Affidavit Of Rodney Lee Mitchell Jr. (ID. Badge #7757)
AKA.: Ron Leddy (funNgames)
My Nightmare Job At Goodwill Industries
I worked for Goodwill Industries from March 22, 2010 to April 24, 2010 and I would like to tell you a bit about my experience there. First off, I would like to say that it was one of the most chaotic and stressful jobs that I personally have ever had and I've been in the job market for 50 years now (a half century). Going a step further, I would like to add that it was even more stressful than my entire tour of duty in southeast Asia (1969-70) and that's no joke!
Now to cut through the chase, I will tell you that I quit my job while I was sitting in my supervisor's office going over my 30 day evaluation with her. Her evaluation of me during my first 30 days was "Poor" at its best and from what I could gather from her bias, one sided rambling was that I was not physically qualified nor mentally capable of accepting second hand donations from the public and then sorting them into their proper locations (a task that a trained monkey could do blind folded).
Now without being egotistical or arrogant in anyway, I would like to interject in my own defense here with the following: I have written three ebooks that I hope to get published soon; one training manual for designing websites, plus, I have composed several original songs. One of my songs is presently in a world wide music contest and is now in the #2 position. Furthermore; I personally play five different instruments and have for over 30 years. I design websites professionally and before I started working at Goodwill Industries, I unofficially taught computer to senior citizens at one of the Torrance, senior centers. I also have a website designing business that is beginning to bring in some extra cash.
Alright, now back to Goodwill Industries, where my supervisor insinuated that I was not capable of sorting through second hand donations.
I took the orientation for my job on March 22, 2010 and I should have realized from what happened during that first day that my future with Goodwill Industries was going to be a chaotic catastrophe. This is because during that training session at Goodwill Industries, the lead speaker was at least an hour late showing up for the class. Hence, the second scheduled speaker tried to get the training session off the ground by showing a training video but as soon as the DVD player was switched on, the video froze (we never did get to see what the training video was about). We were then offered some free doughnuts and coffee but from that moment on, the orientation seemed to turn into a variety/comedy show with the speaker telling funny personal stories about her experiences at Goodwill Industries. All in all, the orientation was very laid back and entertaining but nothing more. In my opinion, it had a very unprofessional spin on it and because so much time was wasted on the speaker's antics and dramatic acting out of her personal work-related experiences, little time was left for a serious in depth study of the Employee Handbook and related training material (we had to fly through the pages of the training material haphazardly, in order to complete our orientation training on time). This maybe one of the reasons why Goodwill Industries (at least in this district) has such a frequent employee-turnover.
I would like to point out here that the orientation was held at the Goodwill Headquarters in Long Beach, California. The same administration building that houses the Payroll Department (I assume); the Payroll Department fouled up both of my payroll checks that I received during the month that I worked for Goodwill Industries (e.g. 3/22/10 - 4/24/10). My first payroll check was $61.00 less than I thought it was going to be because someone in the Payroll Department failed to input my marital status and personal deductions in my payroll database file. My second and last payroll check came with an extra $120.00 - "Bonus Check," made out in my name that was confiscated before I left work on Friday, April 23, 2010. The check was confiscated because someone in the Payroll Department at Goodwill Industries, fouled up again and over paid me a bonus of one-hundred and twenty dollars.
Do payroll accounting errors of this nature occur every payday at Goodwill Industries?
Now I would like to begin talking about why I failed my 30 day evaluation. Remember? My supervisor claimed that I could not (or had not, up to the 30 day mark) sorted the incoming Goodwill donations properly (or should I say, "Up to her standards?").
I will begin here by presenting some information about my job site; the Goodwill store that I worked at and the people I worked with, especially my supervisor and her two assistant managers.
Goodwill's Daily Pickup/Delivery Truck
Every morning without fail, a delivery truck would show up (around 10:30 am) to take away the previous day's unsalable donations. The driver of this pickup/delivery truck was a very intense and erratic sort of fellow (to say the least.) He always seemed to be super-stressed-out and over-worked too, at times, he seemed as if he was going to explode in a fit of rage. I hated working at Goodwill Industries whenever he was around, he was very intimidating and I never knew from one moment to the next whether he was going to go ballistic or not. The driver I'm talking about was terminated from Goodwill Industries on Friday, April 23, 2010 - the day before I resigned.
One weekend while I was working, another pickup/delivery driver showed up with some paperwork that he attempted to deliver. It turned out (from what I observed and clearly overheard) that what he was trying to deliver, was some important business related paperwork that he had taken by mistake from a previous stop along his route (upon becoming aware of his blunder, he then retrieved the unsolicited paperwork and proceeded to return it).
The Goodwill store that I worked at had eleven employees on the work schedule; nine females (9), and two males (2). Three of the females at the store held positions in management and this affidavit shall refer to them as the store manager, assistant manager #1, and assistant manager #2. No other employee at the location where I worked shall be referred to in this affidavit (from this point forward) except for the other male employee (who I shall refer to as the material handler) and of course, myself. Attention: I will be submitting an email correspondence dated 4/14/10, from a key figure in Human Resources to backup my testimony in Part 5., of this document/affidavit.
On my very first day at work, I walked into the Goodwill store that I was assigned to and then introduced myself as a new employee (I had my store assignment and starting time printout in my hand). I was then taken to an "Employees Only" area of the Goodwill store and shown where the time clock was, where the break room was and then where the restroom was. To be honest with you, the condition of the facilities designated for employees at this particular Goodwill store were in a disgusting disarray of unhygienic filth. This made me feel extremely uncomfortable right off the bat, do to the fact that the H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) had not been contained as of yet and from what I could see, I was standing in a potential breeding grounds for all sorts of harmful bacteria. Note: I have a state issued Health Card, "Food Handler" and I attended a training session that specifically focused on public health and hygiene.
The Time Clock
The time clock was a hand-scanner, designed - so that in order to punch-in, all one had to do was enter his or her employee badge number on a keypad and then place their right hand on a hand-scanning-tray and wallah, his or her work time would automatically be recorded in the employee's payroll database file. The time clock (hand-scanner) was an amazing piece of technology, however, the one used at the Goodwill store where I worked was so filthy and scummed-up from use that it wouldn't even recognize a new employee's hand-scan. Technically, I could not punch-in for the first three days of my employment because of this time-clock malfunction. Note: my hand-scan-signature had previously been entered into the Goodwill Payroll Accounting System at the Long Beach, CA., Headquarters when I took my orientation.
On my second day at work, a technician who had a severe speech impairment came and worked on the time clock and declared it, "Fixed" when he left but it still malfunctioned when put to use. The next day, the same technician returned and replaced the old dirty time clock with a brand-new-one that he installed in the break room, instead of where the old one had been located in a back work area of the store, next to the employee's refrigerator.
Note: When I discovered that the time clock wasn't working on my very first day, I asked the following of assistant manager #1., "Please make sure that the hours I work are logged in correctly and accounted for." On the second day, when I discovered the time clock still not working, I reminded assistant manager #1., of what I had previously requested the day before and she responded (sarcastically) and said, "Don't worry, we're not going to rip you off!"
The Employee's Refrigerator
The employee refrigerator was situated between two trash cans and a makeshift work station. The entire area was so cluttered and unorganized that stuff was even piled on top of the refrigerator itself, and it looked (inside and out) like it hadn't had a good cleaning and or sanitizing in years.
The Employee Break Room
The employee break room at the Goodwill store where I worked ("room" being a generous over statement) was a 5' X 5' cubical. There was barely enough space inside to accommodate a small table and chairs, a water cooler and also a small bookshelf (the bookshelf supported a filthy microwave oven, an unused coffee pot and various unclean glasses and cups, etc.).
The small table was always cluttered with completed, customer Tax Donation Receipts (thrown down in a sloppy pile) and leftover food wrappers and or containers. One always had to clean up an area, or wipe up a spilled drink in order to be able to even sit at the table comfortably.
Note: I left my brand-new Acer laptop on the table one day to charge its battery and later received a stern warning from the store manager.
She said (sarcastically and rudely), "Don't leave your computer on the table anymore, we can't be held responsible if anything gets spilled on it!"
The disposition she exhibited was one of suspicion and the tone of voice that she used was one of distrust which made me assume that the only concern she might have had about my computer being left on the table was that - she thought that I might have left it there in external audio/record mode to record her private conversations that took place in her office cubical (her office was connected to the break room and any sound coming from there, could be over heard quite easily).
After specifically focusing in on her unprofessional behavior and devious demeanor, I politely agreed with her command and never left my Acer laptop, alone on the table again.
Potential Safety Hazard - About 1' 6" from the table, and rising up from the floor approximately 2' (in the break room) were two lateral, galvanized water supply lines. I figured that - at one time, they had been the water supply for a sink that had been installed in that spot. The two vertical pipes were capped off on their upper ends and painted red; the red paint was obviously there to attract one's attention and to alert one of the potential safety hazard that they were (and still are). Note: the pipes were 3/4" in diameter, and had someone accidentally fallen on them, they could have been critically injured by the upward protruding metal (to my knowledge, this potential safety hazard still remains a threat).
The general maintenance (upkeep & cleaning) pertaining to the employee's break room at the Goodwill store where I worked was "Poor" at its best. The floor was filthy and the walls were in desperate need of fresh painting (there were hand drawn pictures on the north wall and foot marks on the west wall; in fact, the entire cubical was a disgusting representation of an employee's break/lunch room).
Note: I personally spent my lunch break cleaning up the microwave oven one day (though I'd never used it) because it was such an eyesore. On another occasion, I informed assistant manager #1., that I was an experienced commercial painter and that I had made a living in the past, spray painting automobiles and residential/commercial structures. I also said the following, "If you get the paint, I will voluntarily paint the break room for you, during my (off the clock) lunch break."
Well, needless to say, nothing ever became of my offer to paint the break room but (on a positive note) I did get compliments quite often from everyone that I worked with on my cleanup skills and abilities (management especially, appreciated how well I could sweep and mop the sales floor, and cleanup outside where the donation-receiving-area was).
The Employee Rest Room
The rest room at the Goodwill store where I worked was also a filthy mess and it was connected to the employee's break room. The first time that I saw it, there was a build up of scum on the top of the sink from a leaking faucet that looked like it had been leaking water for months. The floor and the toilet were both disgusting to look at but the toilet seat appeared as if it had been replaced recently. There was barely enough space inside the rest room to be able to use it comfortably, and it was certainly not up to the Building Code in relationship to it being able to accommodate individuals who have physical impairments/disabilities; hence, it was off limits to the general public.
Goodwill Store Interior
The floor inside the Goodwill where I worked was so worn and stained (beyond what normal mopping could remove) that it looked as if it had not had a good scrubbing and or gum removal in years. It was also in desperate need of a professional - strip and wax job.
One evening, I suggested to assistant manager #1., that if she would get me a scraper, I would remove the gum on the floor before I mopped and it would look better.
She responded (politely) and said, "We don't have any tools for that; there used to be some guys who would come here and wax the floor but for some reason, they don't come anymore."
The very first time that I swept and mopped the sales floor, it appeared that no one had taken the time to sweep under the wracks of hanging clothes. There were wads of lint and filth (and other debris) that had accumulated under the clothes that I had to remove before I mopped the floor.
Window Display (On The Boulevard)
While standing in front of the Goodwill store (on the front sidewalk) and inspecting the maintenance and up keep of the interior display booth, one will notice that it is in desperate need of fresh painting and the carpet needs to be replaced (it's filthy).
The metal frames around the windows on the street side of the building are so covered with dust that it's hard to tell what they're made of.
Note: I've had several jobs in my lifetime that required me to strip and wax linoleum and hardwood floors, I even had my own carpet and floor care business throughout the 1980's and 90's so I am very familiar with the trade; when it comes to the Goodwill store where I worked, I believe that it could have been as clean and presentable as any other Goodwill store in the country, if not for management's total lack of experience (and I might add, their total lack of concern).
On my very first day at work I met the store manager; we introduced ourselves to each other and then she led me over to the donation-receiving-area and told me that I would be working with the material handler, the store manager then left the area and walked back over towards the main building. I assumed at the time that the material handler was an instructor of sorts who trained new employees but it turned out that he was just a common laborer like myself, who I might add, was a very pleasant person to work with. The only problem that I ever had with him was that he was extremely refrained and too reluctant (and overly cautious) to offer me any serious training in regards to what exactly, I was hired to do. It was necessary for me to mimic what he was doing and ask him questions repeatedly, in order for me to even participate in his daily work related routine.
Attention: The material handler was very proficient at doing his job and had worked at the location much longer than anyone in management; therefore, this document/affidavit has not been written with the premeditated intent of criticizing and or ridiculing this individual (material handler) in any way.
I worked with the material handler for a couple of days and began to pick up his routine (his way of doing things). Well, it wasn't long and he had a scheduled day off and I found myself working in the donation-receiving-area with the store manager.
It was the middle of the week and happened to be a day when donations were coming in sporadically. This gave me time to concentrate on my duties and demonstrate to the store manager that I was leaning my new job. She on the other hand, spent a lot of her time fooling around with some rare items that had been donated. She even caught my attention (distracting me from my duties) to show me a rare Latin Vulgate Bible that she found intriguing. After that, she showed me a 1950's swimsuit model catalog. To be honest with you, I thought that the items were intriguing too but what I thought was even more intriguing was how the store manager was so care free and nonchalant about wasting company time.
A few days later, the material handler had another scheduled day off and once again, I found myself working alone in the donation-receiving-area with the store manager. On that day however, I seriously thought that I was working with a totally different (store manager) person than I had just a few days earlier. She was extremely irritable, super-critical of everything that I did and because she was in such a frustrated state of mind, she couldn't express herself clearly (her commands were spoken so fast and changed so rapidly that it was barely possible to follow through with her orders, that made her even more intolerant of my work performance).
An example of her erratic behavior can very easily be demonstrated by the following transcription of what actually took place that day.
During the course of my job related duties, I needed to assemble a cardboard box by taping it together but I could not find the commercial tape dispenser (the store manager had used it beforehand and had laid it down somewhere); so, I politely asked her if she knew where it was. When I did, she exhibited an extremely defensive and defiant attitude, then, as she yanked the tape dispenser out from under a pile of papers and other accumulated clutter that she had left on our work table, she forcefully and rudely blared out at me, "Didn't you even look for it? It's right here!"
Note: Many times during my 32 days of employment at Goodwill Industries, assistant manager #1., warned me that the store manager could become very angry (e.g. "She'll really get mad" or "Don't let the store manager see that (or know about it) she'll have a fit").
After the store manager forcefully and rudely blared out her words at me, I felt very intimidated and leery of her but I retained my calm state of composure and responded with the following, "You know, I think that you're very intimidating at times and I'm going to call the head of Human Resources and tell her about you; she gave me her business card and told me to call her anytime there was a problem."
Note: I had no intention of calling Human Resources to report her behavior and the only reason that I even said that I was - was to see what her reaction would be and to instill in her mind, the reality that her intimidation was NOT - in anyway shape or form, going to make me anymore subservient, obedient, passive and compliant than I already was.
The store manager immediately stopped what she was doing and glared at me with a vindictive look on her face (and in her eyes) and said, "Go ahead, she won't believe you anyway."
The store manager then left the donation-receiving-area and headed towards the main building and soon returned with assistant manager #1., accompanying her; the store manager then said, "Ron just told me that I harassed him."
I immediately responded with the following words, "I did not say that you were harassing me, what I did say was that you are very intimidating at times; that's totally different."
I then spent the next ten minutes (wasting company time) reenacting what had just taken place between the store manager and myself, to make sure that they both understood the difference between harassment and intimidation (pertaining to how I had used the word).
For the remainder of my shift that day, the store manager exhibited a very sarcastic attitude when dealing with me; she even went so far as to make derogatory (facetious) comments whenever I got around her, or approached her for work related instructions and guidance (e.g. "Are you working hard Ron, or hardly working?" - "What are you crying about now, Ron?" - "We need stuff that will sell to young people, not stuff for old people like you, Ron." - "I hope you like working weekends Ron because you'll be working every weekend for the rest of the year.").
Well, needless to say (in hind sight) I "sealed my fate" that day when I spoke my mind to the store manager and from that point on, she was never again as laid back or as care free (or as friendly to me) as she had been just a couple of days earlier when we had worked together.
It just so happened that I did not see the store manager for about a week after our "intimidation" incident, do to our scheduled days off (what a blessing that was). In her absence, assistant manager #1., and assistant manager #2., ran the Goodwill store and I might add that even though they were both just learning their responsibilities, they were much more tactical (professional) at getting production out of the employees then the store manager was. When either one of them was in charge, I was proud (and delighted) to be a Goodwill employee; I went out of my way to meet or exceed their work assignment expectations.
Also during that week, I continued learning the material handler's way of doing things and became quite proficient at doing the job myself. I even learned the "ins and outs" of how to use a Tax-Donation-Receipt to file taxes with; I learned that from returning customers who had already filed their taxes and who willingly shared their experience with me.
Learning about Goodwill Industries (in general) was very interesting to me, thus, whenever I got on the Internet (all of my free hours are spent online), I started learning whatever I could about the company, in hopes of becoming more knowledgeable, and subsequently, more of an asset.
Things were going so well without the store manager around that assistant manager #1., bought pizza for everyone one day (out of her own pocket) because she felt that we employees had done an overall fantastic job and we deserved a special reward.
When assistant manager #2., ran the Goodwill store, she always went out of her way to thank me for completing my job related assignments in a timely manner (which included a special "thanks" for a job well done). Also, when assistant manager #2., the material handler and I worked together as a team in the donation-receiving-area, everything we did together, flowed along smoothly and efficiently. However, whenever the store manager was in charge of the Goodwill operations, there was always a crisis of some sort brewing. A crisis that only she could resolve; that was her way of demonstrating her (self-proclaimed) expertise.
Receiving Donated Items (What's Involved & How They're Handled)
Donations at the Goodwill store where I worked came in seven days a week, until 5 pm. in the evening. This particular Goodwill store was #3., in its district for sales and since total sales revenue is calculated by the retail marketing of donated merchandise, it's obvious how high the volume of incoming donations were at this store on any given day (especially on weekends).
When an individual brings a bag, box or container full of items to the Goodwill store to donate, the items are first inspected to make sure that none of them are on Goodwill's "Don't Take" list. Articles such as baby furniture, pet supplies, computer peripherals and accessories and of course, toxic and or flammable chemicals such as oil base paint - and canned cooking fuels (to name a few). The items are also inspected to see what condition they're in; if the condition of a donated item is such that it can not be marketed, merchandised or reused, it is not accepted as a donation. Note: This is how I was trained at the Goodwill store where I worked.
By the time I saw the store manager again, I had already learned the material handler's routine well enough to do the job myself and many times because I could handle the material handler's job, I was left on my own to run the donation-receiving-area (this was necessary because either the material handler would have a scheduled day off, or he would be assigned other duties inside the store).
I would like to point out here that do to the high volume of donations taken in at this particular store, oftentimes, there were donated items that could not be sorted or attended to by closing time. These unsorted items were always put in cardboard boxes and then placed on pallets and stored in a small utility building. This was a very proficient way of handling left over donations because they could be moved around quickly and worked on whenever time allowed.
The very next time that I worked with the store manager, she completely changed our routine of putting boxes of donations on pallets (which I might add, caused me problems because I was becoming very proficient at working with the pallets); for some asinine reason, the store manager didn't want the pallets inside the utility building anymore, she wanted all of the boxes of donations hand carried into the utility building (one by one) and placed on the floor. This made the job of cleaning up the donation-receiving-area (at closing time) more of a job than it needed to be and that didn't make any sense.
On Saturday, April 10, 2010 - we had a monthly Safety Meeting at the Goodwill store where I worked. Everyone who worked at this particular store showed up for the meeting except for the material handler. During the meeting, the store manager started talking about the video cameras that were positioned around the property for security purposes and she used the material handler as an example and ridiculed him in front of everyone by saying, "I tell you, I can see all of you working anytime I want to, in fact, a lot of times I see the material handler and I have to get on the intercom and ask him what is he doing - and why he isn't working?"
As the day wore on and we started accepting donations, it became very busy. I worked in the donation-receiving-area by myself until my first break and then the store manager and assistant manager #1., relieved me (what a joke that was). When I came back from my break, I noticed that all the store manager and assistant manager had done while I was gone was rummage through the unsorted textile box (incoming donated clothes) looking for fashionable items that could sell in the store immediately. Other items that they had taken in were scattered all over the receiving area and the place was starting to become an out of control mess.
When I took my lunch break, the same thing happened (nothing got done, organized or cleaned up) and it was as if they were setting me up to fail, knowning full well that I wouldn't be able to clean up the donation-receiving-area before I went home at 6 pm.; thereby leaving assistant manager #2., in charge and responsible for getting the store and donation-receiving-area back in order before she went home (a task that only an experienced manager could handle but this particular assistant manager was still in training).
After the store manager and assistant manager #1., punched out and went home for the day, assistant manager #2., told me to stop taking in donations and start cleaning up the donation-receiving-area, she also told me that I could take my last break at 5:30 pm. (I was scheduled to go home at 6 pm.).
I began cleaning up the area and at 5:30 pm., I approached assistant manager #2., and reminded her that it was my break time, she then said, "What time are you scheduled to go home today?"
I replied, "6 pm."
She then said, "Well, I guess that's when you'll be getting your last break because I'm not going to clean up all that mess out there by myself."
I then continued cleaning up the donation-receiving-area but barely finished by 6 pm., I then told assistant manger #2., that I had finished the job on time and with a sigh of relief, she said, "Thank you Ron, go ahead and clock out now."
After the store manager and assistant manager #1., pulled off their little caper the day of our Safety Meeting, I became very suspicious of Goodwill Industries as a whole. I mean - I'd already been told by the store manager that if I contacted the Human Resources Department, I wouldn't be believed (Section 3.), so by this time, I was beginning to question the integrity of anyone who wore a Goodwill ID., badge.
One day, while I was taking my lunch break, I could hear assistant manager #1., talking in the cubical next to me on the phone (she was in a good mood and so was I ). When she finished talking, I jokingly said the following, "I hope you're not on your cell phone, they're supposed to be turned off during working hours."
She immediately responded, "Well, don't call Human Resources and report me!"
I then said the following, "I've already been told by the store manager that calling Human Resources wouldn't do me any good because they wouldn't believe me anyway."
She then said, "You better not ever tell on us for anything or I'll never buy you pizza or chicken ever again Ron, and like my cousin always says, snitches get stitches!"
It must be pointed out here that assistant manager #1., was a personal friend of the store manager's; they had both transferred (at separate times) from another Goodwill store in the district to the one in question, after the previous managers were all terminated.
Note; All transfers have to be approved and arranged first by the Department Of Human Resources, so it's apparent that these two individuals were obviously in good standings with Goodwill Industries.
It didn't take me long to realize that I wasn't going to get any in depth or serious on the job training (OJT) at the Goodwill store where I worked but yet the store manager and assistant manager #1., were quick to pick my work apart and fabricate what they claimed were serious mistakes (my work was judged based on a no tolerance, 100 percent accuracy rate while the mistakes frequently made by anyone else who worked there were over looked and taken in causal stride).
Another thing that was very odd at the Goodwill store where I worked was that every time I returned from taking a scheduled day off, the sorting that I had done the day before was all mixed up again and in disarray; even boxes of glassware that I had carefully organized and taken out any chipped or broken pieces were damaged themselves and other non glassware items were mixed in with them.
I also found when I returned from a day off that there were items in the donation-receiving-area that were on Goodwill's "Don't Take" list (something that I would have been confronted about or reprimanded).
To Be Continued
I attest under penalty of perjury, bound by the laws of the state of California, that my statements are based on facts and that my testimony is neither fabricated nor convoluted. Rodney Lee Mitchell Jr.
This document was written, prepared and submitted by Rodney Lee Mitchell jr., no other person, business nor entity shall be deemed responsible or held liable for its content/written testimony. The order of events described in this document may or may not be in chronological order.