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Real Deal

Real Deal: The Case of the Special Gift

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Real Deal: The Case of the Special Gift

The husband of a top sales associate confronts a store owner after finding a bottle of prescription drugs in his wife’s bag with a note from another employee urging her to “enjoy” them.

BY KATE PETERSON

Published in the February 2012 issue

Editor’s Note: Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories, but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved. The names of the characters and stores have been changed and should not be confused with real people or places.

Brad remembered the excitement in Jamie’s eyes when they first entered D. Tate’s together six years ago. That was the day he brought Jamie into the store to pick up the engagement ring he had so carefully chosen for her the week before. The ring was perfect, and D. Tate’s staff exceptional.

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What surprised Brad most was Jamie’s instant comfort with the store and the people. She was so taken, in fact, that at the end of the visit, Jamie left with both a magnificent engagement ring and a new job as a sales associate!

Over the years, Jamie and Brad had grown in the relationships that made them part of the D. Tate family.

Dave Tate treated associates as friends more than as employees. The store thrived over the years, as did Jamie’s career, and Brad couldn’t have been happier.

Parties with the Tate group were always interesting, with the alcohol and occasional recreational drugs flowing freely.

While Brad found it a bit unusual, he never felt he had cause for concern. Everyone there was an in-control, consenting adult. He and Jamie had done their share of experimenting in their college days, and they both agreed that since the birth of their son two years ago, their wild days were all but past.

Memories of the last party ran through his mind now, as Brad reflected on the conversation he had over lunch with Dave Tate just a few hours before.

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He told Dave about how, earlier that morning, while looking in Jamie’s bag for her car keys, he had come across a supply of a dangerous and highly addictive prescription drug, along with a note addressed to Jamie, telling her to “Enjoy.”

The note was written on store stationery and was from another D. Tate associate. The name and date on the note matched those on the prescription bottle.

Brad was totally shocked by what he found, as he’d never known Jamie to keep secrets from him. He confronted her immediately, just as she was about to leave for work, and she reacted with uncharacteristic fury. She accused him of invading her privacy and rifling through her bag out of suspicion and mistrust, then she stormed out the door.

Brad made the decision to call Dave in an instant, feeling that, as an employer, Dave had a right to know that one of his associates was obviously distributing prescription drugs. Additionally, he hoped for some insight from his friend regarding how best to handle things with Jamie.

He was more than a little surprised with Dave’s cavalier attitude about the whole thing. Dave said that he was fairly certain Jamie and the other associate were not using the drug at work, and because of that, he didn’t feel that it was his place to get in the middle of the situation.

Brad left the meeting angry and disappointed with Dave, as his friend and as Jamie’s employer.

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As Brad sat at home wondering how he would work things through with Jamie, Dave sat in the back room of his store, also considering the situation.

He and his family were proud of the casual, comfortable atmosphere they created for their associates, and he trusted them to know their own limits.

He’d heard that they occasionally swapped prescription and other recreational drugs, and while they always had alcohol available in the store for customers and associates, no one ever seemed to have a problem handling it, and no one was ever visibly impaired on the job.

He thought about whether the note on store stationery could be considered evidence that the drug was being distributed at the store, and wondered if he would have any liability in the event that Jamie should suffer some negative reaction from the drug, or even hurt herself while under the influence.

On the other hand, he had no solid evidence that Jamie had taken the drug or that she’d done anything inappropriate, and since she was his top producer, he had no cause to question her performance.

THE BIG QUESTIONS: Should Dave confront the associate who gave the pills? Should he establish a drug policy? Should he worry about possible legal action?

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