I am posting a long message here and I am hoping that people reading it will realize what a terible compnay Indigo Is. I work in the Coles divison. I do have a question. I was wondering if anyone can help me find any info on the Chapters in Gloucester Ontario that voted in favor of a union.
Before I begin I must tell you that I am sending a copy of this letter to Head Office so that they can get a view of what my concerns and issues are that I feel are affecting the Ottawa area Coles stores and also made it a constant struggle for me to perform at the best of my ability.
Management: It alarms me the level of dishonesty and disrespect that is rampant throughout this company. Managers are allowed to get away with what ever they want and we the employees pay the price. To prove my point I am going to talk about an issue that has not been resolved to this day even though I was assured that it would be. About a month or so into my tenure with the company I was working a closing shift with our full time CER at the time. When she went to get the bank log book from the shelf above the computer in the back room of our old store she discovered a package addressed to Dorothy Knight that was not only hidden but also opened. She told me to keep quiet and don’t say anything and she would speak to Dorothy tomorrow and show her. We put it back where we found it. The next shift I had with her she said that when she went to get it, it was gone as if it never existed. Normally I would have spoken with my store manager but because of previous things that she had done which I felt were very dishonest at best; I really didn’t feel comfortable speaking with my manager. I tried contacting our current regional manager only to learn that he was no longer with the company and that at the present time we had no regional manager as they were still in the process of finding one. So I couldn’t exactly raise my concerns when I didn’t really know who I could talk to. As well the fact that any proof I had was gone it would be easy to dismiss me as a liar when there is nothing to back up my claim. When we finally had a regional manager I told her what happened and she said that quote “we wouldn’t know how it was dealt with but it would be dealt with”. Essentially what it was that we had found was the materials required to take the companies “Master Book Seller” test which provides long time serving employees with an opportunity to recognize their strong book knowledge. It is a prestigious opportunity for growth and advancement within the company. So it is obvious that whoever signed for the delivery of the parcel had no intention of allowing her to take the test. I fully understand that the company no longer has the “Master Bookseller” program but an apology and some form of compensation is not too much to ask one would think.
Another example of how dishonest the managers are concerns my former assistant manager. On one occasion when I was the Mod on duty for a Sunday this past summer the sales were down by 40% and she questioned me about why the sales were so poor. After having a chat I assumed that was the end of it. Some time later when taking out a load of garbage filled with paperwork that had been disposed of, I came across a typed letter that I suspect was in my personal file without my knowledge or consent. The letter basically refers to the conversation she and I had. I do not appreciate being written up in any form without my knowledge or consent.
A matter that I also find disturbing concerns my recent evaluation. I was given an evaluation by my manager that I was more then satisfied with. However about a month or so later I discover thanks to a fellow employee’s knowledge of policies and procedures I learned that I could very well have been denied my full entitlement of owed back pay since my evaluation was so late. She said that in conversation with our manager it was made clear that we would get only two weeks worth of back pay instead of the almost three months worth we were owed. According to our manager no one told her about the policy regarding back pay and that she was only going to give us two weeks worth. If one of my fellow employees hadn’t had the courage to stand up for herself and raise a concern with the payroll dept at Head office I may not have even noticed that I was in essence being denied money that was legally mine.
The last issue that I wish to bring up regarding this subject concerns something that I was just recently made aware of. My former manager ran into me just the other day and told me something that really made me lose all respect for the management in this company. In 2004 our managers were sent along with the assistants to three days of training for the new SAP system. While there my manager got to meet our new assistant manager He told me that while there three of our managers all went up to her and said some pretty disgusting things about certain staff members including saying that if she wasn’t careful we would get her fired, that we were unreliable, nothing but trouble etc Maybe it’s just me but when people like that behave in such a juvenile manor that they have to bad mouth employees like that shows their lack of intelligence and maturity to be a real responsible team leader.
Wages and Hours: I would like someone to explain why all Indigo employees who are key holders and Manager’s on duty are paid the same as any other part time or full time employee that isn’t the CEM or CEC? If I can be held accountable for the stores overall performance then why I am not being given a pay increase to justify my extra duties as the MOD? It is as if we are treated like minimum wage managers that only seem to matter when it provides convenience for the company. I also wish to raise my displeasure over learning that a when a fellow employee was hired, she was given a higher rate of pay over myself for doing the exact same job as myself. Considering I had been working for the company for 4 years and even with the raises I got for passing my yearly appraisals I was making less then her I found that really disappointing. Just to clarify the matter the employee in question asked me what I made and I told her and she told me without my asking what she made. I guess being loyal and hard working doesn’t always guarantee being treated fairly including equitable pay for increases in responsibilities. My next topic I wish to discuss is regarding the hours I do not understand why when given so few hours we keep hiring employees when we can’t even give our own current employee’s hours. For starters when we all signed on for benefits that were being offered for part time employees I think there was some sort of assurance, that qualifying for benefits was a guarantee of at least 20 hours a week since by the company’s own policy that was the minimum you had to be getting on average to even qualify for the benefits. So then why are some employees getting only 12 hrs – 15 hours? With the deductions made by the government and also by our payroll for the benefits that would not leave much to put food on the table. The last issue I wish to bring forth is the comments made at the CER advisory meeting where it was said that quote “Part Time Seasonal Staff are more important then our current regular staff”. If that isn’t the most insulting thing you can say to dedicated employees then I don’t know what is. Explain to me what motivation there is to work for a company when you are being told by your RM, ZD, and HR representative that part time seasonal staff, mean more to the company then those that have provided a consistent dedication thus far.
Another item regarding hours that I wish to discuss concerns the Hours used for the Harry Potter book launch. I was scheduled for a five hour shift which I gladly worked. However when I got to work there were volunteers (friends of my assistant manager) who were taking care of customers preorders. Explain to me how a full time employee like me can not get a full shift on one of the biggest days for potential sales yet we have hours to give away for volunteers who are essentially doing our jobs for us.
Policies and procedures: I find it surprising that Indigo does NOT have a policy and procedure manual for all aspects of the stores operation. The reason I am raising this issue is that it is frustrating for any employee to do a good job at anything regarding store operations when every member of the leadership team makes it clear that their way is the right way and you will follow their rules or else. I don’t mind following an order given to me by the leadership team, but when the policies are not consistent across the board then we always get caught in the middle. For instance one of my managers made it abundantly clear that we do not accept customer orders over the phone with credit card and yet another was very adamant that we do. As well over Christmas both of my store managers made it clear under no circumstance were we allowed to look up a customer’s I reward number even though there was an e mail that said we were supposed to look up the card in order to satisfy the customer.
Overtime : This is another area that I have concerns over In my first year and a half I worked hours that would put me into overtime I was told that I would be not paid overtime and that rather my excess hours would be carried over to next weeks schedule. I will admit I was naive and didn’t fully understand at the time how overtime worked. Now that I know the rules for overtime. I realize I was denied what was legally owed to me according to the workforce polices set forth by our government. On another occasion I had shifts taken away from me because I had gone into overtime and to avoid paying me overtime the regional manager made my acting manager take shifts away from me. She flat out told me that is how it had to be and that was the end of it.
Dress Code: When I started working for Indigo nine times out of ten, I wore a dress shirt with pants and a belt. In fact I was told jokingly at times that I dressed a little too snazzy for our line of work. When they introduced the dress code I was forced to spend money I don’t have in order to buy clothes so that I would be able to keep my job. My colours of blue, green and tan were deemed unacceptable because either the colour was not solid or because it had light checks. I fully understand that some employee’s dress in a less then flattering matter but making employee’s spend money out of there own pocket is less then admirable considering we are paid so poorly to begin with. What really insulted me was how they gave hourly employees an extra month to get the required clothes. I guess if you couldn’t afford new clothes then, how is it that they think in 30 days your money situation is going to be different?
Consumer satisfaction: This next area of concern I have regards ways in which I feel we have really made the overall customer experience less then stellar. About two years ago the company decided that our best seller list would reflect the exact list printed every Saturday in the Globe and Mail. When hockey great Phil Esposito published a book called “Thunder and Lightning”, the book was an instant hit and made our top ten. However when the book sold out across the country I think it took people by surprise. In mid Dec we got a replenishment shipment ,but were told that even though the book was indeed on the Globe and Mail top ten we were not to offer the consumer the 30% discount. Instead we were to enter the dummy Sku for the sports section and key in the original price therefore bypassing the automatic discount that would have applied if we had just scanned the books own barcode. So imagine if you are a customer coming in expecting to purchase the book at a discount and you discover that even though it is part of our best sellers, we are not honoring our own policy how upset you would be. The same goes for Harry Potter. At no time since I have worked for Indigo has any of the Harry Potter books been part of our discounted best sellers even though it is clearly a best seller. As a consumer myself I can only imagine how frustrating it is to come in and get jerked around by our wishy washy policies and poor marketing . Another incident occurred when the company made the switch that allowed I reward customers .to get an extra 10% discount on books already discounted higher then 10 %. When they sent us promo signage they really messed up because every single sign read members save an extra 10% on all books. If you read that right it means that now they save 20 % percent on all books. I couldn’t tell you how many complaints I got and still Head Office did nothing. It seemed like forever before we were told to remove all signage.
Now that I have given my concerns I am offering my solutions to fix some of these problems.
1. Create an extensive policy and procedure manual that clearly defines all policies and procedures regarding the daily operations of the store, customer service issues etc.
2. Conduct spot checks on stores to ensure the policies are all being followed in accordance to the manual.
3. Offer mod’s / key holders a substantial pay raise. A more competitive wage would keep good employees from leaving.
In closing I would like to say that while my points are very negative and my letter may come across as someone bitching and complaining I am merely trying to point out major areas of concern with the company so that steps may be taken to better the working environment for all involved..