52 thoughts on “May 6, 2017

    • To be fair, Marla is a salaried exempt employee, so “free overtime” was something that she consents to as a term of employment. It’s not actually *cheating* her of anything.

      • Expecting salaried employees to work 50-60 plus hours a week to make up for payroll cuts is rather unfair.

        • Definitely unfair, but legal and in this case ethical. She had to agree verbally and in writing to the criteria of the job. And when the job gives respect for it, it is usually never an issue of grievance.

          • Actually, Desiree, working people 50, 60 hours or more without proper compensation is illegal whether the employee consents to it or not. Shifting employees from hourly to salary to avoid paying overtime is illegal. Shifting employees from hurly or salary to independent contractor in order to avoid payroll taxes is illegal.
            Agreeing to be overworked and underpaid doesn’t make it legal, binding, or enforceable.
            You must be management.

      • Actually, Desiree, working people 50, 60 hours or more without proper compensation is illegal whether the employee consents to it or not. Shifting employees from hourly to salary to avoid paying overtime is illegal. Shifting employees from hurly or salary to independent contractor in order to avoid payroll taxes is illegal.
        Agreeing to be overworked and underpaid doesn’t make it legal, binding, or enforceable.
        You must be management.

        • I’m pretty sure that if a store the size of Grumble’s was violating the law, they’d get nailed pretty quick.

          • There isn’t space on the internet to convey just how amusing this comment is, BW. I could build an entire website for each category of illegal thing I witnessed in just a little over 3 years working in retail. This for one of the biggest retailers in the world. My store wasn’t even that bad compared to some of them!

          • Board Worker,
            You have no idea how hard it is to enforce labor laws in this country. Disinformation combined with intimidation combined with “at will” employment combined with budget crippled state and federal agencies that are supposed to be enforcing labor laws and no, a store the size of Grumble’s is not going to be nailed any time in foreseeable future.
            Also, labor laws come under the heading of civil law and contract law, not criminal—unless mistreatment of employees kills one of them. Wage theft is treated far less seriously than robbing a convenience store. You have to file suit to get your money. Hoe many times has Trump gotten away with refusing to pay people who work for him.
            You must be an “entrepreneur” with near zero experience on the other side of the desk.

        • If the employee is exempt, as Marla is, it’s legal.

          If she were non-exempt, and it’s possible to be non-exempt even when salaried, it’s legal as long as the hourly amount of the overtime meets the minimum overtime wage of that state.

          Most salaries cover both probabilities.

          (I’m sure you’ve noticed though that nearly everyone thinks they’re overworked and underpaid. In any profession and with any title.)

        • Actually in NJ if you make over 50k not counting bonus (which is not guaranteed) you do not have to be paid overtime. Conversely, under 50k you are entitled to 1.5 x for any hours over 40 under state law.

  1. Could this be Cooper’s chance? Stuart will be fit to be tied, but if there are no good alternatives, even among those answering the ad ….

    But Cooper as AM seems to lack conflict for a good cartoon.

    • I’m not sure if Cooper would just laugh until he expired, or run and never look back.

      He doesn’t much seem to like unpaid overtime.

    • There would be ample conflict between Marla and Stuart over the very idea of promoting Cooper. It would stop once Cooper proves to have matured. There’s no way Norm is going to write a story that will eventually remove his longtime deuteragonist from the strip. He’s a better planner than that. If Cooper is promoted, he’ll be ASM for the rest of the strip.

    • The issue is, would Marla go for it even. With Coop being AM, the conflict of interest between him and Val goes from tertiary, to being a primary cause for concern. Previously there wasn’t a direct link in their lines of authority. With either one of them being AM, that would be a major ethics violation. While it has been kept on the down-low, if it came out with one of them being AM, Marla could get fired, not just reprimanded.

    • Would solve a lot of problems. With Cooper in management, they could rehire Donnie. Honestly, Val or him are probably the first two choices. Val has said before she doesn’t want it.
      Cooper dealing with Donnie using the tricks he taught him has comedy potential.

  2. On another topic…. ALL of the managers? Something seems awfully fishy with that claim. *A* manager, I could see. TWO managers, okay, yeah. But ALL of them? Sounds like a hack ‘n slash ‘investigation’ to me.

    I know this won’t go anywhere in the comic. I’m just musing.

    • Occam’s Razor suggests that you’re right, but the scenario that comes to my mind is that those managers flipped the bird at the free overtime and paid themselves for their hours at the expense of the company.

    • I dunno… I worked an inventory assessment for a store where there was a TON of shrink that happened, and all the management got fired (save one, because she got promoted 2 days before the inventory), mainly because they couldn’t pin anything on any one person. There was so much theft (I’m talking over $100,000 of shrink in a year, in a store that did around $27 million a year) that management had to either be complicit or actively stealing.

      • Most retail companies are happy with anything under one percent in shrink. 100,000 to a 27 million store is considered good.

        • Not for this company and industry; the margins are thinner than, say, clothing. The store I just left was running 0.18%, and we were considered high-shrink (the goal was sub-0.1%). We also leaned towards JIT delivery, so inventory being correct on the floor made a big difference, hence the concentration on shrink.

    • It does seem this would’ve been caught far sooner than this. Stuart must be feeling rather stupid to have not caught this before now.

      • Not necessarily. Payroll cuts probably hit AP/LP also, so the shrink went on for awhile until an audit or inventory was performed. And that’s where the blame will be placed, on payroll cuts.

    • If a store begins to trend up in their shrink rate for a couple of years then they will fire the entire store and restaff it. Same if the store is being poorly managed or if there are a lot of HR complaints against management. I’ve seen all of those scenarios in my past 13 years working for large retail corporations.

    • My sister got fired once along with two other new employees because SOMEONE was stealing and they couldn’t figure out who. This is, alas, not unusual.

    • It may be unlikely, but a quick search through Google would show that it does happen from time to time.

      I remember reading one story where all but one employee on a night shift at McDonalds was arrested because they were dealing drugs.

      Also, as pointed out already, if your Asset Protection manager is on the take, Who is going to open the investigation?

      (For those who think it is unlikely for AP management to be stealing from the company, it happened at my old store. Cops reportedly took her out of work in shiny new bracelets.)

    • What if the SM was crooked and the AMs “had to know” (read: probably should have known) but failed to report it?

      • What if the SM was crooked and promoted people who were in on it? There are countless possible scenarios. Unfortunately, that story likely won’t be explored to any satisfaction.

        • True, any SM is going to promote people they trust. And also agreed that Norm isn’t likely to explore that store in any depth. If he did decide to tell a story like that, he may do that at Delman’s with Mina.

        • I do apologize if my comment came off as snarky.

          It would be nice to see those events. There definitely is entertainment value in the story, and as humans, we tend to want all the details filled in. Also it might show us more of the inner workings of Grumbels.

  3. Okay so end of story line for a while until Brice starts at Delman’s and we see Marla struggling to manage by herself for a while? Or does the line continue with Marla advertising, interviewing etc. . . I’m guessing the story line will go on hiatus for a while. I’m not sure where I expect it to start back up though.

    As for the NH fiasco, it must be a much bigger store than Marla’s. After all saying “All of the managers” implies there are at least 3 involved. And if Brice had gone there, wouldn’t he have been on his own for a while? Pretty tough for a brand new SM. He doesn’t even have all that much AM experience for such an assignment.

  4. First, Marla asking Stuart if he has anyone he wants her to interview. She probably wants to interview candidates on her own instead of always having him “suggest” someone. But she knows he’ll veto anyone she chooses herself.

    Second, he says “unfortunately” she may have to do it on her own. Disgusted that he’s so wrapped up in the NH situation that he can’t choose for her like he usually does.

    Third, Stuart’s usual hypocrisy. I tend to agree with RoyD, that the managers are fed up with free overtime and were simply paying themselves an hourly wage for actual hours worked. Naturally it results in their being fired and it’ll be hard to find new jobs.

    • Or even the managers were having available hourly employees cover all the shortages, despite the payroll cuts, then doing something to the paperwork to let it go unnoticed for a while.

    • With the exception of when Marla was promoted to SM, she has always interviewed her own AMs. Even then, she interviewed and hired Josh as seasonal help.

  5. How about Brice goes to Dillman’s and picks up PDQ how good he had it at Grumbles, asks to return and then Marla tells him about NH? Just musing.

    • Not too likely.
      Even if he ‘saw the light’ & came back, his loyalty will always be suspect.
      He’s proven he’ll leave once; nothing to say he won’t do it again.
      The best bet is if he catches wind of it before he’s out the door & that’s iffy.

      • What Freakle said. Once you’ve jumped ship, or even made it known you’re considering it, you’re dead to that company unless there’s something really extraordinary in the mix somewhere. Stuart’s already washed his hands of Brice – pretty much from the moment he found out Brice had put in his notice.

        • Agreed, but Stuart is in a bind trying to re-staff a store. He might be allowed to return as a AM for that store. But the only way Brice would do that is if it was a step up in pay or he found out about Mina.

  6. I remember having a manager who did some shady stuff that my assistant managers and we all in general put up with because there were some benefits to playing along and in some ways a “good” manager would have made things worse for us, but one day I guess they’d had enough of them and ratted them out. Then the lawyers came and there was a bunch of interrogating. I guess, reading this, they’re lucky that the manager was the only one who got the boot. Then again, considering that it meant a new manager sent in from corporate to fix the store and whip us into shape, maybe that wasn’t such a lucky thing.

    I left that job before I could see how long it took for the reality of our store’s situation (See: Brice’s storyline) to break that manager in, or if that happened at all.

    • A quick google search turns up a Southbridge in southern Massachusetts so if his store was in that city the NH stores in question could be in the same district or at least an adjacent one.

    • Maybe as temp support but that would be practical only if she had a strong AM which she doesn’t.
      The company I work for always linked a new store to a nearby ‘sister’ store. The ‘sister’ was responsible for providing support to assist in getting the new store up & running, including training salesfloor staff & cashiers.
      If there was ever a crisis at a store, the ‘sister’ provided support.
      It only worked in towns that had more than one store, tho.

      • That might actually be enough to push Marla to quit, if Stuart forced the issue. Fiona is still very young and traveling from RI to NH would add at least three hours to her day. Possibly much more. And that’s without the extra hours needed for a store in that much of a mess. She’d probably have to live up there (and who would pay for it?), so I doubt she would give up that much time with her daughter. Or her husband. Or the rest of her life. For probably no extra pay.

        On another note, does anyone aside from Stuart believe that Brice would be up to that kind of challenge as an SM in a store in that kind of trouble?

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