I am typically a very non-confrontational person. I don't really get into arguments with people. I may disagree with you, but unless we're really, really close I'll probably just nod along with pretty much whatever you're saying (unless I'm bored and you say something stupid in a Facebook status). I'm go along to get along is what I'm saying.
But as I've gotten older, I've developed a bit more of a backbone, and despite my fear of confrontation, I've gotten a little better at standing up for myself. There are two certain ways to ensure that I will fight back: 1) Deny me something that I am owed or 2) Treat me like I'm an idiot.
Recently, an individual has done not one, but both of those things, and I am FURIOUS. Like, can't fall asleep at night because I can't stop stewing over it furious. So, I'm going to vent about it here, because isn't that what blogging is all about? Venting and pictures of your baby/cat/dog?
So, let's start at the very beginning. I was contacted at the end of 2011 about working for a sitting service in the Carolinas who contracts with the military to provide childcare at Strongbonds--military sponsored weekends where active duty members and their spouses are sent away for a marriage strengthening retreat. The pay was decent for the Charleston area, so I started working for them. The payment approach was a bit frustrating--the company bills the military, then waits for the money to come through, then pays the sitters. So there was typically about a 30 day waiting period before I would get my check, but not a huge deal.
On April 14th and 15th, I worked an event in North Charleston, and when I went to log my hours with the site director, she had already put away her tracking sheet, so she had me write them on the back of a piece of paper. I spent the next 30 days waiting for my check, and on May 14th, we drove off to Baltimore to begin our overseas move. We set up mail forwarding to begin on that day, and haven't had an issue receiving any of our mail, but a check never arrived from the sitting service.
On June 6th, I wrote a polite email, explaining when I had worked, where I had worked, that it was possible my hours had been lost since they weren't entered on an official log sheet, and inquiring as to whether a check had ever been sent or if one could be resent to my new address. I included my APO address in Germany, and explained that an envelope would just need correct domestic postage to arrive here.
Two weeks later, on June 21st, I still hadn't heard anything from the business owner, so I forwarded the email again, including a new message saying that I had sent the following email previously and never heard anything back nor received a check. I asked that someone respond as soon as possible.
Nearly two weeks later, on July 1st, I was fed up and at a loss for what else to do. This company owed me a sizeable paycheck, and was completely incommunicado. I wrote a third email stating that this was the third time I had reached out to the company about the missing paycheck, and that if I didn't hear anything back or receive a check by Friday July 6th, I would be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. (In researching how to go about filing a complaint, I noted that there was already one previous complaint registered on this companies record.)
Surprise, surprise, I heard back from the woman five minutes later with the following message:
Your check was returned - we will not be held responsible for an incorrect address! We have physical proof that it was mailed. If you file a false complaint, you could be sued for libel or slander.
That was it. Although they had been contacted by me twice, so had my contact information, no one had ever inquired as to whether they had a correct address (which they did, because I gave it to them in my first email), or informed me that they were unable to get my payment to me. Instead, she seemed to think that though I had inquired TWICE about my paycheck, she wasn't liable to pay me because the envelope was returned.
So, I wrote her back simply stating that I had sent her my address and two previous emails that went ignored, and she could send me the check or I would file the complaint.
Her response (I'm quoting because god forbid I get sued for putting words in her mouth):
You received a response bc it is a down week and I have time to answer ridiculous emails. We sent it to yiour (sic) new address - returned - not our issue or mistake.
Well, first I was annoyed because I hadn't been paid for a weekend of work. NOW I was livid because evidently my desire to be paid was deemed "ridiculous". The thing is, if you are going to run a company and your method of payment is to mail checks, then you need to make sure that you properly mail the freaking check. It IS her issue that that the check was returned, because as an employer, she owes me money. Had I given her the incorrect address, I could certainly hold part of the blame, but I gave her the correct address not once but TWICE, as well as instructions on how to apply postage since many people become understandably confused by APO addresses.
I went nuclear. I told her I didn't understand why she was being so rude and unprofessional. I gave her my correct address again. I told her that all her next email should say was that she was sending my check and I would acknowledge receipt, but I would not be continuing the discussion in any other manner. I told her that my next step should I not receive payment would be to file the BBB complaint.
You threatened me first with an untrue statement. Don't threaten me, my business or my integrity. I do not appreciate it and will not be disrespected. I will have a payroll person contact you on Monday. This will be my last response to you. Any further phone calls or email correspondence from you will be immediately deleted and/or not opened.
What I wanted to respond with was that I had never at any point in my emails made an untrue statement. I absolutely question her integrity, and I felt that I was being disrespected far more than she, being that she was in the position of power. But I didn't respond at all. And not surprisingly, no one from payroll ever contacted me on Monday or Tuesday.
Since I was informed that any contact from me would be ignored, the only course of action I see open to me is to give her a week to get me my check, and then follow through with my complaint to the Better Business Bureau. I'm obviously to the point where I need a mediator and I refuse to engage with her lack of professionalism any further. I honestly have no idea how she manages to run a business with the attitude and business practices displayed above.
It was also interesting how that entire email exchange following my third email took place over the course of 3 1/2 hours--and it only took that long because I was out to dinner with friends for part of it. But after ignoring me for almost a month, she certainly did become prompt in her email responses.
So, that was the pièce de résistance of the past week from Hell. I figured it couldn't get any worse after that, and I was right. This week has been going quite smoothly, and I'm looking forward to celebrating the 4th of July tomorrow with our friends. I'm also kind of childishly hoping the check doesn't arrive, because at this point, I am just RARING to go on that BBB complaint. Also, I might need a lawyer...