I have made the decision that it’s time to move on.
To be clear, I miss Rumpy, Buggie and Bubba dearly, and I will for a long time to come.
But they are no longer here. Graybie, Hissy, Yella and Little Girl are. As am I, and our lives go on. I best get in there and make the most of it for each of us.
So I want to talk about the workplace.
I work two jobs. I have a full-time white-collar job as a professional. I also work as a cashier in a chain retail business. This is a part-time, hourly position in a right-to-work state.
I work part-time because I need to pay off some debt. Medical bills for three terminally ill furry family members quickly maxed out my credit. I also need to save for a future car purchase that will likely need to take place within the next year. So I choose to work a second job.
If you haven’t worked in an hourly position, or it has been awhile, you may not realize some of the humiliations faced on a daily basis by these workers.
At my current job, my uniform includes the wearing of an apron. At the end of my scheduled shift each day I have to ask permission to leave, then remove the apron and have a manager check it to make sure I’m not stealing anything before I leave. If my register is short, that amount can be taken from my paycheck. During my shift I should not stand and rest for a moment or I could “get in trouble.” I can only bring a see-through bag into the workplace with me. I witnessed a manager chew out an employee for his dress in front of customers. All this for a job that pays little more than minimum wage.
A previous part-time job at a retail store paid a little better, but I drove over 30 minutes to get there and ended up working while the high school kids fucked off. I complained to a manager but nothing happened. So I got another job, turned in a notice, and quit. Except the retail store informed me I didn’t need to work out my notice and let me go right then.
I worked at a grocery store chain where I did heavy lifting and walking for long hours. They clocked me in and out with a fingerprint pad that I found very invasive. When a co-worker turned in her notice and quit, the HR employee terminated me instead, which erased my direct deposit. I had to wait an extra two days for my paycheck to be mailed to my home.
Now while I find these slights disrespectful and annoying, none really cause me personal harm. But I can’t help but feel sad for those who don’t have the good fortune I do and work only retail.
The employee who obtains another job to better herself must decide if she should give a notice and risk being let go immediately (and lose money she needs to get by) or just quit without notice and risk a poor job reference.
A two-day wait for pay for someone living paycheck to paycheck can cause a late payment and fee that throws a budget all out of kilter.
Carrying in a see-through bag by a woman who is menstruating can be embarrassing.
Add on top of that the crap workers take from customers: I’m mad because you won’t sell me a product at the price I want. I’m mad because you made me wait a moment while you waited on another customer who was there before me. I’m mad because you were out of stock of the product I wanted. I’m not mad, but I like humiliating hourly workers because I’m better than you.
When you think about retail you invariably think of the Walton family who owns Walmart and has a history of employee disrespect, Papa John Schnatter who blames African-American football players for his loss in sales, or the Green family who own Hobby Lobby who wants their employees to be beholden to the family’s religious beliefs. But you don’t often think of what people who work for these companies go through.
How about talking to a retail employee sometime and finding out first-hand what it’s like for her or him. Then maybe next time you see somebody treating one of those employees disrespectfully, you’ll feel prompted to speak up and shut that person down.