Tuesday, May 31, 2005

This sums it up better than I could


Things I would like to say to customers

1) Like I give a fuck.
2) Wow, I thought they stopped selling that perfume 10 years ago.
3) Could you please go now?
4) What job exists that will pay someone as stupid as you so much money, and are they hiring?
5) I just farted.
6) You'd be amazed what brushing your teeth will do for their appearance.
7) I'm sorry you got sent all over the store. Actually, no I'm not, we all thought it would be funny and wanted to see if you'd cry.
8) You should know upfront that I don't know where anything in the store is or what it does. Even the toilets.
9) That's gonna be one ugly baby (to pregnant women and their deformed husbands/boyfriends).
10) If I had as much power to change things at this store as you seem to believe, I wouldn't be standing here listening to you bitch right now.
11) I have no idea what you're talking about.
12) Please look away while I memorize your credit card number.
13) Is the rest of your house as ugly as the shit you bought today?
14) Is $1.50 worth bitch-fighting me?
15) I think there's a dead rat in your blowout mall bangs.

I also interviewed at a department store for a makeup counter job. A different mall store than the one with the walkie-talkie lady. It was an actual full interview, and the lady who interviewed me was refreshingly honest. She seemed impressed with my performance and promised me a second interview with a lady whose name now escapes me.
It may be more trying than my current job, which isn't really as bad as I make it out to be, and should pay more. I was thinking about keeping them both but I don't know whether that would result in death (two jobs where I'm on my feet all day). I have to remind myself that when I was a reporter I usually worked 50 hours a week at a much harder job, so 60 at two relatively unchallenging jobs ought to be manageable.

The whole temping thing is basically in the can. I keep getting calls from my diet-pill-addicted account manager telling me about temp-to-hire jobs in Iowa that pay $8 an hour. I'm sorry, but what is the point of that? I'll stay on the list or whatever and see if anything good pops up but I'm thinking I'll need to try a different avenue.

I'm adjusting a little better to the state of things. I keep thinking about how small my life seems now, but maybe that's what I need. A year of blending in and being part of the teeming mass.

I think also that the proliferation of these types of blogs (educated people working odd jobs) suggests a little something disturbing about our economy. Part of it is choice, yes, to abstain from certain lines of work. But part of it is also that we're educating people with the promise that that education is their route to gainful employment. I believe in education for the sake of education as a concept, but like stay-at-home parenting, this type of existence has become impossible to afford. But what else is new.

I'm trying not to get too worked up about my financial situation. It's bad, bad to the tune of 2/3 of my meager check was eaten by NSF fees upon entering my bank account, leaving a balance that is $100 short of my car payment. Plus my other bills. I just have to stick with it I guess, and try to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Some things I'd like to share

Thing #1

Today I woke up with a splotch on the very front and center of my neck. I think it's a spider bite because my parents' house is in the Midwest equivalent of a totally ungoverned forest and plays host to an array of furry, fanged, drooling spiders. In addition, my tonsils and lymph nodes are uncomfortably swollen and I have a nasty taste in the back of my mouth that so far is uncured by tooth-brushing, coffee and tuna, in that order. So if I die, I just wanna say, thanks for reading.

Thing #2

I'm going to treat us all to a list of what I discovered while cleaning my car

18 empty Coke cans
Almost a whole granola bar
2 files documenting grants for five years at the place where I volunteer
A bill for Planned Parenthood that lists, individually, every STD for which I was screened
3 pairs of shoes (sneakers, heels and bedroom slippers)
Enough McDonalds particles to craft a whole Double Cheeseburger
Receipts from the last 150 times I put gas in my car
A $12 mug I forgot I was missing

And to think, I just cleaned it out when I moved in March.

Thing #3

One day, when I get a digital camera, I'm going to post pictures of my parakeet.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

And some people are just assholes.
Let me tell you something. If you think the world has it out for you, that everyone wants a piece of you, everyone's trying to screw you over, that the citizenry owes you something, that you're the only one who knows anything--YOU ARE WRONG!
If your idea of retail enjoyment involves waltzing in through sliding glass doors with a scowl on your already-unpleasant face, expecting everyone to leap to your service and bitching out everyone you encounter, leave your ass at home. Shop online, use a catalog, just get out mah face.
It simply astonishes me the number of people who cannot apply the context of their own lives to the lives of others. Where anyone works, there is a hierarchy. Each person cannot do every task that must be performed at a place of business. The same is true when you go shopping. Let's say we're talking about, oh, a large home improvement warehouse. In addition to the bewildering variety of lumber we sell is a rotating selection of live plants, 54983478980876 colors of paint and little bits of pipe in every size, shape, material and color on the face of the earth. NO, after two weeks of employment, I DO NOT KNOW THE UPC CODE FOR THIS AND EVERY OTHER ITEM WE SELL. When people learn this, I can almost see the words "illiterate high school dropout" flashing through their minds. And out of pure ego preservation, I casually relate the situation to one I encountered while working at a newspaper. Then the gears start turning again. Wait a minute. Newspaper. Journalism. Degree. College. Better educated than myself. Possibly even in possession of natural intelligence. Usually they grind to a halt right there. I know I shouldn't A) give a shit what our customers think of me, or B) try to prove my self-worth by hinting at my capacity to perhaps have a better job where I wouldn't wear my name on an apron. But it's my only defense mechanism, and if anything has become abundantly clear in the last couple months, it's that I actually do care what people think of me. Nothing short of crippling.
The blinding irony of this is that one of my biggest pet peeves is people who understand exactly what their problem is and don't do anything about it, which is exactly what I'm doing. So I must stop. Somehow.
I guess it stings when people think I'm stupid. I'm used to people not considering me attractive, interesting, exotic, intriguing, a good cook, artistically inclined, etc., but usually I could get them to think I was smart. But when that's ripped away, apparently a gaping wound is exposed. Not pretty.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The scary reason I have neglected my blog of late:
I am addicted to facebook.
Yes, I'm 23, not in college, not in a position to facebook hotties from class or the bar, etc. etc. but, Lord, how I wish I could.

But anyway, I have also been working. Glory, glory hallelujah, I'm a cashier. My first day, my brain was still in waitress mode, and I rang up $60 pallets of annuals thinking, "I ought to get a pretty good tip from this." Alas, no. For better or for worse, I get paid equally for each hour, regardless of customer traffic.

Ringing people up is pretty much as easy as it looks. What's hard is when I have to travel to the breakroom or another part of the store in my snazzy apron and customers ask me things. It's not that I don't like showing people things or whatever, but I don't know anything about anything we sell, including where it is located. I sent one woman to the wrong aisle and she came back to the returns desk to tell me and anyone within earshot that I sent her to the wrong place, and where the grass fertilizer really was. Well pardon me, if your lazy ass can't walk a few aisles without turning into an unholy bitch, you have bigger problems than I care to hear about.
I want to care about our customers, I really do. But they are so goddamn ridiculous! We've all shopped. Sometimes stuff isn't where you think it is or costs more, etc. GET OVER IT! One woman was close to tears the other day because another cashier rang up some dismal-looking flowers at the wrong price and she had been sent all over the store. Do you want to know the total price difference, this holy grail she had sought from about six employees? About $2.50. For real. I have no money, zero. And even I hemorrage about that much on crap every day. I just can't take these high-maintenance types who track every penny they spend.
I like most of my co-workers. They're relaxed and some are pleasantly silly. One girl, however, is the kind of dumb that belongs in a museum. Not that she isn't very nice, she is. But, well, here's an example. A few days ago, she asked me if her hair looked okay, despite her gray roots. This girl can't be more than 25, but upon closer inspection, she did have some gray hairs. She said she had gotten them since she was in high school, but for some reason it was only the roots that turned gray, not the ends.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Once upon a time, I really enjoyed clicking the Next Blog button at the top of blogspot pages. But now, 90 percent of the blogs are run by a company that posts "resources" on some topic or another.
But I still manage to find plenty that are teenagers recording every thought that flutters through their ADD-addled minds. One girl had this utterly depressing site all about how her boyfriend broke up with her. Dude.

In the spirit of those post-whatever blogs I will say:
Some nights I fall asleep totally sober with my clothes/the lights on. Last night was one of those nights.
I start training at the hardware store today and I still don't have a temp assignment.
I am getting sick. My hand hurts (wtf?), as does my head, and you don't want to know about the rest of me.

I am summoning every ounce of willpower I have to not get depressed about the state of my life. I had a long talk with my parents about it. It's funny, even when we agree we all yell at each other and it sounds like an argument. They literally got mad at me because I felt like I let people down. It was a weird feeling, being yelled at about how I shouldn't try to please anyone but myself. Overall it was good to talk to them, I guess, but it really makes me feel about 10 years behind in my development to have to scream: "You just don't understand!" at my parents.
I believe everything I've said about why I'm doing this, but day to day its hard to tell people no, I'm not a waitress anymore, but yes, I'm now a seasonal cashier. When did I become such a snob? Why do I think there's something wrong with this lifestyle?
I guess the things I do for work now were once a scare tactic employed by teachers, parents and others who should know better: If you don't go to college, you will wear a nametag the rest of your life. And now here I am, and I know I didn't do anything wrong. I did everything I possibly could to avoid this, as far as career preparation goes, but you know, shit happens.
I imagine to anyone over about 27 this blog seems like an agonizingly slow discovery of the obvious. But people my age were never warned this could happen. College was the golden ticket, baby, and if you got that degree everything was going to be peachy. I must have believed that. I think a lot of us did. But it's just one of a matrix of lies that make up the American Dream.

I guess the bright spot right now is that I have an idea for a book that I think could be pretty good, if it turns out I can write a book. We'll see.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


I quit the waitressing job today, though I agreed to work tomorrow if needed. Last night we had a band, and the owner anticipated some sort of huge crowd because of it. But because this band A) sucks, and B) has only played like twice before, and also because we never advertise anything, it was just a usual lameass Saturday, but with more mullets. And I dropped a Philly cheese steak.

This week I start my hardware cashier job and hopefully some temping.

I'm toying with another idea though. I'm thinking about trying to find a real job right now. These jobs pay so little that I'm not really getting anywhere financially. If temping+cashiering=no closer to paying down my credit cards, my best bet may be to move to Chicago where I can find a real job. I've looked at CareerBuilder.com and sent out some resumes for jobs looking for communications-types. It pays so much more than journalism it's ridiculous. Obviously my cost of living would be higher, but it's hard to say now what's the better route, financially.
Maybe what I should do, what we all should do, is list our wants. It seems like that's what we are always trying to reconcile, what do I want? How do I get it? Is this it? Does it exist? And then trying to fit that in among our needs and our responsibilities to others.
What I want (ideally)
1. A job that doesn't compromise my integrity/beliefs
2. A comfortable standard of living
3. To live reasonably close to friends and family
4. To improve my credit

What I need
1. A job that covers all of my expenses with some room for fun
2. Insurance/benefits
3. A safe, comfortable place to live

Obligations to others
1. Take over the bills my parents are still paying
2. Various time commitments to friends and family

That seems to be it. But so much more factors in to how this will actually play out.
Other things I, and many people, want include acceptance, feeling appreciated, feeling useful, being challenged, fun people to be around and some other things I won't list on this family blog. It all seems so obvious now that I look at it in black and white but somehow it's just out of reach.