Monday, April 30, 2012

My Week In Retail

While I was waiting to hear from a couple of other jobs, I was offered a job as part-time assistant store manager at a chain convenience store. My unemployment ran out a couple of weeks ago, so it was better than nothing. (I did get a lot of part-time job offers as my unemployment expired; not sure whether to categorize that as dumb luck or impeccable timing.)

Saturday: My first day on the job. Completely forgetting my Census Payroll Empire roots, I forgot to bring my checkbook so I'd have my routing number information handy. I try to recite it from memory. I scribble down a number that sounds vaguely familiar and move on. The store manager tells me that I'll probably be bouncing back and forth between another store in the chain that is scheduled to open in a couple of months, which in real-time means that the store will open in a year-and-a-half. The rest of the day I stock merchandise, which is a welcome relief. I hate dealing with customers. I'm in stocking heaven. The first day is great.

Sunday: Day off.

Monday: My first night shift. Also, after a quick tutorial, my first day running the cash register. Groan. Customer interaction. I brush up on my Spanglish and try not to let people annoy me. (When I'm a customer at a convenience store I annoy myself.) The night goes by smoothly -- only one customer throws f-bombs at me, and he seems like he's not all there mentally so I don't take it personally. At 8 p.m. the other assistant store manager tells me she can't believe I haven't taken a break yet and tells me to go get something to eat. At 9 she closes the store and tells me about thee time she got robbed. We reconcile the cash register. I was six cents over for my shift. The other cashier was $21 over. I survive my first night shift.

Tuesday: Day off.

Wednesday: I walk in and tell the store manager that I've been offered a job elsewhere that I will be taking. Part of me wants him to tell me to get lost. And really, it doesn't make sense to train me to do stuff when I'm not going to be there anymore. Instead, he begs me to finish out the week because he's understaffed. This means today (Truck Day) I have to unload 1,100 boxes off of the delivery truck. Only I suspect they forgot the extra zero at the end because it felt like 11,000 boxes. The truck was supposed to arrive at 11 a.m., but because the truck driver accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake and crashed into one of the other stores earlier in the day he's running three-and-a-half hours late. He finally arrives at 2:30 and we unload everything. Then he bitches about how we're not unloading fast enough -- because, you know, he didn't keep us waiting or anything. Anyway, great workout, although I'd much rather go to the gym for that. Also, on Wednesday, after three days we finally get in touch with the home office, and despite the fact that they acted like they couldn't be bothered, I pester them long enough for them to tell me that I did indeed get my routing number right. I can't believe I have that number memorized.

Thursday: Day off.

Friday: This is supposed to be my last day. I'm scheduled to work in the morning, but because I overcelebrated with some friends Thursday night I'm in no condition to work. I call the manager and ask if I can swap out and work Saturday instead (hoping he'll tell me to call it a career instead). He says, yes, Saturday would be perfect because he's understaffed.

Saturday: The least I can do for putting in minimal effort in my week in retail is get the staff a card, so I do and sign it. It's my final day and I'm back on register. This time I'm 76 cents over, I guess my counting skills are getting worse as I continue in retail. The manager comes in right as I'm leaving and I give him the card. He starts tearing up. He says he has the best staff ever, that he was impressed at how quickly I picked up everything and if it doesn't work out elsewhere to give him a call and he'll rehire me immediately.

It was a long week, but I learned a lot about myself, about what I'm capable of and how I can handle situations under duress. And now I have a Plan B, just in case. In that sense, it was totally worth it. 

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