Employee sabotage in a copy shop

Alan, a shop clerk's account of unofficial wage enhancement in a Minneapolis photocopy outfit.

Submitted by Steven. on October 16, 2009

I've never dealt with so many fucked-up managers as when I started working at a busy, downtown Minneapolis copy shop. We had to do a lot of work, took a lot of shit from customers and got paid beans. Actually, it was one of the best jobs I've had because everybody that I worked with was really fun.

One day, a friend from work and I decided to go to a movie, until we realized how absolutely poor we were. The only one we could afford had a $1 admission. We decided we weren't being paid enough, so we started to pay ourselves -- from the cash register. We got to the point where we couldn't work a day unless we got $40 each, on top of our daily wages. If a manager got on our case to work faster, we laughed and took $20 out of the cash register for harassment. We found out later that we weren't the only employees taking money. It seemed to be a common practice.

Eventually, we got so fed up that we decided we weren't going to charge anyone for anything all day. This became known as the "Free Day." The three of us gave away hundreds of dollars' worth of services and products. We didn't charge anyone for time on the computers laser printers or copiers. If anyone came to pick up a big job, we just gave it to them. A lot of customers were very shocked. Some people almost got to the point of demanding we take their money, which, when you think about it, is silly. We told customers it was part of a promotional campaign or that the cash register was broken and we couldn't take their money at the time.

The owners started to notice money was missing, and that at least one employee was stealing, but there was nothing they could do because the store was open twenty-four hours and they didn't keep good track of things. I think they still don't know just how much money we took.

Our bonus checks were paid according to the number of good customer evaluations we got. We would go through them (even though we weren't supposed touch them, much less look at them), and if any bad ones came in we'd throw them out. If we didn't meet our end-of-the-month quota for good ones, we just made some up with fake names and addresses, and wrote how great the employees were at that particular store. The results would be published in the company newsletter each month. We were rated the best employees and the best store. The management never thought employees could make money by faking these evaluations. We faked hundreds of them. To this day, when I get together with other people who worked there, we always have a good laugh.

Text taken from Sabotage in the American workplace: anecdotes of dissatisfaction, mischief and revenge from www.prole.info