Sack the old, fat, incompetent manager
Getting my coffee from Starbucks this morning (for my sins) I noticed something which is becoming a bit of a trend. They’ll be about 3 Customer Assistants (or Baristas) all dressed smartly, bright eyed and bushy tailed in their uniforms and then there’s there’s this big, fat, bald man in an ill fitting suit somewhere behind the counter getting in everyone’s way. This man (and it’s always a man, I’m afraid) looks totally out of place, his bald head is shining with the hint of perspiration (no matter what the weather is like outside) and he’s far too large to be shimming around with the dexterity and ease that the others manage whilst making my White Americano. One wonders for a second if he is in fact some crazed customer whose decided to infiltrate the sacred space behind the bar, determined to make his own Vanilla Latte, staff be damned. Except then I realised that, instead of trying to shoo this incompetent gentleman out of the way, the underpaid, overworked staff are actually trying to placate this guy. Then it hits me, this man is their boss!
This has been a recurring theme in a number of places I’ve worked in minimum wage or thereabouts jobs. I can’t name them for legal reasons, but at each food serving establishment I worked at, I had a big, fat, old, incompetent manager. The worst example of this was when I worked in a successful, upper class, chain of hotels, restaurants and pubs. I worked with some of the most hardworking people I’ve ever encountered. Working full time in this place meant 60 hour (or more) weeks and regular lunch and dinner rushes. I’m not going to say I never sweated, or had a hair out of place, but all staff wore a smart uniform, including an apron (no, really) and I made sure I had my hair up, and generally looked like the kind of person you might want to be served food by. So did all my other colleagues.
Our boss, however, was an exceptionally large man, who regularly wore ill fitting suits, with his cheap shirts hanging out of his half unzipped flies. He wasn’t balding admittedly, but the man could have used a hair cut. He was rude to members of staff, barely bothering to say hello or goodbye to us as we started or finished our shifts. He once told me off for having an un ironed shirt in front of my whole team. Embarrassingly, I felt tears sting in my eyes and then I thought, “Hey fuck you! You look like shit!”
This man would regularly stand by the bar watching his staff literally rushed off their feet. When I once asked him to perform a till function that I couldn’t (due to the fact it wasn’t enabled on my key card) he looked blankly at me and told me to leave the bar and go get the person from Reception to do it. Obviously, it would have made much more sense for him to do it for me, but he probably didn’t even know how.
My Mum summed it up for me best when she went to have a meal in this place recently. She said,
“All the staff were lovely and the food was great. I had a nice chat with the waitress. They all looked very smart in their black shirts. But then I saw that big, fat man wandering around clearly irritating the staff and I just thought, that’s not a very good advert for a food place. I mean, I don’t want to eat their food and end up looking like that, you know what I mean?”
Yes, Mum, I do know what you mean (for once).
Incidentally, this isn’t a criticism against larger people. I’m no skinny mini myself. I just think the fat, old, incompetent managers need to go. They undermine the hard work of all their staff.