Mundane Job Blues

I’m writing this before I leave for work. I have a 1-10pm shift today. Next month I celebrate 16 years at the store I work at. Celebrate is the wrong word. I don’t celebrate anything about my job. Well, maybe the paycheck. But that isn’t much to party over.

To say my job is depressing is an understatement. I wonder how high the suicide rate is in retail work. Probably high. Really high.

The worst part of my job is interacting with people. It’s important that I smile, be friendly, and make my customers feel relaxed and welcomed. I do that, pushing my depression down, deep inside me. It resides there with the anger I have from the little recognition I have received from my managers. 16 years of rarely getting a thank you or a job well done.

So I dip in the kindness still alive in my soul and make my customers feel welcomed and cared for … just to listen to them gripe about how awful the weather is, how awful the service is in other departments of the store, and how awful technology is. The last one is usually from people who don’t understand how their smartphones work. You see, I work in a photo center and many of today’s customers print pictures from their phones. The worst customers are the ones with iPhones. Apple thought it a good idea to make storing photos in clouds a default setting on their phones. And I get customers who have no idea what a cloud is, other than what sits in the sky when they gaze out their windows. Since I get a lot of these customers, and since I work alone because the company is skimping on hours to its employees to save a buck, I have little time to service all of my customers. Some of them complain to my managers, and I get to hear how I need to be a better employee.

Working in retail sucks.

Now, it’s time for me to push down my anger and put on my “happy” game face.

Until next time, this is Steve saying, “Is it too early in the year to take vacation?”

Madness [poetry]

Too many people stomping around—
fractured herds mucking the rivers,
the land,
killing the grass.
They think they know when they don’t.

They rode lame in a hot race and wept when their HellCat lost.
Now they cry from twit-faces in their concrete castles filled with Eisenhower plastic,
drowning their DTs in anger
and lamenting that their cultivated habits didn’t make them rich.

Money for the populace is the reason Owners obsess over property and selfhood.
They muck the rivers,
highways,
kill the grass,
and count their dollars made of starvation, suicide, failure, death—
Illusion.

Dusty professors moan that I speak Ginsberg—
a tragedy as big as the smallest positive real number,
while the world riots to muck the rivers…
eating the life from their own butchered bodies
and lamenting that their cultivated habits still don’t make them rich.