How to be fired from Dillard’s Department Store

Was thrilled to have a sales job as Dillard’s.  After five days, managment told me I was not a good fit for Dillard’s.  In the literary world,   publish a “how to” book and the author becomes an “expert.”  One rule is to write about what you know.  I’m the expert at job loss. Following is how to get fired from a desparately needed job while on probation , in only five easy steps.  

First Day

1.  Ignore the work schedule provided and report to work two hours early. 

Remember, I have brain damage from the Ramsey Hunt Syndrome and encephalitis and stroke in 2003.  Believed I was cured when in fact, I’m only breathing.  The “duh” factor was worse than I imagined.  I’m still smart and funny, just not at the right time.  I was confused and so afraid I would be late for work.  But two hours early?  This error wasn’t realized until five days later.  Geez. 

2.  Wear the wrong shoes.  

I have freakishly skinny feet.  I cannot wear close toed and closed back shoes.  But management insisted this is the dress code.  I TRIED to comply.

3.  Don’t work in area you were told.

Reported to Ladies Dresses.  The territorial, foreign, heavily accented sales clerk informed me that she was going to be over that department very soon and didn’t need me.  I’ll deal with her later.  Didn’t want to stand there for two hours doing nothing and not learning, I decided to make wiser use of time.  Unfazed, I was asked by another sales associate to learn mark-downs.  I knew she saw a sucker and just wanted someone to do her dirty work; however, eager to learn, I complied.  Note to shoppers:  Please buy items at full price.  It’s easier on everyone.  Don’t buy items when they go on sale, because that is enabling the store to markdown merchandise which is a very labor intensive task.  Many, many steps and rough on a bad back.  I didn’t complain, I just got through it.  No manager came to find me to set that woman straight and get me into the right department.  Now I know why I’m so difficult to work with.  I am clueless.

3.  Demand that Dillard’s replace your broken lock.

Go to lunch, discover someone else’s lock on “my” locker. During training, the Asst. Manager in Training (AMIT) told us to use any empty locker without a lock, which I had done.  A note on my locker read, “This is my assigned (assigned?) locker, and I had your lock cut off (sorry about that), your purse is in Customer Service (CS).”  Thoughts racing, I imagine identity theft, stolen credit cards, checks, house keys, car keys, you get the idea.  I freak, asked security guard what’s going on.  Security reviewed the tapes while I was at lunch, and saw the employee cutting my lock, removing my purse and returning it to customer service.  With horrible foot pain (not knowing I had a blister yet), I have to walk across the store, up the escalator and double back to customer service offices.  Caveat:  The sign over customer service area reads “Gift Wrap.”  Isn’t that hysterical?  Demand employees provide the utmost customer service, then hide yourselves from the customers.  You should try to find bathrooms in that area.  It’s a maze of turns.  You have to stop every two feet to ask  where the bathroon is.  I digress.

Talked to the AMIT after lunch.  All I got were excuses:  “Three years ago, Dillard’s had assigned lockers, but no longer. Poor thing, she has worked for Dillard’s fifteen years and has cut locks four other times.  Four other times?  I said, “Dillard’s encourages theft of employee property? Why didn’t she have her name or other identifier on the outside that communicated it was assigned? She should have hung her lock on the outside so that no one would ever attempt to use it.  I saw nothing inside; the locker is not at eye level.  AMIT said, “When she pulled your purse, her lock fell out.”  Are you kidding me?  Recommended Dillard’s have all locks hanging from the outside of the lockers and locked so that no one else makes my mistake.  Why was her lock obviously pushed at the very back of the locker?  Why did Dillard’s allow this to happen twice, much less five times?  I told AMIT that this employee owes me a new lock.  Cosmetic manager flashed a Dillard’s credit card at me and said Dillard’s was buying me a new lock that day.  I was told she was getting the lock every day, but didn’t.

4.  Ask to leave at 4 pm instead of 6 pm.

Remember I arrived two hours early?  My schedule was noon til 6 pm.  At 4 pm, having already worked six hours, I sat down to check my foot pain.  Even then, I believed I had reported to work at the right time.  The blister was angry, red and oozing blood.  I could not walk.  Being diabetic, I have to be careful with foot sores.  Limped to customer service and asked to go home.  I could not feel my feet until I awakened around 3 am to go to bathroom that night.  Anyone knows it takes several days to become accustomed to standing eight hours a day.

5.  Don’t meet dress code

I’m an adult sometimes and I am accustomed to taking care of myself; making decisions for myself.  Pain is not enjoyable and is addressed immediately.  My open-backed tennis shoes were the best short-term solution.  I THOUGHT (again, my mistake) it was a win/win.  Arrived as per schedule and Manager, Ladies Dresses sent me home because I did not meet dress code.  I took a shower and put on makeup for this? 

 In training, we were told no open-backed or opened toed shoes.  That is all I can wear. I would prefer a root canal, scaling, and all my teeth pulled rather than shopping for shoes.  I have avoided buying SAS shoes (shoes for squares), the “I will never wear the old lady shoes my 78-year- old mother wears.”  They cost $123 per pair.  Keith is currently unemployed and the last thing I needed was to buy new shoes.  I drove to four different stores, limping, to find shoes.  (I ended up buying two pair/$222 for both.) 

5.  “Called out”

Calling out is retail-speak for “calling to say you are not coming to work.”  There is a specific number to call and leave a voicemail.  I had to make a tough choice and chose taking care of my foot.  Calling out is equal to having an affair with the boss and showing up at his house to confront the wife while wearing open-backed shoes.  Although I was on probation and therefore not considered a full-time employee, I must have cut the store managers’ bonuses for lost time injuries.  I was advised I should have known what shoes to wear.  I guess so.   I reported to work both Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning.

Only five steps.  See how easy? 

Reported to work Monday, summoned to Store Manager’s office with the Women’s manager and AMIT. 

That morning, every department employee who normally greeted me with a grin and enthusiastic “Good Morning” would not make eye contact with me.  I may have brain damage, but am extremely intuitive.  I recalled none of my managers addressed me on any work day to ask how things were going, ensure that I was in the right department.  It was all adding up.  I was right.  The message delivered, “you’re not the right fit for Dillard’s.  You have received many complaints.  Don’t managers address complaints immediately?  Don’t you get counseled? About what?  Calling out for one, reported to work at 9:50, but didn’t explain what that meant.  All of the other infractions listed above were what I recalled.  The looks on the Department Manager’s and AMIT’s faces and tone in their voices sounded as if I had intentionally hurt them personally.  I was more confused, didn’t get upset, and left gracefully with a smile on my face and song in my heart.  After sleeping on it, I realized the series of actions that led up to their decision.  I called Tuesday, asking for my lock and at 2 pm, I picked it up in CS/Gift Wrap.  When spoken to, I said hello, I’m doing just great with a huge grin (as huge as I am physically capable, that is).

When you are training, why aren’t you allowed to make mistakes?  Every instruction received was through another sales associate.  You would think I had swine flu.   And so friends, I have performed a valuable service here.  Hope you have gleaned some wisdom. If any section is unclear, I welcome questions and feedback.  I can deal.

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7 responses to “How to be fired from Dillard’s Department Store

  1. …..and you probably smelled like an onion, too. Geez, lew-eezz. I never really liked Dillards anyway. Always felt like the basement area at the downtown Foley’s, but with an attitude.

  2. michele hanchett

    I don’t like shopping at Dillards for this same reason. I worked several hours ‘off the clock” in order to just keep my job. Many times I was told Check out you’r over hours, then come back and finish this up. As a person who was 1) newly divorced and 2) a new dept. manager. I NEEDED that job and took all of Dillards attitutude. After six months I found another job and only went into Dillard to say hello to my friends, I stil have friends from Dillards of over 30 years she also left dillards for poor treatment, she went on to be
    a lawer.

  3. Wow, /so you admit you’ve done all these things wrong and you wonder why you got let go? either way, just like any other job theres a “trial period”. You didn’t meet their expectations, you got let go. The fact that you did all those things in one day and then CHOSE not to show up the next day makes you look unreliable and seems the job was too much for you. I work for Dillards for 3 weeks and even I know, you dont even clock in 10 minutes early, its five at most. You keep extra shoes with you just in case. And your feet hurting, honey, you get an hour lunch and TWO 15 minute breaks. That’s on you to take them. Don’t bad mouth Dillards simply because you were unprepared. And anyone working in retail knows that you fight for your sales. The lady probably just wanted you to go away…and you did. If she was busy, you find something to do. Refold things, size order, clear dressing rooms, do go backs. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO DO.

    • you moron, this was tongue in cheek. You must be 20 years old, I’m not. I was working my ass off to no avail. You don’t know me so you didn’t understand. You can’t find one person in my town who liked working for Dillards. I did not “choose” to take a day off, I showed up in shoes I could wear with an open, bloody blister, but they didn’t like it, therefore they sent me home and I couldn’t wear shoes the next day so called out. I only have open toed and/or open backed shoes. Husband unemployed, I made do. When I bought $130 shoes, I was let go on the fourth day. That “blister” took two months to heal. Got a job with Hallmark, suffered pinched sciatic nerves in both legs, in massive pain, yet the manager was sympathetic and let me rest frequently. Two months later, I’m still here.

  4. i worked for j. c. penney’s in 1989. talk about staff (managers) who thought they were retail gods. that was the worst job and worst place to work. in the ladies department we were on commission. you don’t have friends when you are on commission. I won a one day cruise and the personnel manager (Parker) didn’t give it to me for months. I kept asking. he just kept giving me grins. he used to hide behind counters when he saw me walking down the isle on my breaks. he was truly a freak. I was 40 years old and didn’t need to work but my kids were no longer babies and i wanted to do this for myself. i hope Parker got his. he was really a creep.

    • I know exactly what you mean. I appeared for my 11 a.m. interview with Dillard’s store manager, who was obese as well as creepy. He said he didn’t have an appt. with me (he did) so I asked him to talk to the ladies dresses manager who set this up, and I’ll reschedule for another time. He insisted that I not leave. So I waited and waited, watching him talking on the phone for 20 min. Then these good-old-boy friends of his just showed up to surprise him. So I told the receptionist I had another job interview and must reschedule, as he was still on the phone. As soon as he hung up, she announced his friends, and he ushered them into his office! There he proceeded to visit for another 15 min., ignoring me. I again told the secretary I could not wait. She insisted he would only be a minute. By now I had waited over 35 min. and was hacked off. I seethed knowing he had absolutely no respect for women and my gut said to walk out. He finally came out and said my resume had been on his desk after all, talked to me for maybe 60 seconds and said someone would be calling. Next time (if there is one) my husband is unemployed, I’m selling body organs, first his and then mine, before I EVER work retail again. Thanks for sharing your story with me. Retailers are creepy sorts, for sure.

  5. Pingback: 2010 in review | The Disfunctional Christian Family

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