update: my coworker put a magical curse on her boss

Welcome to the start of a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, with daily updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. To kick us off…

Remember the letter-writer whose coworker claimed to have put a magical curse on their boss? Here’s the update.

Your advice and reading the comments under your blog post really helped me to understand that what I was feeling in the moment was valid. I ended taking your advice and communicated my concerns with my manager. In my opinion the situation became better, but I think my manager lost her marbles in the end.

At first, my manger, Ashley, understood that I was not comfortable working with my coworker who enjoyed hexing others. Ashley took my concerns seriously and never scheduled me with her after that initial conversation, which I was very grateful for. Over the next few weeks, one of my other coworkers started to notice similar unstable behavior/patterns where our coworker would go around talking to herself and saying things like “i have a demon in me” or “on the 21st, all people doing bad things will be sacrificed,” telling customers that they have “evil spirits,” etc.

Eventually she started taping hidden “spells” around the store, we found a few one morning and I was in utter confusion because they insinuated questionable actions. A few days later, there was an incident where she threw something at a customer’s car out of rage. Most of these incidents were brought to my manager, who decided not to do anything about it. She said it was because “I am scared that she’ll do something to me if I confront her.” A day or so later, she stole money from the cash register and a few days later the store was robbed during the pm shift, coincidentally by someone she knew. This person had been constantly visiting her during her shifts and on camera you could see them clocking the store. Yet Ashley said a day later, “I think she is going to work out here.” In that moment, I looked at her in complete disbelief. I was shocked at the complacency and poor management and judgment.

I had to take some time to see if this was really an environment that I could work in until I graduate university. I don’t have anything against witchcraft but when it comes to openly threatening others, purposely trying to make people uncomfortable, and stealing, those are not values I stand for and I no longer wanted to compromise myself for a job that was putting others at risk. In my opinion she was emotionally and mentally unstable, we never knew what she was going to do or say next. Due to the nature of the relationship I had with Ashley, I thought it would be best to discuss why I wanted to part ways. I explained that I had found a new job at an animal hospital as a receptionist (which turned out to be the best thing for me), and that I wouldn’t be putting in my two weeks notice because I felt as if my well-being had been compromised. Ashley was not understanding at all. (Alison interjection: She would have been understanding if you were hexing people though!) I think she was disappointed that I did not want to put in my two weeks but my concern wasn’t about who was going to cover my shifts. She had already made a choice not to address the situation on multiple occasions, even after many of my other coworkers expressed their concerns. This was no longer a safe working environment. Normally I have always put in two weeks notice but my instincts were telling me to head in the opposite direction.

I want to thank you and everyone in the comments who asked for an update. I am doing better than expected and this experience has taught me that sometimes jobs no longer have your best interests and your safety always comes first.

{ 220 comments… read them below }

  1. New Jack Karyn*

    Good call on prioritizing your needs and your mental health! That was not a safe situation and you got yourself out of there.
    We joke a lot about your story, and how bonkers it was–but living it must have been frightening and upsetting. I’m glad you got out safely.

    1. Observer*

      Yes. It’s a good story when you think of it as a piece of fiction. But for the person living through this, it must have been scary.

      OP, I’m glad you got out safely.

    2. hayling*

      Agree! It can be really hard to have perspective when you’re young and new to the work force, especially if you’re supporting yourself through school. Good for you for having the boundaries and awareness to realize that this was a bad situation, and get yourself out!

  2. A lawyer*

    Putting aside the hexes and other nonsense, how did this woman not get fired after, you know, STEALING money? Maybe she put a spell on Ashley so that she wouldn’t get fired?

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        In my retail days, insulting customers could be PIP country–and telling customers they have ‘evil spirits’ counts in my book.
        Add in the theft, and I suspect supervisor was afraid of the employee more for criminal connections than magical ability.
        Good choice to move on!

    1. Bilateralrope*

      I wonder what someone above Ashley would have thought about all this.

      Still, that’s not the letter writers problem.

      1. Elenna*

        This. Did nobody else above Ashley or outside the organization investigate the straight-up robbery??

        1. rachel in nyc*

          It’s a gas station. Robberies happen. I imagine it’s like banks. Robberies happen.

          1. twocents*

            There was more than one theft: the would-be witch stole from the cash register and then let her friend rob the place.

            I don’t know any bank (that you should keep your money at) that would just shrug off an employee’s repeated thefts.

            1. HarvestKaleSlaw*

              Yeah – banks are actually *really* strict about that kind of thing.

              I wish I could say that I was shocked by this story, but I had a retail job where one of the long-time employees stole inventory from the store – egregiously, flagrantly… it still took years for them to get fired because the owners thought their long-time employees were like family. It was in many ways a lovely place to work, but it was hard watching a scammer fleece your lovely, elderly boss and then park their butt in the break room for their entire shift playing Candy Crush.

              That person finally messed up and stole from the register. Since the store’s accountant was *very* good at her job and had it in for this person, they were finally let go. The inventory wasn’t tracked too well, and the scammer was romantically involved with the person who did the receiving, but the cash was tracked to the penny.

          2. Forrest*

            I mean, robberies happen, sure, but carrying on employing someone who had stolen money themselves AND was associated with someone who robbed the store? That’s a new level!

          3. Observer*

            Any teller (or other bank employee) who stole money would be fired so fast their head would be spinning. And any employee who was seen on camera helping someone scope out the place would be fired and almost certainly facing charges.

          4. Abyssal*

            Hahahaha what bank is gonna shrug and be like “robberies happen”?? Let me tell you if they even thought someone might possibly have been involved in some amount of money going missing, it would be the bloody Spanish Inquisition at any financial institution I know of.

            1. Amaranth*

              No kidding, you even count wrong by a few pennies and you can get written up. Banks and McDonalds, no mercy for dropping a nickel.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        Still, that’s not the letter writers problem.
        A manager problem disguised as a coworker witchcraft problem.

        1. Magenta Sky*

          Nearly all coworker problems that go on for any length of time are actually manager problems. Or problem managers, as the case may be.

        2. Dezzi*

          I don’t know if anyone else here spends a lot of time on Reddit, but this whole letter just makes me go “the Iranian yogurt is not the issue here.”

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I discovered AITA more recently than that so thank you for the historic gem.

          2. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

            I do like reddit, but I do not know the reference. Can someone enlighten me?

            1. Blonde Spiders*

              This inspired me to go find the story. Hilarious!

              Just search for “Iranian Yogurt” on Reddit, you’ll find it.

            2. Athena*

              It’s from a poster in Am I The Asshole thread who was talking about her boyfriend who has serious hoarding issues. She threw away his expired foreign yogurts and was asking if she was the asshole, and the gem of the responses was “The Iranian yogurt is not the issue here.”

      3. AnonymousOP*

        I am the person who originally submitted the original post. “Cindy” who was the district store manger, did not want to get involved. One morning after speaking to Ashley after the incident with Clarissa, purposely trying to damage customer property she advised all of us to wear an “anti-witchcraft” necklace. I’m laughing as I type this in utter disbelief because, it’s now clear that this was a systematic issue that will probably never be addressed. I wound not be surprised if Clarissa is still is employed.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Yeah – sounds like this is a gas station to visit only if every other station is out of gas.

          OP, enjoy the animals!

          1. INFJedi*

            Yeah – sounds like this is a gas station to visit only if every other station is out of gas.

            And even then… Ö yikes!!

        2. Bilateralrope*

          So you were told to wear religious jewelry. I’m sure there are some groups out there would have had fun knowing that. Might have embarrassed the company into cutting out the rot.

          But leaving remains the best option for you.

        3. onco fonco*

          ‘she advised all of us to wear an “anti-witchcraft” necklace’

          I am crying and wheezing with laughter but I can’t imagine having to deal with these people in real life. I’m so sorry you had to.

        4. K in Boston*

          This is an amazing addendum. I’m sorry you had to experience that but I also need to know more about this incredible suggestion. Where did she suggest obtaining such a thing? Or did she expect you to make it yourself?

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      That was the only thing I was wondering about. Straight up crimes and she’s still there.

      OP don’t feel bad about not giving two weeks – it’s college, and your health and safety were more important. You have other jobs that will vouch for you have proper notice – this one will look like the exception that it was.

      1. Magenta Sky*

        Perhaps the hex was to control the manager and keep her from firing the witch?
        (No I don’t believe in such things. This is a joke.)

    3. Momma Bear*

      Or something! Ashley all but abdicated managing this person so I’m glad LW got out.

      1. Observer*

        Not “all but”. This was straight up abandonment of any level of responsible behavior.

      1. Self Employed*

        Sounds more like Jedi mind tricks than a curse, but it’s weird either way.

    4. you what!?*

      Heck, one place I was at had a visit from corporate loss-prevention after a failed attempt to get into the store safe by a random third party who found some access via the roof…

      I can’t imagine a robbery during the day not being investigated unless it was a sole-site “mom and pop” style setup…

    5. Lemon Zinger*

      Maybe Ashley was part of the whole thing. It sounds like a mess. The LW is clearly in a much better role now!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I suspect she lives in the neighborhood controlled by the cursor’s “family” and fears retribution.
          (* Cursor? Curser? Not a word I’ve ever had occasion to write!)

    6. Typing All The Time*

      Serious. Let the police and store ownership get involved. Why let this person have power over them?

    7. HigherEdAdminista*

      Seriously, I know this is a harsh thing to say but Ashley deserves to be fired and never to work in any position of authority ever again. She sounds like an absolutely terrible manager.

      1. PT*

        My guess re: Ashley is there’s some dopey corporate rule where “Any manager who has police respond to their store gets an automatic write up even if there’s nothing they could have done about it” or “Technically you are supposed to fire bad employees but the district manager thinks it’s a sign of bad judgement and is going to spend the next six months bullying you for it.”

        I’ve worked places like that. I once had someone following me around hounding me because “The llama staff had caused an accident and were unsafe.” What had actually happened was that a customer with a chronic medical condition had been in my department when they realized they were having an episode, went into the restroom for a quick break to take medication, and then went home. Someone from the teapots department happened to be using the restroom when they were taking their medication and asked them what was going on. This turned into “an incident in the llama department that the staff did nothing to prevent.” What the person on duty in the llama department saw, was someone walk out of a llama stall, into the lobby, and into the restroom- nothing unusual at all. But somehow it was “their fault” for not “acting.”

        1. SometimesALurker*

          Thank you for that perspective! I think something like that has to be it, which is concerning because that means a lot more people becoming Ashleys if faced with employees threatening people!

        2. Kaylin Neya*

          Which is interesting, because I just read an article about Amazon, where corporate culture acknowledges that people will leave. But they’ve had it so ingrained that people will leave, that they now expect a certain attrition rate and managers get bad reviews (I think) if they don’t have enough people leave/quit, so some managers are deliberately hiring people who are unsuitable so that they have people to fire or who will quit.

          1. Batty Twerp*

            Wait, what?! That’s assbackwards if ever I heard it!

            It’s amazing the impact that company culture can have. And, unlike economics, culture does trickle down from the top.

          2. Rectilinear Propagation*

            Reminds me of those companies that fire their bottom 10% performers every year. (IIRC, Amazon also did that at one point.)

      2. Lucious*

        We should be careful here- Ashley could very well have escalated the issue and been ordered to leave the Voodoo Coworker alone. Perhaps upstairs management simply doesn’t care, or the Voodoo Coworker’s related to a senior big shot in the organization.

        1. pancakes*

          If that was the case she could’ve said something along the lines of “I can’t discuss the matter with you” rather than “I am scared that she’ll do something to me if I confront her” and “I think she is going to work out here.”

      3. Observer*

        , I know this is a harsh thing to say but Ashley deserves to be fired and never to work in any position of authority ever again. She sounds like an absolutely terrible manager.

        Harsh, but I think totally deserved.

    8. Phony Genius*

      If this happened in the U.S., if the worker stole money from the store, and the manager knew about it and did nothing, and then that same worker was involved in a further robbery of the same store, a case could be made in many states for the manager to be prosecuted for aiding and abetting. (This assumes that the manager is not also the owner.)

      1. A*

        And if an employee or a customer gets hurt, they can easily sue the business for not taking safety precautions. Good thing OP decided to head for the hills!

    9. Marion Ravenwood*

      It happens. One of my very first jobs was as a waitress/bar staff in a posh local hotel. A girl on my team took umbrage with management disciplining her for something and took a bunch of money out of the till. We ended the night £600 down and it came out of everyone’s wages who’d worked that night, meaning effectively we didn’t get paid for that shift. I didn’t find out the whole truth of this until after she’d quit, but I suspect that if it had stayed a one-off she would have stayed in employment there for longer than she did.

      That said, the fact that this employee was responsible for this TWICE and apparently didn’t suffer any consequences seems completely bizarre.

      1. IrishMN*

        Whoa. If you’re in the US, I’m pretty sure docking wages that way is illegal. Kind of like if you drop of bag of dog food and it spills all over, they can’t take it out of your paycheck.

  3. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

    Maybe Clarissa put a spell on Ashley to put her under her thrall. XD

    1. anonymouse*

      I was thinking that I can’t be the only one who wondered about pre-Clarissa Ashley and post-Clarissa Ashley.
      the power of persuasion, perhaps.

  4. Sparkles McFadden*

    – Hexing people – OK
    – Threatening coworkers – OK
    – Throwing things at a customer’s car – OK
    – Stealing – OK
    – Abetting a robbery – OK
    – Not giving two notice before leaving an insane workplace – HOW DARE YOU!

    Best of luck in your new job LW!

    1. Elenna*

      Presumably LW just had to make Ashley afraid of them, and then it would all be okay in Ashley’s book! :P

      Glad you got out, LW, this situation is bonkers.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Yup, this whole story is bananas and I’m so glad for OP that she’s out of there!!!! Scary place, it sounds like!

    3. anonymouse*

      Classic AAM right formula here:
      Dear Alison,
      I have an un-productive/qualified/stable/reliable coworker. I showed my manager how it affects the workplace and my productivity. My manager appreciated my openness and professionalism. I was rewarded by having the onus of working around this person put on me. It proved untenable, so I decided to leave.
      My manager lost her shit.

      1. Miller_Admin*

        Bad managers will fail to address an issue as long as they have a good employee that makes up the difference. As long as work is being done; they’ll keep the bad apple. Than it’s a shock when the good employee walks. They caused the job dissatisfaction but will not accept ownership of the consequences.

        1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

          I’ve seen it over and over. One place I worked had multiple staff quit multiple times (like half the work force turn in notice within 48 hours) over 1 Bad Employee. Boss defends Bad Employee to the death. But then she’d turn around and nick picks at Star Employee (who’s clients all love her) over the littlest things. Half the work force quit on more than 1 occasion and Boss still didn’t think it was due to Bad Employee or her terrible management skills.

    4. Elbe*

      I feel like this dynamic is actually really common. It’s just a blatant double standard where the unreasonable people go unchecked (because controlling them is too much effort) but the reasonable people are held to very high standards so that the managers don’t feel like complete push overs.

      1. UK girl*

        This,totally this. It took a long time to recently get rid if someone in my current job who was unreliable and used all sorts of means to get what they wanted to the detriment of others. A friend suffered from a bullying co worker who got away with throwing a bunch of files at her because management said the bully was having a hard time right now.

    5. meyer lemon*

      Not to get too psychoanalytical about a bunch of strangers, but it sounds like Ashley felt obligated to enable the hexing coworker’s behaviour and set her expectations of the letter writer way too high to compensate. A kind of professional golden child/scapegoat dynamic.

  5. TiredMama*

    Ashley is in the wrong but I would be kinda scared of the hexer too. I am glad you trusted your instincts and got out of there!

    1. Pickled Limes*

      I would be afraid too, but that’s when you call for backup. If you think somebody is going to flip out if you fire them, you get somebody to be in the room with you to function as security, and you get your restraining order/trespassing paperwork in order in case you need it.

      1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

        And you call the police when your workplace has been robbed – preferably before a customer calls the police because one of your employees has has committed a crime against THEM! This goes far beyond eccentricity and hexes; this employee is dangerously mentally ill – with an emphasis on “dangerous.”

      2. Kes*

        Yeah – I get being concerned but it is literally Ashley’s job to deal with her as the manager. Abdicating her responsibilities is not the solution to this problem (or if she’s really unable to fulfil her responsibilities, she should vacate the post as well). Making a plan for how to safely deal with this, and getting help in doing so if needed, is the better option. It’s not the first time we’ve seen letters on managers not dealing with problem employees, but the fact that she literally robbed them and didn’t get fired is incredible.

      3. pope suburban*

        This. Years ago I worked with an unstable person who threatened other employees, stole thousands of dollars (and that’s just the amount I could 100% prove he’d stolen; I suspect the final number is much higher), caused property damage to multiple clients’ homes, committed time card fraud, and would frequently not show up to work. Our boss did…nothing, even though this person’s work was also poor and even though this person had admitted to me on multiple occasions that he had paid someone else to take his professional certification exam (Which was still more pleasant than the time he showed me a dick pic). Yes, this guy *was* pretty scary, but that’s why it was more important to get him out of the office and away from other employees he could threaten or harm. I have, to this day, no idea why the boss didn’t let him go after all that. He was very conflict-avoidant in general, but this reached a level that was just ridiculous. I’d have happily called the sheriff for a standby if it would have meant getting him out of there sooner. He was eventually let go, but only because he abandoned the job and we kind of had no choice. It was baffling and demoralizing and the cost to staff’s mental health was considerable.

    2. Delta Delta*

      I think when it was the coworker just saying she was casting spells it was easy to ignore. But then it turned into hiding spells in the store – that’s starting to cross over into weirder behavior that might be indicative of a larger issue with the coworker and her potential instability.

  6. Reality Check*

    You know, this ties in perfectly with the last letter. OP and coworkers raise serious issues to the manager, and…. Nothing. Manager is mad when employee leaves.

    1. Sharrbe*

      Yep. Not that this is comparable to the LW situation, but I once took a part-time job with the understanding that I’d only be able to work weekends – as in Friday evenings to Sunday nights. Manager kept scheduling me for weekdays and acted like it was huge inconvenience when I kept reminding her of our original agreement. When it was clear she wouldn’t stop scheduling me incorrectly, I quit on the spot. She was appalled. Like, really?

      1. Sydney Ellen Wade*

        I don’t understand people like this. What did she think would happen? Your schedule would magically change?

  7. BethRA*

    So. Ashley herself was afraid of this person, but didn’t understand why OP didn’t feel safe enough to give two weeks notice?

    Maybe Ashley didn’t lose her marbles, maybe one of the whackadoo’s spells actually worked.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Logical if the incantation was something like “You don’ wanna fire me. You know who my brother/cousin/boyfriend is…he looks out for me.”

  8. PT*

    I really want to see the Yelp and Google reviews for this gas station.

    “As I was checking out my purchase the clerk told me I had an evil spirit in me and she needed to ritually sacrifice a goat.”
    “I picked up a package of Twinkies and under it was what looked like a handwritten magic spell.”
    “I was sitting in my car drinking a Slurpee when the clerk came out screaming and threw a Slim Jim at me.”

    1. EgyptMarge*

      “I tried to read the open/close hours posted on the door but couldn’t because of the pentagrams on the window.”
      “The chanting was okay but I question the safety of the torches around the gas pumps.”

    2. NoviceManagerGuy*

      “Clerk refused to let me buy iced coffee because the spirits like it cold.”

    3. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

      “The prices are listed as ‘regular – $2.99,’ ‘plus – $3.15,’ and ‘ultra – one burnt offering to Lamashtu.’ It was unclear to me whether I was supposed to provide one burnt offering per gallon (which seems excessive) or one per full tank of gas.”

    4. KayDeeAye*

      At a place I used to work lo, these many years ago, there were a couple of guys who would sometimes take a few minutes to kneel in the parking lot and pray to one of the trees that bordered it. They were harmless, as far as I could tell, but you did have to be careful sometimes when pulling into a parking space. Fortunately, it was always the same tree they were praying to, so all you really had to do was be vigilant about that particular parking spot. Ah, adventures in small-town journalism!

      1. Dittany*

        I wonder why they didn’t leave the parking lot? Surely there was an area near the tree where they couldn’t be potentially hit by a car?

        1. KayDeeAye*

          This is so long ago now that I don’t have a particularly clear mental image of that parking lot, but I kind of remember that the parking lot was where they could get closest to the tree. I don’t know if that was a factor or not. It could also be that they preferred the parking lot to the sidewalk, where their kneeling would have impeded foot traffic.

          I do sometimes visit the town where this all happened, and the next time I do, I really should drive by that building and and refresh my memory. I think the newspaper is still located in the same spot.

        2. JobHunter*

          “This store sells fresh fruit but I was afraid to try the apples. One of the employees was performing scrying in the lavatory mirror.”

          1. quill*

            “The clerk rung me up by casting bones. They looked like they’d come from the attached KFC. It took far too long and my credit card is greasy.”

      2. Liane*

        When I was customer service at Walmart, one closing shift Sunday night (not one of my usual shifts, but an extra I’d picked up) someone called and seriously asked if they could get permission to do some sort of benign magical ritual at our store. My Customer Service Supervisor – one of the best ones there – was totally flummoxed and all WTF, but thankfully managed to refuse. Double thankfully they never called back AFAIK.

        After the call:
        Me: Hmm, in the Dresden Files books, wizard Harry Dresden has mentioned several times that Walmart is a great place to get basic spell supplies, for white or black magic.

        (Yes, I was well-known as The Resident Geek, why do you ask? I think CSS was only surprised by my comment because it wasn’t a Star Wars reference.)

        To the OP, I am glad you got out of there ASAP.

        1. Liane*

          the CSS’s reaction was supposed to be “another WTF look” but the blank works too

        1. Meri*

          That is my go-to response for things like this! It’s amazing how many people miss the reference.

    5. LegalSeagull*

      “When asking for a medium coffee, I was given an actual medium. It was far too early in the morning to speak with dead relatives, especially without any coffee.”

  9. Sara without an H*

    We’ve had all kinds of examples of bad management at AAM, but Ashley brings the level of incompetence to new lows.

    Best of luck to you in your new job. Receptionist at an animal hospital sounds like a nice gig. Customers may bark or hiss at you, but are unlikely to attempt supernatural reprisals.

    1. Zephy*

      IME you encounter a whole other brand of weird customer in the veterinary setting, but yeah, they usually aren’t trying to hex you, at least.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        And most of the time the weirdness can be explained by stress and worry. Doesn’t excuse the bad treatment, but does explain a lot of it.

        1. Case of the Mondays*

          That and us animal lovers are an interesting breed. All of my pet sitters have been a little different and that’s what I love about them. I also fit right in.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Oh I have animals as well – the vets around me just don’t do chickens. The fresh eggs are really nice. And it also means that I’ve learned the interesting arts of wing clipping and bird vaccination.

            1. nonegiven*

              The vet here does mostly livestock, idk if that includes chickens, but why wouldn’t it?

    2. Sleepless*

      Veterinary reception is a surprisingly hard job, but I’m delighted that the OP is doing it! Welcome to the coolest industry on the planet, LW.

  10. RussianInTexas*

    Was the police not involved in the robbery? I do not understand the entire situation here.

    1. Sal*

      Agree. Also, OP—gonna go out on a limb here and say that it wasn’t coincidental that the perpetrator of the robbery knew your colleague.

      1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

        Since the OP wrote that the colleague and the robber had been seen together checking out the store’s layout, it isn’t going very far out on that limb to say that yes, the crazy colleague brought in her robbing buddy to clean out the cash register!

        1. AnonymousOP*

          I am the original LW who submitted my story to Allison. The police did get involved, however the night that it happened was on Clarissa’a day off. My two co-workers were working that night, & one of my coworkers called Ashley during the robbery. The next day the police came by to collect the security camera footage. I was there that morning & I believe that the detective requested a few weeks worth of footage, as they were able to connect that the same person who robbed the store was seen constantly “interacting” with Clarissa on multiple occasions. One of my coworkers even said to Ashley weeks before the robbery happened that she constantly invites this one person to see her during her shifts and that she sometimes allows them to come behind the counter (which is we’re the drop safe and cash registers are). The detective told Ashley that Clarissa could be charged with a felony as well for being a accomplice by default. However Ashley only wanted to charge the perpetrator who robbed the store because “Clarissa wasn’t working that night”. However the police needed a name/identification, so Ashley had asked Clarissa who the person was and she responded by saying “I am not a snitch, but I’ve never met him before”. Another one of my coworkers who one worked once a week, knew the person by their nickname as they grew up in the area and mentioned it to Ashley. That was the last update I had received on the situation as I quit a a week or two later.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              I think calling this a circus is an insult to the circus. Oh, and Clarissa may still get in trouble with the police, but with Ashley declining to press charges the likelihood is very, very low.

              Doubly good on you for getting out OP.

          1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

            I can’t believe Clarissa didn’t get fired right then and there for refusing to aid in a police investigation. Heck I can’t believe Ashley didn’t get fired for letting all this fly.

  11. Sunny*

    Aw, this poor person. It reminds me of going out into the world and realizing that there are a ton of weirdos out there.

  12. Accounting Janet*

    One thing is clear from this story (and others) – work drama is inversely proportional to salary.

    1. iliketoknit*

      Oh, I think this site makes clear that there’s plenty of work drama to go around in all salary levels.

    2. nonbinary writer*

      there are plenty of incompetent people, people with bizarre beliefs, and people who enjoy drama at all salary levels. like, please go watch the wework documentary and tell me again how only the poors cause drama.

      1. Pants*

        ooh, are you the Hellmouth worker with the plague of bees, cameras/listening equipment, = and adult-movie-watching custodian? Cos I always want to hear tales from that Hellmouth!

        1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

          Oh yes, I am! And it was not a super low paying job, either, so I take real issue with declarations that work drama is inversely proportional to salary, lol. Dysfunction and work horrors can happen at annnnny level.

          1. Pants*

            Oh, it absolutely can. My last job wasn’t low paying either but holy holy. It wasn’t quite a Hellmouth but was certainly Hellmouth adjacent.

    3. Observer*

      I guess you haven’t read enough AAM. I mean read some of the “worst boss” submissions. And then read some of the ones that didn’t quite meet the bar.

    4. meyer lemon*

      My AAM-derived observation is that the drama often starts at the top salary levels (the drama headwaters) but the people at the bottom are disproportionately forced to deal with the fallout.

      1. Anonny*

        I think there’s a bit of bimodal distribution for this sort of weirdness. Like, either they’re the boss – and therefore ‘too valuable’ to fire even if they do start making their employees perform team bonding chaos magic rituals every Friday, or they work in jobs like retail which don’t necessarily have the hiring practices that would screen out the kind of person who brings curses into the workplace before they’re promoted to management.

      2. WS*

        Yes, exactly. Grandboss is a conspiracy theorist driving away clients? It’s worker A and worker B who get cut because there’s no budget.

  13. Rox*

    Is there no one above Ashley? Unless Ashley is the owner there must be someone to report this to. This is a legitimately dangerous situation that could end with a customer or co-worker physically attacked.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Where I live, many gas stations are privately owned. The owner has a deal with a particular gas company, but just to sell their gas. They don’t get involved in any management decisions (or indecisions).

      1. Kathlynn (Canada)*

        But if you have an issue like this, please raise it with the franchise HQ, because they can/will step in to protect their image/brand.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          IF it’s a franchise. Some are literally independent. They sell gas the way some diners sell Coke products. (There are plenty of franchises, too. You can usually tell the difference.)

    2. UK girl*

      There is mention of “Cindy” whose solution to the problem was an anti-witchcraft pendant. Ashley had no backup and likely had no power to fire anyone. That does not excuse her attitude toward OP or not ensuring that the theft resulted in dismissal.

  14. KP*

    Obviously getting TF out of there was the best choice. But was there not a higher up manager or owner you could have gone to?? Or your other coworkers could go to? I mean that sounds completely unsafe for all employees and customers too, she is a huge liability at that point. Yikes.

  15. Jessica*

    “Sorry, Ashley, I wanted to give 2 weeks’ notice, but I feel a compulsion to quit immediately. I’m pretty sure Clarissa has put me under a geas and I just can’t help myself. Byeeeee!”

  16. Erin*

    I know I’ve worked on teams that have someone who does crazy & out of line things that management does not address out of fear of how this person will react. But how the heck did this employee get away with damaging a customer’s car and stealing money?? And recruiting a friend to case the joint?? What??

    Congrats on getting out. The manager will be learning some valuable lessons on how to identify & modify inappropriate behaviors with that employee who is still working there. It will be a gigantic headache for the manager that could have been prevented, but, not your problem to care about!

  17. Bookworm*

    Good for you, OP! Definitely sounds like a situation where it was really best that you left ASAP, 2 weeks be darned.

    I’m so happy it seems to have worked out for the better! Thank you for the update!

  18. Rebaroni*

    2 weeks notice is a courtesy, not a rule. I’ve no noticed jobs when they fail to give me the courtesy of a safe, sane work environment too.
    You did the right thing and Ashley is going to regret her inaction most assuredly.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      Yep. Done it twice. Both times I felt so proud of myself for getting out of such a terrible situation.

    2. Mental Lentil*

      Yep, exactly. To paraphrase someone who posted in the last letter, employers get the kind of notice they deserve.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        The one time I quit without notice, I figured I was doing everyone a favor. They couldn’t get my schedule right, & I just decided that it was easier to quit than to keep making them redo it. (Weirdly, it was one of the few retail jobs I had where they had scheduling software. But they somehow thought I’d be willing to blow off my FT job with better pay & a future for their PT wage work. I was not.)

        A few months later, I found out that almost everyone who had been hired around the same time I had been was laid off after the Christmas rush.

        1. Former Retail Worker*

          I truly think that some places intentionally try to monopolize their workers’ time. I worked for the Concentric Red Circles in college, and was upfront that my schedule would need to be changed every semester because my classes would change. They said it was fine. I was hired over the summer, so I worked a lot and had open availability.

          Fall semester starts, they cannot for the life of them figured out how to schedule me, and I have to repeatedly ask for fewer hours because I was drowning. When Spring semester comes around, my schedule is closer to what they’ve been mistakenly scheduling me as for months, so I think it’ll get better. No, they start scheduling me incorrectly, again, in a different way. If they had left everything the same, less would have been wrong with it.

          The only thing I can conclude is either they wanted me to quit specifically, or they’re actively trying to erode employees’ lives outside of the job.

  19. AnotherLibrarian*

    You did the right thing getting out of there. I am so sorry you had this experience, but am glad you are free from it. Your instincts were correct and you were right to listen to them. They will serve you in good stead going forward. Good luck in your future work!

  20. Chantel*

    “This was no longer a safe working environment…this experience has taught me that sometimes jobs no longer have your best interests and your safety always comes first.”


    Right on, LW. I didn’t read others’ comments, but I’m sure they’ve pointed out that you made an excellent call here. Good for you, and congratulations on your new job!

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Posted this elsewhere – the fact you have other jobs that will vouch for the fact you give proper notice when leaving jobs. Those others will make this job look like the exception that it is.

    2. Remote Worker and Dog Lover*

      Yes! The LW handled the situation really well – honestly better than I would have done at 21.

  21. Emily*

    I’m so glad you got the heck out of there, LW! I’m really not sure which is worse, all the bizarre stuff Clarissa was doing, Ashley’s absolute refusal to do her job as a manager and handle it. You seem like you have really good judgement and work ethic, LW, and I agree that in the kind of situation you were in, it was okay not to submit two weeks notice. Your safety was at risk if you continued to work at that gas station. Also, working at the animal hospital as a receptionist will most likely better prepare you for the professional world after you graduate than working at the gas station would have.

  22. SMH*

    I would reach out to your manager’s boss or to Corporate office if possible and share everything with them. They may not do anything but someone should know what is going on. I do think she made it impossible for you to stay even one more day.

  23. tinybutfierce*

    It never ceases to amaze me how some employers bend over backwards to accommodate or ignore problem employees at the expense of actually decent staff.

    1. Forkeater*

      This! I worked at a place people LOVED – they stayed for generations, literally, their kids would work there and so on and so forth. It was wild. Except for my boss, who had multiple people just walk off the job. Long timers who had been there 20 years, quit without notice after being transferred under her. She was frankly abusive. Her boss was well aware of it but said “she had a rough childhood.” Um, okay. Sometime after I left she was finally moved into a position where she didn’t supervise anyone, but she was never disciplined much less fired.

      1. Elbe*

        I don’t understand people who use this kind of logic. It’s like they’re so busy trying to be empathetic to one person that they don’t have any empathy at all for the numerous people who are currently being harmed.

        Realistically, I think they’re probably just making excuses to avoid doing the difficult thing they don’t want to do, while still trying to feel like a decent person and manager.

      2. Anonny*

        A lot of people had a rough childhood, and I’m sure at least some of them are good bosses, and most of them are at least not abusive bosses.

    2. Lucious*

      I’m no longer amazed at this dynamic. Usually There Is A Reason objectively bad employees are ignored or even promoted.

      1. JustaTech*

        I had a boss who was objectively bad at being a manager, but he’d been with the company *forever* and knew … things. Some of those things were related to the work and the history of the product (stuff that should have been written down) but some of it was people stuff.
        So he was allowed to head a group for years, then finally demoted (that was a fun time) and then put on a project that was appropriate to his skill set (but at least one person on the project said that if they had to report to this guy they’d quit, so there was an interesting reporting structure). Finally he left of his own volition, but it took way too long. (He had a terrible habit of not using nouns when asking you to do a thing.)

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      And these are the same places that are amazed when the good employees jump ship. Oh well, some people will never learn.

  24. Elbe*

    Wow, Ashley. Wow.

    The LW says that the station was robbed during the PM shift, so it sounds like the workers were threatened into giving up the money as opposed to being a break-in after hours. That’s awful. The LW was right to not give notice. No one should be pressured to stay in a situation where their coworker is setting them up to be put in harm’s way.

    If the remaining employees don’t want to jump ship, I hope that they can go to whoever is above Ashley.

  25. gf*

    What a concerning tale.

    That woman may endanger everyone that works there. As a boss, my biggest concern would be the well-being of my employees and my customers.

    Glad you got out and good luck at your new role!

  26. Observer*

    OP, thanks for writing back and letting us know you got out of there. Lots of luck

    I hope that the Clarissa and Ashley situation gets resolved without harm to anyone else.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Agreed – I’m glad to hear back, and that OP is well (and well away) from the situation. When I saw the original letter I was hoping we’d get an update.

  27. SometimesALurker*

    Thank you for that perspective! I think something like that has to be it, which is concerning because that means a lot more people becoming Ashleys if faced with harmful employees.

    1. SometimesALurker*

      Sorry, that was a duplicate of my comment above — my browser made me think it hadn’t gone through, and then I changed a word, which accidentally foiled the duplicate-comment catcher.

  28. Magenta Sky*

    She reminds me of a coworker I had long ago who was . . . unstable, with religious frosting on top. She would alter financial records to avoid ever having to type in three sixes in a row.

    Her manager, however, was not weak or spineless, and she did not last too long.

    1. Narise*

      I worked at a restaurant and if a ticket came up to with 666 in it we were to give a 10% discount immediately so as not to offend or concern anyone. Rumor had it that one customer had a ticket end with all sixes and freaked out and refused to pay any portion of their bill.

      1. Aziraphale*

        I had a very religious realtor, to the point where he was a pastor part-time and hoped to transition to full time preaching eventually.

        He irritated me at a certain point in the process when I was bidding on a house. I had just found out that the house was on Route 666. The road has a name, but in that section it was labeled by the devil route number. I considered throwing a mega fit, telling him that he was trying to sell me a Satan house. However, the angel on my shoulder restrained me.

        And reader, I bought that house. It still makes me smile to think of how he would have reacted. To me it was a feature, not a bug!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          So…you’re a neighbor of the beast?
          (drum riff…I’ll show myself out now.)

      2. Pikachu*

        I worked at a restaurant after college that thought a 22oz draft beer for $2.22 was super clever.

        It would soon be revealed that 3 is a very common quantity of 22oz beers purchased in a sitting.

        Not sure who skipped the math in that marketing meeting, but yeah it didn’t last long.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Oh she would have hated a phone number where I grew up, and it was the largest engineering firm in town too. The last four were: 5666 (area code and first three withheld to keep anonymous).

  29. Emma*

    Your manager really looked the other way at literal theft and customer harassment, but has the UNMITIGATED GALL to be upset when you left because of the unsafe work environment she allowed to happen?

    I can’t even.

  30. Katefish*

    Someone may have posted this already, but please tell me this boss is in the running for Worst Boss of 2021!

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Actually it’s from January 2021 – so it’s about five months old.

  31. Don’t hide my straightener*

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

    Another update season! Yay!

  32. Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii*

    You should have given her the two week Hex, whatever that is.

    1. Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii*

      As in the can’t work for the last two weeks due to Hexing.

  33. Betteauroan*

    People who mess around with sorcery and all that nonsense are the ones who have dark spirits, not the people they are hexing. Good job for getting out of there. Ashley is disturbed and possibly dangerous.

  34. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

    I don’t know why, but the first person that came to mind was Ender Darling, the infamous Louisiana grave robber witch. It honestly hope she wasn’t OP’s coworker.

  35. Sleeping Late Every Day*

    Since it’s a gas station, maybe Dingbat Manager Ashley is afraid that Overgrown Edgy-to-the-max Teenager Clarissa might make the gasoline go all flamy.

  36. NotJane*

    “Alison interjection: She would have been understanding if you were hexing people though!”

    I just wanted to give due credit to this interjection, because it cracked me up.

  37. MeTwoToo*

    You did the right thing, OP! Some years ago at a health care facility adjacent to mine an employee was going around ‘cursing’ her supervisor and members of administration. Two people then got sick and were hospitalized. One died. It turned out she was poisoning food in the employee fridge to provide proof of her curses to other staff.

  38. Hiring Mgr*

    If I had that kind of power as a witch/wizard etc I hope I’d use it for more than petty fights with my gas station manager

  39. Nicole*

    She could’ve given as a reason that Clarissa insisted she leave immediately, with no notice, or else—I bet Ashley wouldn’t have argued with that!

  40. Biziki*

    “On the 21st, all people doing bad things will be sacrificed”. Uhhhh, danger?? How does a manager not see that as a huge red flag?

  41. DontBurnTheWitch*

    Practicing witch here! Whatever this person is doing would not be endorsed by the pagan community. Pagan witchcraft has only one universal rule, which is: Do No Harm. (Sometimes extended to Do No Harm But Take No Shit.) Stuff like this is why we often don’t tell people about our beliefs. Most of us are not like this, I promise!

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Having never lived anywhere where my denomination was the majority faith – I think almost always the extreme outliers who think they are practicing your faith are unfortunately the ones that end up defining for others what that faith teaches and confesses.

    2. Observer*

      The problem with this person has nothing to to with her faith. She’s either a bad person, emotionally disturbed or both. That happens to people of all faiths and no faith.

      1. Self Employed*

        She’s a bad person using the tropes of movie witchcraft to express her bad feelings/thoughts.

  42. learnedthehardway*

    You definitely made the right call in getting out of there, notice or not notice.

  43. tamarack and fireweed*

    This one… escalated. I expected it to peter out!

    LW, you’re so much better off as a receptionist in an animal hospital for your get-me-through college job!

  44. The German chick*

    It sounds like your former coworker may be sick and could really benefit from seeing a psychiatrist.

  45. Lecturer*

    Whoa what an update. She really exploded between then and now! It’s sickening no one did anything when she could have been immediately fired. What about the car, did the owner not pursue her?

  46. yala*

    Cheese and crackers! I don’t know who comes off worse, the employee hexing people or the manager who’s just…what. what even.

  47. LTL*

    OP should send a letter to their old manager claiming that evil spirits will bring disaster upon them because the fear in the gas station is breeding bad luck. The only solution is to banish “the one who hexes.” Signed, a well wishing, all powerful witch.

    (Don’t do this.)

  48. magggggghie*

    so is no one else concerned that this woman in the midst of a psychotic break…..

  49. Cat Lady*

    I know a few people who practice witchcraft as a religion, and none of them have ever done anything as off the rails as this woman here. Glad you got out of there, OP, what a weird and crappy environment to work in!

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