Surveillance systems.

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andyrose
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#1 Post by andyrose » November 2nd, 2015, 9:13 am

This has been really bugging me, so I thought I would post here for advice.
The owner of the store that I have worked at for 3.5 years recently put in a new system, as our old system essentially didn't work and was more of a deterrent. This one does work and is visible from any location with an internet connection, such as a smart phone.
Yesterday (Sunday) he was at home, and by his words happened to look at it and see my coworker looking at the scores on the ESPN website. I was helping one my regulars who will come in every few Sundays to buy a few bottles. After admonishing my coworker for looking at the internet, he asked where I was because he said he couldn't see me on the cameras. My coworker told him I was with a customer. According to my coworker, our owner asked several times where I was, and didn't believe him.
So much so, that as I was finishing up with the customer he texted me asking if I was actually in the store and why my coworker would lie like that!
As I said I have worked here for over three years now. I am an assistant manager, the beer buyer, and help with buying wine every week. I have never called out or no showed. A month ago I crashed mountain biking before work and came to work with my face bleeding and a concussion and asked to go home. The answer was no, but even though I was injured I still came to work.
I find it incredibly insulting that the immediate conclusion he jumped to was not that I was in one of the many blind spots of the new camera system, but that I left for some reason and had my coworker lie for me. Obviously there is a total lack of trust in me, and I suppose, in my coworker as well.
Has anyone had a similar experience? How did you deal with it?
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#2 Post by PeterJ » November 2nd, 2015, 10:48 am

I've had some experience with people like your boss. If you're secure financially I'd advise you deal with him privately and directly as soon as possible. There are some personality types that don't get the concept that you have to treat people with respect if you want that back from them. Sometimes they'll refuse to admit that it's personal; they'll say it's just business and you shouldn't be offended. IMHO, life's too short to put up with open disrespect if you have a choice. JMHO, but only you can judge if it's worth the confrontation. Just keep your cool.
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#3 Post by p. raghib » November 2nd, 2015, 5:09 pm

Andy, re-read your post and ask yourself why you are working there??
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#4 Post by Randy Bowman » November 2nd, 2015, 7:42 pm

Andy, a few questions if you don't mind.

Is the store busy enough for the number of employees and wages paid?
Is there sufficient theft to warrant this type of surveillance?
How detailed is the inventory control?
Is there a problem with employee theft?
Is the store obviously not making enough money?

How old is the owner?
What is his ethnicity?
Was he like this before the new system?
Is he a paranoid?

I can understand it if you have the theft problems; or he has signs of dementia; or he is from a country where work ethic demands work first; or he's always been a stickler to getting his moneys worth; or he's nuts.

Either way, Paul has the best advice.
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#5 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » November 2nd, 2015, 9:15 pm

Welcome to 21st century technology. Get used to it. And what Paul said.
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andyrose
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#6 Post by andyrose » November 4th, 2015, 9:53 am

Sound advice Paul and Peter. All I can say is that I can't afford to leave, and have yet to find something else. I feel like I am getting pretty close to leaving anyway though.
To answer your questions Randy...
Is the store busy enough for the number of employees and wages paid?
-Good question. We've only got three other ft people besides myself. The GM, owners assistant who mostly sits in the back and works on a computer all day doing ???, and one sales person on the floor. The rest is a mix of people for whom this is a second job, some of whom work as little as one 4 hour shift a week, which doesn't make sense to me.
Is there sufficient theft to warrant this type of surveillance?
Inventory is often off, but I think that is more from errors on our side (receiving, etc.). When a wine is off by exactly 12 bottles, I'd suggest that it is not being received correctly vs. people stealing 12 bottles, one at a time.
How detailed is the inventory control?
We've done inventory twice since I have been there, so not very... I have proposed a weekly count of a certain part of the store, rather than an occasional count of everything, but that was voted down.
Is there a problem with employee theft?
I don't think so. I have never taken or seen anyone take anything. Yet somethings that only employees have access to (shooters come to mind) have been off by a few bottles here and there.
Is the store obviously not making enough money?
I am not privy to most of the financials. Sales have been up markedly this year, something like 10-20%. That seems pretty big. I saw a P+L summary through August and it was profitable at that point, but not by much.

How old is the owner?
40
What is his ethnicity?
Plain old white guy.
Was he like this before the new system?
I'd say no or less so at least.
Is he a paranoid?
This certainly makes me think so!
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#7 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » November 4th, 2015, 11:20 am

Andy,

It sounds like you work for a typical small shop owner, welcome to the club!

How much does he know about the business? Is he actively involved in the day-to-day operations?
Everyone is human and makes mistakes. Inventory problems are annoying. However there should be checks and balances so backroom data entry problems are not the primary source of your issues, that is for the GM/owner/assistant and the buyers/receivers to work out. There always could be problems at checkout too so making sure your cashiers know what they are doing is just as important.

It does not sound like your store has the ingredients for long term success in the context of making it a fluid work environment for you. However I can tell you all small store owners look hard at any and all extra expenses, so keeping labor costs down using low-wage, part-time workers is more the norm than it should be, and lots of owners can do a really half-assed job of things and still be profitable, particularly if you are in an area where licenses are limited or your geography limits competition. Learning the quirks of your owner, and accepting them, to some extent, goes with the territory so you really need to use your own judgement to determine if advancement at that job works for you, or what other options you have if you want to continue in the field and move ahead.
Good luck!
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#8 Post by PeterJ » November 4th, 2015, 4:38 pm

I'll add that if you can assess that the owner is essentially a good person with a lot of stress and/or a discernable personality disorder you may be able to suck it up and live with it. Some people like he seems to be are just fine except when their 'disorder' gets the better of them. Others can tell you what seems OK to them, but you're the one who has to deal with it.
Last edited by PeterJ on November 5th, 2015, 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#9 Post by Richard Leland » November 4th, 2015, 4:57 pm

andyrose wrote:How old is the owner? 40. What is his ethnicity? Plain old white guy.
Ouch.
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#10 Post by PeterJ » November 4th, 2015, 6:40 pm

Richard Leland wrote:
andyrose wrote:How old is the owner? 40. What is his ethnicity? Plain old white guy.
Ouch.
Yeah. Maybe, if 40 is "old" to you, we need to re-assess. ;o)
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#11 Post by Randy Bowman » November 4th, 2015, 7:20 pm

"Plain old white guy." I thought I was the poster boy for that as a 65 year old wine shop owner. [shock.gif]
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#12 Post by andyrose » November 4th, 2015, 7:56 pm

Haha, didn't mean old in that sense. I'm only 5 behind him.
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#13 Post by Randy Bowman » November 4th, 2015, 8:18 pm

Wished any of my relatives in Boulder, Fort Collins or Denver owned wine shops so I could send you their way, but I'm the blasphemous black sheep of the family if you get my drift.
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#14 Post by M Hudson » November 17th, 2015, 11:34 am

Andy, none of what I am posting is directed at you, as I have no personal knowledge of your behaviors.

I am more or less surprised that everyone posted it must be a crazy owner, or an ass, or somehow all the owners fault.

There are ALWAYS three sides to an employee/employer debate. The employee, the owners, and the truth.

If I were you I would be asking these questions of the owner and ask him to answer honestly. You may be doing something you don't even realize, or he may have a perception of your actions that could be inaccurate. Either way, if you talk to him, you get it cleared up one way or the other. I dont believe talking puts your job at risk if you approach it as trying to make things better.
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#15 Post by PeterJ » November 17th, 2015, 5:54 pm

>>"Either way, if you talk to him, you get it cleared up one way or the other. I dont believe talking puts your job at risk if you approach it as trying to make things better."<<

Sounds like you may not have ever had to deal with irrational people, but I would agree that it's best to get it out in the open if that can be done without escalating to confrontation. It's often better to apologize and try to move on, than to attempt to question the opinion you think is incorrect. Depends on the real 'issue' the boss has, which is hard to guess at based on just this little information.
Last edited by PeterJ on November 18th, 2015, 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#16 Post by andyrose » November 18th, 2015, 8:50 am

Mark, that is entirely true. I think I can finally trust myself to talk to him without getting too angry about it, so I can hopefully figure out where his mind is.
I can say this though: I am trusted to open the store and do the opening paperwork twice a week, and I currently close the store/count money/closing duties 4 days a week (I both open and close on Sundays, a long day). I am trusted to be in direct contact with our best customers who spend a whole lot of money with us. I am trusted to be given a budget and buy products for the store.
Like I said above in 3.5 years I have never called out or not shown up. I have come to work with food poisoning and stayed until someone else could come in to cover for me.
I am a mountain biker, and will often ride and occasionally crash before work. He has seen me come to work bleeding several times. About two months ago I came to work with my face bleeding and a concussion, and stayed after I asked him if I could go home and he asked if there was anyone to cover me and we both knew the answer was no. He was not willing to stay. Since you are a cyclist, I hit the ground hard enough to break my helmet.
Possible bads: A few months ago, I told him I had been looking for another job outside the alcohol industry. I've yet to find one. I agreed for my time remaining at the store to work as hard as I can.
When we had 2 assistant managers, the other one and I were friends and (stupidly) discussed how much money we were making. She was getting 4k more than me per year. I was hurt by that. I am sure my productivity and happiness to be at work declined whether intentional or not. This could certainly result in a negative perception. After she left, I took over her duties in addition to mine and am still getting paid less than she was, which has some negative effect on my psyche.
Even with those bads, I can still honestly say I want the store to succeed. I still try to do the best job I can every day. I don't know if these bads would make one of you question if I was actually where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing when you didn't see me on a camera system.
But of course, there could be something that I don't know about too. He is largely non-confrontational about things. For instance, a former employee was using her cell phone on the floor. Rather than directly tell her not to, we have to have an all staff meeting to tell people not to use their cell phones on the floor. So perhaps there is something built up in his mind that he hasn't spoken of.
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#17 Post by M Hudson » November 23rd, 2015, 10:05 am

PeterJ wrote:>>"Either way, if you talk to him, you get it cleared up one way or the other. I dont believe talking puts your job at risk if you approach it as trying to make things better."<<

Sounds like you may not have ever had to deal with irrational people, but I would agree that it's best to get it out in the open if that can be done without escalating to confrontation. It's often better to apologize and try to move on, than to attempt to question the opinion you think is incorrect. Depends on the real 'issue' the boss has, which is hard to guess at based on just this little information.

This cracks me up...I just have about 50 direct reports in the metal fabrication field and have another 20 office types thrown in for good measure....No, never anyone irrational....ever.....
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#18 Post by D@v!d P@rt@!n » December 6th, 2015, 8:39 am

There are security cameras everywhere at my job except the restroom, break room and beer cooler. Management uses them to gather data to discipline/terminate employees (usually warranted) and watch shoplifters walk out the door without paying. As offensive as it is to me, in a large store like this I understand why there are cameras. Regardless, it is jacked up when weak managers use them to harass employees, but that reflects on the manager's character.
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#19 Post by PeterJ » December 6th, 2015, 10:18 am

M Hudson wrote:
PeterJ wrote:>>"Either way, if you talk to him, you get it cleared up one way or the other. I dont believe talking puts your job at risk if you approach it as trying to make things better."<<

Sounds like you may not have ever had to deal with irrational people, but I would agree that it's best to get it out in the open if that can be done without escalating to confrontation. It's often better to apologize and try to move on, than to attempt to question the opinion you think is incorrect. Depends on the real 'issue' the boss has, which is hard to guess at based on just this little information.

This cracks me up...I just have about 50 direct reports in the metal fabrication field and have another 20 office types thrown in for good measure....No, never anyone irrational....ever.....
I'll stick with my thought on this. I'm sure you have dealt with all sorts if odd situations and personality types. I used to run a company with 150 employees and another 200 'contract' people, so I've seen a lot as well. I was just struck by the apparent certainty of your statement when it can so easily go wrong with a truly irrational person. You have to be able to react quickly, adjust, and try to make the best if where it goes if you are the employee in that type of confrontation.
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#20 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » December 6th, 2015, 10:20 am

If you do confront your boss about your concerns, rather than just quitting, do so via email. It's nice to have a paper trail.
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#21 Post by M Hudson » December 7th, 2015, 10:31 am

Just perspective Peter. I go into a situation believing there is a win for both parties, that I need a quality job, and my boss needs a quality employee. I don't go into things believe the other party will become irrational and take inappropriate action.
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#22 Post by PeterJ » December 8th, 2015, 9:24 am

[quote="M Hudson"]Just perspective Peter. I go into a situation believing there is a win for both parties, that I need a quality job, and my boss needs a quality employee. I don't go into things believe the other party will become irrational and take inappropriate action.[/

It saddens me that I have experience with the perspective I've based my remarks upon. I'd admit that one single incident doesn't necessarily define a personality. For me the details just rang far too true to a personality type I've dealt with.
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#23 Post by Don Echevarria » December 8th, 2015, 9:04 pm

If you like where you are and what you do then you should work towards common ground and ask for a raise. I believe 3 years justifies trust. The fact is that after test driving the security system for the first week of so, he'll most likely slow down or stop checking in. You could always propose the idea of your departure and having him in store more often.
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#24 Post by Emily Richer » October 26th, 2016, 5:47 pm

Scrolling the Win Pimps forum, just read through this - yeah, avoiding doing my sales tax return and poking around WB. Fortunately, all cameras are only on myself and I'm tough on her! As a small business owner, I found the advice/discussion interesting. What happened Andy? Hope it all smoothed over and you're thriving...
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#25 Post by andyrose » October 28th, 2016, 5:37 pm

Emily Richer wrote:Scrolling the Win Pimps forum, just read through this - yeah, avoiding doing my sales tax return and poking around WB. Fortunately, all cameras are only on myself and I'm tough on her! As a small business owner, I found the advice/discussion interesting. What happened Andy? Hope it all smoothed over and you're thriving...
Thanks for checking in Emily. Long story short, I am no longer there, and now working in public safety. It's been quite a change, and alot to learn, but I am really enjoying it. And even better the new position came with a significant raise and actual benefits (health, paid time off, etc).
I did stick around for about six months after this thread started. I was having trouble finding something else, and told myself I was being responsible by sticking it out. But I was so miserable. There'd be days I'd get there and sit in my car in the parking lot for ten minutes willing myself to go in before I could. I left without having anything else lined up, and found something else by the end of the week. I was making alot less money, but I was way happier.
I guess the lesson learned was that if I ever feel that miserable at a job again, I need to make a change even if there is no defined path out. After I left, two other full time employees gave two weeks notice to the owner, and were fired on the spot. I guess he didn't take it very well!
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#26 Post by Frank Drew » November 12th, 2016, 2:56 pm

Glad things worked out well for you, Andy; your old boss sounds like managing people isn't something he should be involved with.

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