Former Clerk Protests Stewart's Shops Drive-Off Policy

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Former Clerk Protests Stewart's Shops Drive-Off Policy


COPENHAGEN, N.Y. – Stewart's Shops has initiated a policy to combat the increasingly growing problem of gas pump drive-offs. However, one former clerk is taking her opposition of the policy to the streets.

Former employee Mary A. Hebert told the Watertown Daily Times she will hold her ground outside the Main Street convenience store here until the company rethinks its policy. "I'll be here until they fix it," she said.

As the newspaper reported, Stewart's Shops has had several incidents of motorists filling up their tanks and driving away without paying. The rash of incidents prompted company and store management to intensify pressure on clerks to catch perpetrators or get their license plate numbers, according to Hebert, who had worked for the company for the past couple of years.

The problem is that the store's layout makes it difficult to see the gas pumps from behind the counter, she said.

Furthermore, the company informed its employees it would be conducting a gas drive-off sting operation. Herbert was suspended after failing one of the tests, she told the newspaper. After receiving her suspension notice, she told the store manager she quit. However, she was under the impression that he did not accept the resignation, but later fired her after a "verbal exchange," citing insubordination.

Stewart's Shops spokesman Tom Mailey told the news outlet the company doesn't divulge personnel matters. However, he did say that "we accepted her resignation in writing."

For her part, Herbert admitted she could have handled the situation better. However, she said any attempt at insubordination was an attempt to shed light on the drive-off policy. She consulted a lawyer who told her it would likely be cost-prohibitive to try to regain her job through legal action.