What It Boils Down To (A Rant)

There’s not a lot of things I’m qualified to do. For those of you who are thinking, “You don’t know until you try”, here is a brief look at my life in the past 14 years.

One of my first jobs was at a KFC/Taco Bell in my hometown of Bennington. The high pressure environment and the fast paced nature of the job made it difficult to learn all of the subtle aspects of the position of chicken cook and getting yelled at by twenty different people didn’t help. I lasted a shift and a half.

Then after two years of working as a cart jockey for Price Chopper, I turned twenty-one and was old enough to work at The Bennington School as a night awake counselor. Four weeks later they decided it wasn’t working out, with no further explanation, so there I was jobless and Price Chopper didn’t want me back.

After another two years of allegedly career applicable training at Northlands and Loring Job Corps Center respectively, I had a series of trial and error positions in Burlington, Vermont ranging from dishwashing to retail. And the job I finally was able to stick with was a night shift supervisor position at Brooks Pharmacy, which shortly became Rite Aid.

I was not a supervisor with Rite Aid for the entire two years, I did keep my rate of pay as a result of voluntarily surrendering the position as opposed to being demoted. I also had responsibilities that the other cashiers didn’t have, such as the milk order and helping with the weekly overnight truck, so it’s not like I didn’t earn the 12.05 an hour.

The problem was it was a high school atmosphere. No manager seemed to impress the corporate offices for long and the one guy they did have for a significant amount of time was barely old enough to drink. That was a problem, because he didn’t have a problem letting people who were not old enough to drink out of the door with booze so long as our customer service rating was up there. So the cashiers got away with blatantly breaking the law and I just had to shut the fuck up.

Coworkers were verbally abusive towards me and they got away with it. Customers could outright threaten my life and this was perfectly acceptable. No am I not exaggerating, although that is the first instinct of people who weren’t there, because it always come to the question of “What Did You Do Wrong?” Of course, I totally provoked the guy who pointed a knife at me for the handful of money in the drawer. I absolutely deserved to be shouted at for not only refusing to sell alcohol when town ordinance and Vermont state law forbid it, but not allowing that same customer to walk out of the store with the booze in hand. And when I passed a sting operation that, had I failed, would have cost the store their liquor and tobacco license for six month, was I thanked or rewarded? Fuck no.

Rite Aid was the highest paying job and I could not afford to start over again anywhere else, but once the lease on my apartment was nearing to a close, I did finally leave in a rage after two and a half years of abuse.

Another four years later and I’m at it again with Generimart. This time I’m doing the exact same thing I was doing at Price Chopper, only just like with Rite Aid, I can’t afford to try to leave. And when people who don’t know me hear this, usually I’m greeted with some tongue in cheek analysis like this quote from a post on one of the forums where I advertise the blog:

Looking at your avatar you appear way too intellectual to do that job!

It’s a nice compliment. But the reality is that nobody hires you for being “too intellectual”. More often than not, that’s what keeps you from ever getting hired or even holding down a job.

So it doesn’t matter that another cart jockey is blatantly misusing equipment necessary to our job and that I am now being forced to use damaged equipment in a busy parking lot. Just like with the job at Price Chopper and Rite Aid, my only recourse is to shut the fuck up and when someone comes along to kick me in the ribs, I thank them politely for their time. Because unfortunately this is what I am qualified on paper to do. And after ten years and being up to my eyeballs in debt, I can’t afford the time and money required to try to pick up something else.

My comedy is something positive and the blog is a form of self-guided therapy, but these are small offerings and not guarantees of a better life. There’s only so much a person be mistreated before he has the very human reaction of not allowing it to happen any further. I only hope I can survive mentally and physically until I’m no longer financially obligated to keep selling my soul to one corporate devil after another.


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