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I work at a popular "Dollar" store as a shift manager (keyholder) and have had to recently had to keep the store opened without, WITHOUT power, escorting customers in to shop showing them around with a flashlight while the cashier stands by and rings people up by hand with a calculator (like the Waltons except they didn't even have a calculator), and figure out sales tax. Can you believe this? No security cameras. Walking complete strangers into the dark back areas of the store. No police presence or security of any kind.
I did this for a few days but have decided that I will not do this again unless I have a police car sitting in the parking lot.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
First, check to see what the company's policies are on power outages. If need be, contact the home office and let them know what's going on. If the store manager is making you do this, they could be in direct violation of company procedure. If you don't feel safe, then someone needs to know.
Second, since you said that there are no lights and such, that's a customer safety issue. No company will ever put their customers at risk. Sad thing is, this isn't out of a concern for the customer, but rather, they're worried about lawsuits. Again, contact the home office.
Third, if there are perishable food items in the store (cold foods), then the store can be shut down if those items aren't removed. The health inspectors are very picky about that. Keeping the store open and having these items around is a health risk. When I managed one of these stores years ago that happened to us. We had lost power to all of our cold cases and the food went bad. We were required to shut down the store for a day to clean them out.
Finally, no job is worth you getting hurt, injured, robbed, etc. If they still require you to keep the store open then I think it'd be time for you to move on. There's a hundred other places out there that will treat you right.
Thanks for your advice. When you find a company that actually cares about and respects their employees, let me know. I've never been so frustrated at any retail company as this one.
Dollar stores that I'm familiar with aren't huge places. A couple of generators and some extension cords with portable lights could go a long ways to providing minimal lighting. Even run a cash register perhaps.
Last resort, refuse to work in the dark for safety reasons. OSHA will back you there. Do you have running water? If not most cities will not allow you to operate without a bathroom. I doubt that local fire departments will allow operations without emergency lights and properly lighted egress paths and exit signs- it is a fire and personnel hazard. I would hazard that there are other legal reasons to shut down if you can think of them. Does the fire sprinkler system (if there is one) operate? Do smoke alarms still work? Will the fire alarm system still call for help? Usually all necessary for an occupancy permit - without them the store cannot operate.
Of course, complaining to legal authorities about this kind of thing may end up shutting the store down in the daytime as well.
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