Worlds Worst Boss Stories

Everyone has someone they worked for at one time or another that they can one day look back on and question “why did I ever work for that guy?”.

One time when I was suddenly unemployed, I interviewed for manager work with a small chain that was growing rapidly in a couple of states. The owner of this pub chain was not known as a restaurateur before he started his company,  and the money to open so many stores so quickly was rumored to have come from some, shall we say, non-traditional sources.  They were hiring,  but clearly not hiring enough managers to keep pace with growth and certainly not paying enough money to keep them from leaving soon afterwards.  I ended up being one of two managers working  in one store, working seven shifts a week. In order to have two days off each manager needed to work two doubles in a row. A quality of life schedule it was not.

One night a manager at another unit called with a chilling story to tell. Apparently when closing down the kitchen, the cooks had emptied the fryolators to clean them, draining them into large cooking pots, which held the hot oil until it could be placed back in the clean fryer.

One of the cooks had a cigarette lighter in his shirt pocket along with his smokes. When he leaned over the pot of hot oil, the lighter dropped into it. Someone was quick thinking enough to put a sheet pan over the top of the pot, but apparently the cook decided to try to fish the lighter out with a strainer, removed the sheet pan top, and that is when the lighter exploded.

The resulting spewing hot oil apparently burned the cook leaning in pretty badly. There was no official announcement of the incident to anyone in the company but the news got around.  Quickly.

Fast forward to the next night, when the owner of the pub chain paid an unexpected visit to my store.  He approached me on the floor, clearly had no idea of my name, and put his arm around my shoulder.  As I awaited some private communication and confirmation of the incident, or some news of the creation of a fund for the injured party,  or some assurances upper management cared for and would work to eliminate risks like this in the future, he raised his voice and nearly shouted  “if any of your fucking cooks have a cigarette lighter in their pocket,  fucking fire them”.  At which point he walked away and our one way interaction ended.

Four years later (how it lasted even that long I cannot even guess)  the company filed for bankruptcy.WWB


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