I am kind of tired reiterating this story so I decided to just write it out here. I recently started a new job at a major retailer (that shall remain nameless) but it’s in a million towns and the first one you think of is probably it. I am a temporary employee for the holiday season as a cashier while I wait for another employment offer to be official. To make a few things clear before I start my tales of nonsense: everyone I work with has been super nice to me. It’s kind of like a ‘we’re all in this shit together’ mentality and the break room is usually full of venting toward the antics of holiday season in general. Secondly, the economy is bad right now, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, but out here in the WNY it is especially difficult. My salvation is that this is temporary and I probably won’t have to do it for more than 90 days. Most of the folks here depend on this job so while I make light of it here I truly feel bad for them. For the most part they are good people just trying to get by.
So thus begin my experiences. Orientation was an entire day of videos and worksheets, not to mention scavenger hunts around the whole store. Customers thought we were a strange pack of lost children looking for their parents and employees just kept laughing at us. To top it off I had another 8 hour shift of online training, which ran anywhere from OSHA compliance, cashier training, and tobacco and alcohol compliance laws. Like I could give a shit what color bucket a compressed gas spill goes in. It’s blue by the way. When they finally unleashed me on my own I got to work the smoke shop, which is the only line where tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia may be purchased. This is where I was privy to hear some of the most inappropriate but highly amusing conversations. One girl, maybe 19, was prattling away on her cell phone to another girl about sleeping with some boy that apparently was not her boyfriend but her property just the same. In any case I learned that ‘blunts are 5 bucks more.’ I’ll keep that on file.
Electric shopping carts are a hot commodity since there are so many folks that just don’t feel like walking apparently. One woman approached my register in one and after peppering me and the belt with gaudy Christmas glitter proceeded to criticize my bagging skills. “They teach you how to bag right? I just don’t get the reasoning sometimes…” (People, I’m going to be honest: after standing and lifting your heavy shit into your carts and across a scanner for 8 hours, I’m basically just throwing shit into a bag. I could really care less if it’s crafts for the kids at school or your 18 large brown eggs. Tomato, tomato. Hmm, that doesn’t really work out as well in writing). Anyway, the lady got up and walked around and rebagged her things and set them back in the basket with no apparent difficulty. Maybe she had a headache or something that affected her shopping experience to the point she couldn’t walk and pick out tacky shit. I don’t know. My favorite part was still yet to come when she then asked ‘what do you do here?’ Seriously, she was kidding right? Obviously I am a highly skilled bagger. ‘I’m a cashier.’ Her: really? How old are you? Me: Almost 26. Her: did you go to school? Me: yes, I graduated almost 3 years ago. Her: why are you here? (Sweet, I always wanted to teach socioeconomics and psychology of mid-twenty something women to nosy people in the store.) Me: well I am between jobs. Her: what was your degree in? Me: aviation management. Her: oh, well you just don’t look like you belong here. (Awkward pause as I am surrounded on both sides by single mothers working full time as cashiers.) Her: that’s a compliment you know. Then she just rolled away off into the sunset. Actually she finally moved her preachy self off to the side to rebag something one more time.
Yesterday was a stupidly busy day since everyone was preparing for the bad weather we got today. Gift cards wouldn’t scan, people’s cards were being declined and my back hurt with 2 hours left. I made it out alive though. Today was a short day preceding my two days off so despite the weather I got there 15 minutes early and drank some DMD (Diet Mountain Dew) to pep up. Most of the people there were shopping for staple groceries or purposely came in when the weather was bad because ‘I figured no one would be here!’ True, except for all the morons that ignored a massive storm front to buy discount presents that the receivers will be in here on the 26th to exchange. My biggest pet peeve that seemed to come about all morning was when people don’t take their bags off the carousel so I can fill up more of them. But no worries, when you get home I will be sure to put them back into your cupboards. I am also available for personal ass-wiping. As I was scanning one woman’s things, I unwittingly swiped an open container of yogurt across the laser and it got all over my hands, the scanner, the bag and the other things in the bag. When I told her one was open and would she like a new one her charming response was ‘Oh yeah that’s probably the one that fell.’ Huh. So she knew she had an open container of bacteria for me to fling merrily about my space. Interesting. I packed the rest of her things extra well aka filling all the cans in one single bag and throwing her bread around like I was Brett Favre on a mission to prove I am not old. Another couple who seemed to be considerate had loaded a 50 lb. shelving unit that was as wide as the belt underneath some groceries. As I picked it up it was heavier than I realized, so when I went to readjust my hands I pinched my finger between the box and the side of the belt. I’ll post a picture of my finger when the nail falls off. Fuckers.