The Student Room Group

Awful experience working at Tesco Express… thoughts?

Disclaimer - this will be lengthy, I’ve had to explain in thorough detail so that it’s easier to understand the context of the situation, i promise I’m not adding unnecessary details…

So I’ve been working at Tesco for a few months now on a temporary contract. This is a brand new store, it’s the managers first store and a relative helped me to secure the job position. Everything was going perfectly well, I was getting along with everyone, while the job was tiring and exhausting, I still showed up for every shift and even said yes when my manager would constantly ask me to cover shifts as overtime, on several occasions these overtime requests were very last minute and I’d still show up. I’d even show up for 6am shifts which aren’t my usual contracted hours. I work on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. And sue do the area I live in, on the days where I finish at 10pm, if I don’t get the 10:10pm bud, I’ll have to wait an hour for the next one as buses do not run regularly.

My contract was due to end in October, however my manager encouraged me to accept a new permanent contract with another branch. I declined as it’s a petrol station and during my time there on another last minute overtime shift, I didn’t enjoy it and it was incredibly hectic and poorly run/organised. A supervisor who previously worked at my current store was promoted to become a store manager of another Tesco express within the town, and offered me a permanent contract with her. I said I’d go ahead with it but at the time we needed to negotiate the times and contracted hours and days I would be working and the transition plan for my transfer to the other store. My manager was aware of this agreement and she told me that I’d most likely be working for another 4 weeks then I’d be transferred.

Well, we’ve just reached the 4 weeks, however I fell ill with a slight cold alongside dealing with a really bad period. My symptoms were worse than usual this month and I had to call in sick last Wednesday, which was a day I agreed to do overtime as they’re short staffed. This is our of character for me as I’ve never missed a shift and I’ve worked every single shift along with any overtime. When I messaged the manager to inform her I was sick and unable to work, she responded “let me know when you’re better to return”. She then messaged me on the Friday whether I’d be in. I was asleep mostly the entire day due to my heavy period and tiredness. That night, I woke up at 4am with bad diarrhoea and sickness. I was in excruciating pain and didn’t go back to sleep until hours later. Once I finally woke up, it was around 11am. I noticed a missed call from the other store manager who offered me the new permanent contract (to clarify once again, my current manager was aware of). I rang her back as she wanted to discuss a change of contracted hours and I confirmed I could do those hours and she said that’s great and she would inform my current manager of this.

At around 1 I noticed a message from my manager from the day before asking if I was well enough to return.
On Fridays, I work 2pm-8pm, so I understand it was late to respond to her message an hour before I’m due to start however, she did tell me to message her once I’m feeling better and I hadn’t as I was still very poorly, in fact worse than before.

I responded apologising for my late response and told her I still was unwell. I didn’t attend that shift or my Saturday shift. I returned on Monday (this Monday). However, I still felt unwell and lightheaded so I asked to sit down for a while and they instructed me to go home as they had scheduled enough staff anyways. As I was leaving, my manager verbally berated in front of customers. She stated the following:

“Oh I didn’t appreciate your late message on Friday when I asked if you could work, you messaged me half an hour before your shift and that’s completely unacceptable. You also didn’t have the decency to tell me that you accepted a contract with *insert other store managers name*, and I’m the one who gave you the opportunity in the first place. You were also well enough to speak to *other managers name* on the phone about a contract but you couldn’t show up for your shift. We will be having a talk about your recent behaviour when you return”. I calmly walked off and didn’t respond, I just left as I felt faint and light headed.

For starters, I don’t appreciate the fact she spoke to me in the tone and manner she did in front of customers and especially while I’m still feeling unwell. And she was well aware of the contract, even days before I called in sick she texted me saying that she hadn’t got a chance to speak to me about my contract offer so she was well aware. And I haven’t formally accepted anything, I only agreed to the proposed hours and contracted days. No contract has been signed and I haven’t even been to the branch since my training days. I also don’t see how a 2 min phone call measures up to working a 6 hour shift while I’m sick. It was even meant to be an 8 hour shift because they needed to work 2 extra hours to cover another colleague.

And in regards to the late message, I can acknowledge the fact it was a late message but she told me to message her when I’m well enough, I hadn’t so that would be a clear indicator that I wasn’t well enough to return.

I’ve noticed other red flags in the company and working at the store. Certain supervisors have been giving colleagues preferential treatment. He’s been allowing this colleague to work on tills her entire shift. While till work can be busy and demanding, the town we work on, all the shops close at 5pm, we’re the only shop still open in town until 10pm, so from 5pm onwards there’s pretty much nothing to do, not many customers come in. So we’re usually advised to do facing while we’re put on tills.

During my shift on Tuesday, he let her work on tills the entire shift while he had me doing most of the delivery, facing, and replenishing, knowing that I’m still not feeling well. towards the end of the shift, I faced 3/4 aisles by myself while the other two, including the woman goofed around around the till area. She barely did any work and I’m not the only one who’s noticed the fact he’s constantly allowing her to stay on tills so she can do the bare minimum while the rest of us do most of the heavy and demanding jobs. Even on our radio headset, he’s constantly asking if she’s okay, if she wants a coffee, and when she wants her break but doesn’t ask the rest of us. On that Tuesday, I started work before she did and he asked her when she wants her break before me.

In addition to overworking me and giving preferential treatment, today (Wednesday), I was scheduled in for an overtime shift which I didn’t agree to, nor was I informed. Wednesdays are not my contracted hours yet I received numerous phone calls and a message from the same supervisor at 7pm saying that they need me to come in and why haven’t I shown up. I explained that I don’t work on Wednesdays and I wasn’t informed of this change in the rota and he ignored my message. I feel that my manager did this deliberately to cause conflict between myself and other colleagues and supervisors as they’ll think I’m unreliable when she knows I don’t work on Wednesdays and she knows she didn’t inform me or even ask me as that would be considered an overtime shift. Which I would’ve been unable to do as I was busy.

I’ve decided to decline the offer at the other branch and I’ve handed in my resignation. Before receiving the offer at the new branch, my temp position was extended until the Christmas period in which I would’ve been leaving in January but my chosen resignation date is the 22nd of December.

I just wanted to know everyone’s thoughts on the situation. I understand the miscommunications, but I feel I’ve been treated poorly. Other colleagues are starting to turn on me, they’re giving me silent treatment, even the security guard who would speak to me often has been ignoring but I’ve seen and heard him gossiping about me to the supervisor I spoke about above, within the past week.

My manager also hasn’t responded to my last 4 messages. I’ve noticed a change in energy within the work atmosphere and it’s making me uncomfortable. I no longer feel happy or a part of a team and it’s causing me distress. I can’t believe they’re acting this way, all because I called in sick for 3 days but I’ve been there to cover other peoples shifts whenever they needed me. There were times I finished a shift, returned home and my manager would ask me to return to cover a shift last minute and I would. I’ve always been there so this sudden switch up is very disappointing.

What’s everyone’s thoughts? Has anyone else experienced anything similar working at Tesco? I was advised to contact the head office regarding my treatment but I’m going to wait it out. If anything continues until my resignation date, I just might.

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