Abused Retail Staff Quits With Epic Resignation Letter [UPDATE]

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Malls are breeding grounds of consumer commerce -- and of complaints by employees. Long hours, inflexible conditions. Even a mall Santa can have a have a litany. But the ones that really slug it out are in the small high-volume stores where pressure is constant and some bosses get carried away with themselves.

Some workers in a Rochester, NY Journeys footwear store allegedly got really fed up with verbal abuse and all left -- right in the middle of the back-to-school rush -- according to a Reddit post via Gawker. Reportedly the supervisor at this store swore at employees and told at least one employee that having "cancer is never an excuse" at work. What made the walkout memorable is that the employees left their complaints in a resignation letter on a large poster. Which they apparently hung where all the inconvenienced customers could see. Someone then took a picture and uploaded it to Reddit (see below).

Verbal abuse is never pleasant and 1 out of 4 people fear getting yelled at by their bosses. And at least one survey has shown that 1 out of 5 workers think he or she has a bad boss.

AOL tried calling the store and asking for the district manager, whose name is apparently Jamie, and received the response, "We don't make statements to the media," from an unidentified woman. There's no way to track down the employees, so the story has to come from the resignation poster left on the locked security bars over the entrance from the mall (emphasis from the red letters on the poster):


Dear Jamie,

Since you decided to say "cancer is not an excuse" and think it's OK to swear at your employees like you do ALL the time ... WE QUIT. THIS is why you can't keep a store manager longer than a year. YOU ABUSE your roll AND staff. ENJOY the fact that you lost a store manager, co-manager, and key holder in the middle of Back to School. THINK next time you treat people the way you do. We Aren't Allowing It Anymore.

Niki, Jess, TJ


There was no doubt to passersby why the store wasn't open. And, as Gawker notes, malls typically fine owners upwards of $500 for each day a store remains unexpectedly closed.

Update 9/4/2013 11:38AM: A second Gawker story claims a conversation with an insider who had direct knowledge of the situation. The insider allegedly said that the poster didn't tell the whole story, that any mention of cancer had never come up, and that the manager had been in trouble for giving the co-manager a day off to get a car inspected, even though it happened during one of the mandatory back-to-school sales days. Then the insider claimed that the ex-employees had stolen about $1000 in merchandise -- a serious charge given that no one is putting his or her name to the allegation. AOL Jobs did get an email from someone who claimed to have been a former employee that knew the district manager and said that she "definitely crossed the lines on numerous occasions with staff."

AOL Jobs received the following statement from a Journeys spokesperson: "We take situations like this seriously and are currently investigating this issue. Beyond this, we have no comment."

There are techniques to make a bad boss better, including keeping communication lines open, seeking allies, and not allowing yourself to be a bully's victim, though finding a new job is still a good idea. According to this story, it looks as though the communication lines were the problem and a combination of allies, refusing to be victims, and finding new jobs became the solution.

Still, things could have been worse for the Journeys employees when you look at what the worst bosses of 2012 did to their employees.



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