I Find No Joy In the Retail Shuffle

Doing the Retail Shuffle
Doing the Retail Shuffle

Today is the last day of my vacation. As I prepare to return to work at my job in retail, I’m sad that I won’t have entire days to work on my art and writing my stories. I spent most of my vacation catching up on time lost toward completing my current novel. (My retail job has a way of interfering with my creative work.) My vacation was the most fun I have had since … well, my vacation last year.

Now, in the last stages of bliss, I see that I have neglected this blog for too long. Allow me then to indulge you with seven uncomplicated thoughts about my job in retail.

First, my job in retail is not a career. I cannot imagine anyone wanting a career in retail, but I’m not going to knock down anyone who does.

Second, long and mundane weekend hours are just one example of why retail has never made me want to commit as a lifer.

Third, comparatively low pay is another reason I don’t want a career in retail. Low pay includes workers just starting out and those who are in management.

Fourth, retail workers often have to look to government help for access to health care. I can afford health care for me through my employer, but I cannot afford to add my spouse.

Fifth, keeping up with the cost of living in general is difficult for people who work in retail, but living within my means has helped me stay afloat (though I wish I could afford a car and all of Pennsylvania’s ridiculous requirements to own one).

Sixth, my job’s inconvenient schedule makes scheduling time for family and social life difficult, let alone time for art and writing. Retail IS working weekends, nights, and holidays … AND a lot of unpredictable work days.

But beyond all this is

Seventh, my retail job has been steady income for almost thirteen years. (But I’m not a lifer! I swear!) My art and writing have never brought me a steady income. So, the few dollars I may save between paychecks of my steady income often go to supporting fellow artists and writers (instead of buying a car and all of Pennsylvania’s ridiculous requirements to own one). To me, art and literature are important and that’s what I want to support. Artists and writers are the people who build civilizations. I cannot imagine a world without them. I can imagine, however, a world without convenient stores and fast food restaurants.

Whether I’m flipping burgers or selling 100-inch TVs, if I lose my job tomorrow, I will still be an artist and a writer. Albeit, a penniless artist and writer, but only until another door opens … hopefully one where I can use my skills to their fullest. That’s another problem with retail: poor use of people’s skills. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to run a cash register, but you know rocket scientist are running cash registers somewhere. (I’ll save that one for another list.)

Until my next post, have a great day.

2 thoughts on “I Find No Joy In the Retail Shuffle

  1. Hope it doesn’t sound corny, but I admire you tremendously. It’s a pleasure to know you, and your words are an inspiration. This must be an insane time for you (in retail). Hang in there. As always, Steve, I wish you great success in all your artistic and literary efforts. Most of all, carry on, come what may, keep applying your considerable gifts. Onward! 🙂

    1. Steve Campbell

      Your kindness really brightened my day. It’s always nice to hear from people who admire an artist’s/writer’s hard work. Although I haven’t said it enough, I admire your work too and wish you success in the fickle world called illustration.

      Yes, it was an insane month in retail. One sees the best and worst in people during December. Now that it’s over, I’m ready for a long winter nap and pleasant dreams of spring.

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