A while ago, Jen, a new girl, told me how she'd covered for Gina in the middle of a sunny Sunday afternoon. Apparently Gina was sick during her shift and was 'chucking up in the back room' and all that. You know the drill- I feel really sick and have been vomiting in the store, and there is no one to cover me, and you're my last hope. Well, see, the thing is, Sunshine doesn't have much of a back room. We don't have a sink in there, let alone a toilet, so I don't know how or where she could've been vomiting out the back. Unless she did it in a garbage back when she managed to pull herself away from the customers, she must've been 'mistaken'. When Jen came in, on her day off, after having driven over an hour from the country because she felt sorry for Gina (hey, she contacted me too, but I was sick of covering and it was my only day off too) she noticed that Gina didn't look sick at all, and just thanked her for coming in and then waltzed right out. Hmmm...it was a nice day out that day, perhaps she was going to the beach (one of the other girls got busted calling in sick, and then turning up when there was no one else to cover her shift. She was wearing bathers underneath her skirt and top). Jen noticed that there were no bags of chuck out the back, and if Gina did indeed throw up out the back, she would've had to close the store to get rid of the evidence before Jen turned up. And then Jen worked with Robyn (new store manager at Nevertire), Gina's best friend, and she mentioned that Gina had been sick on Sunday and she had covered for her, but Gina knew nothing of it. Sounds fishy...
I've chucked up at work before (at Sunshine and Mooball), and it's not pretty. Both stores don't have a sink, so I had to be discreet and hurl in a garbage bag. Both times, I was serving customers, and both times, they didn't even notice, I think. During Christmas of 2004, I was working so much I was probably making myself sick from stress and tiredness, and it was quite busy, there were 3 of us on, and I was serving customers at the counter, Marnie was serving on the floor, and Miranda was around the back of the store unpacking stock. I suddenly felt very sick and could feel it rising and managed to get Marnie to come to the counter to take over for me (there was a line of customers) before I managed to rush down the back of the store with my cheeks puffed full of spew and my hands over my mouth. Miranda was out the back with garbage bags for the packaging, and I managed to get most of it into there, while she looked on in horror and disgust. Don't get to see that every day! She sent me home sick and managed to get one of the staff from another region to come in.
The other time, I was at Sunshine by myself and it was probably nearing the end of a Sunday, and I had been feeling really thirsty that day. I just couldn't drink enough water and my mouth felt really dry. I'd never felt like that before. No matter how much I drank, my mouth still felt dry. I can't remember if I was feeling nauseous, but usually when I feel nauseous, it's like I'm going to get the runs. It's only rarely that I've 'dry-hurled'. Well, I was feeling pretty bad and it was almost time to go home, so I stuck it out. There weren't many customers, but there was one who came in, and he was one that required a lot of service. He enquired about the shirt fittings and styles, and I was showing him around the back of the store where the shirts were but could really feel it coming, so said I'd go check for him, rushed back to the counter (in the middle of the store) and chucked up quietly in the garbage bag. Hmmm... it was all that water I drank! And a few chunks. Interesting. But I felt much better after that and returned to continue to serve him and he asked if I'd checked on the shirts. I was thinking: 'no, sorry, I was just puking my guts out, I must've forgotten. How silly of me'. The rest of the day continued without incident.
Well, Gina messaged me this morning, at 9:26AM, so half an hour after she got in, saying that she was not feeling well and wanted me to work the rest of her shift. I am on to do a lunch cover from 12-3 and she is on all day to do 9-6. She was apologetic: "sorry to be a pain" and "no pressure". Well, it's a fine, sunny day out today and I am more than a little suspicious and fed up. No one could help me cover my shift yesterday, and I know it's part of the job, but I couldn't help but feel a little let down. It's "a busy time for me" too. I can understand that people are busy with uni and assignements and are sick of being called in to cover shifts and feeling resenful when they say yes and bad when they say no, but if you owe me a favour cos I've covered your shift, I think the right thing to do would be to cover mine when I desperately need a cover and know you're available.
I worked all day Saturday without a cover or key and had to pick one up from a colleague's house nearby when Gina called in saying that her grandmother was sick and had been taken to hospital and her condition was serious. That was the Friday before last. I felt bad for her, but couldn't help thinking 'she better not be lying'. I know that's terrible, as I had a sick family member last year and had to take off without much notice- the ticket was booked and I was off to Sydney. Well, so I felt bad about contacting Gina and asking her if she could cover my stocktake shift last night. I made sure to ask her last, as I wasn't sure if her grandmother was still sick or if she was back at work or not. I was floored by her response: so sorry, she acknowledged that I helped her out on Saturday, but it's her dad's birthday. So sorry. So was I. At first, I couldn't believe she was celebrating her father's birthday when her grandma was so sick in hospital. But then I thought, maybe it's her maternal grandmother... but still, her mother wouldn't be up for celebrating, and if he was any type of good son, he'd feel the same. Or so I like to think... but I'll take her word for it.
So I can't understand why Gina messaged me at 9:26, saying she felt sick but would stay til 3, if I could work on til 6. I messaged her back an hour later, as I wanted to formulate the right response first. If I was feeling sick at work, I'd want someone to come in right away so I could go home. She knows I am available all day, yet wanted to work on til 3. It just doesn't make sense to me. I can't really be bothered working til 6 and have other things to do as well, so I compromised and offered to do 1-6 without a break and said she could go home when I get in if she wants. I'd like to talk to her and see what's going on. I was thinking she feels sick because she probably had too much to eat and drink last night at her dad's birthday... but I know that's mean, because I often feel sick because of a condition that I have, but have managed to avoid certain foods and control it. She just happens to feel sick the day after her dad's birthday bash, just as I happened to feel sick working on New Year's Day. And I don't even drink. I closed early that day and went home.
10:47 - she messaged back. Doesn't sound sick. Or maybe just trying to be considerate and hold it down as there is a lot of work to do in store and doesn't want me to hate her. Great. And apparently there is a store meeting as well. Well, that's news to me. ...oh yeah, it's for potential new staff I think. Like an introduction to The Company at our store, Sunshine, the "model store", where it's always perfect cos we are! Well, that was my slogan when Andie and I still worked there and it was indeed perfect. Now apparently there are more consolidations and heaps of stock on the floor. Welcome to The Company indeed. Newbies, you can count on me to provide a realistic view of the way The Company is run and what the staff experience is really like.