Double Overtime Plus BenefitsWe’ve spent a lot of time here discussing bad behavior by employers; now let’s discuss the bad behavior of employees.

Despite the twin destructive forces of greed and insensitivity that constantly work together to gum up the corporate works, sometimes a particular corporate policy model is actually logical, beneficial, and fair— UNTIL it gets perverted by lazy or incompetent employees.

In a too-common scenario, a mid-level manager in a big corporation is given a trusted position of complete responsibility over a local branch office or store of that corporation, and proceeds to play havoc with the rules and policies of that company for personal gain.

Let’s call it “The Mice Will Play” Syndrome. In such an instance, it doesn’t matter WHAT the actual corporate policies are because they are being contravened by the rogue manager. Of course the errant manager doesn’t want the home office to get wise to what’s really going on, so expect a revolving door policy where new hires are concerned. Each new employee hired by the rogue manager will be forced to surrender their rights and “play ball” according to the rogue manager’s agenda. That includes helping cover up any evidence that could tip off the home office or its agents.

In these situations the quality of the work being done will suffer and bottom out; customer service will go right out the window; the work space will probably turn into a total mess; and the rogue manager will skim wages, pocket profits, and unfairly schedule new hires to cover ridiculous hours and do the work of the manager and any favorite cronies on the payroll.

Left unchecked, such a situation can go on for years as numerous entry-level employees either quit in disgust at their unfair treatment or are fired for threatening to expose the situation to upper management. Meanwhile, the cat is away… so the mice play on until caught.

Sometimes we blame corporations for ill-treatment that is actually caused by bad employees trying to subvert the system. But such instances are STILL the responsibility of the corporations wherein they occur, who should police their own workplaces to control their employees. Though some of the bigger megacorporations aren’t doing a very good job lately.

Just last week I was supremely frustrated by the mind-boggling incompetence of some store employees I encountered; on one occasion I spent over an hour in line waiting for a store manager to finally admit he didn’t really know how to use his store’s computer system and couldn’t process my order. I spent several hours (over multiple visits) at another store standing in various lines trying to get an incorrect credit charge (caused by cashier error) voided off my account before it ruined my credit for the holidays. Big fun.

Sometimes I wonder how those people manage to keep their jobs in the face of such antics. They are losing business for their employers, daily, and when the status quo has fallen to this level of “bad” I can’t imagine how any of these big corporate retail chains stay in business at all. The prevailing opinion seems to be that consumers will always shop at the big stores no matter HOW badly customers are treated.

Not so. The big employers need to wake up and start doing a better job of policing their employees, lest they permanently pollute the proverbial water-hole and erode their customer base. Once that happens, the next stop is Chapter 11… If they are that lucky. Bad franchises or branch stores, run by criminally-incompetent managers for long periods of time, are disastrous to the corporation that owns them, leeching like a vampiric parasite off an otherwise well-managed and successfully-run business. And trust me— vampires like this DON’T sparkle when finally exposed to the light of day. They reek.