Wednesday, June 4, 2014


A friend died recently and I went to pay respect.

As I came in the door, a man approached me and said, "Sue, it's so good to see you." I said, "I haven't seen you since 2002."

I asked how he knew the deceased woman and he told me that she was his son's grandmother. I said, "Oh, that makes me feel old!" He said, "Let me go find my son; I'd like for you to meet him." When he introduced me he said, "This is the best boss I ever had!" I said, "Thank you; that means so much to me!" He told his son, "I was about your age when I started to work for Sue." I said, "I swear I have NEVER seen a son look as much like his father!" He laughed and said, "Mini-me!"

He told his son, "She even got anti-fatigue mats for all of us and it pissed off the guys on day shift." I said, "Oh, yeah, my counterpart on first shift even went over my head and complained to the Superintendent because I told him I wouldn't make you guys share!" He laughed and said, "Yeah, every night we would roll 'em up and put them in our lockers!"

Back then, the first shift counterpart confronted me by saying, "You have the most pampered piece workers in the Company." I told him I didn't know what he meant. He said he couldn't believe that I had spent "all that money" on anti-fatigue mats. I asked, "How's my productivity?" He didn't answer because he knew mine was better than his. I continued, "How's my quality? How's the attendance? How's the grievance rate? How's ..." I didn't complete my thought because he put up his hand to gesture for me to stop talking.

He said, "Your guys are going to have to share." I said, "In the interest of harmonious relations, I think it would be better if you supplied separate ones to your guys." He said that he didn't have the budget to buy them. I told him that I was under-budget. He said, in a smart aleck tone, "Well, lah, di, dah!, then you should pay for mine!" I said, with equal sarcasm, "Turn in an employee suggestion--mention health and safety--and you can quote how much better our statistics are as reasons for needing them!" He said that would take too long, because the guys were bitching "NOW!" and we needed to share.

I told him that there would be constant fighting about the mats. I asked, "What if one of your guys is absent--you have a higher absentee rate than I do." He countered with, "They can turn them in to the Crib at the end of the shift." I answered, "So, you're going to make the Crib attendants responsible?" He said, "No, the guys will be responsible for turning in the mats." I answered, "But that won't work--you know that your Crib attendant leaves a half hour earlier--because he has to be here a half-hour early, just as my Crib guy is here a half-hour early and leaves a half hour early; they do that to accommodate the workers."

Since I refused to share, he complained to our boss, the Superintendent. The Superintendent called me to come in early for a conference. When he asked me why we were "hiding" the mats, I gave him the same reasons that I had given to my counterpart. I ended by saying, "It's not my fault that he doesn't have budget remaining."

The Superintendent decided that my counterpart needed to find a way to get mats for his people. I never asked how, but the first shift people had mats shortly thereafter and they guarded theirs with the same tenacity that my guys did theirs.

I was glad that my former employee had remembered that incident. I told him about being at Big Lots several years ago and I saw black, brown, and red anti-fatigue mats for sale and I'd chuckled to myself recalling the great "FATIGUE MAT FOOFARAW".

The anti-fatigue mats at Big Lots were called "Chef's Mats". When I saw the price of $14.99, I was taken aback because I remembered that I had spent more than that amount 20 years ago on the ones for my department.

I bought two RED ones to use in our kitchen. Les and I can be "pampered kitchen workers"!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The mats do make such a difference when you are on your feet for hours. I love your red ones! ML