Ballad of The Retail Class

People think that retail is easy. “So easy a monkey could do it”. Maybe a monkey as bad-ass as Ceasar could do it, but any regular ole chimpanzee would get fired after ten minutes for undoubtedly throwing shit on people.

Sometimes we feel as though if shit weren’t so nasty, we’d throw it at people, too. It amazes me how many people look down on those of us in the service industry.

Yeah, my name’s KJ, and I’m a fucking gas station cashier. For the most part I actually like my job, aside from the random visits from assholes we get from time to time.

I’m tired of people acting like we’re some lesser species of human because we aren’t college graduates with high paying jobs.

I should reiterate that before you come to this place; the very safe haven where my words and musings are kept, to tell me that if I want a better job I should go to college and quit whining, ask yourself something. “Will I pay for this lovely lady’s college tuition?” If the answer that is no, then shut the fuck up and go about your business.

Think about this. If every employee at the local McDonald’s went on to a better career, where would you get your Big Mac? If every school janitor found something better, who would provide your children with a clean learning environment? And if every gas station cashier quits to move up in the world, how the FUCK are you going to put fuel in your precious Bentley?

I’m not discounting those of you who have degrees and hard, lifelong careers. I’m just saying we, the peons of society, shouldn’t be discounted either.

This gas station job, this easy as hell gas station job, is brutal sometimes. We don’t just sell gas. We also make pizzas and fill propane bottles. We also use registers that are obsolete and still on dial-up. (If she doesn’t know what dial-up is, she’s too young for you bro.)

One of us always has to be behind the register in case some local thug tries to run in and snatch the registers off the counter. I suppose if we’re going to get robbed, they want to make sure we get shot in the process. Anyway, I digress.

On a typical night, you can find about ten people in line, while one of us is in the kitchen making pizzas. We are NOT Domino’s by the way, but people seem to think we are. I’ve even been asked if we deliver. Fuck no. We don’t get tipped for putting beautiful toppings on top of that delicious frozen crust and popping it into the oven, either.

When whoever making pizzas is done, they go to the register while the other runs outside to fill propane bottles. Meanwhile, there are still ten people in line crossing their arms and tapping their feet angrily because our registers take twenty minutes to accept a credit card. Suddenly, as we’re all waiting and angry, the phone rings for more pizza orders, and another person walks in for propane. All while our store is getting destroyed, too.

This goes on every night for eight, nine, ten hours. We get slammed and overwhelmed as people bitch at us and turn their noses up at things we have no control over. We get cursed at when we can’t fulfill strange requests.

As all this goes on around us, we’re forced to maintain a smile and a friendly attitude for a meager eight bucks an hour.

Next time to you go to a store, or a restaurant, or anywhere, and the person serving you is having trouble, or maybe seems a little moody, ask yourself why before you start spewing your judgement everywhere.

If the entire service industry were to go on strike, we’d all be fucked.


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