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Author Topic: Decision to Quit Ames  (Read 1568 times)
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« on: May 07, 2014, 02:54:44 PM »

I am presuming that aside from those of you who stuck around till the last day of the Going Out of Business Sale,
at some point you decided to tender your resignation from Ames.

I was curious to know some reasons why we all did that.

My decision was driven by a couple of things.  I was married with a toddler at home.  My wife had
just become pregnant with our second child.  One day as I was working at the front end a lady from
the Michigan Department of Social Services came and asked if she could put up a poster on our
public bulletin board.

The poster was promoting the Food Stamp program (now SNAP).  It had instructions on how to apply
and guidelines to determine whether or not you qualified.

I read it and was absolutely stunned to learn that once our new baby arrived, I would qualify.

That really, really burned me.  As an assistant manager I was working at least 60 hours per week,
if not more.  The thought that I could be putting in that kind of sweat and effort for a company (and
giving up all of that time to spend with my young family) and yet STILL qualify for food stamps just
made me madder than heck.

I pretty much determined right then and there to get out and find a higher paying gig.

Contributing factors were that Ames owed me a HUGE bonus after we blew away our first year
sales projections, but I got shafted out of it due to the bankruptcy.  Did not leave a good taste
in my mouth.

Also rumors were floating after the bankruptcy that they might be pulling out of Michigan,
and I did not want to put my young family through a move (though that ended up happening anyway).

And I was increasingly having conflicts with my difficult boss, who only had one arm
(hence my handle "The Fugitive") Grin

What's your story?
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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2017, 12:17:14 PM »

Story behind my decision to quit Hills:

When I joined the company they assigned me to the Washington, PA location, inside a mall
which is now the Washington Crown Center.  This was an absolutely terrible commute from
my home in Pittsburgh (nearly an hour each way!).  One day I mentioned this to my district manager in an offhanded manner.

Big mistake!  He turned around and transferred me to the Kennywood store.  This was in a shopping plaza directly across the street from the world famous Kennywood Amusement Park. 
The neighborhood was in steep decline, a series of former mill towns which had lost their
livelihoods after Big Steel collapsed in the late 70's, They had become very rough places to live.
The plaza had formerly been a mall, but was converted to a strip center because the interior of the mall had degenerated into little more than an indoor shoot-up space for drug users.

This store had rampant crime and shrink problems.  I spent most of my time dealing with dishonest employees and LP issues.  We were running a 3.2% shrink, mainly because you could go out into the parking lot, throw a rock in any direction, and it would land in a housing project.  Unwilling to admit this fact, Hills Corporate put me on a special program where an auditor would come in from Johnstown, PA two days a week and follow me around with a clipboard.  He would write down everything I was not getting done and file a report.  It was all a sham to satisfy the shareholders.  He did not want to be there anymore than I wanted him there.  But being on this program was demoralizing.

The racial environment was also very tense.  One night in the store we almost had a race riot break out after a black customer slapped a white cashier.  This sort of tension underlied just about everything that happened in the store.  This made the job of firing dishonest employees even harder as many of them were not of my race.

We had also apprehended a large number of shoplifters.  Some of them were very bad dudes.  I had caught my LP guys carrying firearms while on duty (a violation of company policy).  But I looked the other way because I could not blame them for wanting protection while dealing with this very rough clientele.  The local police were overwhelmed and really did not want to respond to retail theft calls.

When I joined this store I actually was enthused because the three prior Operations Managers who had been there all got promoted to the Operations Center in Aliquippa, PA.   Despite being headquartered in Canton, Mass., 80% of the company's operations were managed in Aliquippa.  I had always wanted the opportunity to step out of the stores and into a home office job.

However, I soon learned that all three of them were women, and all three of them had struggled to keep up with the physical demands of this store (one of them was 5' 0", and went on to become a buyer for Dick's Sporting Goods).  I quickly realized that since I was an able-bodied male who could handle a hammer, a paint brush, a mop bucket, and chase shoplifters around, the company was going to leave me in this store to rot until I died.

I was also starting to have some serious problems with my knees and my feet, culminating in a serious bout of plantar fasciitis.  And there had been some threats made after apprehensions and firings which led me to believe that I might become the target of some sort of revenge attack from an apprehended thief or an ex-employee.  So for my health and safety I decided to get out of the retail business for good.

When I turned-in my resignation Hills put something like a 30% raise on the table to try and get me to stay.  So despite the shrink program I could not have been doing THAT bad a job.
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