Back in April of 2011, I took a job with Model Ace hardware in Allston, Massachusetts. It had been fifteen years since I worked at a Hardware store, so, not only was I rusty, but there were advancements in tools and techniques I was behind in. Only one Co-worker showed any decent sympathy and patience to my situation to guide me through matters; he will be named "Mr. A."
The entire time I was there I was bossed around pitifully and harassed by staff and customers alike, and all for the pitiful sum of minimum wage earnings at $8.oo/hour. This included stocking, receiving heavy shipments of stock, assisting customers, makig deliveries, setting up store shelving and logistics, assembly of items, paint work, and custom cutting of keys, wire, boards, glass, window blinds, chains, etc. I also had to clean various neglected areas of the facility inside and out. Allston is reknown for it's rat problem, so I had to make a clean sweep of the loading dock hole ankle high with rat's feces and very little resources to utilize (I oddly got a viral infection after that chore). I also had to tear down fences and clear a parking lot for them. My average shifts ran 9 to 11 hours, and I came back always banged up, scratched, bruised, and in pain.
There was a deaf man working there beligerently "signing smack" about everyone. Knowing a lot of basic sign, it doesn't take a lot to tell when someone is calling you old, crazy, or worse, a "c**ksucker" (obviously signed). He referred to Mr. A often as a heroin addict, and considered the owner, "Mr. B", as the white devil. When I tried to get a "temperature check" on that co-worker, folks shrugged him off as a jerk and that Mr. B was going to keep him as handicap equal-opportunity token/tax credit write-off.
Deliveries were the worst, because I hadn't driven in over nine months, and driving in Boston-with the way Massachusetts drivers are-is completely nuts, yet, I was assured only moving and parking violations would be held to my liability. Anyway, the job got worse, and I knew it wasn't what I was cut out for, so, I called one morning to turn in my two weeks. No sooner had I said "Yeah, I guess you and I know it's not going to work out", the store manager blurts "yeh' whateva', bye." and hangs up before I can give my two weeks. Come pay time, I showed up to get my check, and Mr. A tells me I have to talk to the owener, Mr. B. and assures me it isn't anything dire, but that it is a typical practice for those leaving. When I talked to the owner the next visit, he procedes to insult me and tells me it was a mistake to hire me and is "keeping the check, so, MAN-UP!"
Everyone I talked to said he had no right to do so, and I was given a lot of resources to use in my favor. I settled with a pro bono Harvard law outfit working with low-income folks, and a little phone call to Mr. B. loosened that check, but I didn't need the hassle (or delay) about my last pay. Mr. B. told the firm that it was because "I left him short-handed."
Months later, I ran into Mr. A. at a grocery store, and for a guy that worked close to five years for Mr. B., was the hardest working guy there and all that, the owner decided to do the same schtick on him, by holding back his last paycheck, when he left. In Mr. A's words "Mr. B. is not a good guy to work for." It still rankles me to this day, although justce was served (I'm glad my activist friends in the area didn't follow through with their promise to burn the place to the ground), Mr. B. may still be hiring folks and working them into the ground for little pay and then, refusing them their last paycheck. Ace Hardware HQ took the blaze' attitude that they were not responsible for the individual subsidiary franchises and how they operated, despite the fact that they used their name. My best advice is: there are plenty of other hardware store in the Boston/Brighton/Brookline area; go to them and not Model Ace hardware.