I worked for Family Dollar from October 2010 until June 2012. I originally started as an assistant manager and was quickly promoted to store manager and moved to another store. My district manager was very nice at first and was in constant contact with me, apologizing for the nightmare I had inherited with my promotion. The store (Store #288, Statesville, NC) was a mess to say the least. I had one assistant manager that had a very limited availability and another that would report to work hung over and poor personal hygeine. The store had been left in the hands of the two ASM's for months and the work was not being done. The stockroom was piled full of freight that had never been worked, I could barely walk through the stockroom. I knew with hard work and dedication, I could turn this store around.
As store manager, I was required to work a minimum of 52 hours per week but with a very limited payroll budget, I was forced to work in excess of 70 hours per week. Most weeks I worked well over 80 hours. After I hired someone, suggested by my DM, to help purge the stockroom, unload trucks and stock, together we were able to get the store and stockroom under control. Once this started happening, my DM quit calling and answering my calls unless it was to her benefit. My DM would only communicate with me if she needed myself and the employee I had hired and trained successfully to travel to fix other stores that were in messes. As long as I did everything she (my DM) asked, everything was fine but the moment I asked for more payroll or asked that my workload be lessened, she became hostile and bitter toward me. When I asked not to have to travel anymore that I would prefer to stay in my own store, she forced me to anyway stating, "....I need you to do this, if I can't count on you to do this for me then how can I count on you for anything else? I asked you and not another store manager because I knew I could count on you and you would make sure it got done....I knew I wouldn't have to worry about it." Feeling defeated, I always did as I was told....I knew the consequences of saying "NO". I began having issues within my own store, I was down to one assistant that began to create a hostile working environment.
After addressing this issue with my DM, I was instructed that I was being given another assistant manager that had been in two weeks training at another store but I would have to keep the one causing the issue as well. When I told my Dm that this particular ASM was working against me she stated, "I do not understand, she has a proven track record with the company.....you are going to have to figure something out". The more time went on, the worse the situation became. In October, I contacted my DM again stating to her that things were so bad that one of us, and I did not care which one had to be transferred that we could not work together. My request was refused and I was told to pacify this ASM and cut down her hours and to work opposite shifts of her (she was to be scheduled only to relieve me or for me to come in later to relieve her but, not to work together). This only caused further headaches, when this ASM worked with me, she was productive yet on shifts without me she failed to complete her assigned task. Even on nights I would schedule her to close with the only responsibility of recovering and closing the store, she would not recover and would clock out late. In November, I requested a second transfer for personal reasons (which I made clear to my DM) and again I did not receive a transfer.
Finally, toward the end of February, I was forced by my DM to transfer across town to a low volume store. In November, my transfer request was for a store outside of Statesville. Since I was told I had no choice, I took over my new store which was also behind. My DM began creating a hostile working environment, forcing me to violate company policies and slashimg my payroll forcing me to run two stores (for almost a month) and placing and unbearable workload on me. I was, at this point, both physically and mentally exhausted but pushed on.
In June 2012, I had requested a personal leave. While on personal leave my DM called me demanding me to return to work and that she had placed me back on the schedule for the next day. I was frustrated and confused as I was still on leave (against company policy to contact an employee on leave). I explained to her that first of all, she was the one that had suggested I take a leave of absence and second, she did not even ask why I needed this leave. I further explained to her that I could not return to work at that time because I had my 11 year old niece in my care and was leaving the next morning for Kentucky because my dads cancer was back. She stated, "I do not care, you are to be at work in the morning, I already put you on the schedule". I told her that I have no family here and I had my niece in my care because she had been abused/neglected in her mother's care and my brother was in the process of moving. I asked that she have someone cover my store so that I could go to Kentucky to see my dad and I would leave my niece there and return to work in two days (the day after she demanded me to return). She told me, "no, like I said you are on the schedule for tomorrow......so, you have a choice to make". I was shocked as I had always worked very hard for her and done everything she had asked of me. I told my DM the first time my dad was diagnosed as being terminal with stage four lung cancer, I was forced by her to choose between my father and my job and I was not permitted to leave to go see my dad as she had always told me there was nobody to cover my store. I explained that I could not be forced to make that choice again as I was not certain he would go into remission a second time. My DM repeated, "like I said, you have a choice to make". I told her I would be at my store within fifteen minutes to turn my keys in. Her only response to me was okay and she simply hung up.
When I arrived at the store to turn in my keys, my assistant manager on duty and my cashier were shocked. After telling them why I was turning in my keys, my ASM stated, "Melissa, I do not understand....Brandy (our DM) said you were going to be out for awhile and for me to write a schedule because you wouldn't be back until the 27th or 28th......I am so sorry about your dad and I understand, if it were me, I would do the same......". It was obvious, as i thought, that Brandy simply wanted me out and she knew how to do it.
I have all my time cards and there was one week I exceeded 100 hours without so much as a thank you or a job well done. The harder I worked, the less I was appreciated and the worse I was treated.
I feel my DM forced me out after I sent her an email asking why she was forcing such an unbearable workload on me and clarifying all the issues we had between us. At that time, emailing this was my only option as I was unable to get her to return my calls. Immediately after sending this email, I filed a complaint through our alert line hoping to alleviate her need to retaliate against me. Filing a complaint did not stop her. She came into my store, took me into my office for two hours stating she would not leave until we had an understanding. My initial response was, "this is gonna be a long day". First, she asked me to explain what my email was about and why I sent it. I was expecting to be either fired or forced to quit so I responded, "It's all right there on your laptop and I have a copy if you wanna see it in black and white. It's all in my email so I don't know what you need me to tell you and I sent it because I wanted you to know what I think and how I feel." I was told that it did not matter how I felt and nothing was ever personal, this was simply business. My DM further stated that she should have and could have fired me prior to the holidays when allegations where made against me. I stated I did not understand why when I had been investigated, questioned and cleared. I further stated that was why I had requested the initial transfer as I had been forced to work in a hostile working environment with an ASM that worked against me and filed numerous bogus complaints against me trying to get me fired. Basically she denied everything in my email except for my hours worked and the heavy workload. My DM tried to justify the heavy workload by saying she held a higher standard for me than her other store managers because she knew I was more than capable and I was a waste of talent in my store. She simply tried to pacify me, in hopes I would not file any further complaints against her and would continue to work 80+ hours for her. I knew I would not be able to accomplish anything so I basically listened to her and just agreed with her so she would leave.
All I know is that if you are looking for a job/career where you are over worked, under paid and under appreciated, Family Dollar is the place for you. At first, I was very angry and bitter over being forced to quit. However, I am grateful in some ways. I am no longer physically and mentally exhausted, I am not stressed out and I feel so much better.