I was going to start this story off with the day that stuff actually went down, but I always like to give a little bit of background. A few weeks before Thanksgiving I (a district manager for "Happy Time Portraits") brought my boss (the regional manager) to one of the biggest studios in my district to do a visit. Business as usual. Well, this particular day, the studio manager, Dave, decided he was going to be a giant prick. During my last visit with Dave, I had given him clear instructions on things that needed to be fixed at his studio and when my boss and I got there he hadn't done any of them. And he had a really great attitude about not having done any of them. He was being down-right cocky and arrogant and I ended up having to write him up and give him a final warning that he needed to get his shit together. We left the studio and my RM was just shocked at how rude he was and we were discussing alternate plans of action to take should he not get everything fixed. I told her that it was going to be okay because I had a manager-in-training at that studio and I had a backup plan if need be.
Well, one fateful day, the weekend before Thanksgiving, right before retail season gets its big start, I got a call from the Loss Prevention department of the store that the portrait studio was located in. The man asked if I was the DM and when I told him that I was he said, "Okay, well I just thought that you'd like to know that we are gonna be taking two of your employees outta here in handcuffs in about an hour. So, if you need to find someone to cover the store, now would probably be a good time."
I sat there speechless for a few moments and told him that I was on my way down. He wouldn't tell me which employees they were taking in and the store was about an hour away from my house. I rushed down and when I finally got there the manager-in-training at the front counter said that some men from the main office had taken Dave away and they hadn't come back. Wow. Really? That's just great! The week before Thanksgiving and I don't have a manager for the busiest time of the year. Well, at least I have my MIT to take over. Or so I thought.
A few minutes later another man from LP came up to the studio and pulled me aside and let me know what had been going on. He said that Dave had confessed to everything and then some (including some random-ass story of having a "past life" as a grifter--huh?). Apparently over the last few months, he had been taking clothes and jewelry and all kinds of other things from the host store, but they couldn't prove it. So they installed a covert camera in the studio's back room and caught him in the act. What they didn't know was that another employee was doing the same thing. When they told me that the other person was the MIT I almost shit a brick.
As soon as he finished talking to me they escorted her down for an interview and I had to watch the studio until I could find someone to cover. As soon as the next employee got there the LP department called me and said that the MIT was requesting me to bring her purse and jacket down. I brought it and while I was walking down the hall I looked out the window and watched them put Dave in the back of the squad car. I couldn't believe he would do something so stupid. I brought the girl her stuff and she looked incredibly ashamed. I was angry and shocked, but I couldn't help but still feel sorry for her.
This left me in a really crappy situation and I was on the phone for hours trying to put a bandaid over this bullet wound. I was able to get the store covered for the next week and a few days later I was able to find someone to take over the store permanently. But I think the best part of all this was when I was driving home from the studio that night.
I get a call while I'm stuck in traffic and it was Dave. He didn't realize that I had been at his store throughout the day and he called me as if nothing had happened.
"Hey Vindi... I was just calling because there was an incident at the store today and, uh, I was wondering if I might be able to transfer to another location because there was some kind of misunderstanding and... um... I'm not exactly allowed back in the store again."