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Case of the broken hutch

THE CASE OF THE BROKEN HUTCH I would like to write a story about a conflict I had

with a past boss. It had to deal with the fact that he did not want to hear my side of the story,

and listen totally to the customer. This has affected my life and the way I work with my co-

workers to this present date. I work at a home rental store, we rent furniture, electronics,

household appliances, and computers. We rent practically anything that you can put in your

house. We are the largest rent to own company in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

We currently have over 1,100 stores and we have about 30,000 employees. I started to work

for the company because I was going to junior college and needed a job to pay the bills. At the

time I was hired I lived with my parents and had car payments and credit card payments. So I

needed enough money to pay for the car and the cards. Also in about a year I would be moving

out into an apartment of my own, and I also would be started to attend Sacramento State. I pay

for my own schooling either out of my pocket or by getting student loans. When I first

started working for this company they were short handed and all the employees at the store I

started at were new to each other. That is they had worked for the company at other stores but

had not worked together. I was hired when the manager went to his yearly manager meeting in

Reno. When I was hired I was hired on as a delivery driver. The delivery driver is responsible

for all of the deliveries and pick-ups of store merchandise. The only training that I received were

two videos. One video was on "Smith's Safe Driving Techniques", and the other was "In-Home

Deliveries and In-Store Deliveries". Through working with the company I learned many new

things. We got the newest and latest electronic equipment and computers, so I had to stay on

top of technology. All of this training I did by myself, no one helped me out and no one looked

over my shoulder. I have always been able to grasp new concepts and run with them, so

learning new items were fun and interesting. Also through working with the company I

learned that they had a big turn-over ratio of employees. Employees were either get tired of

working a 50 hour work week, or they would have no chance for advancement. When I first was

hired there was no Market Manager of our area, so any comment that could not be answered by

our manager, we could not get from the next higher person. About 6 months after I started to

work we finally got a Market Manager from Chicago. His name was Bob, he was a short, stocky

build, Italian with an attitude that he was the best. All the stores in the area went through

introducing periods, were he would come into the stores and introduce himself and see where all

the stores were performing. Bob had his position for about 6 months after he had moved to

Sacramento. Like all other companies ours went through a down-sizing. One of the first things

that the company did were to change our seven markets down to six markets, that meant that

one of the market managers had to lose there job. So the one that just received his job had to

give up his job, that was Bob.The same time that this down-sizing was happening, they had

just opened up a new store in the Sacramento area, and our manager was the one to open it up.

So instead of firing Bob they gave him the management of my store. Since they had moved him

over here and did not give him much time on the job, they let him keeps the salary of a market

manager. The hardest thing in accepting Bob was that he was our market manager, and

now we have to accept him as our manager. Even though we try not to hate our bosses, we tend

not to like them that much and that works double for an even higher boss. It is not that Bob was

a bad guy, it just that he was our boss and most co-workers do not like their bosses.Once

Bob got to the store we had to go through some major changes, for Bob it was, "My way or the

highway". He never actually said it, but actions speak louder than words. He was determined to

run the store his way, in my opinion, he wanted to run the store perfectly in his own mind, that is

he ran the store the way he thought it should be run. Unfortunately what he thought was perfect

was not perfect in the mind of the new market manager for our region. The new market

manager Mike and my boss Bob did not like each other much. Bob was angry at Mike because

Mike had his job, and Bob thought that he could do a better job at the market manager position.

Mike did not like Bob because Bob was making more money than Mike and that there will always

be a manager looking over your shoulder saying, "I could have done that better.". After

getting used to Bob's habits we started to work like a machine, everyone has his/her separate job

and together we had the store running smoothly. We even had a time were if we met our goals

for the week, Bob would buy us pizza lunch on Friday's. After a while, we started to hit our goals

every week and soon he stopped buy pizza altogether. Now it is not that I had a problem with no

free lunch on Friday, it was that if you achieve a goal you should be rewarded. I guess in Bob's

mind, he thought that if we hit our goals every week then they are no longer goals they are a way

of life. And now if had missed our goals he would be upset because we were functioning below

standards. Not only we were missing his high standards, he were making him look bad. He

thought that if the store looks good than he would look good. the problem with this is that Bob's

idea of the running of the store was, "If the store does good- it is all because of me, if the store

does bad- it is because of my employees.". He never really looked at us as equals or people

that know what we are doing, he looked at us as grunts that did all the dirty work and did not get

any credit. When he left messages for us to read on the message board, he would refer to us as

"crew" or "employees", we were never people, we were an item that was used to one purpose

and one purpose only and that was to make Bob look good. As all of this was going on I

would remain quiet about what I thought because I was just a delivery driver, and did not want

everyone to say that I did not know what I was talking about. At this time, I had worked for the

company for about one and a half years. I was still a delivery driver because once you became a

Customer Service Representative or and Account Representative you had a mandatory 50 hour

work week. Well, I was a full time student at Sacramento State and was already working 30+

hours every week, so I was burning the candle at both ends. Even though I decided not to

take the next step in advancement, I knew most everything that was necessary to run the store.

Over the time I was at the store I learned how the store computer works, by myself. I also made

it my responsibility to learn anything else that was easy for me to do, so as my co-workers load

would be lightened. Everyone at the store knew that I could do all the functions necessary to run

the store, but Bob would go out of his way to make sure that I did not have the accessibility to the

computer and to other functions that were not delegated to me. I can understand why he did

this, because he is responsible for the running of the store, and those people who were above

me had to pass training in order to get the status and title that they have now. I did not try to go

out of my way to take payments or to do deposits, it is that I saw my co-workers have a great

deal of work to do, and I would like to help them get all there jobs done. The worst thing I could

see myself doing, is I would be just sitting there and a customer comes up for some help and all I

can saw is, "Sorry I can not help you, I just work here.". So I started to get more and more jobs

that I did on a daily basis taken away from me, which caused my co-workers to have to do them.

I finally got someone that I could do deliveries and pick-ups with that knew what he was doing.

In my job at this time, now currently about two years, I had went through many different people

that I worked with. The problem was that our store was a training store, that meant people would

be there for about two months then be shipped to another store once there training was done.

With working with different people all the time you had to get used to working with them, which

way to flip the sofa or the best way into the house- which is not always through the front door.

Well, finally Martin came over and he was supposed to be over here to stay. Martin and I came

off great, he had been working at another store for about a year, so he knew what he was doing.

So when we went out to do a delivery we both had the same idea of which way to flip and which

entrance would be the best. If we had a question or comment we could express it to each other.

It was great working with someone that you could do a delivery without saying a word and it

would be delivered perfect. We both had common interests and we got along great, I would

actually say that I met a great friend in Martin. Bob could see that we were getting along great

and after awhile it seemed that Martin and I would not do to many deliveries or pick ups together.

This bothered me because we could get a delivery done faster and one-time than anyone else in

the area. Actually we were both angered by it, but Bob was the boss and we had to listen to the

"Great One".With working with renting out furniture, we have a policy that we will move the

merchandise if you are moving. We do this first of all, because we like to ensure that the

merchandise is going in a secure area. We also do this to make sure that we know what

address that our merchandise is located. And lastly we do this because some of our

merchandise is heavy and our customer's do not have a truck that can fit all the furniture, so we

choose to move the merchandise for them. We have a customer that rents a nice traditional

style dining room set. And she needed to have it moved to her new residence. She has a

cherrywood dinette table, cherrywood server, and a cherrywood hutch and base. Now

cherrywood is a very soft wood and can be easily damaged. So when Martin and myself went to

pick up the merchandise we were very careful in wrapping the items. She lived in an upstairs

apartment and was moving to a house down the road. We wrapped everything up and loaded it

into the truck and strapped everything down. The customer told us that she still had some

packing to do and her mother, who is also one of our customers, will be waiting at the house for

us. Once we got to the house we moved everything through the garage because it was a

straight shot into the house. The mother was there the whole time that we were moving

everything into the house. We only had one piece left, it was the top of the china hutch, which

was glassed filled and very fragile. Instead of put it on the dolly we decided it would be easier

and better if we were to carry it in. As we were walking into the garage we hit the top piece on

the edge of the garage door. We placed it on top of the base and examined were we had hit the

china hutch top, we did not notice anything and the mother was there and she made no

reference to anything wrong. We went on with the rest of our day, normal as usual. As we

were coming through the back door, we heard Bob yell to us "I have something for you guys to

sign.". we came into his office to see what he wanted us to sign, they were write-up slips. He

had written on the paper that we damaged customer's merchandise and that we were not careful

and safe in the way that we delivered the merchandise. I guess the customer called up later in

the day and said that we had broke her china hutch. My first response was, "We didn't break

it, we hit the top but we check out everything, and it was all right. The mother was there also and

she didn't say anything.". Bob said, "You should have told me that you hit the top of the

china hutch, and we wouldn't have this problem. All I know is that she called saying that when

she came home it was broke. I need you guys to sign these."I said, "The way this is written, I

refuse to sign it. I think in my opinion that I was safe and careful in delivering it. Also I know we

didn't break it cause I checked it out myself.".Bob said, "You refuse to sign it.""Yes,

I'm not going to sign it.", I replied. Bob said, "Well, you can go home right know, and

consider yourself on suspense until you come back and talk to me about this.".I said, "Bye.".

As I was leaving I could here Bob asking Martin if he had the same opinion as me, because he

could go home with me. Martin did not share my opinion, or at least he did not express it. It was

about 5:00 o'clock on Friday when he sent me home, so I started my weekend early. Usually

when working for the company you work on Saturday and have Sunday and another day off

during the week. So I decided to have a long weekend.When I got home I was thinking to

myself, how could he take her word over ours. He did not even ask us what happen, it was just

here sign this. One of the first things I did was to call up the other managers and tell them what

happened. They all did not agree with me but they did not agree with Bob either. I decided to

call the new market manager, Mike, and to tell him what happened and to also tell him my side of

the story. When I called him, he listen and then gave me his own advice. He had told me that

write-ups are not an omission of guilt, they are just write-ups that say something was done and

we need to have a change in behavior or termination will be in the future. While on my

extended weekend, Saturday I was thinking about being written up. I had never been written up

in my life. Although I have not had that many jobs, I have never had anybody tell me or write me

up to say that I was doing something wrong. This might have effected the way I acted. I had

been working for the company for two years and never broke any merchandise and self taught

myself practically everything I knew. I also made it a key to be careful and safe in all I do, and

now Bob is trying to say that I cannot do my job. That is what it was like, he was saying you can

not do your job, that is how I felt. On Saturday night, I decided to call up Bob and say that I

would like to speak with , he said that if I came in early Monday morning we could talk this out

and have a meeting. In Monday morning's meeting, we talked about what had happened on

Friday night. I had told him how I felt about that we knew we hit the top but had checked it out

and found nothing to be wrong with the china hutch. I still had to sign a write-up but he had

written it differently, I still thought that I was not in the wrong, but instead of arguing more I

signed the write-up. I needed the job and I needed the money to pay bills and to pay for school.

I later found out that Bob had been written up by Mike for something concerning the store. Bob

has the personality that he will pass the buck as they say. In order to make Bob not look as bad

he would have to bring us done to his level, and in order to do that, he would have to write us up.

Bob does not like criticism about his job just like no one else likes criticism about their job.

For about a week Bob and myself would pass but we use very little words. We ordered the

customer a new china hutch. When it came in we delivered out to her house. This was the first

time I had been back to the house to see what she said we had done to her china hutch. Upon

moving closer to the china hutch, it was very noticeable. This was something you would notice

once you got within 10 feet. Now when it happened Martin, the mother, and myself did not see

the damage. In my honest opinion I believe she was trying to see what we had done after her

mother told her we hit the top, and she pulled down on it, and broke it her self. We delivered

the new china hutch in the box, being very careful as to not hit anything or damage anything.

About a week later she called up and said that the color was lighter on the one she currently has,

and that she would like to get her old one back. We went back out to her house and delivered

her old one back to her. She never knew what happened behind the scenes of all this

commotion. She got back her old china hutch and was like nothing ever happened, but I know

that in my mind that alot had happened. Bob continued to work at that store for about another 6

months. A couple days after Christmas and a about a week before Bob was going to take

vacation in which he would be getting married, the company let Bob go. After nine years of

working for the company he was fired. He was fired because he was given the store to turn it

around, and although he had good months, the overall numbers were not what the company

expected. I went to work for another store in which the manager appreciates me and knows

all that I can do. He allows me to do my job and to help out the store. After about three months

for working at a different store, the store that I came from in the first place needed me back. This

is the first week that I have been back to my old store. The funny thing is that in the back room I

see a cherrywood dinette, a cherrywood server, and a cherrywood china hutch. I checked all the

numbers, and they belong to the same customer. So after everything is said and done,

the customer never kept the merchandise that see proclaimed that Martin and I damaged. Bob

no longer works for the company. Martin works at another store. And I am back at my old store.

I have worked here for three years and seen people come and go, but nothing will affect me as

much as Bob did.

CASE ANALYSISIssueAaron , working at a rental company for two years of excellent

service, is blamed for a deed that he claims he did not do. What would have happened if

Aaron did not refuse to sign the write-up?How would the customer feel if she knew what

happened behind the scenes? If Bob did not think he was god, would the outcome be

different?Analysis The main explanation of this conflict would be different opinions. Bob was a

man who thought everything that he did was right. And, of course, that meant that anything that

anything that anyone else did was wrong, unless they did it Bob's way. The problem with doing it

Bob's way is that most of us thought his way was the wrong way. Bob was out to show everyone

that he deserved the job of market manager and the way he tried to show it was that he was

always right and he was above everyone else. I most admit that I have faults also. Once I was

suspended the first thing I did was call up someone else to make sure they were on my side. I

wanted someone to pick a side and I wanted them to pick my side. I needed to get assurance

that what I did was right. I can also admit that when he gave me the write-up I blew up at him, it

may not necessarily be with that write-up but a compilation of many different problems. If I have

a problem with a person I should talked to them and fix the problem before it gets worse, as it

did. I have a problem with taking criticism from others, I become a power/ domineering

person under stressful situations. So when he blamed be for breaking something I went to either

denying that I did it or I blamed it on someone else. But as for this instance even though my

personality profile says that I deny it whether I did it or not, in this instance I actually did not do it.

Bob and myself are alike in away, he does not like to have other people tell him how he should

do his job, and I do not like people to tell me how I should do my job. In some way the reason

that the whole problem occurred is that we both have the same personality, in that he know our

job, and we can perform our job as long as people leave us alone.Creative Analysis I could say

that myself, the way I felt on the inside was like using a bow and stick to start a fire. There were

small instances that would cause the bow to move back and forth. When Bob came to work at

our store, the bow started to move. As he would tell us how things were to be done, the bow

moved quicker. But then Bob started to give us rewards for a job well done, the person moving

the bow got tired and rested. Then Bob started to take away jobs that I did to help out co-

workers, and the man started to stir the bow some more. Then Bob did allow Martin and myself

on deliveries together, and the man starts getting into a groove and he can actually see smoke.

Then Bob accuses us of damaging the customer's property, all of a sudden he has red ash, he

pours it on the wilt and starts to blow. The flame does not occur at once but slowly it starts, and

then all of a sudden you have a flame and you start adding more fuel to the fire. As my fire

started to stir and as I added more fuel to the fire, I blew up and let out all my smoke. And I

found myself letting out so much smoke that other managers of the company could see the

smoke.I was a man on fire and I did not know how to stop myself. I tried to put out the fire but

the only way I could was to give a little smoke to other people. Finally with not to much smoke

left I confronted the man who started me. I agreed that I was wrong and that next time I will tell

him when then next time that even a little smoke starts.Comparative Examples In America the

was they run the courts are "They are innocent until proven guilty.". In my case it was the

opposite "Guilty until proven innocent.". The problem was there is no innocent in Bob's mind.

He never gave me a chance to tell my side of the story. He made a snap ruling and judged that I

was guilty. He was the judge, jury, and the executioner. I thought in this nation were everyone is

free and has choices, I guess it is not the same when it comes to work. I can also see Bob in

some way being a slave owner. I was to do his work for him and he would get all the credit.

Although I worked for a wage that was substantially higher than that of a real slave, I was treated

with the same disrespect that the master was the man and I was just a child, there to do the dirty

work. I had a choice to stay or go, but once you have bills and payments you seem like you are

trapped into staying in a place where you do not feel comfortable.The main similarity

between the two is that I did not feel I was treated the way I thought I should have be treated. I

thought that we all should be given respect and that we all have a say in the matter. It was as if

no matter what I said, I was wrong, because he had made a decision and he was going to keep

that decision.Personal Experience In my life I have a very difficult time saying "I'm sorry" or "I

was wrong". This has to do again with my personality profile, usually the only time that I would

have to say these sayings is when I am in a stressful situation.. And again in stressful situations I

become a power/domineering person who will not accept blame and even elsewhere. I

recently had a fight with one of my colleagues in another class. We were fighting on why I make

fun of her and put her down. She had made a statement a month earlier saying that I do this

because I am bitter at the world. I thought about that statement long and hard. I came to the

conclusion that she was absolutely correct, but I was not going to tell her that I was wrong. In

our argument I confessed that I was wrong and that I sorry that I did this, and it was something I

need help with. She pawned it off like it was nothing to her, I felt that here I am opening up and

she doesn't even care. I stormed out of her house and did not talk to her for several days.

A couple days later, we finally sat down to talk about our problems. I had told her that I hardly

say I sorry or that I was wrong, let alone both of them together. She understood what I was

saying and she explained that she already knew I was wrong, in her mind, and that she did not

need to hear it from me. The other part was the fact that I did not take time to sit down and talk

about what I was feeling at the moment I blew up. This is the same problem in my story, I get to

the point were I think that my point is not getting through and the only way that I can deal with

the problem is to leave the situation. As they always say "If you have nothing nice to say, don't

say anything at all.". I am always fine with that statement only after I have already blown

up.Personal Learning In the previous case I have learned that in situations where I am started to

feel uncomfortable I should talk to the person that is causing me the discomfort. I should not

keep all my frustration all bottled up or I will explode and maybe next time I will not be lucky.

Next time I might hurt someone that I care for very dearly, and someone who had nothing to do

with the situation. This case was important to me because it gave me information about

myself that I would have never known or never thought of before I did this report. I know that if a

situation arises that I should try to remain calm and talk out my frustration to the person. I can

now hopefully be comfortable and go out in the work force and not repeat the performance that I

did earlier. Next time it might not be suspension, it might be that I get fired. I believe that this

assignment challenged me to analyze the situation and to figure out how to avoid it the next time

it arises. I hope the next time it arises, that I remember what came out of this situation, usually

nothing but headaches.



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