about police officers who believe they shouldn’t be able to be filmed, while they are at work, whereas there aren’t laws against that for regular civilians.

            1. WIncredible*

              Actually, police officers have a higher standard of tolerance for bad conduct, because they are trained to take it. For example, swearing and cussing out regular person is usually disorderly conduct, but you do the same to a cop, it’s not usually charged.

          2. fposte*

            I’m still going to differ with you, I’m afraid, as are most laws. Self-defense isn’t choosing to hit somebody when you could walk away. I think you’re mistakenly believing that if what somebody does to you counts as assault that a response is automatically self-defense, and it’s not. And it’s certainly not reasonable.

            1. fposte*

              Oh, and if your concern is HIV, there’s no evidence of transmission by spitting on anybody. If it’s a cold or flu, sure, but you were already exposed by handling their money. If you have open wounds, I’m more worried about your handling food than something getting in your wound.

              It’s not completely impossible that the stars would align and you could have somebody with TB spit in your mouth, but the risk of that happening isn’t much greater than your basic disease risk working with the public (and the public’s risk of getting food from you, because it goes both ways). It doesn’t justify assault in return.

              1. Canuck*

                Sorry to be picky, but TB is droplet borne, and you don’t need to be coughed directly into your mouth to contract it. The mycobacteria hangs in the air, even after the infected person leaves.

                In any case, I think the question of bodily fluid = assault will highly depend on the situation. There are in fact several bloodborne diseases that are highly infectious if landing near your face – as someone noted above, your eyes, nose, mouth, or any open wound in particular.

                As for personal opinion, put me in the camp of being spit on as being grounds to “defend” myself. I’m not necessarily going to punch someone for spitting on me, but in certain circumstances, I certainly might. Admittedly, in most work situations I would walk away and inform my supervisor – because the short term satisfaction of taking a big swing at someone would not be worth losing my job over.

                1. fposte*

                  I like picky, especially when it supports my point :-). So add TB to the category of “things that you aren’t at any more risk for in your scenario.”

                  I think we all understand the desire to smack somebody here. The thing is, that’s not the same as defending yourself, and the law doesn’t see it as the same thing as defending yourself. One of the obligations of being a reasonable person is understanding when it’s actually not a good plan to do what you want to do.

              2. Police Officer's Spouse*

                I do actually know of a law enforcement officer who had someone with HIV purposely spit in his mouth, and he contracted HIV. That’s why it’s assault- it’s the intent that matters.

                1. Anonymously Anonymous*

                  Agreeing. Never heard of anyone contacting HIV that way. It would have to be an unusual amount. However, I could see that as assault because the person with HIV spit in his mouth—especially if his intent was to do harm such as trying to give him HIV.

                2. fposte*

                  Yes, I suspect this is law enforcement urban legend. Cops and doctors are some of the best urban legend spreaders.

                3. Pussyfooter*

                  One of fposte’s points (that I came here to post) seems overlooked in this conversation. If spit does pose a physical threat, initiating *more* contact with the infectious attacker would increase your risk of infection, rather than “defend” your safety.

          3. QualityControlFreak*

            I absolutely agree. I think for me this would be a reflexive reaction – if someone spit in my face, and they were within range of a punch, that is very likely what would happen. Now, this has never happened to me personally, but my gut feeling is that my fist would snap up immediately, without any real thought on my part, and pow.

            But here’s the thing. At work, I cover our front desk the last hour of every day. I’ve never worked fast food, but every time I’ve ordered any, there’s been a counter between me and the person waiting on me, just like the reception desk at work. If a customer were to spit in my face, they’d pretty much have to be leaning over that desk in a menacing fashion for me to be able to “retaliate” by hitting them. Otherwise, they’d be out of range. So I do think this is a grey area, as far as self-defense is concerned.

            Would I get the sack? Maybe. But I’m pretty sure my employer would at least hear me out. Because this would be completely out of character for me, and I have a track record of solid good judgement and customer service.

            1. fposte*

              I can definitely see that. Would it make any difference to them if you got charged as a result, do you think, or is this just if it stays internal?

              1. QualityControlFreak*

                I’m sure that would make a difference. However, in my particular situation, I can only imagine something like this happening in very extreme circumstances, and my experience suggests that if LE were involved in such an incident at all, it would likely be to remove the person from the premises, because such behavior from one of our clients (coming over the front counter at the receptionist and spitting into her face) would be considered quite bizarre and unacceptable. I wouldn’t expect my employer to stand behind me if I were charged, but honestly, I would be surprised if that happened. If someone is coming aggressively over the counter at me, swearing and spitting, and I am startled, fear for my safety and smack them or bounce their noggin off said counter to neutralize the threat … again, I think a reasonable person might consider that self-defense.

                1. fposte*

                  Sure, but it’s not up to your workplace if you get arrested or not. That’s a cop call. Even if your workplace considers spitting and swearing sufficient provocation (we weren’t talking about anybody climbing over counters), that doesn’t mean the cops will.

                2. QualityControlFreak*

                  This is for fposte; there was no reply button below your last comment.

                  I am well aware it’s a cop call, I know folks in LE.

                  I did specify that I was speaking about my own situation, in which a person would pretty much have to be coming over the counter at me in order to spit in my face. The counter is not in fact so tall they would actually need to climb; they could lunge across it.

                  My workplace wouldn’t “consider spitting and swearing sufficient provocation” for hitting a customer, and neither would I. However as this behavior is clearly not normal, and is often part of and/or a precursor to a physical assault, again, I do believe a reasonable person (such as a LEO) would take all of the circumstances into consideration before summarily arresting me.

                  For the record, I’m not big on the whole hitting back thing. I’m likely to act aggressively only when I am truly threatened.

          4. Forrest*

            I’m sorry, if someone is close enough to you to spit or throw poop at you, why would you get even closer to them to hit them rather than running? You don’t know what they’re capable of or if they’re carrying a weapon!

        2. Felicia*

          +1 If hitting doesn’t mitigate the risk, then it’s not justified, or IMO reasonable. Laws vary, but depending on the situation, even if someone hits you first, hitting them back isn’t always legal. It would be better if people kept their hands, feet and saliva to themselves, but if they don’t hitting as retaliation generally isn’t considered acceptable

          1. fposte*

            A complication here is that there definitely are cultural/social swathes where hitting back would be considered appropriate, so I think it’s important people understand that the law isn’t one of those swathes and your employer quite likely isn’t either. It doesn’t matter if it’s what all your friends would do.

            1. Bea W.*

              This is an important distinction. What may be acceptable and even encouraged in some social contexts is not always acceptable in the workplace or under the law.

              It’s also confusing as heck if you’ve grown up being taught by all kind of adults that is it is okay to hit back when someone hits your first.

              1. fposte*

                Yeah, I see this a lot on legal boards–people who are stunned to have been arrested for doing something that was absolutely the right thing, as far as they were concerned. Also a lot of “he started it” (which may or may not mean the other guy was the actual first to punch) and surprise that the cops and DA didn’t actually care.

            2. Anonymously Anonymous*

              While there may be cultural and social norms for retaliation let’s please keep retaliation and self-defense into two separate categories. Please and thank you.

              1. Bea W.*

                They are two entirely separate categories, but in a culture that considers hitting back an appropriate response, it is often thought of as “self-defense” in that you are defending yourself even though it’s technically retaliation. I think that is the “complication” being referred to.

                1. Anonymously Anonymous*

                  Here lies the gray area again. I’m not going to keep going back in forth nor try to assume what a culture may consider self-defense or retaliation or what a judge or office may consider these. Again my point is it’s a gray area. And that gray area vary by state.

              2. QualityControlFreak*

                Exactly. If someone is a distance-spitter and somehow manages to hit me in the face while otherwise standing out of range, I’m not going to leap across the counter and “hit them back.” That would fall into the category of retaliation.

                However, I am a small, middle aged female. Many of our clients are large, physically imposing people. If a guy twice my size lunges across the counter at me, swearing and spitting, I may need to make a decision in the moment to protect myself. My best bet might be to bounce his head off the counter before he can get in a punch or pull a weapon. That, I would argue, is self defense.

                1. Anonymously Anonymous*

                  This. People who spit at people to incite some sort of malice are a special breed. They just might be special enough to jump cross a counter or charge you. I agree if they are far enough away, I would remove myself further from the situation and not try to charge at them, but if they are close enough and I feel that I need to protect myself from them continuing then I will do so and flee at best and get help.

                2. fposte*

                  In answer to the OP’s question, however, you can be fired for it whether it’s self-defense or not, and I suspect that whether the law would count it as self-defense would depend on a lot of factors that we can’t predict from here.

                  So let’s hope it doesn’t happen to anybody here, and let’s be polite to people instead of spitting on them.

  6. HKitty*

    #5 – In Canada, spitting at someone is considered an indirect use of force, which is also considered a form of assault. If this happens, advise your manager, call the cops and then press charges. That is your right. Being spit on is humiliating, and demoralizing, plus it’s human nature to want to defend yourself, but getting the cops involved is way more damaging to these barbarians than hitting back. Bullies want a violent reaction from their victims , so why give them the satisfaction.

    1. Anonymously Anonymous*

      I’m pretty sure that spitting on someone in the US is also a form of assault. Spitting on someone is vile! It will take everything within me from smacking that person, I would definitely call the cops and press charges too. I’ve been spat on before by little children (still gross)—I can ignore a child not so much an adult.

    2. Felicia*

      exactly. Hitting someone if they spit on you is not going to minimize the risk, if anything it will create more risk. and won’t always be viewed as self defense.

      1. Anonymously Anonymous*

        “exactly. Hitting someone if they spit on you is not going to minimize the risk, if anything it will create more risk. and won’t always be viewed as self defense.”

        The problem here is you say “hitting someone if they spit on you is not going to minimize the risk…”
        I would argue that it depends on proximity of the person to me.
        If I push them back to flee or to stop them from doing it again or furthering the attack…

        1. fposte*

          Hitting isn’t the same as pushing somebody aside. However, the initial question was about McDonald’s–there’s no way that striking the customer is going to be part of your escape plan when there’s a counter or a window between you.

          1. Felicia*

            Hitting does not = pushing someone aside. Plus hitting someone will increase the risk that they’ll hit you back, since you’d be teh one hitting first

          2. Anonymously Anonymous*

            “Hitting isn’t the same as pushing somebody aside. ”

            again there’s that gray area.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Yeah. People will argue over the difference between a hit and a push for days in a court room. The way they discern the two is surprising.

  7. Ruffingit*

    #5 – the only time it might be acceptable to hit someone (customer or otherwise) is if they are throwing punches and your only recourse is to hit them back to get them away from you OR if they are choking you. In other words, self-defense implies you need to defend yourself physically as there’s no other way. If someone spits on you, you call the police and press charges, you do not punch them in the face otherwise you risk assault charges yourself.

  8. Anonymously Anonymous*


    Is she applying at any of the same schools she taught? That might be another option. Then I don’t think it would really matter whether she has a principal reference

  9. KM*

    #5 — ethically/morally, I have no problem with you slugging someone because they spit on you. I would want to do the same thing. But, as others have said, that can get you in more trouble — legally, and at your job — so it might be a better strategy to walk away and refuse to serve someone who spits on you. Go find the shift supervisor or a manager and tell them that the customer at register X just spit on you and you’re not going to serve them — if you have a good manager, s/he’ll tell the customer to leave; if you have a bad manager, s/he’ll either serve the customer for you or try to make you do it anyway. If you end up getting sacked over it, it’s easier to explain “I walked away because I have too much self respect to be spat on” than “I punched someone in the face because I use violence when I’m angry.”

    (Also, as others have suggested, if you can press charges for this where you live, go ahead).

    1. Min*

      If you end up getting sacked over it, it’s easier to explain “I walked away because I have too much self respect to be spat on” than “I punched someone in the face because I use violence when I’m angry.”


  10. Hugo*

    #6. . .it’s worth doing what Alison said, but at the same time you’ll do yourself a disservice by getting too excited about this “out of the blue” connection. As the comms manager, he may have hundreds of connections already. And, you know how LinkedIn works…if he is connected to someone who is already connected to you, then he’ll get the “people you may know” messages and may just automatically connect to anyone who pops up. If he wanted to contact you about a specific work proposition, I would think he would have included a message along with the invite. I would question the skills of a communications manager who just connects to someone hoping they would reply back as a cardinal rule of communications is to be clear and direct. Good luck though.

    1. WWWONKA*

      I don’t think of LinkedIn as much more than Facebook for the business world. How many friends/contacts can I get. Unless I am doing something wrong you have to be a paying member if you want to message someone.

      1. Ornery PR*

        No, you definitely don’t have to have the paid upgraded version of LinkedIn to message people in your network. If you want to send InMail to someone outside your network, yes, you do have to have the upgrade. However, you can send a message with a request to connect to anyone for free.

          1. Cathy*

            You can send InMail to anyone who is in your network as a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level connection.

            If you want to send a message to someone else, request a connection. Use the message box to enter whatever text you want. You can even tell the person not to accept the connection request and to just reply to you@gmail.com if you want. If the person actually does connect, then you can remove them and they never get notified.

  11. Brett*

    #4 Are the managers getting their pay docked, or are they getting fined?
    Fining is perfectly legal. And you, of course, have the option to pay that fine through an after-tax deduction from your paycheck (but then the fines themselves are probably deductible, thank you Lamar Odom). You could also pay those fines by writing your own check, paying cash out of your pocket, or whatever means your employer offers you besides a paycheck deduction.
    Or you could decide not to pay the fine at all, and then your employer could fire you for not paying the fine. They would not be able to withhold that fine from your final paycheck, so their next stop is court if they want to still try to get the fine out of you.

    1. Brett*

      (But state laws can vary a lot on fines and wage payment. So you could always check with your state department of labor to find out if fines are allowed or could change your exempt status. Which is all moot if they are simply docking your pay instead of fining you.)

    2. A Dispatcher*

      Doesn’t a fine require that you agreed to those conditions upon employment/in your contract? I could be wrong, but I don’t believe an employer can, at at time, just randomly pick various offenses they do not like and choose to fine employees for them.

      1. doreen*

        Why not? Employers can generally pick random offenses and fire employees for them. Can’t see why an employer would need your agreement to fine or suspend you for certain offenses, but not to fire you.

        1. A Dispatcher*

          Again, I could be wrong, but I do believe that is exactly the case – they need an agreement to deduct from/fine your wages, but not to fire you. You can be fire for pretty much any reason if you are at-will, but there are laws covering wages and they are very specific regarding what an employer can and cannot deduct from your paycheck.

          1. doreen*

            But as Brett says above, a fine does not necessarily mean a payroll deduction. My employer imposes fines and requires reimbursement for lost/damaged equipment. They cannot unilaterally deduct the money from my paycheck , but there’s no Federal or state law that prohibits them from firing me or taking other disciplinary action if I don’t write them a check.

        2. KellyK*

          Because it’s money. You’re not entitled to a job, or to specific days of work (that is, to not be suspended), but your company has no right to just decide by fiat that you owe them money. Including docking your pay, since that’s deciding to not pay for work that they received.

          1. doreen*

            It is illegal to dock pay for work that they’ve already received – that’s refusing to pay wages. It is not illegal in my state ( I don’t know about yours) to inform an employee that they must pay a fine over some future period of time that they have not yet worked. And that is how I’ve always seen it done. The disciplinary action happens in September and the person gets fined $300 to be paid ( not deducted) by December.

      2. Brett*

        You might be right about the fine needing to be part of conditions of employment, but sounds like the above is a terms of employment modification anyway? In that case, the LW could either accept the change or quit anyway.
        There must be limitations on fines, but I am not sure where you could find those. Like I said, a good question for the state DoL.

        1. Jessica*

          Hi everyone! This was my question and I really appreciate all of the feedback. I work for a small business and too be honest this just came out of the blue. They had a meeting with us last week and basically told us that everyone in the company is getting clear plastic totes. We were also advised that anytime an employee leaves the building for whatever reason without a managers knowledge; all managers will be docked. I asked very pointedly if this was legal and I received no response. We have cameras all over the building and our operations manager admitted to us that she does not watch them because she does not have the time. During lunch time we are also to abandon our work and post ourselves at the main door and check the bag of every employee that exits the building. They believe that employees are stealing however in general us managers believe that our inventory dept is lacking. Inventory counts are off and we have brought this up however ‘they’ (the owner and operations manager) choose to believe it is theft. I assure you that we managers are doing everything as we were trained to do it by procedure. This docking came as a shock to us as it was nothing that we agreed upon in any contracts or verbally. We have no idea how we are to stop any employee from walking out the door if they choose to do so.

  12. Anonymous*

    #5 Self-defense is different than losing your temper. Self-defense is okay, but losing your temper isn’t. Sometimes it is very hard to tell where you cross over from one to another.

    If you have an angry customer, one of your first lines of defense should be your manager. They get paid the big bucks, so they get stuck with crazy or dangerous customers. “Let me go get my manager for you” is a wonderful phrase in low-end service jobs like McDonalds.

    Another line of defense is refusing to serve the customer. If someone spits on you or starts calling you names, refuse to serve them and go to your manager immediately. Let someone else handle that customer. Let the manager decide whether to ask them to leave or not. You are still a human and you shouldn’t have to put up with extreme bad behavior from another adult.

    If none of those work, call the police if the customer is too out-of-control (lots of yelling, won’t calm down, starts getting physical) for you to handle. Then, when the police get there, make sure they get a complimentary coffee or something small like that. Pay for it yourself if you have to. There probably won’t be an arrest, but it’ll put the customer back in line and discourage future incidents.

    If you do get physically attacked at work, do defend yourself. Then immediately explain to your manager. In deference to your employer (to keep your job), please opt for fleeing the situation whenever possible, even when you could easily overpower the problem customer. If that isn’t an option, use the minimum physical force to end the situation. Yell for help while you do it. Don’t restrain the customer after the confrontation is ended. Do call the police if appropriate, and the hospital if necessary. No job is worth serious physical harm for, so it is always better to defend yourself than to let someone else hurt you.

    If you are in a particularly rough area, talk to your manager proactively about your concerns. Look up local self-defense law – it varies dramatically by state. Always opt for your own safety first. Keep your temper and remember the insults aren’t about you – they are bad reflections on that customer.

  13. Anonymous*

    5. Snap I also work in McD. Even though what the customer did is gross and completely wrong, DO NOT hit them or swear at them. Even though the customer ‘started it’ I can guarantee you’ll get a written warning (at the very least. If you hit them, there’s a good chance you’ll be sacked).

    Assuming you don’t work with complete asses though, they also won’t tolerate a customer spitting on their staff. You’re never alone in McD on front counter, so there’ll be witnesses and people with you, and even if not, all McD has CCTV.

    I’d suggest immediately calling your manager to deal with the customer (if they have any sense they’ll ask them to leave at the very least, and call the police at the most). And then excusing yourself to the break room or whatever you have, and washing your face. They’re not entitled to, but I’d hope your manager would allow you 5 mins and a drink before coming back to work.

    I have never had a customer spit on me, but i’ve had a drink thrown at me (it largely missed though) and a few crazy swearing shouting people. On these occasions, I was allowed to take a few minutes away from the front counter to re-compose myself and have a drink before continuing working.

  14. nyxalinth*

    #5 If more people acted like decent human beings, the question wouldn’t even need to be asked. That said, I second what others have said about getting a manager and if the laws are applicable calling the police and pressing charges.

  15. KarenT*

    I’m confused about #4

    Even if the managers are nonexempt, how us legal to dock their pay for something someone else is doing? Especially as it sounds like multiple people would be docked for one person’s action.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      It sounds pretty off the wall to me. I am wondering how they will prove the managers did not know where Jane was. I would often forget where someone was- but they would reappear soon and then it became obvious to me- “Oh yeah, Jane said she needed a bandaid.”
      Wouldn’t it be simpler just to tell people they cannot go outside if they are not on break?

      1. KarenT*

        Very true. And to punish more than one manager? All managers are supposed to know where every single person is? Sounds like the company wants sheep herders!

        1. A Dispatcher*

          I am wondering if this is really a case of a ridiculous blanket policy being put in place due to a few bad employees and/or managers. I could be wrong, but I’m guessing there are a couple of employees who are taking a ton of smoke/personal phone call breaks, 3-hour lunches, leaving early without clocking out, etc and their managers are not handling it how the company would like. Therefore, rather than deal with it rationally with individual discipline, you get this asinine policy.

        1. Jessica*

          Hi everyone! This was my question and I really appreciate all of the feedback. I work for a small business and too be honest this just came out of the blue. They had a meeting with us last week and basically told us that everyone in the company is getting clear plastic totes. We were also advised that anytime an employee leaves the building for whatever reason without a managers knowledge; all managers will be docked. I asked very pointedly if this was legal and I received no response. We have cameras all over the building and our operations manager admitted to us that she does not watch them because she does not have the time. During lunch time we are also to abandon our work and post ourselves at the main door and check the bag of every employee that exits the building. They believe that employees are stealing however in general us managers believe that our inventory dept is lacking. Inventory counts are off and we have brought this up however ‘they’ (the owner and operations manager) choose to believe it is theft. I assure you that we managers are doing everything as we were trained to do it by procedure.

  16. Bea W.*

    #5 – Self defense is defending oneself from further harm, and shouldn’t be confused with getting back at the person who attacked you. If you are behind the counter, and a customer spits at you, the best self defense it so physically remove yourself from spitting range, and alert your manager. Someone can call police if really necessary. Swearing, yelling, hitting, or spitting back will only escalate the situation and probably get yourself fired or worse, no matter how justified you think you were for retaliating, and it is not worth losing your job or going to jail over some jerk who tried to pick a fight over something that probably wasn’t worth picking a fight over in the first place.

  17. Bea W.*

    #2 Absolutely. Chances are the departments that had a bunch of promotions recently, had it in the budget at the time. For all you know those employees were told the same thing, or their managers just kept it quiet until they were sure they were able to give the promotions. This is a very normal thing to hear regarding both promotions and raises.

  18. Sara*

    #5–I’m surprised at some of the reactions here……Is it possible that the OP is brand new to the working world? A teenager? to paraphrase someone else wrote above thread, some things may be ethically/morally OK, but legally and professionally NOT OK…..and they may not be as obvious to some as to others…

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I thought of a teen OR a worker returning to the work place. It was not that long ago when we did not have to worry about stuff like this.

    2. Anonymous*

      When I read that email, I thought immediately of a McDonald’s that I visited in Gary, IN. I was incredibly ill and absolutely had to use the facilities somewhere, so I stopped there. There were three hookers working the parking lot. I picked that McDonald’s because none of the local gas stations allow the public to use their restrooms (you know, the gas stations with bullet-proof glass between you and the cashier).

      I imagine if I worked at that McDonald’s, I might very well find occasions where it is appropriate and necessary to punch a customer.

  19. LV*

    #6 – at one of my former jobs, the COO connected with every employee in the organization (which had 200-220 people at the time). He sent me an invite, and I’m 95% sure he had no idea who I was, just that I listed the organization as my current employer.

    1. AP*

      Also sometimes people accidentally hit the “connect with everyone in my inbox” function, which goes much deeper than you’d imagine…so if you ever cc’ed the COO on an email or sent out an “all-company” type thing, you’d be in his invite list.

      I get some really strange ones – people I emailed with once for a candidate reference, my old landlord, family members three times removed…

        1. dejavu2*

          I’ve gotten a bunch of invites likes this. LinkedIn is really good at tricking you into inviting your entire address book. And it’s not just people you’ve e-mailed, it’s people who you have been included on group e-mails with.

  20. Emma*

    #6 – I work at a very desirable organization within my field so every so often I’ll get randos (stateside and internationally), alum from my university, and even other people I’ve never met in our 1000+ organization requesting to connect to me. So, I always respond to these requests with a message asking how I know them. Passive-aggressive? I suppose, but if you cannot be arsed to write two sentences saying “hey, I saw your profile. Thought it’d be cool to connect because X,” then I can’t be bothered either to give you access to my information.

  21. Jen M*

    OT but, hey Alison, how long does it normally take to get a reply to a question sent to you? This comment is not meant to rush you at all, but I emailed mine earlier this week (related to HR/job apps) and I just wanted to find out if I should still be expecting a response or if it’s one you won’t have time to get to.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      On average, anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks … but I’ve been known to answer questions months later, just because my backlog is so ridiculous. Feel free to email me again though to let me know which it is!

  22. Jessica*

    #4 Thank you so much! I’m an exempt salaried employee. When my job instituted this policy I felt very uneasy, it just felt wrong to me. I feel much better now that I have a definitive answer. I really appreciate your prompt response. Thank you again

  23. Manda*

    Re #5: You spit in their burger. ;)

    Ok, serious face… -_-

    If something like that ever happens, you walk away and you get a manager. If you deal with the public everyday, trust me, you will want to swear at them sometimes, but you just can’t. This is unfortunate because ,often, customers are rude and they damn well deserve to be sworn at.

    1. Jamie*

      My daughter works in fast food and was closing the other night…a “gentleman” shows up at 3 minutes to close and while ordering wants to debate with the staff how they can live with themselves pushing unhealthy food onto the public who can’t resist…

      Seriously – it’s 1:00 am and people are tired. You want a burger, you don’t want a burger…whatever…but a lecture to a bunch of kids who’d been on their feet all night.

      He’s lucky they abided by the no swearing, no hitting policy…although no jury would convict them.

  24. plain jane*

    #2 – yes raises and promotions need to be in the company budget. Most companies have a contingency fund for “I want to retain Good Employee and thus need to give them a raise”. Similar to if you have a budget that includes $100/month for “stuff happens”, or a line item to save up for stuff that may break this year (stupid furnace).

    However, if your company is having a tough year, this is one of the easiest things to cut, and it is easy to justify. And if lots of others have already tapped the budget, then there may not be anything left towards the end of the year.

    And if lots of people got hired last year, or promotions/raises, then sometimes a company needs a bit of time to grow the business back to the level where they can cover it.

    It’s good though that you’re asking at a time that your manager is looking at next year’s budget. It’s usually easier to get a raise when next year’s budgets are being finalized.

  25. Alexis*

    #3’s Daughter here – thanks for the suggestions thus far. She’s applying outside the county system, which is making this harder on her. If she was apply for a county position, they’d have all the data needed. Alas, the country doesn’t have a great deal of part-time positions right now due to budget issues, which is why she is looking for tutoring jobs (something like Sylvan and some other private tutoring companies in her area.)

    I’ve having the hardest time tracking down her former colleagues – I’ve tried google/fb and even my own linkedin account (She doesn’t have one.)

    Part of this is that she’s embarrassed that she needs to work. (She divorced this year, and is really spent financially.) I’m trying to help her with that, and tell her that people generally want to help old colleagues succeed, no matter what the age or circumstance.

    If I cannot find any of these people, can she use long-term friends who happen to also be teachers (but may not have worked directly with her?) I’m running out of options, though I keep trying to locate of the names she’s given me.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You might be putting the cart before the horse here. When she interviews and gets to the reference-checking stage, she can explain the situation and see what they say. It might not be a big deal, particularly if they can confirm her employment with the school system. If they press, she can work with them to find a solution they’ll accept.

    2. Judy*

      Depending on the age level, can she use former students? I’m thinking high school age level, they should be able to speak on her ability to instruct and tutor.

      Another avenue at least around here is some of the afternoon programs for kids, through the Y or churches, they do homework after school. It certainly wouldn’t pay as much as actual tutoring, but it could be a stepping stone.

  26. belle*

    Unrelated, but need a response…

    I had an interview that I thought went very well. After the interview, the hiring manager gave me her cell phone number (she said she was going to be traveling), her office number and email address. I took this to be a very positive sign that I was their top candidate. A few hours later, I sent a thank you email to her and the other interviewer and was surprised to not receive a response. Does that mean the interview didn’t go as well as I thought? Maybe they had a chance to talk and realized I wasn’t a great fit. So nervous!

    1. Anonymous*

      You sent a thank-you note. What exactly were you expecting, a thank-you for the thank-you note?

      Just be patient. It doesn’t mean anything. Thank-you notes do not require a response. What you sound like you’re looking for is reassurance from the hiring manager, and they really aren’t obligated to sooth your jitters. It’s normal to be nervous on your part, but quit looking for messages where none exist. Reassure yourself that you are awesome, take a deep breath, and keep moving forward.

  27. A teacher*

    I think you’re over thinking it. I’ve never had anyone reply to a thank you email. Hiring takes a long time so be happy you had a good interview but don’t dwell on this. Good luck with the job search!

  28. Tekoa*

    #5) Yeah, swearing at or hitting a customer is not tolerated in 99% of places of employment. Unless you happen to work at a non-profit organization like mine which serves homeless people. If the clients swear at us, staff can swear back at them. Should a client/spit at a staff member management permits us to respond with equal force. But this is a very unusual fragment of society/employment situation. I’ve worked at McDonalds and I would have been fired had I sworn at or touched a client. lol.

    1. KatieBear*

      Can I ask why it’s permitted to swear/strike back because the clients are homeless? I truly don’t understand how that helps the situation…..

      1. Tekoa*

        Its happened in the past where a fight occurs between clients or clients and staff where we’ve had to step in and literally knock someone out for safety purposes. Either they wouldn’t stop attacking us or another person before the police showed up. As for swearing, its part of Street Language. Normal, and expected to the point clients wont respect you if it isn’t used. Some aspects of street culture are very much at odds with mainstream society.

        1. Tekoa*

          An example of swearing that has happened…

          (Person is drinking behind the dumpsters on our property)

          Me: (nicely) “Please come out from there. You can’t drink beer at this location. You need to go somewhere else.”

          Client: (doesn’t leave) “%^&@ you. I can $#@%ing drink wherever I ^&@# well please. #@$%!!!!!!”

          Me: (firmly) “No you can’t. You need to leave.”

          Client: (doesn’t leave) “$#@$ you! #@!% all of you! I’m going to %$#@ you up and rape you, you $#@^ing #@%& ^%$#@! %$#$@!”

          Me: (firmly) “Get the #@%$ out of here.”

          Client: (leaves)

          I hope that provides a bit of context

  29. Bagworm*

    #1 – you also should check your new employer’s policy on secondary employment. Some employers prohibit secondary employment with competitors or in the government grant funded world there can be issues if you are being paid out of grants at two different agencies. Just something to check on before maintaining an old job in name only that could cost you your current one.

  30. books*

    I can’t decide if #5 is hoping to get fired by sending someone in to be disrespectful to him/her or if it’s something that’s already happened or they’re just preparing in the event something like that comes up.

  31. j-e to the double n*

    # 5: I once worked in a grocery store that gave away Thanksgiving turkeys to customer with enough “points”. One day, in the middle of Thanksgiving insanity, I was working the customer service desk. One particularly angry customer came in and threw a 20 lb rotten turkey at me across the counter. They began yelling at me, but I didn’t hear a word they said. I just turned to the cashier in the first lane within hearing range and asked her to call the manager to take care of the situation and help me get the turkey in a bag.

    The guy kept trying to tell me his issue, getting angrier and angrier while waiting for the manager. I didn’t talk to him at all, when the manager arrived I allowed her to take in the situation and asked if I could go home to take a shower. She let me leave for the day even though I had a good 3 1/2 hours left on my shift. When I came in the next day, there was a thank you note pinned to my locker and a $10 gift card to the store, all because I kept my cool and didn’t freak out.

    I wish there were more managers like her out there!

    So in my opinion, OP, just take a step back call the manager and let them deal with it. You’ll most likely come out looking better in the end and may even get commended for your self control!

    1. j-e to the double n*

      I should also say, that I caught the turkey with both arms and it hit me right in the chest. So you can imagine the dripping, disgusting-ness Alllllll over me.


      1. CEMgr*

        You offer a model of coolness and professionalism that we should all aspire to. (That may have sounded snarky but I meant it sincerely.) It is clear your manager felt the same.

        P.S. Any chance your store did in fact sell a rotten turkey? It does not justify the turkey tossing in the slightest, but it would be good for the manager to be aware that selling spoiled food – whether deliberately or carelessly – can indeed lead to very poor customer relations.

        1. j-e to the double n*

          I don’t know about being a “model of coolness and professionalism”… I think a big part of it was that I was too stunned to speak!

          After all of the hubbub about the turkey died down, I heard around the store that the customer was yelling at my manager after I left for the day that we should have put instructions on the turkey. Apparently, it was a “fresh” bird and not a frozen one that he bought a week and a half before Thanksgiving and he let it sit on his counter to “thaw” out. He must not have been a very experienced cook, because A.– you have to thaw birds out in the fridge first, and B. — anyone can tell the difference between a fresh turkey and a frozen one.

          I don’t know how true the story is, however, because I heard as second-hand gossip after the fact. Also, I can’t see how we sold a 20lb rotten bird. Someone surely would have noticed before it walked out the door, but one never knows I guess.

          At least I have a great, “tell me about a difficult customer experience” story for future interviews!

  32. ThursdaysGeek*

    #5 references

    “in states where they should not be giving references”

    Apparently, I’m the only one who read this and was confused as to what states they lived in where it wasn’t good to be giving references: Texas? Alabama? Idaho? (It’s not poorly written, I’m just having issues with reading comprehension today.)

    1. Emma*

      Maybe she means mental states – e.g., the folks she could go to for referrals are now quite aged with memory problems, dementia, etc. that would prevent them giving reliable references.

      1. Alexis*

        That’s correct – my mom’s favorite principal has dementia and is in a care facility. She’s a great woman, very sweet, but not in a good mental state to be providing clear references.

  33. JenTheNiceHRGirl*

    #6) This actually happens to me quite a bit. I would take it as a compliment that this person liked your profile enough to want to connect… and you can certainly use that to your advantage by talking about your goals to move into a career in their field.

Comments are closed.