***Disclaimer: I wrote this piece several years ago during a difficult period. It is a bit scathing, but I decided to include it anyway as a representation of just how soul crushing retail work can be***
Writing was easier when you believed someone would read it. Even if it was only your teacher. Now I know no one will read this and I wonder why I am even writing.
Now you find out so and so is married, people you knew in college have bought houses and are planning to renovate and redecorate. Then that guy you really liked in high school has finally settled down and had a kid. Shit. And what am I doing? I’m still working part time (feels like full time to me. I’m there damn near 40 hours a week.) I worry about getting the rent paid at the end of every month, fighting with the food stamp office every couple of months and keeping up with student loan payments.
I am not married, but eternally waiting if my boyfriend thinks I’m up to snuff or not. Time that could have been spent looking for someone who would marry me after a number of years that I can count on one hand. Because shit, I need something to look forward to rather than the endless waiting. Waiting for my life to get anywhere. Waiting to get to a world where people tell me yes rather than no. Waiting to have a livable income. A home I can own and a place to park that is completely my own and I don’t have to move for a flippin’ snow emergency.
I’m sorry you seen worn out between your kids, cable and internet bills. That must be hard, but what would you be doing without those things. You’d be peering into neighbors’ windows at night like I do, wondering how the other half lives. What its like to worry about what color you paint your living room. What you’re going to do this Saturday. Saturday? That’s the biggest retail day of the week. I will be working and you’ll decide you’ll go to the mall to spend all this extra income you have left lying around. Exorbitant amounts of it and you’ll get tired after 3 hours of walking and either spend more money dining in a nice restaurant. Drinking wine to take the edge off as your kids scream.
OR you’ll stop at the food court. You’ll get a stomachache and end up with a blow out on the toilet seat in the restroom of my store. Well, guess who has to clean that shit up, literally. After I’ve been on my feet for eight hours, fake smiling, picking up after people who don’t know how to put a shoe in a box. Just leaving it a mess, because ‘that’s my job’ to clean up, but I didn’t see ‘wiping shit off a toilet seat’ anywhere in my job description.
Then you’ll complain that the mall is so busy on a Saturday. You’ve spent more money than I make in two weeks and there’s a giant mess in your wake, since you’ve treated the place like a daycare center. The tweens are playing with the heels, leaving them in a disorganized heap after almost twisting an ankle. The teens are shoplifting, the tots are running mad and in my way. The babies are spilling cheerios and putting gooey fingerprints on all of the mirrors. But you’re too busy to notice, but you do notice that tiny miniscule spot or scratch or discoloration on a shoe that you will complain about for a discount, because even though you can afford a shopping spree as well as children, house, nice car etc. you are not going to buy these (tax free) shoes without a 10% discount for a smudge.
Never mind that you spilled your coffee on that other shoe box and walked away hoping no one noticed that it was you. But no, you brought the biggest damn stroller you own as if you were showing off a luxury car then proceed to run over my foot without another thought as I go to clean up the mess you made. Only to discover the spilled coffee and the pair of coffee soaked shoes that I’ll now have to damage out. I know it was you. Then I make another discovery and that’s your forgotten iPhone that you left inside the box of the last pair of shoes you tried on. You’ll panic. “My iPhone!” calling us repeatedly to see if we found it days later. But you see, I left it in that damn shoebox, because if you’re dumb enough to fucking put it in there in the first place maybe you need to learn a lesson. You owe me that much at least.