When I used to work dreaded retail back in the day, the company I worked for filed Chapter 11, forcing me to find another gig. Fortunately, I had made a lot of friends in the company, so another management position fell into my lap. The plus side was it was right up the street from where I lived. The downside was this was a mom and pop establishment.

While they paid me what I was making at my old place, the people who worked there had really liked the old management. Who had been terminated for the new management. One of which was me. I knew this going in, but I wasn’t prepared for the coldness that I was treated with.

One lady in particular, Miss Julia, was particularly nasty to me. Not to my face, of course, but when the owner of the store went to my boss, Marty, and said Miss Julia told him (the owner) that I better be watched because she thought I was stealing, it causes a little bit of bad blood. (And I don’t like people who insist on having a “Mr.” or “Miss” inserted in front of their first name anyway.)

Fortunately, the owner knew she what she was up to, and Marty had worked with me for years, so it was basically a non-issue.  A non-issue I had to deal with every time I worked with her, but I didn’t have to worry about job security.  Plus, she did what I told her to do without argument, so I got some satisfaction out of the fact it probably pissed her off to no end.

Yet I would hear shit she said I was doing (or not doing) all the time from either Marty or Jonathan (the other assistant manager).  I didn’t exactly dread having her on my shift, but I never looked forward to it.  And since she had worked for the company for like a 1,000 years, she wasn’t about to get terminated for gossiping — especially in a mom and pop establishment like this.

About six months after I started with the company, she died.  I was honestly a little surprised they didn’t shut down the store in her honor the way they treated her like a princess.  But since the store was to stay open, I volunteered to run it on the day of her viewing and funeral.  On the day of her viewing, Jonathan came in to relieve me that evening.  He asked me if I planned on going to her viewing when I left work.

“Nope,” I replied.

“Why not?” He asked.

“Why would I?”

“Because you worked with her.”

“And?  She hated me.  I hated her.  Her being dead doesn’t make me like her any more than she was when she was alive.”

Jonathan looked me with what appeared to be shock.  “You shouldn’t disrespect the dead, man.”

“What?  How am I disrespecting her?   Just because she’s dead doesn’t change how she treated me when she was alive.  I’m supposed to feel sympathy for her?  Maybe her family.”

Jonathan shook his head and walked off to take care of the store.

I honestly don’t get it.  What is it about someone dying that makes some people think the dead should be respected just because they are no longer hanging about?  Just because they are no longer wasting oxygen doesn’t change how they treated people when they were alive.

Respect the dead, my ass.  Besides, it’s not like they care anyway.

  • I mostly believe in the saying to not speak ill of the dead [as they aren’t there to give their side of the story], but I also don’t believe in going to funerals just to make an appearance if you truly didn’t like the person. That said, funerals are no longer about the living. I agree with what you said about maybe having sympathy for her family, but for that reason, I think it’s important for managers to go to employee funerals.

    Really interesting post!

  • Scrapple24

    Thats why I am getting a Mariachi Band when I die… that way even if you don’t like me you will have a good time at the party !!!
    Woo-Hoo !!!
    It’s a dead man’s party…

  • I agree with you, Stewie. I think it would have been hypocritical for you to go to the funeral. And I think there’s something to be said for you treating her the same, living or dead. That, in a sense, is respectful.

  • dorothy gale

    You know, the dead don’t care. I once knew a priest that truly had a dicky, arrogant way about himself. Didn’t like him not one bit. The day I found out he died I think I said something like, “Hmm, … Who’s getting lunch today?” I say you did the right thing… unless you could have gotten a paid day off to attend the funeral. That would have been kind of cool.

  • Respect is supposed to be a two-way street, yes? Sounds to me like she started the whole issue of mutual dislike by blaming you for something that wasn’t your fault (the firing of the previous management). She even accused you of criminal actions! So, you didn’t owe her anything.

    Whether or not you chose to lie about your feelings in order to shelter the emotions of your remaining coworkers is a matter of personal preference. Personally, I respect your decision to speak your truth. :thumbsup:

  • Your Mother

    THAT BITCH! I raised you right son. I’d like to dig her old ass up and slap her around a few times. :dead: