in which I pay for convenience

So, I’ll tell you about an old job I had. It was my first stylist job right out of school, and in fact I was actually hired in before I even graduated. The place was a corporate-run mall salon, which I thought was great (even though I had previously vowed never to work corporate again) because obviously I didn’t have a clientele base yet.

I went in for the interview, and a good friend of mine came to be my model. I was hired on the spot, and totally super stoked about it. I was even excited to work in a mall – a place I never go. The work was ok. I was doing hair, so that was good. Most of my classmates still hadn’t taken their licensure exam, let alone gotten a job, so I felt like I was ahead. The manager of the salon went onto maternity leave about a week after I started my job, so I never got to know her. I never really clicked with any of my coworkers, but I figured that was ok. I had friends outside of work. I tolerated my coworkers – all except one. There was one I had an active feud with. But that is irrelevant.

I put in for a weekend off so that I could go to Dragon*con, which I already had my ticket to. Unfortunately, someone else had already gotten that weekend off, so I was denied. Which meant I had to sell my ticket. (I got all of my money back for it, but I didn’t get to go, which would have been so much better.) But I figured, new job, I can’t risk losing it so soon.

That company had a 90-day probation period, and if during that time, there were three “complaints” (re-dos) against you, you were terminated. I knew I had one complaint, because there was a lady who decided to take her child away before I finished his cut. I was still new at this, so I didn’t have the confidence or knowledge to stop her. But that’s beside the point. The real point is that I ended up moving apartments the weekend I was supposed to go to Dragon*con. Since I couldn’t have the weekend off, I would work a day and then go home and pack. It turns out that on my 90th day of employment, I just happened to be off. That was the day I was doing the actual physical moving into the new place. But then work called. No wait, sorry. They texted me, saying I needed to come in for a meeting. That’s never good news. But I told them I couldn’t come in since I was in the middle of moving. I only had the Uhaul for a few hours and needed to make use of it. They told me that it was mandatory that I come in. Now, keep in mind, the manager was still on maternity leave – there was nobody technically in charge of the salon. This was one of my coworkers ordering me to come in, apparently on order from the Regional Manager. So I let my roommate and my friends deal with moving for a minute, and I went to the mall in my dirty clothes, without my hair or makeup done.

When I got there, I was informed that I had had my 3rd and final complaint against me. Basically they had to call me in that day because it was my 90th day, my last day of probation. If they had waited until the next day when I was scheduled to work, I no longer would have been on probation and the complaints wouldn’t count against me like that. So I was fired. I’m ashamed to admit, I cried. But that is because I’d never been fired before. I was laid off once when the company went under, but this was different. I screwed up. I lost my first job in what I was hoping would be my lifetime career. I wasn’t upset about losing the job itself. I hadn’t planned on staying there very long, just enough to build myself a clientele base so I could move on. I was upset that I had failed. I wasn’t the one who made the choice to part ways.

However, that meant that at least I had some time to finish moving. Also in the back of my mind I resented them for not letting me go to Dragon*con, only to fire me anyway. I only started to freak out about being unemployed a few days later. I applied to a few places, had some interviews, and then got the job I have now. They hired me on the spot. I was unemployed for a whopping three days, so it turns out I needn’t have worried.

I thought I was done with that corporate salon. I knew I would have to wait on my W2 (for my whopping 90 days’ employment), but they are required to send me that by law. Turns out, they like to bend the law just a little bit. They make the W2s available online starting January 23, and then mail the paper copy January 31. I didn’t know anything about it being online, but luckily one of my coworkers also used to work for that company, so she told me how to get it. So I got it and filed my taxes like a good little American. When I filed, the tax program told me that this company had taken out too much Social Security Tax, and that they owe me $27. I should call their corporate office to get my refund. So I did.

What a nightmare. First off, they don’t make the corporate contact info easy to find. When I did finally get the number (it wasn’t even an 800-number), of course I had to press through a bunch of automated menus just to talk to a person. When I got a person, I explained my problem, but I didn’t give my name or anything. The lady didn’t even give me a chance to. She kept interrupting me, and then she said “Well I’m looking at your W2 right now, and you must have done it wrong.” She wouldn’t let me clarify anything or give additional information. I said I did my own taxes, and she just assumed that I am too stupid to copy numbers from one box to another. I had four W2s this year, yet the only one that brought back an error was the one from this company. The lady was so rude that I actually ended up hanging up the phone on her. I normally do not do that, I can usually talk it through and stay calm. But this woman was so horrible, and I already dislike this company so much, that getting a check for $27 was not worth having to try and get it.



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