Category Archives: Gripes and Groans

Working Retail: Expectation vs. Reality…

This is the only post I want anyone to read if you’re thinking about working retail.

Long story short, it sucks.

Long story, it sucks ass.

So here’s what I expected walking into retail:

  • Standing for 8 hours a day
  • Lifting things that are really fucking heavy by yourself
  • Cleaning up after grown ass adults

 

Here’s what I get every day working retail:

  • Standing almost my entire 8 hour shift. I get to sit for lunch and when I take a 5 minute pee break once a day.
  • Lifting things in the stupid conditions and having to be the only girl on any team willing to lift the 50 lb. dog food bags that are literally HALF my body weight.
  • Cleaning up after both customers and associates because not only do the assistant managers not do shit, our maintenance doesn’t do shit, our overnight stockers don’t do shit, no one does anything.
  • Giving up my weekends and days off that I put in for because my managers can’t figure out how to run a department for 2 days.
  • Giving up 90% of my free time because not does overtime exist, but the hours as so shitty for starting positions. I started out as a daytime stocker, with the shift running from 4 am to 1 pm. I was dead on my feet by quitting time and asleep on my couch by 7. I lost any social life I had and my boyfriend and I barely went out on date nights ever because I was always fucking tired from not only getting up at an unholy hour but because I was busting my ass all day, putting in overtime to make up for the shitty hourly wage of $11 an hour (which YOU CANNOT LIVE ON NO MATTER WHAT ANY ONE SAYS)
  • Being constantly cranky because I only have time to grab fast food on lunch and I constantly want to eat the fries at the McDonald’s across the street. I gained a good 10 pounds working here (I’ve always been a bit on the underweight side), but I also probably gained heart disease and diabetes because I’m downing fast food and energy drinks and anything with sugar in it to keep going throughout the day.
  • Managers who don’t care to do their job. They act like since they have a fancy title and a nice salary that they get to push off every responsibility onto every other employee, including other managers. But they want to keep their jobs because they like the pay.
  • Unreliable co-workers who will leave you high and dry on those horrid weekends with high traffic. These are the people who do the bare minimum already, expecting you to pick up the slack because they’ve been there for long enough that the managers can’t figure out how to get rid of them. But they will call in all the time and leave you to deal with the rude customers and high-strung managers.

 

Obviously, each job is what you make of it and attitude is everything. But coming in day after day and busting ass to get shit done, being nice or at least courteous to every single person, staying late and coming in early, all this shit wears you out so fast.

I’m in my early twenties and I feel like I’m in my late 40s, the way I ache and cramp and lock up especially with my knees and back. I would definitely recommend never working retail if you can help it. But I know you probably got bills to pay and mouths to feed, so only start in retail if the only other options are turning tricks or stripping.

High school mentality…

I can’t believe how often people working retail act like high schoolers. It’s ridiculous.

I just witnessed a grown woman afraid to tell the salaried managers that she was being bullied by other members of her team and it had escalated to the other team members now shoulder-checking this woman if they were in the same aisle. Like a grown woman was afraid that it was going to turn into a ‘he said she said’ thing. And she was worried about being seen as the guilty party.

I had to finally go to a manager and tell him that I was concerned for her safety and that this isn’t the first time the transgressors had tried to start drama. Luckily, he confirmed that he had suspicions about them and assured me that the woman they were victimizing was going to be treated as the victim in this situation and there was no need for her to feel that it was her word against theirs. But I know this isn’t the case everywhere.

I know there are managers who play favorites all day every day. Many of my managers play favorites all the time. I was lucky enough to have 3 siblings to contend with and know how to play the favorite game. But not everyone had a dysfunctional childhood like me. They help contribute to this bullshit going on and on, where someone can’t report sexual assault or harassment without fearing that they’ll lose their jobs, where girls are allowed to act however they want and do whatever they want while everyone picks up their slack.

I just can’t wrap my head around how these people allow high school behaviors to rule their lives and make them act immature while at work.

It’s even worse that people don’t seem to understand that in these situations, HR is your friend and that documenting everything is what will keep your ass covered.

It’s sad to think that the American public education system can turn out bullies instead of giving people the tools to succeed and therefore keep the cycle going. It’s sad to think that people are still so afraid to reach out for help in these situations, as though they’re going to get called tattletales and snitches.

It’s a vicious cycle and it’s a vicious way that people have to live their lives; coming to work to pay their bills and getting bullied by some high school drop-out who thinks they’re hot shit, when they’re nothing more than children playing at adulthood and addicted to drama.

Working retail: Dogs…

I fucking love dogs. I really do.

My dream is to own a cute little cabin in the woods and have at about 6 dogs and a little herb garden and a library and scare all the local children into thinking I’m a witch who will eat their souls.

The best part of my day at work is when people bring their dogs in.

Now, I know some of you are jumping to conclusions and shit, but let me say first; every single dog I have seen come into the store is better behaved than any of the children that run around screaming and breaking things and throwing stuff every where.

I even have a couple regulars who come in with their dogs (some are service dogs, of course) but it still makes me happy just to see them.

  • One couple comes in and they have this big beautiful Saint Bernard service dog and every time I see them, I imagine that putting that dog is soft and sweet. (I don’t ask because the dog is working and he’s on duty full-time)
  • One lady comes in with her sweet Golden Retriever, who i have pet and she is the sweetest thing and reminds me my golden who lives with my parents.
  • One lady came in a few weeks ago with her fat Dachshund, and I got to pet him and he was a sweetie and kept trying to get pets from everyone who passed by.
  • One man comes in with his dog sitting on his shoulder regularly. I have not pet this dog, but I love seeing this man come in, cause he wears a cowboy hat and his scruffy little dog perches on his shoulder like a parrot. It’s the oddest sight, but it makes me happy.
  • One man came in with his dog (I make faces when I see dogs at work because they just make me so happy), and he saw me make my stupid face and told his dog to go to me and I got to pet him and the dog gave me kisses and I fed him treats and it was the happiest day working retail because that dog was so sweet and the man was really nice about letting me pet his dog and give him treats.
  • One guy came in with his beefy pit bull and I was petting it when a lady came up and i was worried she was going to make a fuss over the dog being a pit bull, but actually just asked me and the man questions about the service dog laws for our area. The dog was very sweet and had this big blocky head.

 

These are the only fond memories I will hold of working retail. And I know what you’re all saying, if you loves dogs so much why don’t you just switch jobs to work at a doggy daycare or a kennel or something?  The short answer is I’m poor af. The long answer is that I cannot afford to switch jobs at the moment and expect to get paid the same amount I am currently getting paid because any job I find at a kennel or clinic or even retail will be at minimum wage and I can’t afford another year of working minimum wage if I want to go back to school or eat.

The First World Problem…

We’ve all heard that joke abput #firstworldproblems. It’s funny. Sometimes.

I love laughimg about the Starbucks girls with their uggs and leggings. Because there’s no way that can legitimately hurt someone.

But I can’t stand when try to debate higher education with me.

I’m not saying that higher education is the best and that everyone should go to college, because school isn’t for everyone. What gets to me os the people who look and me and other people like me like we’re stupid for going to college. Like we’re stupid for not going to trade school. Like we’re stupid because we have to pay for college out of pocket.

And then they start this debate and don’t care about all the facts and figures saying that college is way more expensive than the past and kids aren’t getting enough financial aid to cover it all.

I hate having to hold my tongue (and my hands from going slap-happy) because there’s no way I’ll ever be able to explain that college is important for some people to get certain jobs, like doctors and architects. But they keep looking at college like its a choice people can make and still go about their lives and get the job they want. How would you feel is your doctor came into the room like ‘hey this is my first day, just started, didn’t even have to go to school…’?

So when people ask me why I’m working at [insert retail giant name here] instead of going to school, I simply say that I have The First World Problem: my parents make too much money for me to qualify for government aid and they gave me a great childhood where I didn’t starve and I had a roof over my head so I can’t qualify for 90% of scholarships out there.

Now I’m not nay-saying on all the kids who worked harder than me and got full-ride scholarships or had tougher formative years and are able to get some amazing scholarships. I’m just saying that I’m stuck between a rock and hard place and if I open my mouth the wrong way about it, then I look like a major asshole.

Sure, I am a major asshole, but I’m not against these kids out there busting their asses to get an education.

But I’m saying I have a few critiques of the system.

  1. The financial aid application should not rely on your parents income unless your parents sign a waver agreeing to help with college costs and the propose amount they can help with. My parents aren’t able to help me pay for school because they’re still workong on loans from my older siblings. They should be able to tell the government that they are hnable to help financially.
  2. Colleges should make it easier for kids to petition for financial aid. My best friend tried to petition her school to let them know that her dad had lost his job and that she would need more aid since her mom’s salary would not be able to cover the cost of school. They denied her because they stated that the aid was awarded based of off last years income reported from the financial aid application.
  3. More colleges should allow payment plans. My college which has been around since the late 1800’s just allowed payment plans LAST YEAR. After I had to leave twice to pay off my bills to both school and lenders.
  4. Advisors and financial aid offices should work more closely to help students decide what classes they can take and what they can actually afford to take. Advisors will tell you everything you need to take. The financial aid office will tell you how much money you don’t have to spend out of poclet. But then you have to decide if you can even afford to go taking a full-class load of 15 credit hours at $400 per hour. Because of you’re not full-time you lose your government aid.
  5. The rule for becoming an indepedent student in the eyes of the government don’t even apply to half of the students entering grad school. So the government will look at only my tax information I have to be 25, married, or have a child. I can’t afford two of those things and one is impossible to become overnight. And grad students, kids who have been on their own for years now working and going to school and all that jazz, still have to sit down with their parents once a year to fill out a stupid application for money.

How many of you have been in similar situations? Any one have practical solitions to this mess? Leave a comment or send me an email.

Why I’m doing this…

So I just want to clear the air. I’m not here to blog and make money off all you people on the internet. There’s enough of that going around. Would I like to make a little cash here and there from my blog? Hell yeah. But I’m not working to turn this into the ‘full-time career’ that every other blogger brags about.

Because that’s just not feasible. At all. How are these people able to quit their jobs as productive members of society just to sit around all day and rake in money from other hard-working people? I don’t want to quit my job to blog all day (I do want to quit because retail sucks ass, but because I want to blog all day).

I love working, and I know that some things just can’t be accomplished yet with technology, like stocking shelves or mopping floors (okay, I know rumbas are a thing, but those aren’t good for commercial places yet). I don’t want to sit back and let the cash roll in.

I’m blogging just to get some of what I think out into the great internet void. Because you can only complain so much to the people you know. And it’s fun to watch people to get all pissy because I’m throwing their lying asses under the bus for trying to mislead regular people into thinking that all their problems can be solved with a simple blog post and some affiliate links.

So don’t think I’m doing this just to get money from you or to live off the system and money made from other people’s generosity. I’m just here to scream into the void.

Working Retail: Immature…

The most startling thing about working retail is how your coworkers treat you.

You can meet some of the nicest, generous people working minimum-wage for a retail giant. And you will also meet some of the oldest high schoolers of your life.

I’m not talking about high school kids who are super seniors but trying to get out into the world. I’m talking about the people who, for no reason, choose to hate your guts and willingly make your job 20x harder than it needs to be. Especially when you need to communicate with these people regularly.

I currently deal with 4 of these people; two of which graduated school just a few short years ago, and two of which have decided to act like high schoolers, at their job, well into their 40s.

Now, this kind of attitude surprised the shit out of me because before I worked retail, I was a file clerk/admin assistant for a local contraction company (i.e. a construction office bitch). I had absolutely no problems with the other office workers and the field employees (all the service guys and the construction guys), whenever they came into the office they were more than respectful of me and the other ladies in the office.

Since working retail, I have been threatened to take our dispute ‘elsewhere’ because I laughed at a joke made at one person’s expense because the joke was made by a salaried manager and I was nervous. What else am I supposed to do when a salaried manager, who can make or break my day, who can fire me, who can write me up for any little thing, makes an inappropriate joke? Nothing. I can go to HR after the fact, but not during.

I have been told that, while working on a special project for my department, one of the previous managers over my department thought I wasn’t doing a good enough job and that if I had just ‘done it sooner, you wouldn’t need help’. She said it to my face, after I was not told that I needed to come in early to help with a different project. She has since been extremely cold towards me.

And a different manager who previously was over my department, but still works closely with mine, refuses to communicate with me about anything. Just last week, she purposefully neglected to tell me about some boxes that needed to stocked that had accidentally ended up with her freight. She was less that 10 feet away from me in the backroom and didn’t say shit. Not a single word. She left my freight on the floor in her area and neglected to tell me that it was even there. I only knew about it because I was 10 FEET AWAY FROM HER AND HEARD HER TALKING!

Now, I can theorize why these girls are all mad at me. It’s not hard to do. But this is your job; you  shouldn’t be causing drama and being completely immature just because you’ve been there however long or your apathetic about your job. Just because you don’t care doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t. I have bills to pay, college to attend, mouths to feed, etc. I can’t afford to settle this shit like I did in high school where I had no qualms about calling you out in public and calling you on your shit. Hell, I was constantly ready for a throw down in high school. But I’m an adult now and willing to have sit downs and communicate where these animosities are coming from so that I don’t hate coming to my job every single fucking day.

I think the worst part is that I’m not the only person these bullies target. The two younger girls I work with are now targeting two of the other girls on their team. Why? I can’t tell you. The two innocent girls come in, do their jobs, go home. They are just like me, trying to pay their bills and keep their heads afloat. They don’t start shit and they really are nice girls. But these two drama queens have decided they are the next best thing.

It’s absolutely ridiculous how people can get away with acting like this. And whenever I communicate that I’m being treated this way to my managers, they just shrug it off and tell me ‘you’re young so you have to learn to be the bigger person’. No the fuck I don’t. I am the bigger person by coming in every day, trying to be polite and courteous even though I really want to throw blows. I already am the bigger person for pleading with my managers to set up meetings with some of my colleagues so we can all get on the same page and clear the air. Just because my managers don’t do anything about it doesn’t mean that I’m not trying or that I’m not being the bigger the person.

But then again, why am I, the twenty-something having to be the bigger person to a forty-something adult woman who has no right to treat me the way she does.

Maybe I’ll start being the bitch I was in high school and show them I mean business, because apparently civility and honor mean nothing to these people. And they’re about to mean nothing to me.

Have you ever dealt with people like this while working retail or is this just my store? I would love some feedback below!

Fashion…

Fashion is stupid. Exceedingly stupid.

Clothes for women are so impractical; either too short, too thin, too cutesy, too slutty, or too old-fashioned.

I can dress in a short skirt and be called a slut, only because I am showing off my legs (oh god no, not legs! that’s too damn sexy).

I can wear a cropped sweater and be called dumb because no sweaters are a normal length.

I can wear a professional blouse and freeze half of the day because it’s made from the thinnest materials available (why? people don’t want to see my nipples when I’m giving a presentation).

I can wear a moderate length skirt and get dirty looks for not dressing my age. (Oh god, now I’m not showing enough leg! Where will the madness end!)

Or I can wear a simple t-shirt with unicorns and rainbows on it and look like I’m an 8 year old girl (even though I pay taxes and vote).

There’s no winning unless you start wearing men’s clothing and then people judge you based on stereotypes of sexuality.

Like, what do you people want from women? We can’t be naked unless it’s on paper and we can’t wear practical clothing unless we’re crazy, old, lonely, cat ladies and we can’t wear 90% of clothing available without getting shit for it. So what do you want?

Nosy Relatives: Marriage…

I hate when you go see a relative and they start pushing about your relationships (sometimes, the lack thereof).

I just celebrated 3 years of dating with my boyfriend. And we’re perfectly happy where we are right now; living together, raising pets, and just trying to make our way in the world.

But the number of looks I have seen in the last week when I tell them we’ve been  together for three years. I swear, there is nothing more irritating than people giving me looks like I should be dropping hints that we need to get hitched.

I don’t have to drop hints. We’re adults that talk about our future together like adults and make big decisions together. I don’t need Auntie Nancy butting into our business and trying to push us in a direction we don’t feel comfortable taking as a couple (Auntie Nancy isn’t a real person, btw). I don’t care that everyone over 40 got married in their late teens/ early twenties, that’s not a feasible concept anymore, especially for work benefits, taxes, student loans debt and regular debt incurred just trying to live.

But the worst part of the nosy relative trying to drop hints? That you’re not involved in the relationship to begin with. You may be related to one party of the couple, and you could be their closest friend, but that doesn’t mean you have any form of say in what the couple decides is best for them. You don’t get to push your son into proposing because you think he should be settled down by 25, like you were. Hell, you probably don’t even really know what your relative wants from their relationship or from life. Maybe they want to travel the world before marrying, maybe they want to be well-off enough to be able to provide a house instead of an apartment to their new spouse, maybe they want to pay off their student loans so that they don’t wrangle their new spouse into helping them pay it off.

So when I get those looks from friends and family, I have to fight to bite my tongue lest I say something truly regretful. Because the last thing I want to talk about is how my marriage is failing because I married someone after 1 year, while still in the honeymoon stage of a relationship, and then realized that the person I am now married to and raising children with is not compatible with me. Oh wait…

Weddings…

Weddings are absolutely pointless in this day and age.

Maybe back in the day it was just an excuse to get the whole village together and party, but today?

I can go down to the court house with my chosen spouse and sign a marriage license. I could be married by lunch today if I had a consenting partner.

Yet this “traditional” way of celebrating a civil partnership by dropping thousands and thousands of dollars on a one-time event where the couple force their friends and families to jump through outrageous hoops (you’ve seen those bridezilla stories) just to show up to eat some food and get drunk in fancy clothing.

And that’s not even taking into account the couples where the families are ultra-controlling and try to make a dream wedding by their standards instead of what the couple wants.

Knowing exactly how my family will act if I ever decide to ‘settle down’, I’m eloping. Then my grandmother can’t criticize my dress, my parents can’t lament the bill they won’t even be paying, my spouse’s parents won’t have to gripe about the wedding theme/colors, and I won’t have to listen to my friends bitch and moan about how I didn’t pick them for my bridal party.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I haven’t picked out my wedding dress. You can’t elope without looking the part.

Only so many hours…

So there are only 24 hours in a day.

And as student, that means if you’re taking a full course load, you spend every minute of minute day studying and learning and paving the way for your future.

As a full-time worker, that means that 70% of your day is devoted to working and maintaining a house.

As both, that means you literally have no time for anything else in the world besides studying and working. No time for eating or sleeping or friends or family. And everyone and their mother say they work full-time and take full-course loads but they’re lying.

There is not enough time in the day to work 9 hours plus the approximate (read: low-end estimate) 1 hours both way commute, then adding the maybe 4 hours of on campus classes, plus the resulting hour of homework and an hour of studying for each class (let’s say 4 classes) that’s a total of 22 hours of your day. Every day.

Sure courses can differ on days and employers can be flexible with your work days but I did this. I was taking 5 classes and working 36 hours a week. It’s not sustainable, and I was even breaking even every month.

So, in short, I’m sick and tired of people saying they’ve done this and that and been where I’ve been. Cause you haven’t. You haven’t done shit like me.

Rude ass people…

Nothing pisses me off more than people who come to my work and are the rudest people imaginable. Nothing.

If I am trying to do my job and I’m in the way, there is a simple fucking phrase for that: Excuse me. Learn to use it. Because all you people that show up to a store and forget basic fucking manners, fuck you.

And fuck your parents, too, for raising a completely useless waste of space.

And if you’re a parent and you are treating people like this in front of your kids, fuck you. Because you are raising a kid now that will perpetuate the issue with the service industry of people being treated as less than because they are providing you with a service that you think is below you.

When you come in as a customer and yell at a minimum-wage employee for no reason other than you can and you feel that you are the Customer Who Is Always Right, you make me want to shove me boot up your ass and slap some sense into you.

When you come in and yell at my co-workers who are working their first jobs and are sweet kids who haven’t had to deal with your shit 24/7 for the last six years, I want to ban you from my place of business and tell you to go grow your own groceries in your compost-laden brain hole. Because they don’t deserve you disrupting their day and making them feel like shit over shit they can’t control.

And one of these days, I’m going to disregard my priorities and go OFF. Just you wait.

Positivity…

I’m so fucking tired of this positivity craze going on.

I’m sure that having these mindsets are backed by science and shit but…

It can’t be healthy to be happy all the time. Sometimes you hurt and you wanna cry and you’re mad, but trying to smile through the pain is like trying to ignore a broken ankle.

I don’t see how being happy all the time is good for your health and well being if all you’re doing is ignoring the bad shit to keep on smiling.

Sure, those fancy herbal teas and sunlight and self-care bullshit is good for you (it’s basic fucking healthcare to stay hydrated, clean, fed, and given fresh air and sun), but doing those things instead of seeking help for your issues or just giving yourself the time to process the bad is a bullshit mentality.

You can’t go through life living only in the light. You have to live through some of the dark, too.

But then again, with how fucked up the world is, why are we going to put on those positivity blinders to try to diminish the way the world is floundering? We should be as angry and negative and bitter as the people who wrecked the world and give them a taste of their own medicine that they’ve been handing down for years to all the post-millennial/gen-z kids.

And I’m sure someone is going to lose their minds over this, and try to justify it to me, but guess what? I don’t care. I wouldn’t be where I am without my bitter, angry ass and I’m sure you can think of a time or two where you didn’t just smile and nod through it.