Innocent Tardiness or Blatant Disregard

window cleaning businessAs I waited in line at the grocery store check-out last week, I overhead the cashier telling the person in front of me about being late to work due to the snow. I only half-listened as everyone was late that morning with a storm hitting and causing white out conditions right at rush hour. In fact, by 8:45 a.m. it was over and the sun was shining.

Then, what she said next snapped me out of my quiet reverie. 

It’s no big deal. I just call. I am 15 minutes late all the time. As long as I call, the managers never care.

Hmmmm … I didn’t say anything, but I turned that statement around in my head over and over and over. It bugged me. When I go to work, if I am not 15 minutes EARLY, I consider myself late. Maybe its just my generation. Maybe that’s old school.

Now, I should tell you that this particular grocery store, while a large chain across several states, is small. There are only 8 lanes and maybe 2 or 3 cashiers working during off hours. It wasn’t a huge, mega store where one person is a drop in a nameless bucket.

When you own and/or manage a small business, you need everybody on hand that was scheduled to be on hand. Sure, being sick, bad weather and pregnant wives can all slow a person down and managers get that. We are all human. This wasn’t the odd mishap though. This was a laissez-faire attitude about when to show up for work. An “I’ll-get-there-when-I-can” vibe. It was as if she said, “What are they gonna do? Fire me?” Sooner or later that manager is going to say something. Or, at least, I hope.

What do you think? How do you feel when your staff shows up late on a regular basis? How do your customers feel about tardiness? And, more importantly, what do you do? Do you fire them? Do you care?

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