So.....it's been awhile; 2 years awhile...but something happened.
Don't worry nothing life or death but something that I haven't been able to wrap my head around completely. And it's been living inside my brain like a fish in a fishbowl. Going around and around, never ending. I can't keep living life like this, since really I had zero control over what happened.
Blogging was always a space for me to write about whatever, so I figured I'll just tell my story here. I hope that writing it out will help me process what happened....
I’ll take you back to about a month ago. I was working as a manager for a clothing company. I wasn't happy though. I was bored and over it. I had finally come to the realization that I was ready to leave the retail life forever. I started looking for jobs on Indeed.com mostly in social media / marketing since that is what my degree is in. I applied to various jobs I saw for social media / digital marketing, when I came across a job for a social media / marketing / wedding coordinator for a florist company in Newport Beach. The job posting was everything I was looking for and to get into the wedding industry was an extra bonus. I applied right away.
About an hour later I get an email back from the owner of the company Freddy saying to call him and he left his phone number. Me, being the type of person that I am, looked up the company. I read they were a family owned business for over 50 years and the #1 Wedding Florist in all Southern California. All the yelp reviews were great. I didn't really see any red flags or negatives. I called Freddy back and he told me he was walking into a meeting and to call him tomorrow.
I called him the next day in the morning. During our phone conversation he started explaining more about the position; how I would be doing all the social media and updating the website. He then asked me my experience and I told him. After about a 45-minute phone conversation he invited me in for an interview. I went in for my interview 2 days later at 8:30am.
I arrived early at 8:15am. The place was nothing like I expected. It was dirty, there was stuff on the floor everywhere, it was old and tacky. I felt like I had walked into the 1980s. There were large flat screen TVs everywhere, loudly playing interviews the owner had with brides about their flowers; over and over and over again. I know this because he had me wait until 9:00am until the actual interview started.
I walked into his office and sat down while he started to smoke. Again he went over the job, same thing as before. Talked about re-doing the website and about being on more social media sites. He talked about what he expected from me. He said he would set up a desk for me etc. I told him ideas I had already had and how excited I was to dive right in. It was a good interview to say the least. At the end of it he offered me the job as the companies only Marketing / Wedding Coordinator. We went over money and a schedule. Never once did he imply that this would be a training period or a contract job. He wanted me to start right away and he was offering me more money that my current job so I took the leap and accepted the job effective immediately.
I QUIT my current job and was ready to go. He told me for the first WEEK he just wanted me to be around the shop and get a feel on how everything runs. He said we would have a marketing meeting 2 weeks from then. I had already written down pages of ideas for the company and ways to improve business so I was really excited to get started.
I walk in on my first day and Freddy wasn’t there like he said he would be. An old man, lets call him Burt who could barely speak English and a young girl, lets call her Krista were working. I told them who I was and they just started at me. Burt then informed me that Freddy was in Florida until Tuesday (It was Saturday) and that he would call him to see what I should do.
Meanwhile, Krista comes over to me and hands me a broom and says I can start sweeping the front. No, it was not in my job title to be cleaning the shop but whatever I took the broom. I started sweeping when Burt came and took the broom out of my hands. He told me I didn't have to clean and to organize the front and greet customers when they come in.
So I did just that. About 15 minutes later Freddy calls the shop and wants to talk to me. He tells me NOT to clean or listen to what Krista says. He asks me if I am having a good time and if I am relaxed. I mention how they didn't know I was coming and I feel like there isn't anything for me to do considering he hadn't set up an office or anything for me yet. I had no access to a computer or the Internet. He told me to just hang around the shop and absorb everything.
He then informed me that his lawyer and his wife would be coming in to discuss their ideas on marketing for the shop. He also let me know that his lawyers wife, Brandi would be apart of the marketing as well. When I heard this my heart dropped a little. I didn’t know I was going to be working with someone else in regards to marketing, but I was curious as to what ideas she had as well. Freddy then said he would see me on Tuesday to discuss everything.
There was one thing that did stand out during our conversation. He told me not to talk to Krista. He said don't ask her anything about the company because she is just a kid and doesn't know anything. Of course I thought it was weird and unprofessional he would say that but I just said ok.
The lawyer and his wife were an hour late to our 1:00pm meeting. When they finally arrived they informed me they were in a hurry but just wanted to meet me real quick. They asked what ideas I had for the company and how I was going to take this business to the next level. I told them about some of my ideas pertaining to the website and their online presence. The lawyer and his wife both loved everything I was saying. We chatted for another 15 minutes about all the ideas we had and wanted to do. After the conversation I was even more excited about the future with this company. I was so happy we were all on the same page and I was excited to work with Brandi and execute all our ideas.
Besides my awesome meeting with the lawyer and his wife, I learned very little about the business except that most of their great yelp reviews come from customers who they offer discounts too. People were literally writing yelp reviews in the shop just to get $10 off flowers.
And then I was told this, from Krista of course:
“Freddy pays all his employees under the table. He never has you fill out a W2 or anything.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. This guy actually runs this huge company but is paying all his workers under the table?!
I started to do that thing in your mind when you want to believe something so you start convincing yourself of it. I told myself that Krista was a liar and was just starting trouble. I tried to convince myself that maybe Freddy only pays his florists under the table and it will be different for me. I thought about the meeting I had with his lawyer and thought there is no way anything illegal can be going on with his lawyer being present in the company like that.
I was so annoyed, but it was my first day and Freddy wasn't there so I just pushed that comment to the back of my mind.
After my first day, Burt told me to come back on Tuesday when Freddy would be back. So I went home a little discouraged, hoping things would be better Tuesday.
Tuesday comes. I get there at 9am. Freddy isn't there until 2pm. There are 2 different people who also couldn't speak English very clearly working who I never met. They of course did not know I was coming. However, I couldn't call Freddy because he was on a flight from Florida. I was so very frustrated at this point. What is this company!? How can a company that is suppose to be the best florist in Southern California be this unorganized?! I wanted to scream.
BUT being the nice girl that I am I asked if there was anything I could do to help them. These 2 other people, lets call them Matt & Jan were running around frantically to clean the place before Freddy got there. Matt hands me a broom and says I can sweep. Even though Burt and Freddy both told me not to clean, I still did it because hey I'm a team player.
Now remember when I said the place was so dirty. There was stuff, mostly flowers, on the floor everywhere. So of course if I am going to sweep, I am going to sweep good, none of this ass half shit. So I am sweeping and actually getting the carpet clean when Matt comes over to me and tells me that I am sweeping wrong. Excuse me? I didn't know there was a correct way to sweep. He then goes on to tell me HOW TO SWEEP. I stopped him mid sentence and told him if he wants it swept a certain way then he can sweep it. He told me I was sweeping way too slow and that there were other things that needed to be done. So I said what else has to be done since you don't like the way I sweep. He then says the bathroom needs to be cleaned.
That was it.
I dropped the broom. I told him I was hired to do the online marketing. Not to clean the bathroom. He went on to say everybody has to clean the bathroom. I reminded him that Freddy the owner specifically told me on Saturday not to clean. Maybe that was in his job description but it wasn't in mine. I told him I would wait until Freddy got there.
So that's what I did. I waited. I made sure to stay busy by greeting the very few customers that came in. I studied the website and wrote down more ideas I had for the company.
At 2:00pm Freddy finally comes. However, he tells me he has a meeting right now and to go deliver flowers to a house and then go to lunch and that we will talk when I get back from lunch.
I get back from lunch and the delivery at 3:00pm. He's in the middle of doing 10 things at once. Around 4:00pm he finally gets me to go grab something to drink and talk about the company because he felt it was too loud in the shop.
We arrive at a local nice restaurant and he pulls right into the handicap spot and pulls out a handicapped sign. Maybe he was handicapped before, but he defiantly seemed fine now. So we go inside and order something to drink. During this hour meeting he talks about himself, a lot, the company, and what he wants from me. To be honest I felt like we had this conversation 3 times already: once over the phone, once in person during the interview and now here. I got out my notebook to take notes because I wanted to absorb as much information as possible. He told me to put it away and relax. He asks me my thoughts on his lawyer and Brandi. I told him how great our meeting went and how we all have the same ideas. After our 'business meeting' if you can call it that, we went back to the shop and he told me it was time to go home for the day.
3rd day. Came in at 9am. What Krista said about being paid under the table was still haunting my mind. I was having nightmares about asking him. It was giving me complete anxiety. I was hoping my 3rd day would be the day the W2s would be filled out and all the other paperwork you have to fill out when joining a new business. That did not happen.
I come in and Freddy is on the phone in his office with the door locked. Matt is there prepping flowers. He doesn't acknowledge me. I still have no desk, no computer, nothing. It being my 3rd day I didn't know what to do so I just greeted customers. I was also sent on another flower delivery.
About 2 hours later of doing random stuff around the shop he calls me to his office. He first starts off by asking what I have learned about the company. So I tell him. He then goes on to say how he is not going to be changing the website. (Okay, that’s what I was hired for I think to myself). He goes on to tell me that he does not care to be on the social media sites. That he does not agree with all this technology and online crap. He does not want any new online marketing. All he cares about is getting brides in the shop to sign and spend money.
I was so confused because I was hired to do the online marketing and social media. In the interview he specially told me he wanted me to re-do his website. I had a meeting with his lawyer and lawyers wife Brandi about the online marketing. And now he's saying no?! I stared at him blankly and asked him what is it he wanted me to do then? He then said get brides in here to sign and spend money.
I knew this wasn't going to end well.
Then all of a sudden in the middle of him talking about getting money from the brides, he pulls out his wallet stuffed with cash. He pulls out my time cards. He starts to calculate my hours for my first day. He then hands me cash and goes on to tell me that we get paid every week. I asked him if being paid cash was always how I was going to be paid and he said for now. Before I could even get a word out he says to me
'You're a nice girl, but you're not cut out for this business.’
He goes on to tell me that Brandi, his lawyers wife is going to take over the online marketing (even though he literally just said he didn’t want any online marketing) and he hands me cash for my remaining day and half of work and tells me that he will have Brandi call me in a few days and sends me on my way.
Brandi never called. But I knew she wasn’t going to call. I knew once I asked about being paid under the table that was it for me.
What I am having trouble wrapping my brain around the most is how somebody can do this to another person. I quit my job for this man and that company. I have rent and bills to pay. Never once did I think this was going to turn out how it did. I found the job on Indeed.com nonetheless.
And now here I am, unemployed, looking for jobs because why? I trusted somebody? Is this really the cruel type of world we live in today?
I thought writing this all out would make me feel better.....
It did not.
Be careful who you trust.