It cannot be easy to work as a cashier/clerk in a retail business.
The hours are long, and/or unpredictable. Most of them are spent standing up: - it’s leg and back aching work. The pay is low, and in these United States the benefits are minimal (few or no paid holidays, no health care insurance, no pension scheme).
And that’s just the start.
1. The local store management might be considerate and understanding, or it might be tyrannical – I’ve seen both.
2. But the regional management (at, for example, a district office) seems to have no understanding of human needs. That level of management lives in the world of goals, objectives, spread-sheets and sales targets. Theirs is a deeply de-personalised world.
3. If the store is quiet the cashier/clerk is expected to “tarry forth” and stock shelves, all the while with “eyes in the back of her/his head” for the lone and impatient customer who comes to the check-out with his gallon of ice-cream and five out of date coupons.
4. If the store is busy the cashier/clerk is expected to wait on fifteen customers each bearing fifteen items and fifteen coupons all in the space of fifteen minutes (well you get the picture!).
5. Ah yes – the customers! Many (if not most) of them are likely to be cheerful and understanding folks. Not a few of them are lonely folks who enter the store not so much to buy as to chat. But then there are the perpetually angry bastards who spew venom at the cashier/clerk for a thousand reasons or none.
I was in one of my local supermarkets this morning. My clerk/cashier was Jessica. She is a single mother (probably in her early thirties). She has two part time jobs, and works long hours with low pay to support her and her child. I am always happy to see Jessica.
She seemed to be sad today. I asked her about this, and she told me that it had been a morning during which several customers had yelled at her - about matters beyond her control. I did my best to assure her of my respect and admiration.
In truth I wanted to stand next to her, ready to punch the next obnoxious customer on the nose. Jessica should not have to suffer as a result of such out of control behaviours.
American Repuglican and Tea Party folks have accused President Obama of waging class warfare as a result of his proposals for a more just tax code.
They, of course, have written the “class warfare” script with their relentless attacks upon: the poor; the lower incomed; the minorities; the union members; the school-teachers --- the list goes on and on and on.
I want to begin some class warfare on behalf of the Jessica’s of this world who, against all odds, work their buns off in order to provide basic housing, and a simple diet for themselves and for their family members.