Since our new director has been here, she has been changing some of the rules of the Emma Center and tightening up on others, mostly to enable better tracking of goods in and out and services rendered, and as a way to cut down on “inventory leakage” in the food pantry.
One rule change is that clients are no longer allowed to go back into the food pantry, nor are they allowed to go back and cherry-pick whatever foodstuffs they want. The previous director had allowed this, and it had the unfortunate end result that all of the “good stuff” would disappear in no time, leaving only staples and less popular items for those who came afterward. Plus, when clients are back in the pantry, extra items sometimes mysteriously end up in their food box. Please note that, as in most cases like this, the majority of clients DID NOT contribute to these problems. But it only takes a few abusers to cripple the entire system.
Now, of course, if clients have dietary restrictions or preferences (vegetarian, diabetic, religious restrictions, etc) we will be more than happy to accommodate them. And if there’s anything in their box they aren’t going to eat, they are welcome to remove it and ask for a replacement (provided they’re not being a butt about it).
But bottom line: no more shopping – no exceptions.
Yesterday a client came in who had been a habitual shopper under the old rules. As he put it, “I’ve always been able to go back and get what I want.” When I told him he couldn’t go back to the pantry with me, he started to make a fuss.
I calmly explained to him that our new director has instituted some new rules and that was one of them – no more clients in the back, and no more shopping. Well, he demanded to speak to the director, who out of the office at the time. I told him that he was welcome to wait or come back later when she was here and if she wanted to allow him to go back, I was fine with that – but barring her say-so, I wasn’t going to let him go back because my instructions were clear and unambiguous.
He was not happy.
After ranting at me for a bit, he huffed off to speak with our volunteer office manager, and I busied myself with another client. Eventually, he came huffing and puffing back through the office and out the door, telling me to remove his name from the client list and that this was why he didn’t come up and volunteer anymore, because of all these new changes and how unhappy he is with how everything’s so different now. (Not that anyone has seen him volunteering for quite some time, mind you, although he has been a regular food box recipient.)
[He repeated and repeatedly emphasized this request to remove his name from our files. From this I gather that I was supposed to be stricken with remorse and contrition at the thought of losing such a wonderful client, but I fear I failed to summon the necessary degree of emotion.]
After he left, the volunteer came up to me and told me that he had come up to her to go behind my back and see if he could make any headway with her, telling her that, “That other girl has an attitude.” 😀
Of course, he got the same story from her as he did from me – new director, new rules, no shopping, no clients in the back, no exceptions.
That attitude stuff must be catching. Stupid attitude.