I have received several request for more information on the “I towed the store manager at Duff’s car” story. I am posting a copy of an e-mail that I sent to Jay about it. Jay already knows all about Dasher Mismanagement, but in case you don’t I’ll fill you in with some information to make it easier for you to understand.
Nancy was the store manager at Duff. She was all show and no substance. She had no clue how to run food cost, so she used to figure out all of the food she was missing at the end of every month and transfer it to my store. I never knew this and I never understood why my food cost numbers were always different than what I had calculated.
The F.O.R. stands for Full Operations Review. This is when corporate comes down from Minnesota and reviews your store on quality, cleanliness and service.
We were not a corporate store. We were a franchise store. Therefore we had an owner. The owner was setting up the company to be taken over by his son-in-law Ty. Ty was the Director of Operations and my boss. What you need to know about Ty is that he was a nice guy, but completely incompetent. How incompetent? Think about the most incompetent person you’ve ever had to work with. Add 10% more incompetence.
That should do you, here is my letter to Jay:
Yes it was Nancy. I didn’t know she was screwing with my reports at that time. In fact, I didn’t even know we had towed her car until the next day. At Campus the parking lot used to fill up on bar nights, but we wouldn’t have a single customer in the store. Even if a customer wanted to come into the store they couldn’t. All the lots were full. When this would happen I would call our towing service. I can’t remember their name at this time and they were very excited. This was a gold rush to them. I would have them tow every single car in the parking lot.
The great thing about this for them was, while they were towing cars, more cars would come in. Then they would get to tow that car. Here is a life lesson for you. If you drive an SUV or a van, don’t push your luck parking illegally. They always towed these cars first because they could charge them double.
One Sunday morning Nancy called the store. Cory Ungs answered the phone. She wanted to know where her car had been towed. So he told her. Then he told me, I thought it was hilarious. She had parked in our lot on the previous night to go to the bar. When she came back, her van was gone. It would not have been towed if she had merely came inside and told us that she was going to park there. If people asked to park there or were employees or friends of employees we let them park there. If we didn’t know who you were, you got towed.
Campus was more or less a warehouse for other stores. We weren’t very busy and we knew how to order truck. Whenever other stores ran out (unless they were in the Janelle – BooneWest Dyad) of anything, they always called us first. Not many store managers work on Sundays. So frequently half my Monday morning consisted of answering the phone and looking to see if we had enough product to spare for other stores.
It was very important that you actually entered all of these transfers in to the computer. Another trick some stores employed at that time to reduce food cost was to hope that you never did a “transfer out”. They would then not do a “transfer in” on their end. Then if you forgot to do the “transfer out”, they just got all that food for free. I did know that some stores did this, so I was very anal about nothing leaving the store without a signed transfer slip.
Duff, despite being the “super” store with the “super store manager” was our biggest customer. If it was a game weekend, I frequently had my truck ordering people order even more than we would need, because I knew that Duff would be calling us on Sunday or Monday looking for product. Duff was getting so much hot air blown up their bums about how “super” they were that they were completely out of touch with what their strengths and their weaknesses were.
One time when we had a couple of bad truck orders in a row because we were training a new person on truck order they displayed their ignorance and their arrogance. I had Cory call over there and see if we could borrow some product. Nancy had the gall to say, “You guys need to learn how to order truck. I can come over there and teach you if you want.”
The Monday after Nancy’s van had been towed, she came into the store to borrow some product. I saw her and said, “Sorry we towed your car this weekend.”
“It is no problem. I shouldn’t have parked here.”
“If you want to park here, that is no problem. You just need to tell the manager and you won’t get towed.”
To me I figured this was the end of the situation. I had forgotten that Nancy was extremely two-faced.
I forgot about the situation until our F.O.R. that was later that month. While Ty and I were outside taking D-T times, we were looking at a car on the lot.
He said, “I hear you towed Nancy’s car.”
This was before they completely hated me. All I really knew was that they weren’t interested in new ideas and they really, really wanted to close my store. I thought he was remarking on how funny it was. I had forgotten that even though I technically was the exact same rank as Nancy in the organization, even that ranking had tiers and I was clearly a tier below Nancy. Not because of skill. She was just his pet. Possibly because she was the best brown nose I have ever seen, ever. I have never seen anybody that could smooch butt like her. She was an artist.
I began to laugh.
I said, “Well, she shouldn’t have parked here and went to the bar.”
“Why did you tow her car?” He said soberly.
“I didn’t tow her car. I towed every car in the parking lot. Hers happened to be one of the ones that were parked here in clear contradiction of our signs.”
“Why are you towing cars?”
This was a strange question, because it was only a couple months ago that we switched towing companies and he made a big effort to make sure I had that information.
“Because, when the lot is completely full and you have no customers in the store, the people in your lot aren’t your customers.”
“The problem is that these people that are parking in your lot are preventing actual customers from coming into the store because they have no place to park.”
“If you are losing customers because they can’t park in your lot, soon enough they won’t even come back because they know that parking is a problem at that store.”
“It is not the type of reputation I want the store to have. I would rather get the word out that our parking lot is for our customers and not for the bars around here. So I tow cars to send that message. Soon enough, I expect I won’t need to tow cars any longer.”
“I don’t want you towing cars.”
“I don’t care if people park in the lot.”
“Even if they prevent customers from coming to our store?”
The big freeze started to get a little bit colder.