Floor Store

I had just graduated university and was looking for my first real job. A friend suggested I apply for a job at a local flooring store as an office worker, as her Dad knew the owners. I should have known right away that this wasn’t a good idea, but I really wanted to get started on my career. I applied and interviewed for the position and was thrilled when they offered me the job. The name of the store was so embarrassing I wouldn’t even tell people where I worked.

The shift started at a different time everyday ( I got all the bad shifts) which wasn’t ideal but beggars can’t be choosers so I sucked it up. Their daughter was about to have a baby and they needed someone to cover for her and then stay on afterwards. They asked me to promise that I would stay for at least one year, which I had no problem doing.

Right away the dynamics of the office seemed odd. It was made clear that they were family and I was an outsider.  The daughter (A) and her husband (B) worked there as did the mother (owner), I will call her P and her ex-husband’s new wife, T. She had bought her ex-husband (F) out of the company. Despite this F continued to come in all the time and acted like he owned the company, fine who was I to say anything. He was a local politician but was a shady character, the type of guy that just gives you the creeps. He used the staff to put up his campaign signs.

I got along with B really well and even got him free tickets for him and his son to see his favourite band. I liked everyone and things were fine for a while, although I did little office work and did a lot of cleaning, sales and other things.

They used an archaic system to store their business contacts and expected me to instantly grasp the way they filed, even though it made no logical sense, not alphabetical.

Then right before A had her baby I broke my ankle. I called to say I had to go to the hospital but that I would come in after I had my cast on, so I would be about an hour late. She told me to stay home and call the next day. They continued to tell me to stay home even though I said I could work because I had a walking cast. I came in to see them and brought A some really nice baby presents. P sent me home and said she would call me.

Eventually, after much begging on my part (I needed the money and I was ok to work) P allowed me to come back to work, but got angry if I made even the smallest mistake even though they didn’t have the time to properly train me. Then one day out of the blue P fired me, said it just wasn’t working out. Other then the occasional small mistake I had done nothing really wrong, was always dressed really well, on time and polite. I was confused as to why but then I figured it out. They had hired me only until the daughter could come back to work. She would now work under the table (while collecting maternity leave) and bring the baby to work everyday; she had been doing this a few days a week while I was still there.

I guess they wanted to see if it would work with the baby there and I was the back up plan. I had never been fired in my life. Getting fired from this place was the best thing that happened to me, I got offered a government job the next week for over double the pay. I figured I was better off anyways, since the whole dynamic of the place was odd. F and T even lived in the store for a while.

Comments (22)

SaffyApril 21st, 2011 at 6:40 pm

a sucky job and they were jerks…but it could have been a lot worse. They were just clueless…at least you got a better job!

hellcatApril 21st, 2011 at 8:27 pm

If the daughter originally worked at the store…how was she “working under the table while collecting maternity leave”? that…doesn’t make sense, unless i’m just stupid tonight. if she was working, they *should* be paying her, right? were they paying her EXTRA somehow? presumably since the employers were her parents, they would notice she was there/know she had a new baby? am i missing something? this is bothering me SO much.

VinceApril 21st, 2011 at 9:20 pm

hellcat, it sounds like they were paying her to work and, at the same time, paying her maternity leave.

mickApril 22nd, 2011 at 4:30 am

I know in Ontario, Canada you get maternity leave pay (unemployment insurance money) from the government. If you make so much money while you are on maternity leave, your money is cut off (as you are now no longer technically unemployed).
Therefore, if you are able to get paid under-the-table (so no one is reporting this money to the government), you can continue to get the maternity benefits and make that extra under-the-table moola. They’re probably just saying the under the table money is going somewhere else so the daughter can make lots of money by basically scamming the system.

RubyApril 22nd, 2011 at 7:57 am

Hellcat: I took that to mean that they were paying her cash under the table, while collecting maternity leave money from the state. I don’t know if you are from the US or not, but you get money for 6-14 weeks (depending on the state) from the state at 55-60% of your usual pay. It’s part of the state disability program or family/medical leave program. So, she was collecting her money from the state and still being paid. It was basically their way of taking advantage of the government program. She could be in a lot of trouble if she was caught though. Something about defrauding the government doesn’t sit too well with them.
I just had twins, so I’m very familiar with maternity leave laws. It was the best 14 weeks ever. Its times like this I wish I was canadian. Those jerks get a full year at 60% pay!

MargaretApril 22nd, 2011 at 8:30 am

hellcat: it is probably a UK thing… getting money from the government for being off on maternity leave, while still working at the family business.

MargaretApril 22nd, 2011 at 8:31 am

Clue: “I had just graduated university”
UK phrasing

hellcatApril 22nd, 2011 at 8:48 am

Ah! Thanks Margaret.

RubyApril 22nd, 2011 at 9:37 am

P.s. I only call you canadians “jerks” out of pure love and affection. And a bit of jealousy. But you do say “bag” and “about” funny.

sarahApril 22nd, 2011 at 9:59 am

good thing in the end, cuz u had this money to tie you ever til you got a better job! congrats :)

clever nameApril 22nd, 2011 at 10:15 am

So jealous of other countries that give proper maternity leave and pay…And for dad as well!

SallyWordSlingerApril 22nd, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Yay Canada!

SallyWordSlingerApril 22nd, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Yah, seriously, eh, we do have a good thing going here.

From reading this story I assumed the OP was in Canada. The whole under-the-table thing is like, so Canadian.

OH yeah…I work at the EI office.

MelpomeneApril 23rd, 2011 at 2:52 pm

In the UK the employer pays maternity leave, unless the person has not been employed for long enough to be entitled to maternity pay.

thatenglishchickApril 23rd, 2011 at 6:52 pm

@clever name and free universal healthcare ;)

zomboidApril 25th, 2011 at 4:43 am

“i had just graduated university” sounds like an american/canadian phrase to me (a british person would say “graduated FROM university”), people don’t usually say ‘store’ in the UK either.

hellcatApril 25th, 2011 at 5:46 am

ahem, also, thanks everyone else. when i first signed on margaret’s was the only comment that came up. i thought that, in the US at least, your place of employment pays you while you’re on maternity leave (like regular paid leave) – not the government. for some reason it didn’t occur to me that this OP might be outside the US, hence the confusion. oops :)

RubyApril 25th, 2011 at 6:23 am

Actually, the US government does pay maternity leave. Its classified under disability. Most places of employment don’t pay maternity leave, since the government covers it. You are lucky if your work pays. Sometimes, they pay a little, but mostly, they let the american tax payer take care of it. Awesome.

A. ZeeApril 25th, 2011 at 9:37 am

I’ve been randomly fired for doing nothing wrong too. It really can be a blessing in disguise, though. Think of it as getting away from terrible people who don’t have your best interests in mind in order to find a better job where you’ll be treated with fairness and respect. Employers who treat others like this are idiotic and delusional and I hope mightily that karma bites them in the collective ass some day.

Just SayingApril 25th, 2011 at 11:54 am

@Ruby, Thanks for clarifying, otherwise I’d have to leave my igloo, come down there and and beat you with a tone of Canadian phrases until your ears bleed.
-About (a-boat, not aboot)
-No Doubt About it, eh.
-And make all sorts of inappropriate Beaver and Great White North jokes.


SallyWordSlingerApril 29th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Hey…you up there…”bag” is a Canadianism?

Seriously, I live in Ontario…

AlexMay 2nd, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Is anyone else curious about what the name of the store was??

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