"A Letter from the President...." *
"Dear Associate, Our commitment to excellence begins with you. You are the most important part of the largest beauty salon organization in the world. It is you, the salon team member, who represents not only yourself, but the entire company to every customer who enters the salon....A successful career awaits you within our company....Good luck!"
*Excerpts from SmartStyle U.S. New Employee Orientation Packet. Page 2. By Paul D. Finkelstein/President.
A nice reference for the new employeee, if, in fact, you ARE a new employee, possibly speaking with the man himself. As a former employee of this company, I can guarantee you these words change more than a hairstylists' haircolor, and mean even less. Follow me as I move from page to page of this vast information packet, I assure you it is number one, as far as useless information goes. I begin with page 6, section IX. Meal Periods and Breaks.
I live in Arkansas, for which the meal and break policy applies, SUPPOSED to apply as follows: If you work an 8 hour shift, you are allowed, by law, to take one 30-minute meal period and two 15-minute breaks. When I was hired there was only 1(one) employee working within my Camden, Ar. Regis SmartStyle. She held the title of "acting manager". After so long she could no longer take the relentless 9.7 + hour days and quit. That left only me, the only stylist in this salon, that had 5 salon stations. that meant me working everyday 10 am to 7 pm, all by myself. After reading through the state specific meal periods and breaks requirements section, I realized they (regis), are legally obligated to allow me this.
Upon bringing up this subject not to my manager-we had none, I mentioned it to my supervisor, Patti. I was told I was not allowed to leave the salon at all. Only to go to the bathroom(if I made it quick, she said), and to go to the Deli and purchase myself some lunch, (as long as the lines in Wal-Mart were not long), otherwise I could not, she said, stand in line, with my lunch and wait to purchase it. One day as I am eating my chicken salad from the Deli, my supervisor calls me. She informs me that I am not allowed to eat in the salon. I tell her there is no one in the salon except myself. No matter she says. Not allowed.
I ended up getting wrote up for leaving the salon unattended.
Moving on, I figure this is going no where with her. Upon receiving a letter from her boss, Debra, the regional manager, welcoming me aboard the team and expressing how she would love to hear my impressions so far, answer any questions, or resolve concerns, I decide to give her a call. Always keeping the chain of command in force, I leave her a message to call me back when she has time. As I was wanting to bring these "concerns" of mine to her attention. Also, in her letter to me she says "Please call my voicemail and let me know you received this letter." Instead of attempting to even call me back, she immediately calls my Supervisor, which in turn, Supervisor calls me saying you called Debra, WHY? I bring up the meal break policy, even quoting it to her word for word out of the Orientation Packet. She proceeds to tell me that while the employee packet DOES state that I am by law, due a meal break in the state of AR, Regis does not follow that policy. Therefore, no break in my relentless Sunday-Saturday opening and closing everyday, averaging 9.7 hours each day-EVER.
As you well know it is impossible to make commission working 9.7+ hrs. each day, by myself. This is absolutely ridiculous. Making 7.25/mim. wage everyday, losing all that service money I should be getting due to commission not covering base pay. Also, if you pay close attention to your daily production and retail print out you will notice that all discounts: Wal-Mart employee, senior citizen, military, etc. every single service discount that we HAVE to give clients who are applicable to that particular discount-that service discount amount gets deducted from our total production service total. WHAT? Is that even legal? This is a question often I asked myself daily. If it is-HOW? This company cares nothing for the employee on the floor everyday, they simply sit somewhere in their office making executive decisions that affect my life and how I live with no regard to what is really going on.
In closing I will mention page 17, section XXVI. Reporting Procedures and Company Responses. Printed in bold, "If you feel that you have experienced or witnessed any conduct that is inconsistent with the policy, you are to notify a Regional Manager or Salon Director. This policy does not require reporting discrimination, harassment or retaliation to any individual who is creating the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation." Wow, if only those bold words they print meant anything, I might still have a job. Nevertheless, I do not. It is a shame, for I love being a Cosmetologist, and happen to be a very good one. This company alone, has made me feel feel so insignificant, so very small, so meaningless, I will never be the same. I only wish is that some attorney somewhere can help us all, for we have been stepped on like dirt and yet we are the only ones who pay-if unemployment is considered pay, that is.