Thursday, January 2, 2014

An Open Letter of Complaint to Crossgates Mall

Dear Crossgates Mall,

Please close the mall when there is a state-of-emergency across all of New York State.

Before you think I'm just some 20-something retail person who hates their job and would rather spend their time shopping instead of working, I'm not. I take shifts whenever anyone needs a day off and I almost never ask for time off. During the last snowstorm, I almost killed myself driving to work just to make it there to open on time.

Today there was 10 inches of snowfall. The roads were barely plowed and the parking lot was a disaster area. On days like these, the majority of shoppers are the ones who work in the mall and are detained there relatively against their will.

First thing I did when I got to work was, well, start working. I expected that the mall wouldn't close thanks to Corporate America running everything. About an hour into my shift my manager gave me a call because she heard about the state-of-emergency on the radio. She gave me a direct order to call the mall office, which I did.

First I spoke to security, then I was transferred to "mall management." Who I was actually transferred to was the customer service girl who agreed she thought the mall should close, but she had no authority to do so. She said if a store's home office allowed them to close, then the mall would not fine them. Then she told me that all of the mall managers left the mall already.

I started to get really angry. Even in a state-of-emergency, they refused to close the mall, but every one of the mall managers could get home while it was still relatively light outside. The state-of-emergency urged people to get off the roads after 5, and many of the highways were closing at midnight. I understand this is the northeast, but it was not a dusting. This was ten inches of snow.

Other retail associates were stopping by and seeing when I was closing my gate, but I had nowhere to turn. Another hour passed and about 18 stores had closed. I stepped into the hall and a store manager said every store who closed early was being fined after all, so I had been lied to an hour earlier.

My manager called me again saying she wrote a complaint on the mall's Facebook page, but they were deleting the complaints on their page. BAD JUJU, CROSSGATES COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR! You should NEVER delete messages from your Facebook page!

The mall's security was rude to many of the associates that stopped in to speak to me. Everything about tonight showed how much you care about money. Obviously, you care exponentially more about money than the people that work there. We all risked our lives driving to and from work. We could have easily spent our last hours on earth in an empty retail store in a mall.

So thank you Crossgates, for wasting my time. You really have compassion for the people who work in your mall. Next time, remember that WE are the building blocks to your mall. If we all got in car wrecks on the way home, would you be compensating us for making us stay late? What if we were all killed? Who would open the stores that pay YOU rent?

Just think about us retail workers next time.

Sincerely,
Alli Dillenbeck

39 comments:

  1. This is a great post. You should write into the Times Union or another local paper. This should make the news. Great points. I used to to work at Lindt, and I remember feeling similarly.

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  2. Tell Walmart the same thing! I dont personally work at the moment due to being on bed rest until further notice but my husband does and he had to risk his safety to get to work and home yesterday because even after the home office called the store manager 3 times and told him that he needed to close down the store if storm was too bad and roads were dangerous he refused to do anything. I wouldve sued the crap out of walmart had something happened to my husband while on his way to or from work.

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  3. I work at Jcp and being an anchor store we have to communicate with the crossgates to tell them we are closing. We closed at 8 and I was asked by a manger to call the mall to see when and if they were closing at 7 the girl that I got ahold of said 930! I was so shocked and pissed bc our own district store closed at 5! 5!!!!!!! Just ridiculous crossgates NO ONE SHOPS DURING SNOW STORMS.

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  5. State of emergency? Simple answer... Stay home, go home! Not that hard to figure out Crossgates! Want to know who should have been fined? All those dick wad manager's who left their employee's in harms way! There was no reason to stay open. All your shopper's were smart enough to stay home and not risk their lives for a material item! Crossgates should have valued their employee's lives in the same manner! Shame on you Crossgates - shame on you!!!

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  6. It makes absolutely no sense! It costs a fortune for electricity, operation fees & staffing & I'm sure there were no shoppers!!!! Not only the danger factor for staff & mall security...but it's like throwing money down the sewer...Also, the lawsuits for slip & falls in the parking lot would be insane!!!!

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  7. I very much agree with this post, you should definitely post on either the times union or some other local newspaper. I was working in Colonie center Thursday night, where we did eventually close but not until 8:45 which is merely forty five minutes before we are regularly scheduled to close. With no shoppers in the mall it seemed like more of a waste to be burning electricity and paying employees to merely babysit their merchandise for the entire day!

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  8. I would submit that in any employment tribunal given the Governor's state-of-emergency decree, Ms Dillenbeck would win. I recommend that she seek counsel if she continues to believe it her duty to report to work under such conditions in the future.

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  9. Someone posted a link to this on my Facebook timeline, and I will do my part by sharing it! This is ridiculous!!

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  10. Get 4WD and stop complaining. You had 6 months to move out of a state that gets snow. I happen to shop in snow storms, you know why? Because I WENT TO WORK, needed something on my way home. Wanted coffee on my long drive home, people were at Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, Burger King, dollar store, and so on... they all came in to "risk their life" for a low paying job. And guess what? You can risk your life any day driving, snow or no snow. If I can make it from Grafton to Albany in a snowstorm, other people can also. If I can make it from Grafton to Jiminy Peak the 4 years I've worked there through high school in a rear wheel drive car in the snow, other people can also. But I also work in the medical field now and some people would be pretty screwed if nobody showed up to work. Point is, SOME of us haul our asses to work and don't complain about it because there's a thing called "good work ethic".

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. 4WD doesn't do shit. And some of us are unable to relocate due to certain reasons. And I called out of work even with 4WD since driving in those conditions was not worth the risk

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    3. Hey babes, I made it fine and I'm 22 years old. Suck it up.

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    4. 4WD doesn't do squat for you if the weather is really bad. It gives you a false sense of security. 4WD can only do so much. I have a vehicle with 4WD, doesn't mean I won't end up on the side of the road.

      Medical field? That's great.Congrats :) Not all of us can make it in the medical field. I know I can't but that's fine. I leave it to those who can. Hospitals should stay open all the time. They're important after all. Helping people who need help. But during a snowstorm and a state of emergency, should a shopping mall be closed or close early? YES.

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    5. Listen Marissa, no one is saying that the city has to shut down in lieu of inclement weather. We are simply saying that there comes a time during these horrible weather circumstances where a management team needs to clean off their glasses and take a look to see who is really benefiting from the mall remaining open. There was a point in which the snow removal was not successful and it actually made it more difficult to leave. So, no one was complaining about the work they were doing, Just making others aware of the unfortunate selfishness on the part of the mall. So, again Marissa. Really appreciate your story about the stupid decisions you make by choosing to drive to "grab a cup of coffee" in the middle of a foot of snowfall. I hope you don't make those same choices while your working. I really pray you don't take this attitude into the back of an ambulance. It's very scary to think that one day my life might be in the hands of someone who "hauls their ass to work" to save lives.

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    6. Marissa, how many of your co-workers in the ER complain about the ''idiots'' out driving during state of emergencies and ending up under their care? I am completely thankful for the medical field employees who are there 24/7/365. Keep in mind that if you work in a hospital and a state of emergency keeps you from going home, you have a building full of beds to rest up; those of us who work in retail or fast food don't have that luxury.

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    7. Gee, Marissa, you're 22 and sooo wise!! Would have never guessed!!! Update us in 10 years when life has kicked you in the ass a few times.

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    8. Again, if I was able to do it in rear wheel drive to my high school job in a snowstorm, other people can also. You all just need to take the chainsaw out of your ass. This is what you get when you live in upstate NY. Not really a surprise we get snow every year.

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    9. And Deidre dear, "It's very scary to think that one day my life might be in the hands of someone who "hauls their ass to work" to save lives"...how is that scary? What's scary is when you're dropping dead and everybody was too pussy to drive in the snow. Wah.

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    10. And you clearly can't read Deidre. I grabbed a cup of coffee because I wasn't a pussy and went to work. Didn't purposely drive in a storm to get a cup. I'm not the only one who disagrees with this letter and I don't take back anything I said.

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    11. That's because you are 22 and clearly do not understand what "essential" vs. "non-essential" employees are. Let me educate you...police, fire, ambulance = emergent (ie: if you work in these fields you are on 24/365 duty). Retail, food service & education are NON-ESSENTIAL (ie: if you work in these professions & the Governor closes the state for "non-essential" personnel you go home without fear of repercussions). Now, I find it truly hard to believe that someone who is in the medical field & can get their 4WD to magically transfer to traction control can't work a coffee machine...but then again I know plenty of college graduates with no brains.

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    12. OK. First of all I work in neither fire or ambulance. So I suggest you read more a of post before commenting it can be very important. More places than just the mall stayed open, but you don't see those people making a public stink about it. And did I add I drove to my NON-ESSENTIAL job when I was 16 in a rear wheel drive car? Yup, sure did. Did I bitch about it? Nope. The only people who don't have a problem over this stupid story are the people who just deal with it. But good job on the judgements, SingleForever. I'm sure the name says it all.

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    13. LOL Marissa don't even worry about it. Such uneducated people who don't know you aren't worth explaining it to them in Barney terms.

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  11. I gotta chime in here and say that I also think they should close in these circumstances. It's not like they're going to be making money.....the vast majority of people who need something at the mall will wait until the bad weather is over to go there. In fact, it's probably a money losing proposition because you're paying overhead, staff, etc. to keep the store(s) open when there are no customers. From a business perspective it doesn't make sense. And when you add in the risk to staff safety, particularly when NYS declares a state of emergency, activates the EOC and tells everybody to avoid non-essential travel to allow the road crews to handle the road clean up, closing up and sending people home is pretty much a no-brainer.

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  12. Why didn't the owners of your chain just close the store! If the mall closed early I wonder how many stores would ask for a rebate of their rent especially if the retailer wanted to stay open to scrape the few dollars available. Stores and malls have legal lease contracts that specify hours of operation. If the roads are bad and there is a state of emergency stay home. Cant operate a store with no employees.

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  13. And one more thing: The girl who wrote this article is not very intelligent. Just because you're panties are in a bundle over the damn mall closing, doesn't mean post it all over for people to see. So the jokes on you junior, I'm sure future employers will love to hear how you bad mouthed Crossgates. Imagine what you'll do with them! I wouldn't hire your whiney ass.

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  14. Writing an article and voicing an opinion is not intelligent? I disagree. Writing an article about something absolutely mindless and stupid would not have been intelligent. Such as "UGH I hated work today because of this customer. I mean really, how stupid can they be! Blah blah blah" Now that would be a stupid article. However, writing an article that involves the safety of many employees who work at a large mall and the mall not closing during a snowstorm during a "State of Emergency". Now I consider that intelligent. Things like that need to be voiced or there will not be any change. Nothing gets done or changed unless someone speaks up.

    I am well aware we live in the North East. I'm well aware we get freezing temperatures, snow, ice, sleet etc. I deal with it. We all deal with it. But you know what? If there is a state of emergency, there should be certain places that are required to be closed down for the safety of everyone (and to keep people OUT of the hospital!)

    It takes employees to open Crossgates, a large portion of those employees drive, thus making the highway even busier and more dangerous leading to a larger amount of car accidents. Just because you have your four wheel drive on and you're driving carefully does not mean you would not be involved in an accident that could take your life or your loved ones.

    As for hiring her "whiney ass", I doubt she would work for you anyways. Others however may see her as speaking up as an important quality in a worker. Speaking up brings changes. And hopefully those changes will keep people out of the hospital. That is the most important thing.

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    1. People should know better to see how social media can destroy your future in careers. If she posts a story bitching about having to go to work in the snow, (oh my bad, "state of emergency" because of the temperatures, not because of the 10 inches of snow like we used to get every winter) that is showing future employers how much damage she can do to their business. It's slander. Did I ever bitch and write one big ass article about having to drive to my job in high school in my 2wd Chevy? Nope. People like this come across as high maintenance then feel like they're God afterwards for "Like O-M-G I'm soooo popular now for giving Crossgates a bad name." Don't be a girl about it. If you CAN'T drive in the snow (2wd, 4wd doesn't matter) then don't drive in it! If you're scared to drive in the snow, don't drive in it. It's the nervous wreck-don't know how to handle a vehicle in inclimate weather-people who cause the damn accidents to begin with. Learn what you're doing or get off the road. And I suggest before giving businesses this type of slander you learn a little about what professionalism is.

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    2. And other people agree with me but didn't have the balls to actually say anything. MAN UP!

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    3. Well I sure as hell wouldn't want some whiney ass workin for me either! God forbid something small happens and next thing you know someone's taking the time out to write a blog online about it. Can't even have the balls to face management..smh

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  15. I am speaking on behalf of those who DID go to work in the storm, non-important jobs and important jobs. First off, you must have known the weather. Unless you're a hermit, you knew it was going to be shit. Why didn't you just call out instead of making a big fuss and news story about it? That MUST mean everyone who was at McDonald's, Starbucks, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Walmart, Dominos, Red Lobster, Olive Garden (because who goes out to eat in a snow storm, right? Because who "shops in a snow storm") Wendy's, Taco Bell, nail salons, hair salons, the list can go on..that must mean they can post obnoxious stories about how they had to drive to work TOO!

    Second: Really? Making a big deal out of something deleted off of a FACEBOOK PAGE? It is their page. They can block, report, remove what they please. It's sad so many people these days make a big deal about FACEBOOK and have their lives revolve around it.

    And lastly: Yes, managers can leave early. Do you know why? Because they are managers. Until you learn that when you're at the bottom of the totem pole, you will never survive in the working world. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact you're probably in your mid-twenties and still work at a retail store.

    The end. Some of you people are pathetic. And for everyone else that just dealt with it, kudos!

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    1. Bottom Line.

      People who don't need to risk their lives during a state of emergency shouldn't have to risk their lives. Life vs Death.

      THAT is what it comes down to.

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    2. Exactly. So don't go to work instead of going then bitch about how you couldn't leave. It's really not rocket science.

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    3. Wow, you really don't get it. This is not about one person. This is about everyone in the mall who didn't know what they could do because of the lack of communication on behalf of the mall. Look at the bigger picture.

      I am grateful no one died because of the lack of communication. I pray that the next time a mall or some other stuck up establishment who puts their money before their employees does not get hurt or dies. Seems extremes are the only way to change people's opinions after the fact and there is a body in the ground.

      I'm done with commenting on this. Crossgates was in the wrong with this particular event, I'm not saying everything they do is in the wrong, but this time, they were.

      -Goodnight-

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    4. Then quit your damn job if you don't like it or the rules. Don't go making a public stink about it. I know people who went to work at small places like the Home Depot for God's sake and didn't bitch about them not closing early. Again, with all the other small/useless businesses in the capital region that serve no purpose being open in a snow storm. Normal people just deal with it.

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  16. Hi Alli,

    With all respect, it sounds like you may be under-employed.

    My name is Ray and I am a Recruiter for Time Warner Cable and I have a couple of available opportunities I would like to run past you. If you have any interest feel free to give me a call at 518-640-8768. If not, then I sincerely wish you the best in all your future endeavors.

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  17. Good for you!

    Coincidentally, we had similar issues during our last storm. Here's our story from Manchester, CT.

    http://fiveminutestilmidnight.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/tugboat-how-to-be-one-and-why/

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  18. I agree with everything Marissa has to say. The majority of the people bitching are the ones who either work at the mall or know people who work there. Shut up please and thank you. Go find something else to bitch about I'm sure it won't be too long until you find something!

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