Archived Set up for failure?

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Dec 26, 2013
I don't really know where to go with this, or if I can really do anything about it. I'm at a loss and I'm terrified to go to HR over it - at my last job, being assaulted by a manager ended up with the company siding against me and losing my $11.50/hr retail job the next month due to "customer complaints". It left me unemployed for four months.

The issue I am experiencing is one of my TLs seems, outwardly, to have an issue with me. I'm not sure why, or what, but after the events that took place last week I think it's plainly obvious. For the purposes of this post, we will call the TL who has an axe to grind Kelly.

I'm not sure how other stores work, but at mine when a HL TM finishes their reshops and zone, they move to help other people who aren't finished yet, even as far as sending us to market or Softlines if they need it (even though none of us are trained in SL and aren't much help).

Back in September, the first issue cropped up. I was working in a particular zone, and finished rather early. Kelly walked my zone, pointed out that a certain aisle needed to be touched up, and told me when I was finished to go help another HL TM. No problem, I fixed the area that I had missed and off I went.

At the end of the night, I was asked to stay behind. Kelly wanted to know why the other aisles in my zone were unfinished. I pointed out that she had only given me one aisle to fix, then cleared me to go - her argument is that "when I was finished" meant not only the one she suggested I do, but everything else, too. I disagreed. We agreed that it was a miscommunication, and nothing came of it. Near the end of the month, Kelly took an LOA and did not return until January.

If any of you have worked Hardlines, you'll probably agree that Halloween and Christmas are two really, really bad seasons. Tons of hours, sure, but a lot of work too. A lot of HL gets torn apart during those two (especially Christmas), and it's a lot of effort to get things back into shape. During this time, I received glowing reports from my management. The other TLs in the store, the ETLs - even the STL one night congratulated me on "really pulling it together." It was hard working there, but it worked out in the end. Everyone was happy with my performance.

Then comes January. Kelly returns from her LOA, and I'm closing with her on her first night back. I zone, finish all reshops, refill my endcaps and even fixed a few missing tags. This is, quite literally, the slowest night I have ever closed at Spot. As far as my memory goes, it is the lowest grossing night ever as far as sales since my hiring. It was dead. I was confident I could handle it, after all the reviews I got during Christmas.

Kelly walks my zone, asks me to redo my endcaps, to which I agree and do so. I am then told to go help another person's zone, as they were not finished yet. Everything is fine. We leave 15 minutes before schedule, which almost never happens.

The next day, I am closing again. Kelly is there for a morning shift, and was just about to leave as I entered. She asks if we can talk, and along with another HL TL we go into the conference room to "talk."

As it turns out, my zone was not completed last night. STL walked the store at opening and found three aisles that were not "up to par," and so Kelly claims, he made her walk them with her to point out how bad of a job I did.

Kelly claims she directed me to fix those aisles, and I did not. This is a blatant fabrication. I was not directed to fix anything other than the endcaps (which were fixed to apparently an acceptable standard) before being ordered to go to another area of the store. We argued back and forth for over 15 minutes, which didn't help anything. Her claim is that I disregarded her directions, and just left aisles intentionally unzoned. You may notice that this is the exact same issue that cropped up the last time there was a problem. Sent to help early - later told I shouldn't have gone anywhere.

No papers have been signed, and as far as I am aware there hasn't been an "official" counseling as these were unrecorded one-on-one conversations with one (second one was two) TL. All other TLs and ETLs have no issue with me. There has never been a complaint from any other management in the store about my performance, I was given "exceeds expectations" on my 90 day review - only Kelly has ever raised a concern.

That was really long, but I hope the gist of it stuck. I believe I am being set up to fail by one TL in particular by being told to leave my zone when it is unfinished, then later claiming I just ignored her orders. Is there someone in the store I should speak to about this? I know the Integrity Hotline wouldn't give two farts about it, but I'm worried this issue is going to come up to a real counseling soon. It is to the point I am seriously considering changing work centers just to get away from her trying to screw me up.
Jun 8, 2011
Welcome! Your tl for some reason doesn't like you. I would suggest that you have the Lod walk your zone before you tell Kelly you are done. You tell the Lod, the reason why, because Kelly has issues with you for not finishing zone, even though she walked it & said it completed. Then tell Kelly, you are done & wait for the response. Fix any thing that comes up. Then, wait till she gone & tell the Lod, what happened. That way you have communicated to your tl or Lod, effectively. Plus, it covers your a$$. It doesn't hurt to learn other work centers, those tl's who know you, will keep you with them at all times.


Former ETL-All the Things
Jun 15, 2011
Record the conversations you have with Kelly. Wrote them down I mean, not voice record without her knowledge. That way, when you go to your ETL team about your problems, you have proof to back up your claims.


Former Signing Ninja
Staff member
Jun 10, 2011
Welcome to The Break Room.
Sorry it has to be under such a rough start.

As sigma7 said keep track of you exchanges with 'Kelly' and put it in writing.
I made the mistake of not keeping complete enough notes and it came back to bite me.

Also HLM made a good point as well, go around her to the LOD and have them check you off every night.
It will piss Kelly off to no end but will make it clear that you are aware of her tricks and CYA.

Keep in mind that just because you didn't sign anything this time doesn't mean this isn't getting written down.
If she truly is out to get you there is a way that each one of these can be stacked together so that one day you're brought in and have to sign them as a bundle.


Receiving/Reverse Logistics
Dec 20, 2012
I agree with the previous suggestions to get LOD to walk your areas. I'd also add this: try to find an ally. If there are any other TLs/ETLs you get along with, ask for a moment of their time and fill them in on the situation and ask for their help moving forward. If you can partner with them on what you should be doing and what you did, that will help your case and they can pass that info upwards to keep everyone informed. Definitely let your Human Resources ETL know, but I find that the more TLs/ETLs you can communicate with on a daily basis and be friends with long-term, the more issues you can personally push forward and resolve. There's no reason one b*tchy TL should be able to ruin someone's job, don't let it happen!
Mar 19, 2013
The LOD has the final say on if the zone is complete, not a TL. That's how it has always been in our store. If the LOD says the zone is good, and the E1 or STL has an issue with it, they should be going to the LOD who closed. If you are directed to fix those aisles, and the LOD is not walking your zone, that is neglect on their part and not your fault. Call the hotline on Kelly.


Former Team Leader
May 19, 2013
I'm pretty certain I always say the exact same thing on threads like these but...

ETL-HR ETL-HR ETL-HR. I don't know about anyone else here, but when a serious ongoing issue at my store is brought up to the ETL-HR, hell temporarily freezes over and the problem disappears if it's unethical.

Edit* Like everyone else has said, make sure to document it. They'll most likely want specific examples.

Also, if you choose to report it, another thing you can do afterwards is ensure you're doing a fantastic job with whatever tasks you're working on. Report it and then don't give Kelly anything she can call you out on afterwards (it'll probably drive her up a wall and there won't be anything she can do about it.)
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