Violence at work just seems like a statistic until it affects you personally.
I was working part time in a convenience store while I was still serving in the United State Marine Corps.
I had the 11 pm to 7 am shift on Friday and Saturday nights. For some reason I really enjoyed this job. My responsibilities included cleaning - restocking - and picking up the parking lot during the night.
The store was located in a state that did not allow for alcoholic beverages to be sold after midnight or on Sunday. So the stores policy was to place a locked chain through the coolers that the beer was located in. We would place the chain on the coolers right at midnight.
The penalty for selling after the allowable time was very high.
One night it was very busy - but fortunately I was able to get the chain and lock on the coolers at midnight.
Shortly after midnight five young adults - in their twenties
I’m guessing - came through the doors rapidly. One of them placed a
$50 dollar bill on the counter while I was still ringing someone else up
- and as he laid in down he said that this was for two cases of beer.
Even though I was finishing with the customer - I said to him - I am sorry Sir - it is after midnight and I am not permitted to sell you the beer.
He turned and looked at me intensely and said - oh - you will sell me the beer or I will kick your bleep!
The Marine in me - was trying to remain calm - and for the most part I was successful - as I repeated to him again - I am sorry Sir - but if I sell you the beer I could get fined and or fired and the store could loose it’s license.
He repeated what he said earlier - only this time he began
walking back toward the counter. The other customers in the store began
to clear out.
Again - the Marine in me - as stupid as it was - was holding firm in my stance - I was not going to voluntarily sell the alcohol.
As he turned and was walking back to the counter - the other guys with him had went into the cooler from the employees entrance - and grabbed two cases of beer.
The one threatening me started to come around the entrance of the counter area where I was at. As he did - I picked up the telephone and dialed the number for the police department. This was at a time this area did not have the 911 telephone number implemented. Just my luck!
I dialed the number posted on the telephone for the police - and a lady answered the phone saying - hello. Now I was no dummy - so I knew right away that I had reached a regular person - and not the police.
Too late - the person now was standing right by me telling me how he was going to kick my bleep - so I just pretended as though I had reached the police department and began telling this poor lady on the other end - Yes my name is Greg and I have 5 men in my store located at xyz location and they are threatening me with violence - please send a car ASAP.
This whole time the lady on the other end was going what - what - I don’t understand - you have reached the wrong number.
Well it seemed to have worked - the men picked up their $50 dollar bill and left the beer on the counter - and left the store.
I could not believe I had pulled it off - when I knew that I had reached the wrong number. I was afraid if I had tried to hang up and redial - he would not have let me - and a fight would have been on - and I would have most likely been on the loosing end of it.
The fortunate part was although the police arrived late - a customer that came to the store often had been there and called the police for me.
As I have gotten much older - I have also gotten wiser. I would never have done the same thing today. I would have said the same thing the first time - but once they threatened me I would have made the sell and then called the police after they left.
I clearly understand that violence at work can happen - and one must be ready to make the right decision.
Thank you and may God Bless you!