I think I’ve calmed myself down enough now so that I am not shooting boogers out of my nose with my sobs to try to write down how humiliated I felt tonight when an obviously overwrought, understaffed and poorly trained Stewart’s employee falsely accused me of not paying for my gas.
See, I had to stop for gas after staying very late after school tonight and before I had to go run around again with the typical night of sports mom practice pickup and drop offs.
Knowing the closest gas station to my job is the Sitterly Road location, I stopped at a pump, took of the gas cap off, put in my SEFCU card, the pump turned on, I selected Regular Unleaded and expected to put $20 in my tank and head home. Of course, as my cold arthritic hands often do, I missed at $20, so I went to $20.05 and stopped.
Staring at the $0.99 coffee with any gas purchase sign on the gas pump in my hand, and with pangs of hunger racking my body (See I missed lunch today as it’s Regents Week starting tomorrow, and I was running to drop off stuff all through my office period!) I decided to go back into my truck, get my purse and grab a quick cup of tea and those addicting chicken salad sandwiches on white bread. I left my truck near the pump as it wasn’t busy and walked into the store.
After filling my cup, I grabbed my sandwich, went to the register and took out my receipt after asking if I could get the tea for $0.99 if I didn’t pay cash for my gas. She said, “Did you put $20. on pump 8?” I said, “Yeah here’s my receipt,” to which she said,”It’s not clearing on the computer.” I said, “Well I showed you my receipt it’s OK right?” or something to that effect and she mumbled “Yeah,” so I walked out, holding the door for the woman who had been sparring with me for the creamer as per usual, I used the last of the half and half and had to throw out the container closest to me.
I put my purse, tea and sandwich in my truck and was about ready to get in when the other employee came running out after me, yelling, ” I need to see the receipt. Your pump is showing you didn’t pay!” She was rude and accusatory and many people outside looked at me as if I was trying to steal gas! I was shocked and said.”Yeah here’s my receipt.” I then showed her my receipt and, never apologizing, she mumbled something about a lot of drive offs, and begrudgingly walked back into the store.
As I got into my truck, it really started to hit me. I was falsely accused! I could feel the anger bubbling up in me like the chili in the pot they were stirring inside the store when I went to the counter to buy my tea and sandwich.
I was feeling all kinds of things, mostly humiliation, embarrassment and anger. Someone at Stewart’s Corporate Offices needs to know about this! What if I didn’t have my receipt? What would she have done, call the police?
I didn’t know her name, so I was going back into the store and getting it. I was going to show her that I don’t steal and I don’t lie and that she should apologize.
Well things went from bad to worse. I went back in to get her name because she made me feel humiliated and no one treats me like that. She still didn’t apologize and actually started yelling at me saying that she didn’t need to listen to me yelling at her.
All she had to do was apologize to me – “I’m sorry,” would have stopped it right there. Yeah I would have been mad but I would have been better, but she just turned her back on me like I was nothing and walked away further humiliating me.
Then I was got mad. I said stuff like, you don’t treat me like that, who do you think you are, I’m a teacher at the school around the corner.! Why would I buy a sandwich and tea if was going to steal gas!
Then I heard “Why don’t you leave you slut!” It was a man’s voice. I couldn’t look up.
Then I heard her call me a bitch. Then I called her a bitch. Not my proudest moment.
I couldn’t believe it! I’m a slut; a bitch? Just for wanting an apology? For asking the employee her name so I could follow up?
Furious, I stormed out. Tears erupted from my body. I called corporate and left a message for their customer service team. I was sobbing at this point.
Then I thought, “I want to speak to someone now.” I called the number back again, tears streaming down my face barely able to contain my sobs so much so that the woman I spoke kept saying try to calm down, try to take a deep breath.
I told her I had to drive home and that my phone was going to die and that I had to drive my son to practice.
When I got home I received a call from a store manager who immediately apologized. He asked me if I could tell him what happened. Crying, I retold the story. I could hear him gasp. He couldn’t say I’m sorry enough. For the first time an employee actually said something that I believed.
However, he was mistakenly called as it was not his store. He even went on to say that he would call the District Manager whose store it was and explain to him what happened so that I did not have to get myself upset. He apologized over and over again. He also said something about bringing it up at the Corporate Office customer service meeting tomorrow.
Soon after, I received a call from the District Manager and I was feeling my tears turn to anger again. Having to recall this a 4th time and hearing his disdain for my side of it and backing up his employee of 10 years, I was shocked. He said he would pull the tape. He said he had lots of drive offs. Not really what I wanted to hear, my phone died mid conversation and I sobbed all the way to my son’s practice and back.
When I returned home, I had received a call back, not from the District Manager, but from the first manager making sure that I had his phone number and if the district manager didn’t call me to feel free to call him.
After trying unsuccessfully to contact the District Manager again, I called the first manager and wanted to thank him for his call. I left him a message that I my phone had died when talking to the DM and that I appreciated his compassion and follow through.
As hours have passed, I think of all my friends of color, my students, my friends. If I don’t follow through, these types of situations can continue to happen.
Stewart’s DEFINITELY needs to retrain their employees about accusing people falsely, how to process whether or not someone has potentially forgotten to pay and to just teach their employees HUMILITY!
Do I want her fired? No. Do I want an BIG LOUD apology from the highest levels? YES, YES I do!
I will be teaching my students about this. I will be reminding them to ALWAYS get a receipt, to get a name, to be sure before accusing someone. If they make a mistake, to be humble and apologize.
See this slut and bitch never forgets. but she will eventually forgive. Might as well make it a learning opportunity…