Stop Whining About Hurricane Ike, You're Scheduled To Work At Walgreens

A reader reports that the Walgreens he works at in Houston, Texas, where Hurricane Ike just passed through, is making him come to work, even though he has no roof. He writes

Nearly all of Houston has no power and most has no water. Even though my upstairs ceiling caved in, my manager at Walgreens said “you’re scheduled to work and are expected to be here.”

That’s the message that he had left. When i called the store back to let them know there’s no way in hell that I’m showing up, I luckily spoke to my friend Ms. Curtis, an assistant manager. I told her the situation and she then told me her situation. On Saturday, Mr Hudson, the store manager, called her to tell her that she needed to be there at the store on Sunday. She told him that she couldn’t get out of her driveway due to a massive tree that was now in her driveway.

Mr. Hudson’s response was, “You don’t have a neighbor with a chainsaw ?” Ms. Curtis is a little person. She’s a dwarf. 3′ something tall, and he suggests to her to borrow a chainsaw to move a tree from her driveway so that she can come to work during a natural disaster.

I see no point in our store being open because we were out of all the supplies that could be useful to anyone on Thursday night.

So if you need 3 for 1 pantyhose packs, electric nose-hair trimmers, bouncy balls, or singing Hallmark Christmas houses, come on down to Walgreens in Houston, TX. Their automatically-opening doors stand ready, awaiting your patronage.

(Photo: cycle60)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Yankees368 says:

    Probably just a scare tactic my the manager to get someone, anyone…to show up to work.

  2. racerchk says:

    wow. some managers get on a power trip, thats insane. i would tell that manager exactly where to shove it.

    • Inglix_the_Mad says:


      No crap. After a tornado came through once, I was the only person in the store (the manager) because all my other employees but 1 (whom earned massive overtime) had problems coming in for two days. I sure as sh*t didn’t threaten them or order them to come in.

  3. Kesov says:

    Reminds me of working at Wal-Mart when I was younger. 2′ of snow on the roads? ‘How come you’re not here?’

  4. costanza007 says:

    Dear Houston, meet Baton Rouge. It’ll take a few days, but you’ll be fine too. Everyone please understand. Love, fellow hurricane victim.

  5. randomd00d says:

    Wow… just wow.

    This guy is some piece of work. I guess the good news is that if any negative action was taken against you, it would be pretty easy I’d think to sue the heck out of em.

    Unsafe working conditions, putting someone intentionally in harms-way, etc.

  6. UnicornMaster says:

    If Himma Can, Hurrican!

  7. HogwartsAlum says:

    Quit. That. Job. Immediately.

    Actually, Walgreens was open the day after the worst ice storm in 20 years hit here. The lights were off and the checkers were using calculators. I wrote a check for $30 worth of batteries.

    My friend got out of Houston in time, but as of Saturday was under the (mistaken) impression that she might be able to go home on Sunday. Good luck to everyone down there and be careful.

  8. IphtashuFitz says:

    My guess is that we’ll soon be hearing how Walgreens corporate office “takes this very seriously” and uses it as a “teaching experience” for their managers.

    • britne says:

      @IphtashuFitz: No, this is what Walgreens prides itself on, being the only place open in a disaster.
      This was not the individual store manager’s decision to make. It came from waaaaay over hs head that his store would. be. open. (like Corporate_guy hinted at)
      I worked at a Walgreens during Katrina, and when the newsletters came rolling in about the heroic employees who braved the storm to keep the store open, I just thought, “wow, those poor people…”

    • notlupus says:

      Walgreens Employee here…

      1. not every employee at walgreens is a pharmacy tech, there are some who are trained on both the sales floor and pharmacy. The majority of employees are NOT TRAINED PHARMACY TECHS!

      2. the store should have been shut down via the companies shut down procedures. These are posted on store net, I can access all the information in Illinois, I had access a week before Ike hit Texas, the company sends these out before things like this. Store net even tells employees to take care of themselves and their families before and after disasters like this first. Often to help victims like this they offer to allow them to fill in at unaffected stores in areas not effected by the disaster until their store is inspected and deemed safe to work in by the company.

      3. this employee should contact his district manager or even his regional manager, his store manager should not expect his employees to risk their personal safety to come in, this is why he and his assistants get paid so well.

  9. The Replay Booth Disinfectant Intern says:

    So if you need 3 for 1 pantyhouse packs, electric nose-hair trimmers, bouncy balls, or singing Hallmark Christmas houses,

    Food, water, cleaning supplies, quick-fix essentials, necessary replacement daily amenities…

    It’s a fucked up job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

  10. Carl3000 says:

    Roofs are overrated you still have 4 walls unless they got blown away also. In my day we sat around with our 4 walls and threw rocks at each other for fun.

  11. Miss Scarlet in the Hall with a Revolver says:

    It’s nice to see how Walgreen’s takes the health and safety of their employees seriously. Sometimes companies like to hide that but apparently Walgreen’s is fine with everyone knowing it.

  12. dancing_bear says:

    I would love to know what he is measured on for his incentive plan. I’ll be there are components for attrition and absenteeism.

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      I’m sure the local McDonald’s and such are open too. When I worked fast food, there wasn’t much that could make us close. Walgreens seems to be the same way. Do they think it makes a good impression on customers when the Walgreens is open and everything else is closed? Personally, I would see that and I’d be tempted to find the manager and punch him in the face for making employees come in during a natural disaster.

      @dancing_bear: Incentive plan? In a place like that? I doubt it.

      @The Replay Booth Disinfectant Intern: The OP stated they were out of supplies anybody would need. I would think that would include necessities such as those you listed. And, for the record, the somebody who should be doing that f-ed up job: FEMA. Not people who are victims of the hurricane.

      • the_wiggle says:

        @BrianDaBrain: good old McDonald’s. We staying open even if it IS raining down the electrical cords, onto the grill, etc.

        (we had those long extension cable looking things which dangle from the ceiling & holes in the roof from that year’s monsoon season.)

  13. B says:

    Does the Walgreens have a roof? Cause, if it were me, I’d rather be there than at a house with no power and no roof.

  14. stageright says:

    It’s lose-lose. The employees whine about “OMG hurricane! I can’t make it into work!” then those self-same employees that can’t make it to work go out to buy the things they need to clean up their hurricane scattered lives, and find that all the stores are understaffed, because the employees all called in and said “OMG Hurricane!”

    Having lived through numerous hurricanes in Florida, I can’t help buy point and laugh at people like this. I mean, we’re talking Houston. They don’t get a LOT of hurricanes, but this isn’t the first – won’t be the last. It’s a fact of life, and you need to understand that even in a disaster zone you’re expected to grow up and act like an adult.

    As far as the New Yorkers that write this blog – did it never occur to you that the neighborhood Walgreens MIGHT be the closest place for people with smashed cars and no water to go buy emergency supplies, like first aid stuff, bottled water, batteries for radios and flashlights, etc etc? Believe it or not, Walgreens DOES carry things other than “3 for 1 pantyhouse packs, electric nose-hair trimmers, bouncy balls, or singing Hallmark Christmas houses”.

    I rate this news post: FAIL.

  15. takotchi says:

    It’s just an unfortunate fact that retail/fast food employees get treated like crap. When I was working for Captain D’s, my manager was mad that “I didn’t want to come to work” after a hurricane hit. This was after I explained to him that I was literally trapped in my house because of downed trees. I was pretty pissed; but if I didn’t have power, water, or a roof… I can’t even imagine.

  16. Correct me if I am wrong, but if your place of employment has no running water, isn’t it unfit for people to be in? I know that is how it is in NJ. If either of your waters(hot or cold) is out, you have to shut down until service is restored.

    Besides, if you have no roof, then it’s a hazarous condition, and they would have to issue you hard hats. Of course, thanks to OSHA, you would need to be properly trained in hard hat usage and fitting, which requires a class, etc… Unless your building isn’t as bad as it is made out to be here, there’s a nice labor board investigation coming. Make sure to document!!

    • whitefang2000 says:

      @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: the problem isn’t the Walgreen’s has no roof. The OP’s house has no roof.

      Also Hurricane has an “E” at the end.

      • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

        @whitefang2000: Nobody likes a grammar nazi. Discuss the comments meaningfully; if you want to post to nitpick other people’s grammar, please do it elsewhere.

        • What The Geek says:

          @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Easy there Chief Wiggim, he made a valid point, and threw in the spelling correction – I saw no swearing, nor any offensive language – and he did make a point aside from pointing out the grammatical error. No one likes a grammar nazi, true – no one likes a comment nazi either.

          Back on topic, I spent eight soul crushing, hellish years in retail. I saw this same story repeated at various stores during various natural disasters. Corporate tells District that they want the stores open. District tells the store manager they want the stores open. The store manager gets stuck in a position where he has to get people to come in any way he can. I’m not saying it’s a good system or anything like that….. I guess what I’m saying is shit rolls downhill, and it really sucks to be at the bottom of that hill.

        • coren says:

          @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Hey, calm down there – first it’s not even grammar (it’s spelling), and second, he contributed before he even made the correction by explaining to the other guy what was actually going on.

      • @whitefang2000:
        The “e” got blown away by the hurricane!

    • @Git Em SteveDave loves this guy–>: I don’t know about the law, but around here it’s pretty common for pharmacies and grocery stores to run on a skeleton staff even if they have no power/heat/water if it’s at all possible after a blizzard. I’ve never heard (locally) of people getting fired for not making it in in those kinds of hazardous conditions, but there are people who will need medicine or milk or a shovel or window plastic or whatever, so they try to open to at least sell emergency supplies.

      They will turn you away if you come to do a week’s worth of normal shopping, tho, when the registers aren’t running. But people don’t really take advantage — you go expecting an abnormally long wait, an understaffed store, and that cashiers may be adding up with a calculator and a flashlight. (Or that only two people are allowed in at a time, escorted by employees with flashlights, if there are no windows to let light in and the power’s out.)

  17. crackers says:

    Virtually every manager in every retail job I’ve had has been like this, and I’ve never worked in a place that sold “essential” items. Any major snow storm that closed schools and government buildings was no match for the high-end clothing store! We were OPEN. I finally quit when I called out for a migraine (related to a TUMOR!) and the manager called me personally to tell me, “she gets headaches, too” that the Excederin would kick in by the time I got in to work. Absolutely ridiculous.

  18. chris_l says:

    Why is it that retail jobs, the jobs that pay the least, always expect the most out of their employees? Most companies worry about their turn over rate; retail keeps employees through attrition. I know people who make 300% more than their retail counterparts that call in whenever even the most minor of inconveniences happen. Hell, I almost had to call in today because I couldn’t find anywhere with gas in stock regardless of the price.

    My girlfriend works retail in the illustrious Apple Store. Guess what? You might love Apple, but it’s just another shitty retail job where they expect you to work on-call, give you no notice of your schedule ahead of time, and give you a scowling look if you dare request time off.

    Quit your job. I doubt Walgreens is doing anything special for you on top of the whopping $7 an hour you make to keep you there. And on your exit interview, which they’ll ignore anyway, you can at least feel vindicated when you say “my store manager is an asshole who expected me to drive through a disaster area to sell coloring books and hoola hoops to customers too busy piecing together what is left of their shattered lives”.

    • ArgusRun says:

      @chris_l: Simple, Walgreens employees are replaceable. The lowest paying jobs are those that require the least amount of training and schooling. I don’t know how much training the average Walgreen’s employee gets, but my guess is it can be done in an afternoon. It’s simply cheaper to train a new employee than to allow for more time off or to raise salaries.

      That said, I actually feel bad for the manager here. The corporate office expects the store to be open. They don’t care how the manager does it. If he had some flexibility, the manager should offer time-and-a-half to any employees who can work now. But he may not have that level of autonomy.

      The corporate structure is probably not adept at handling situations like this, though this really could be an opportunity to change their training and corporate policy. In the event of a regional or local disaster, the store manager is authorized to increase wages to x in order to keep store open.

      Of course the manager might simply be a dick.

    • EricLecarde says:

      @chris_l: I’ve always wondered this myself. It seems that retail is content to drain any life and dignity out of its employees just to turn a buck or two out for as low as possible without looking too much like a shill.

    • junip says:


      Well said. Retail managers often act like your job is the most important thing in your life. In one of the jobs I had in college to support commuting costs – the manager demanded I work a 14 hour shift on the weekend before finals, to which I told him no way. I said I’d work part of the day to get through my share of the inventory work and I was there 8 hours. When I tried to leave he started yelling at me, so I told him he was being ridiculous and I left. Sent a letter to the district office to quit and 30 mins later the district manager was on the phone with me begging me not to quit and promising a transfer.

      Also, I agree about apple. Retail is retail. They create a strong sense of community with their employees which makes them feel obligated, and in my store basically said that everyone had to sacrifice a little since they couldn’t give anyone enough hours, or promote anyone like they’d promised or switch anyone to full time like they’d promised. A lot of people sacrificed themselves right out of their job because they couldn’t afford lunch. Way to go apple.

      I no longer work in retail, thankfully.

  19. marsneedsrabbits says:

    We were living in South Carolina when Hurricane Hugo blew through years ago, in areas that hadn’t evacuated because the they weren’t supposed to get hit. We lived in one of those areas, which was devastated by hurricane-spawned tornadoes in large swaths. Our house was fine, while neighbor’s homes were nearly destroyed.

    My ex worked for DuPont at the time, and showed up for work like normal.

    DuPont sent him and everyone else home with loads of free gloves made from one of their miracle fibers, told them to use the gloves to help themselves or help their neighbors, and to come back the next week.

    No one had to beg for time off or plead for understanding. They later extended time off for people who had severe damage.

    That is the way to handle this sort of situation, almost effortlessly good about it.

  20. Ouze says:

    I’m just guessing here, but with how specific this article was with names and situations, this will soon have been submitted by someone who used to work at walgreens, but no longer does.

    • BuddyGuyMontag says:

      @Ouze: Same thing I was thinking. Overly specific. Done and done. They won’t get him for not showing to work, they’ll get him for complaining about the company on a national forum.

  21. DarkForest says:

    This takes “Open 24/7” to a whole new level.

  22. pwnstar182 says:

    I was fired from walgreens after working for them as a technician for 5 years. I was taking a heavy load of college classes and told them on specific days I could not work simply becuase I would be in class. They scheuled me for the same days and told me “if you do not come in, it is a no call no show.” So I did not show up and was fired. So I feel your pain. My advice is quit walgreens is worthelss to work for.

    • Crymson_77 says:

      @pwnstar182: Sorry to hear that. I would recommend, especially for a case such as that, checking state and federal law regarding cases like this. I am willing to bet that they broke the law when they scheduled you for days that you specifically requested off for schooling (the gubmint takes that VERY seriously).

      @JulesNoctambule: That is a quick OSHA call and a HHHUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEE fine. Personally, I would have told them to shove it and headed home.

      As for the OP, I feel your pain (worked retail for a long time) and I hope your manager gets his load lightened a bit (in both ways). I would have been EXTREMELY TEMPTED to tell the guy to shove his job where the sun doesn’t shine and sent him some ExLax in the mail.

  23. ZukeZuke says:

    Crappy situation for the employee, but I can see the other side of the coin. People are probably going to be storming any store that is open for basic supplies, drinking water, food, etc. Someone has to man the store…

  24. Xerloq says:

    I can see plenty of things Wallgreen’s could supply after a natural disaster that would be useful. Who’s going to be there to help clean up, or help the diabetic customers. If you can’t be there, make other arrangements. If you can’t persuade your manager to work with you, sounds like you would be happier in a different job.

  25. meske says:

    So, you can get on the internet to post this story, but can’t make it to work? hmmm….

    My brother-in-law lives in Houston, so I know it’s bad. But seriously… if you can make it in, make some money instead of waiting around for a contractor to tell you it’s going to be a month before he can fix your roof… If you really can’t make it, then so be it. Just have your records in order to produce when necessary.

  26. MoonstarGem says:

    I feel sorry for him, I had a manager do the exact same thing to me a few years ago after a major storm. I told her I couldn’t make it in because our area was barricaded, not to mention flooded past your waist. She asked, “Well, can’t you get a cab or something?” Thank goodness that manager is no longer here. 2 1/2 years putting up with her stupidity and power trips was too much.

  27. Corporate_guy says:

    I think people are unfairly targeting the manager. The manager didn’t decide to open the store up. Corporate did. So the manager has to try to get employees to show up to work. And beyond the stern message, was anyone threatened with termination? The fact is an employee can claim a reason not to show up, but many times if a manager is stern the employee will miraculously make it into work.

  28. Nighthawke says:

    My boss threatened to fire me if I didn’t get out of Corpus Christi that Thursday when the storm was aimed at the city. Made that an easy commitment, the county I live in kicked all of us out. I went to Laredo and holed up there until Saturday.

    The company I work for takes Rule 1: personal safety first, VERY seriously.

  29. LionelEHutz says:

    That’s Texas for you…

  30. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    BTW, hen did Consumerist become HRComplaints-erist?

    Also, if “most of Houston” doesn’t have power, how can the Walgreens be open?

    BTW, Walgreens is a drugstore, first and foremost. People need their meds. Sorry.

    If that Walgreens was closed, you could sure as hell see a post on here saying “My grandma needs her medication, and this Walgreens is closed!”

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      BTW, hen did Consumerist become HRComplaints-erist?

      @BuddyGuyMontag: Many people base their shopping decisions, in part, on how the store management treats their employees.

      Walgreens employees are not fire fighters or emergency room doctors. It is not reasonable to expect them to show up to work no matter what happens.

      • BuddyGuyMontag says:

        @Rectilinear Propagation: How Walgreen’s in Houston treats their employees in one store does not affect how the employees are treated in others.

        For example, one Target by me is a complete DISASTER zone. However, 10 miles up the road, there’s one that’s a joy to shop in.

        Do I judge the entire chain by the conduct of one store? No.

        Now when it’s store wide policies like Best Buy, I can see your point. But this sounds like an isolated incident, one where we don’t have all the details.

        For example, we don’t know what this guy does. He could be the night cleanup boy, but he could be a pharmacist. If he is, he might HAVE to be there. Although one would think a pharmacist is smarter than to blab all this.

        The other flip side to this, as I stated before; Consumerist runs stories about how “such and such” store was closed when they needed something, and how “such and such” store went above and beyond customer service in times of need.

      • bwcbwc says:

        @Rectilinear Propagation: Uh, Walgreens employees ARE pharmacists. Nothing in the OP says if he’s a mere stock-person or a pharmacist.
        If I needed to buy some medication that was prescribed to me in the emergency room as a result of (say) a heart attack during the storm, I’d sure be glad if my local pharmacy was open. This doesn’t even count the folks who didn’t stock up on gas, meds, canned food and batteries because they could only afford 2 out of 4. Or because they were incapacitated and no one was available to drive them to pick up meds before the storm. Not to mention the plain idiots that just procrastinated and thought the storm wouldn’t be a problem.

        Groceries, gas stations and pharmacies should expect to be the first to be called upon to reopen in situations like this. Yeah, it’s a lousy job, but at least you aren’t in the National Guard.

        On the other hand, the manager was quite a phallus about the whole thing. He could’ve said “Well Jim-Bob got carried away in the storm surge, Melanie’s house got completely blown away and I can’t reach anyone else, so we really need you in case someone needs emergency medication.”

        • Darkwing_Duck says:

          @bwcbwc: It would be great if the pharmacy was open, but they are not legally bound to be, and there’s always the hospital pharmacy. Emergencies happen, people can’t always help. Sorry you need your meds, just like if I were a paramedic, so sorry you got injured in the middle of the storm but it’s too dangerous to send people out.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          Uh, Walgreens employees ARE pharmacists.

          @bwcbwc: Pharmacist != Emergency room doctor
          Pharmacist != Fire fighter

    • FlyingMonkey says:

      @BuddyGuyMontag and @nsv: The original post stated that basic supplies were gone before the storm arrived. A regular salesperson/floor staffer is not going to be allowed behind the pharmacy counter (hello, would you want someone untrained dispensing your medication?), so what would the point have been to force the OP to come into the store?

      As for the comments about Walgreens being a pharmacy and people needing medication etc, there was plenty of warning that the storm was coming. If someone was low on medication, there was time to get it refilled BEFORE the hurricane arrived. It’s the patient’s (or their caregiver’s) responsibility to monitor the medication supply. I say this both as someone who just went through Ike (though on the west side of Houston) AND as an insulin-dependent diabetic.

      Oh, also @BuddyGuyMontag: after a storm like this, it’s not uncommon for one person to have electricity while his neighbor doesn’t. My house lost power for about 20 hours, but the family across the street and a couple of houses didn’t. My uncle’s house a few miles away never lost power though his internet connection is still down while ours was back up Saturday night. And my uncle’s neighbors across the street are still without electricity. It’s remarkably random.

      • nsv says:

        @FlyingMonkey: The pharmacist and techs don’t handle the entire store.

        And haven’t you ever tried to refill a prescription and been told it’s too soon? Not everyone can refill their prescriptions before the storm.

        And there are other items which might be needed after a storm. First aid items and cleaning supplies are two possibilities, as well as prescriptions that weren’t needed before the storm.

    • Sidecutter says:

      @BuddyGuyMontag: Calculators and pepr pads. We have intermittent power outages from the hellacious windstorms Ike spawned as it moved north, but there were several shops open and making do. Hell, one of the car audio shops was open and having a Hurricane Ike sale!

  31. humphrmi says:

    Reminds me of my days working retail when I was a teenager living at home, earning nothing more than my free spending money. I used to love to watch managers expressions when I told them I’m not coming in, even if you fire me. Too sad that some folks have to rely on this type of manager for their family’s well being.

  32. pxt says:

    What terrible management. I was an assistant manager of a CVS in college and after major snowstorms the manager would have the assistant managers call all the employees and tell them to stay home if they wanted (not counted as vacation and if they came in he gave them time and a half!)and then we (the assistants)were expected to fill all the functions the clerks would.

  33. sockrockinbeats says:

    jeez louise.

    i used to work at a local drug store called happy harry’s (which was recently bought by walgreens, actually), and i remember calling in one morning because i couldn’t get my car out of the driveway; we had gotten about 2 feet of snow and ice the night before. my manager told me, in no uncertain words, i needed to show up “or else.” i got my dad to help my shovel my stuck car out. :(

  34. Brain.wav says:

    When I worked at Blockbuster, it was SOP that the closest CSR and Manager (store or assistant) would have to come in if there was inclement weather preventing whoever was supposed to work to come in.

    Yes, this means that even if the entire route (for me that included a downhill winding backroad) was covered in ice, I’d have to come in. Even if there was zero chance of anyone coming in (due to, oh, ICE and unplowed driveways), I’d be expected to come in.

    Luckily for me, it never came to that.

  35. eelmonger says:

    As a Floridian, this is pretty commonplace. The grocery store I worked at would not close unless a category 4 or 5 was directly hitting us, and once it was gone, they would start calling people in, even if the store didn’t have power. Basically, this is the price we pay for being able to buy things right after the storm, someone has to be behind the register.

  36. chrisjames says:

    What he says: “When i called the store back to let them know there’s no way in hell that I’m showing up…”

    What he’s thinking: “…because I need to go out and get supplies.”

    Someone’s gotta come in to work to be the guy who helps other people that are skipping work. And someone’s gotta be the guy to staff his store’s registers. I wouldn’t hold his attitude against him considering, maybe, his house is probably banged up too.

    Man the title is terrible though! A complaint post shouldn’t start with “Stop Whining…” :)

  37. PageEris says:

    Hello hurricane victim.

    I’m sorry you work retail, but that’s the nature of the beast. You’re
    not the only one who needs help. If you’re not a manager or assistant
    manager at Wal-greens, you’re a peon. That’s their corporate structure.

    Ask anyone in FL who survived the 2004 hurricanes. Most retail employees
    had to report to work. I helped on a catastrophe team going to various
    Home Depot stores in Orlando helping clean up and restock so people
    could get tarps to cover the gaping holes in their roofs, etc. All the
    employees at those stores reported for work. About half of them I spoke
    with had huge holes in their roofs or were missing entire sections, had
    trees on them, etc. Either go in to work, or quit the job and deal with
    your roof however you like. Problem is, there’s nothing in Wal-Greens’
    corporate manual that says you don’t have to go in if your roof has a
    hole in it. What are you gonna do in the meantime? Call up a roofer?
    Yeah, you and everyone else in the Houston metropolitan area, Galveston,

  38. JulesNoctambule says:

    I was already at work one day when a hurricane went through our state. We weren’t in the direct path, but we still lost power, trees were down all around the building and our basement flooded.

    Our boss refused to let anyone leave, despite the lake in the basement, despite police urging everyone to leave the area, despite the lack of electricity.

    Our oh-so-vital place of business?

    An upscale hair salon.

  39. sethom says:

    During the Oct 2007 San Diego Wildfires some people were evacuated some weren’t. A few people showed up to work on Monday (fires were raging) and then they sent everyone home. Tuesday fires were still going on. I decided not to go in and stay with my young son and wife. No one showed up anyway, including my boss.

    They made me take either a vacation day or unpaid for those 2 days.

  40. Welcome to retail. I’m not defending this policy, I think it is absurd. Most retail places are exactly like this. I used to work at a grocery store. I worked part time, so no sick days. I never called out once in 7 years(highscool/college). Towards my last days there I called out because of a huge snow storm(18 inches) and I was told it my responcibilty to be here promptly and when scheduled. This is something I’d expect to hear if I was new, called out often, or said I was going to the beach today. At this point I had already gotton a great full time job and was just at the grocery store because I liked the people, and could use some extra cash. I told the manager that I wasn’t risking my life, or my car to drive to work today. I also told him I had never called out once in the entire time, and I closed the call by telling him that I make more money them him. That last part wasn’t needed, but what the hell. I started getting less and less hours, and eventually just stopped coming in. I still make more money then him.

  41. snoop-blog says:

    If I am ever faced with this guys situation, I’d just call in dead…

    “sorry I can’t make it in today, but I died a couple of days ago, and I’m going to need a couple of days to recover…”

  42. RAREBREED says:

    Just call OSHA and cite unsafe work conditions.

    • What The Geek says:

      @RAREBREED: OSHA won’t be able to help unless the store itself is in bad shape. Making you come to work in unsafe conditions is (unfortunately) different from working in unsafe conditions.

  43. papahoth says:

    Unlike CVS, Walgreens makes the majority of its money from the pharmacy, so I don’t think its concerns about selling pantyhose.

  44. aut0b0t0pt1mus says:

    I am actually the guy that sent this story in. i can get on the internet because I’m not in Houston. we left and are now at a La Quinta in San Marcos. (free WiFi) as far as being open for people to get things they need.. we we’re out of everything useful on Thursday night. We had already been cleaned out on water, batteries, flashlights, canned goods, bread. Hallmark cards, cosmetics, and Halloween costumes we had plenty of though.

  45. aut0b0t0pt1mus says:

    and the store has power because it has a big backup generator. and no.. all walgreen’s aren’t like this. it’s just this manager.

  46. marzak says:

    walgreens should have sent a manager to go pick her up if they wanted her there. I had to go get people when I worked at various other jobs because of Inclement weather or they had no gas.

  47. This doesn’t surprise me one bit. From what my dad has told me of working at Walgreens, they’re more often on the side of the customer than the employees when a dispute comes up. An instance like this just goes to show how much disdain they have for their employees.

  48. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    I’d love to have a convo about this but too many of you failed to RTFA!

  49. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I think maybe corporate decided the store should open, the manager was pissy that he had to be at work after a natural disaster, and took it out on his lesserlings. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but I’ve had more than one crankypants manager take out his/her anger out on the employees more than once.

    If I were that manager, I’d listen to the stories, understand that the 3-foot-tall woman can’t wield a chainsaw that is about her height and either not tell corporate that the store is not open, go help her for a few hours to get the tree out of her driveway, or I’d just open up the store, call the employees and hear their reasons for not being able to leave (you know, on the account that the OP is roofless) and just hold down the fort for that day. How many people need to go to Walgreens and absolutely MUST have 3 bottles of soda for $3?

  50. djanes1 says:

    I know someone who works at the Flying Saucer downtown and got the same line…

  51. nsv says:

    Did the pharmacy sell out of prescription meds, too? Or were they only sold out of water and batteries?

  52. mavrick67 says:

    There are certain businesses that need to be open ASAP after a storm, and drugstores are definately one of them. Sorry if all you buy from Walgreens is “Pantyhouse, electric nose-hair trimmers, and singing Hallmark Christmas houses”, but somebody needing insulin or an asthma inhaler probably feels otherwise.

  53. Garbanzo says:

    Shortly after I moved to Atlanta I went to a mall on a very cold day (0 F) — no snow, no ice, just cold — only to find that nearly every store was closed. I asked an employee at one of the few remaining stores what had happened. He said that the other stores had sent their employees home because it was cold. (The mall was still heated and had electricity.) As a recent arrival from Cleveland, this made no sense to me, so I pressed for more details. He explained, “Because, you know, it’s dangerous!”

  54. BrianDaBrain says:

    I am absolutely astounded that there are people commenting in support of the manager and saying things like “It’s crappy, but the store needs to be open”. No, it does not. It should not ever be the responsibility of the people affected by a natural disaster to show up to work when they are trying to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. There are government agencies tasked with providing support to people in situations like these; it is NOT the responsibility of the victims.

    And yes, there are (some) people who would be willing to work in these situations. However, assuming the conversations in the article are accurate, there is no way the manager should be that threatening when dealing with his employees. I don’t care what kind of pressure you’re under, that’s just wrong. It’s cruel of the manager to call the OP and essentially give him the choice of “deal with your family and [potentially] lose your job” or “come into work”.

    • the_wiggle says:

      @BrianDaBrain: wrong yes. cruel yes. common, hell yes. especially in “wage-slave” industries.

      yet another crappy symptom of the world’s current obsession with bureaucratic idiocy & incompetence.

    • Baron Von Crogs says:


      You think a big companies would try to get people to go to the disaster area and work in those stores were their co-workers and families are suffering.

  55. forgottenpassword says:

    I had a assistant manager boss like that at my first job (at walmart). After a year & a half I got fed up & just walked out. I fantasized for many years afterwards about suprising him late one night in the parking lot with a ski-mask & a baseball bat.

  56. Hidin says:

    I worked 15 years for (evil corporation) Safeway. When we had the biggest blizzard Colorado had ever seen several years back the
    Division Manager, who lived in Denver himself, insisted that employees had to get to the stores to open them. I myself had seven to twelve foot drifts in my yard. Police were telling people to stay the heck off the roads(if they could get onto them in the first place) and this ninnyhammer wanted people to tunnel out and get to the stores. Amazingly enough when corporate heard of this he quickly disappeared from our division.

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @Hidin: I actually remember that one! I work in a call center, and we closed for 2 days for that one. I came into work, then it started getting to whiteout conditions, so they took us all off the phones and told us to go home. Best work day ever! Then they told us not to come in the next day either, and it was even better.

  57. HogwartsAlum says:

    I forgot about this…at another job I had (my favorite one, even though it was part time with no benefits), when we had 18 inches of snow in one day, my boss called me herself and told me not to bother coming in.

    If that had been full-time with benefits, I would have stayed there forever.

  58. dahlink_natasha says:

    I can believe it. I worked at a Walgreens during the infamous May 3 1999 tornados. I was listening to my portable weather radio telling me that multiple F3-F4 tornados were headed right towards my city where my two kids were home alone (12 and 9.) Manager would not let me leave to go get them, take care of them, shove them in a closet, bring them back and let them sit in our breakroom, whatever. So I just got my keys and purse and left.

  59. Emidawg says:

    Reminds me of the time the snow was so bad that they closed down all the roads. People were being ticketed for being out, unless they were part of the emergency infrastructure.

    Of course I called work and told them I wasn’t coming, the amount of money I would have made coming in likely wouldn’t have covered the tickets I would have gotten coming and going.

    Manager was pissed… but seriously… she wasn’t going to pay my tickets so I wasn’t coming.

  60. BeeBoo says:

    Even if this person didn’t work behind the pharmacy counter, the store is health care-related and if it is possible for it to be open following a disaster, it should be, and the employees need to be there, just like they would need to be at the hospital even if they worked in the cafeteria and not in the O.R.

    And using being a midget or dwarf as an excuse not to come to work in a situation like that is inappropriate, even if it is coming from a friend of the midget or dwarf and not the actual midget or dwarf. And it is insulting to say or imply that a midget or dwarf can’t use a chainsaw.

    • coren says:

      @BeeBoo: Expecting someone who is potentially smaller than the object they’ll need to be hauling away is ridiculous, not to mention the fact that she’s expected to weild a dangerous power tool. Why should she have that expectation to get to work?

      Nevermind the article saying they were all out of stuff to sell related to the disaster. Gotta go staff the store! (it’s only nominally health care related)

      • BeeBoo says:

        @coren: A pharmacy is only “nominally” health care-related? What *would* qualify as “health care-related” then?

        Ounce-for-ounce, inch-for-inch, midgets and dwarves are stronger than bigger people. I have seen a couple of midgets pick up an automobile. Assuming that a midget or dwarf can’t handle a chainsaw and roll a couple of logs out of the way is insulting.

        • azntg says:

          Everyone was worried about Gustav, but turns out Ike was a harder hitter. Quick recovery to everybody down there hit with the nasty ‘cane!

          @BeeBoo: Actions speak louder than words!

          Please, get a job at Walgreens… the next time a major natural disaster demolishes your house and whatever that’s left of the infrastructures in your neighborhood, just shut up and go to work. You have a public duty to do no less.

          • BeeBoo says:

            @azntg: As a member of the Medical Reserve Corps, I will have to go wherever I’m needed, whether it’s giving smallpox vaccinations or treating victims of a nuclear explosion. So don’t get all “walk the talk” with me.

  61. Teh1337Pirat3 says:

    If I was called by a manager like that I’d go up to work just to punch him in the throat.

  62. angrycandy says:

    I worked at Walgreens for several years, and we were open every day of the year, even in level 2 or 3 snow emergencies. The execs might have had the day off, but even on Thanksgiving, when three (3) people cam in all day … three employees still had to be on staff, and weren’t allowed to sit down. Ridiculous! Not an employee-friendly store; don’t work there!

  63. Don Roberto says:

    Funny. I had my boss telling me to leave home early to be at work on time… apparently there would be a lot of traffic from people trying to evacuate. This not even in retail.

  64. there are trees and then there is a forest. For some people there is not much difference between the two, for others there is no barrier that they can not overcome.

  65. Dr.Martha_Jones says:

    As others have said, it absolutely is fact that retailers treat their employees terribly. I have been treated in this manner and I worked at a store that sold sexy panties – by no means necessities!

    However, to those who are encouraging people to quit their jobs because they are treated this way – our unemployment rate is the worst it’s been in decades – where are these poor souls meant to work? In my experience, only people under 25 and management work these jobs by choice.

  66. mythago says:

    I feel for the manager, too. Often in situations like this, the manager is responsible for keeping the store open – meaning if all the employees are gone, the manager is there, period, as long as it takes. If you’re a manager and your own house and family are threatened by the storm, you probably aren’t really happy about doing an 18-hour shift (which management will, conversely, yell at you for) because none of your employees showed up.

  67. VermilionSparrow says:

    One call center company I used to work for, not only did you have to use personal time off if it was dangerous/impossible to come to work, there was a memo sent out to the effect of “in case of a tornado, drop what you’re doing and proceed immediately to the shelter areas”… followed about an hour later by another almost-identical memo adding “the above does not apply to any floor personnel”. We were in a mostly glass building. Like hell I wasn’t heading for shelter in case of a tornado. I’d rather be unemployed than dead.

  68. vondie says:

    I work at Walgreen’s in Southeast Indiana (not a 24 hour store). The remnants of Hurricane Ike came through yesterday with 40 mph hour winds and knocked out the power at our store. My manager told the customers that they could leave their items on the counter but that they should leave until the power came on. We waited for ten minutes telling people we were closed until we regained power, which wasn’t until this morning. He made sure that we stayed in pairs for safety, and we just straightened everything and went home. I love working for Walgreen’s.

  69. drunken marmot says:

    My brother and his family live near Houston. I don’t know if it was the same Walgreen’s or not, but he emailed me that they were glad to see it was open as they both had bad insect bites from cleaning up. Bug bite stuff isn’t something that springs readily to mind as a survival need.
    It’s tough on the OP and I understand, but some people are grateful Walgreen’s DID open!

  70. retailguru says:

    Ok, so lets take a look at this. She can stay home, look through the hole in the roof, and NOT earn a check or she could go to work, probably do little, and continue employment. I think the latter is the better choice for all. If she stays home she will probably either ask for FREE federal assistance or attempt to bill her insurance company for time lost. I think the manager was doing her a favor! Some people attempt to capitalize during crisis. I hope all who have been affected by Ike rebound and prosper. This one just needs to stop crying and go to work!

  71. alysbrangwin says:

    You can take this job and restaff it!

  72. baristabrawl says:

    I have told managers to come get me or send someone for me before. I’m sorry, but if the roads are impassable, then they’re impassable. If you can get here in waist deep snow or water, more power to you.

  73. dragonfire81 says:

    I remember last winter I chose to not to come to work during a really bad snowstorm, the problem specifically was that my wife didn’t want to pick me up and by the time was off the snow was REALLY coming down something fierce.

    The storm ended up being the worst one we got all last winter.

    So when I called work to tell them I wouldn’t be in, they had the nerve to tell me how “most other people made it in” and “The weather’s not so bad”.

    Did I mention it was the worst storm of the winter?

    Besides I told them the problem was not getting THERE it was getting BACK. If had gone, I would have been stranded and probably stuck spending the night at mom’s place instead of with my fiance.

  74. RageTowers says:

    I was expected to deliver pizzas in a foot of snow, while more snow was still falling.

    Granted it’s no hurricane, but it still sucked. I got to work, then they closed up for the day.

  75. LightLeigh says:

    I worked at a Pizza Hut many years ago. My neighborhood was flooded after a heavy thunderstorm, and as I backed out the driveway, the car immediately stalled out. I got out, and the water was more than knee deep. With some help, I pushed the car back in the driveway, and called in to work. I was fired on the spot for “refusing” to come in. I only wish it had happened months earlier.

    This same manager scheduled me to work days my first week of college, even though he had my schedule for weeks. He would ask me to “not clock in” when I showed up some days, and I would sit around up to an hour while he decided whether he needed me or not that day. That guy was a nightmare!

    To the OP – for your next natural disaster, just don’t return the call. There’s no way to confirm that you ever received the message, or indeed if you are even alive, until you make the mistake of calling in.

  76. ordendelfai says:

    I had a manager like this too many years ago on the morning of the 9/11 attacks. I work in a high rise in LA and was watching the NY events live. Decided I’d stay home that day because no one knew what was really happening or if there were other targets in other states.

    When I went in the next day, my manager met with me in a private office and proceeded to grill me about why I chose not to come in when others did come in, basically calling me a coward. Man, I as pissed and told her I would make the same decision again and she just laughed at me.

    The next week, the CEO paid everyone who missed 9/11 and 9/12, and she had nuthin to say then.

  77. MrEvil says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t insulin need to be refrigerated as well as a whole host of other prescription meds? If the store lost power for a significant period of time doesn’t that make the Insulin and other meds unusable?

    I’m glad I don’t work retail anymore either. The one winter I worked at Best Buy they had me using my 4×4 pickup as a taxi during a snowstorm, at least I was on the clock.

    Now, I still have the 4×4 pickup, but none of my customers expect me to visit them in bad weather, and neither do my bosses.

  78. Marshfield says:

    My take is, the manager was doing his job, trying to staff the store. If everyone says they can’t come in for whatever reason, then the store can’t open, and he has failed in his job, so it’s not unreasonable for him to put pressure on people to show up.

    Now, on the other hand, people need to be clear about their priorities, and if they can’t come to work due to a disaster, they should simply say “Hey, sorry — can’t make it today, I have an unexpected personal emergency to deal with.” Now, take the tree across the driveway. If that is the ONLY reason you can’t make it to work, have the manager send someone with a saw to remove it — otherwise, we are so sorry, but won’t be in to work today.

  79. anyanka323 says:

    The manager is a typical retail manager. More than likely a male, he expects the lowly wage slaves, primarily female, to work during bad weather while he packs up early to go home. I had to work through a bad windstorm in which at one point 250,000 people were without power. The power was back at work, so we had to come in whether or not we had power at our own homes.

    Because the managers and assistant managers get paid more, they should be at their stores whenever there is a weather related emergency to assist with the extra sales and to prepare the store in case something does happen. The wage slaves don’t get paid enough to risk their lives for a minimum wage job.

  80. retailguru says:

    why do none of my post show

  81. DanGarion says:

    I think leads perfect to the start of “the employerist” website…

  82. bcamillo says:

    I don’t know about you – but the people or in Bush Texas talk – “folks” that work at my Walgreens are really stange…
    That aside, I work in healthcare (as a manager) and I know how important medications are….meaning that the pharmacy should be open and I strongly believe that the manager should be there during crisis/disaster – but it is not necessary for all staff – plus it is a great oportunity for the die hards to get overtime which they deserve because I imagine walgreens pays squat!

  83. justclark22 says:

    Went through Hurricane Rita 5 years ago and heard some of the same stories. My house was wrecked and I was called back into the store from 4 hours away. We were told that we “needed” to be there to serve the community…..cough…cough. We were the second store open in a 5 parish area and it was a mad house.

    In the manager’s defense, he is getting the word to open from way up the food chain. From people who live in other states and don’t understand hurricanes. Crap rolls down hill!