Walmart has fired a beloved employee in a Missouri store for reasons that had many customers shaking their fists at the retail giant.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, cashier Frank Swanson was fired from his position at the West Plains mega store on April 2 for what the company called “gross misconduct”: hugging customers and providing price matching services that went against company policy.
In addition to providing inappropriate hugs, Swanson said that he was told he broke company rules when he sold a gallon jug of tea for 50 cents less than retail price without checking a competitor’s ad, as is customary with the price match guarantee. According to Walmart, this was not an uncommon practice for Swanson.
“Part of being a cashier is making sure customers are paying for their merchandise before they leave the store,” a company statement said. “In many instances, this was not happening.”
Although Swanson admitted he broke company policy by taking his customer at her word and not checking the competitor’s add with the tea jug incident, he said he never let customers walk out without paying.
“They said I was making the price up out of my head. They made it sound like I was giving groceries away,” he said.
Swanson reportedly made it a habit to memorize competitors’ ads. When he was questioned about the incident, he approached the competitor in question to pull the archived ad. The archived ad showed the exact price that Swanson had matched.
Swanson conceded he had been warned last November by management that he must ask permission before hugging customers. However, from January until last Saturday, that’s precisely what he did.
Nonetheless, three weeks shy of his 20th year with the corporation, Swanson was issued a check for unused vacation and personal time and ushered out the door after a brief meeting with management.
Swanson’s brother, Drexel, came to his defense when he explained that Frank suffers from brain damage and partial paralysis on his right side from an accident in the eighth grade. Since the accident, Frank has always loved to hug people and make others feel good about themselves.
“My brother doesn’t have a mean bone in his body,” he said. “He loves to hug people, especially the older generation. He says they don’t get enough hugs their life.”
Patrons of the store were outraged at Swanson’s firing and started the Facebook page, Hugs for Frank, to organize a protest to be held today. More than 1,000 have committed to attending.
Firing of Walmart cashier leads to a backlash from supportive customers: Frank Swanson, a longtime employee of a… https://t.co/cbPsWTP7is
— Huntsville AL Now (@huntsvillealnow) April 7, 2016
Swanson was reportedly seeking employment elsewhere.
Although policies and procedures are an integral part of any organization’s success, Walmart has taken it a step too far in firing a beloved and long-term employee who was only trying to do his job. Hopefully, Frank is able to find employment with a company that will appreciate his dedication, work ethic and compassion for customers.
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H/T Mad World News