The Halloween store…ok to work at if they’d actually paid me

Many of you are familiar with the Halloween Adventure retail stores that crop up every Halloween season. A few years ago, I needed another job so I applied to work at one of these. I had to take up an umpteenth job because I was in a bad financial situation, and my other retail job was only giving me like 5-10hr weeks when I needed 25-35hrs/week.

Overall the job was ok, it was a lot of fun and a better work environment than most other retail jobs I worked in. It was short-term(I was there about a month and a half), of course, because the store was only opened during Halloween season. The people who worked there were very cool and laid-back, and also slightly eccentric(as most gothic/Halloween-liking people can be), which fit in perfectly with my personality. Another cool thing about the store was the merchandise discounts, and the fact that they were laid-back with scheduling. They didn’t object much when I asked if I could work a few extra shifts, understood when I needed to come in late due to school obligations, & most importantly, did not obligate me to stay way past closing hours on school nights.

However, what made this job experience a bit of a hassle occured with its management, or at times, lack thereof. I don’t know if maybe only my store location had this problem. Management was very disorganized and few effective steps were taken to solve problems stemming from this broken management. When I was scheduled the job interview, the general manager seemed cool & told me I’d receive $8/hr; a few days later when I began working, this manager was already fired. Then a week later when I received my first paycheck, I was NOT paid $8/hr but instead $7/hr. It took until this time for the new managers to notify me that the previous GM told me the wrong pay rate. The new GM was also laid-back & fun, and also rather young; he too got fired later in the season, rumor has it for register theft and for the company finding out that he had drug charges on his record(they never did a background check on him prior to hiring him as GM!!).

Ok so I didn’t mind this game of “musical managers” so much, until I stopped getting paychecks. For my first paycheck, I was shorted by 4 or 5 hours. The regional manager assured me that this would be corrected and retroactive pay would be issued on the next paycheck, but two weeks later, I was instead paid for 4 hours instead of 54. I was far from the only person with paycheck errors, but I definitely got shorted the most hours of any other employee at the store. The next paycheck, I did not receive at all. The final paycheck + bonus check was supposed to be mailed, since it was issued after the store location was closed and thus we were not working there any longer; again this was never sent out.

During this whole time, the assistant manager(assumed position of GM after the 2nd GM was fired) occasionally told off the regional managers for mistakes/errors. She knew they were screwing up our pay and felt for us. Meanwhile, I was unable to pay bills without these much-needed paychecks. Finally, in January I made several dozen phonecalls before getting the number to the chain’s corporate headquarters, explaining the situation, and threatening to call the Labor Board on them if I did not get paid very soon. They did eventually admit their mistake and sent out the paychecks, and still there seemed to be one missing. So I called the headquarters again, they apologized again, and sent out one more paycheck. This paycheck seemed to be about $30-40 short, but hey I was lucky to be receiving the other $300 that’d been missing, and I didn’t feel like going through more aggravation again, so I wrote it off as a loss. I was very unassertive back then and if it happened to me now, I definitely would have kept strict timeclock records and would have been on their case, even over $30. I was glad to finally receive my money, but it did nothing to help me when I had bills that were due in November, not January.