Besides stuffing the laptop and 40 feet of cables, USB cords, power stripes and printer into a tool box every night after I print out and call in the end of the day reports to the office answering machine, I count the money in the safe and balance out with the cashier all the money we have on hand. I’ve learned I hate counting money unless it is in my basement done under the dim of a single naked light bulb in the wee hours of the night. All with a pencil tucked behind my ear.
The other day, I was fifteen dollars short in the safe. Not only was this not logically possible, it was not practically possible. Nevertheless, by the end of the day, my brain, normally fried, could not find the simple math error. The mistake laid hidden and I was holding the crew over as no one is to be on site alone with the safe open.
I called the missing fifteen dollars in to my supervisor. She went through the process of the day, but without numbers in front of her, she couldn’t see the problem either. I went home wondering what I screwed up. The next day, despite my day off, I had to go to the redemption center to give the one and only set of keys to the oncoming lead. It was an opportunity to grab the week’s paperwork and hunt down the missing fifteen. Sure enough with a refreshed set of eyes I immediately found the error. Three rolls of dimes equals fifteen dollars, not thirty dollars. There was my fifteen dollars. Ugh. Obviously, in my lifetime I have not worked as a cashier in retail.
I corrected the mistake and took off to run errands. By noon I swung around to the bank and checked my account balance at the ATM. It was payday and I expected big things in my account which ran a grand balance of $44.20. The amount was that large because I got sixteen dollars and change back from Lowes after I returned a pair of safety glasses. However, my balance had not improved. I thought about the rest of the employees who were depending on this first payday. Despite my paltry balance, I wasn’t. Thank God.
I learned years ago as a first line supervisor in an automotive manufacturing plant that you don’t mess with an employee’s family and you don’t mess with their checks. If this happens the employee's reactions are not pleasant and it impacts an entire crew once the shop talk gets fired up.
I called my supervisor. Before I could say anything she was overly apologetic. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened. I know you worked more than 41 hours in the past two weeks. Margret is working on the corrections. I want you to know we do know what we are doing!” Not only had my check not been deposited, apparently it was short about thirty hours.
“No worries,” I said. But what had gone wrong? Margret is the company owner. She handles the HR stuff and processes the payroll. I laughed to myself as I jumped back on my scooter to head home. Margret had been to my site last Sunday night and left us a note to clean up the office. I was puzzled. Each night after the barrels are hosed down, we stack them in the office so they don’t walk off in the middle of the night. Once they are crammed inside it is nearly impossible to reach the alarm system let alone make it to the desk where the cashier had left a few scraps of paper and a rubber band. House keeping has always been a priority in my manufacturing career. Despite the oils and machine shavings, the floors and machinery, were clean and parts in process were always stage properly. Her note stabbed me in my gut. I felt like I failed a surprise inspection.
It’s three days since payday and my bank account is still short. I now realize why I am working here. Soli Deo Gloria.