Abused Retail Staff Quits With Epic Resignation Letter [UPDATE]

Retail workers quit with a memorable letter -- uploaded to Reddit.

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.

Related Posts by Erik Sherman

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Dairy's Scary

There is a fine line between abuse and getting people to do their jobs. It isn't easy for anybody in most operations type jobs these days with lower wages and less respect for workers, but people still need to do what they are paid for or just quit and let somebody else work. It is difficult to deal with people who are lazy or play one manager against the other. All that aside, I have no idea what happened to these particular employees, but if I had to guess, I would say the boss probably did some royally reprehensible things.

November 19 2014 at 3:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sometime you just get what you pay for, people leave people they don't leave jobs!

September 13 2013 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nothing more aggrivating than a person that owns a store and does not work there and they expect everyone else to do the work to make the store a success.

September 12 2013 at 7:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jamaica Jim

I had a number of management jobs and I made it a point to live by the following rule:

Alway6s look after your employees, otherwise you will end up with no employees!

September 11 2013 at 2:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Not much of an update, seems lke the same story as when it was first reported.

September 09 2013 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've worked under several jackasses in my time, making everyones life as miserable as possible while they sat around doing "managerial things" which was really nothing. They would make a point of making you so miserable that when you had two days off in a row, which rarely happened, they'd ruin your entire time off. I told one to take my job and shove it right up her azzhole! Odd thing about it is the three that made everyones life miserable are all dead...and no...I had nothing to do with causing their demise...or the others.

September 07 2013 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have worked In retail for a long time, and things like this happen very often. Some Managers take advantage of there employees and use the fact that they need the job to take advantage of, and abuse them, both verbally and emotionally. It is already a straining field to work in, and some employers don't make it easier. Luckily I have gone to a better place that knows how to treat people. But I always herd stories about Journeys. Especially in the past few months, from people in multiple stores. Defiantly not a company I would ever want to work for. They do not seem to treat people with common decency or respect. Just so we are clear, I thought that about the Genesco brand this article was posted. I honestly believe the original post and not the added part towards the end. That extra piece just sounds like someone trying to cover their butt.

September 05 2013 at 10:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Hi Malcolm

I had a boss years ago named Julian. Before he was promoted his wife, he, my wife and I were all close friends. We worked in a stressful manufacturing environment.

He got promoted to nightshift superintendent my boss. After about about 6 weeks working for him at about 3:00AM on an early Monday morning he called me Dumba** and I found myself answering to it! I told myself it was because I hadn't got much sleep Sunday trying to live a normal life. But when 7:00 rolled around I told the Plant Superintendent we had to talk. He made me wait till 11:00AM and I told him he had two choices move me off 3rd shift or I was going to kill him a Night Shift Superintendent! He looked me over and briefly thought he could fire me but realized that did not remove option number 2! He told me to report back in at 3:00PM!

We always started the plant late Sunday night at 11:00 PM with a safety meeting. The other Supervisor Carey who shared duties with me on 3rd interrupted the safety meeting thanked everyone because they were no absence personnel and then said they would not be any rumors about what will occur here tonight! Then he sucker punched Julian and then beat him up really good with everyone cheering!

This happens all to often in the work place but the real kicker here was after Julian called the Plant Manager, the Plant Superintendent, Carey burst back into the office and said, "That felt so good that I have to do it again!" And he did!

The next day management fired Carey but more importantly they fired Julian also. They said after 7 years and 4 different people throw punches at you their was something wrong with his management style!

September 04 2013 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll reserve judgment until I hear both sides of the story. People are much too quick to take a side wen they only know one side. Something smells fishy about this story.

September 04 2013 at 11:35 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Thomas's comment
Andrew Banks

I think the fact that the entire staff quite is confirmation enough.

September 05 2013 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Andrew Banks's comment

I agree with you Andrew. The fact that jobs are scarce as it is would only lead me to believe that "Jamie" is a horrible representation of a leader and manager.

September 07 2013 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

good for them. Too bad they quit and weren't fired.

September 04 2013 at 11:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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