I am told, by my manager, that once a year, corporate comes out and inspects the store. They take pictures of EVERYTHING, they check your inventory, they inspect the salespeople, they quiz the owners. I am told, by my manager, that last year when corporate came, they fined the store for not having certain core products, fined the store for selling non-approved products, fined the store for having non-approved signs, and gave the store warnings for having dust on the foot machines, and having the boxes on the shelves not-perfectly spaced. They come in, terrorize you for an hour, and leave you crying and worrying about fines and warnings.
So this year, corporate came back. The entire week before I cleaned like crazy. The whole store, top to bottom, was scrubbed, vacuumed, dusted, sprayed, polished and perfectly arranged. The entire week before, I had no free time. The entire week before I had to listen to my boss tell me about corporate inspection, my manager tell me about corporate inspection, and my co-worker tell me about corporate inspection. OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I have the horror story memorized verbatim.
The day before, we loaded up non-approved products and signs in the truck to hide them. We made fake POs to pretend we had core products on order. We cleaned like fiends. Oh, by the way, by "we" I mean "me and co-worker". Like the boss or manager would do anything but complain.
The day of, I arrive at work to find "corporate" is already there. "Corporate" is one person, a very nice looking, small woman with a very loud laugh that sounds like she's crying. She is SO NICE.
My manager called in sick that day (coward), co-worker has no idea what is going on, and my boss got an urgent phone call and had to leave. Corporate comes out and talks to me. We talk about her plane trip, the store she used to work in, my training as a massage therapist, and good places to eat around here. She leaves to get lunch and comes back to work on her laptop.
Now I am in a pickle; I think I'm supposed to look busy, but there are no customers coming in, and everything is already crazy clean. I have nothing to do. NOTHING.
My amazing and genius husband comes up with the answer: He programs a phone to somehow play the latest LOST podcast. I call up a number, and toll free, listen to Darlton. I am entertained, but I look like I am on hold with a company (which I frequently am) the solution, was brilliant. This basically saves me, because she stays ALL DAY.
Finally, my boss comes back. He and corporate talk and laugh and joke. At 15 to closing, she sighs and says she better get out her checklist. She does not take pictures. She does not give warnings, she does not fine us. She smiles, asks a few questions about missing core products ("it's on order, do you want to see the PO?" "No, that's ok, I don't want to cause trouble") and then the boss takes her out to dinner.
The next day, I come in to work, asking how dinner went. My boss is all smiles and says we did great, we passed inspection, no problem. My manager is confused and keeps saying how different last year's inspection was. I am angry that I stressed out for no reason and that my manager would abandon us like that. However, I can now listen to the latest LOST podcasts from the work phone, so it makes everything all right.