I Lost The Perfect Job
“It was with a joyful and grateful heart that I started my job at a well-known chain store. I was grateful because the factory in which I had been working had just been liquidated, leaving me without even that meagre income. I was in my early 40s, single-handedly raising two children. It was a sad and scary life.
Which is why I saw my new job as a God send. As staff, we were allowed to buy food at a greatly reduced price, which I did with great gusto. ‘Why not?’ I thought, for food had been scarce all these years, my income having not being enough for basic necessities. Now, with my new job, and given the fact that I could buy waste food, my kids ate well and my heart was at peace because I carried home good, wholesome meals.
Then the unthinkable happened.
I purchased sausages and hot dog rolls, but being on duty still, I was required to hand my purchase to security, who would then check it against the cash sale slip and then keep it until my shift was over. My heart almost stopped beating when security told me I had six rolls that were not paid for in my packet.
Being waste, it was only valued at R1.38. Management was called in and I was suspended until a hearing date could be set.
I was so shocked that I could not put into words how it affected me. I explained that I was so excited that my children were finally, after years of being deprived, getting proper food that I was possibly over enthusiastic about buying waste.
I also explained that it was inconceivable that I would throw away a good job for R1.38!
I admitted that perhaps I was neglectful in checking my purchases before I got to security. I apologised; I pleaded for another chance.
I pointed out that the cashier was also largely at fault as I had passed my stuff over to her to scan, which she obviously didn’t, and yet she was not even asked to explain herself.
I solemnly swore that this was a mistake.
My hearing was attended by two managers and covered a period of two weeks. At the end of it, on the day of the final decision, both the managers were in a cheerful mood, they were joking about things and I felt at ease. Perhaps they had realised it was really a mistake and would give me a second chance.
Minutes later I was dismissed and they continued their day without a second thought to the pain they had just inflicted. I do not deny that I was neglectful in that I should have checked my purchases. What I am saying is that the company claims to have the best interests of people at heart, but there I was, a poor, broken woman, burdened with life’s hardship and all I asked for was forgiveness for an obvious mistake.
Forgiveness I never received, throwing me back into poverty and hardship. Yes, a number of years has elapsed, but the pain and humiliation remain fresh in my heart. I made a mistake, and they threw me out like trash.”