Grocery Mart Sucks

February 10, 2008
By Melinda Cohoon, Tigard, OR

The cold air grazed my skin as the dreary sky cascaded down the parking lot of “Grocery Mart”. No one gave the faintest hint that there was humanity inside them. Everyone looked like mindless drones, as their shoes hit the rugged black pavement. If there was a god, he or she wasn’t there. As I entered the foreboding store, I could feel anxieties of the past rise in my soul. For the past 5 months I’ve worked at Grocery Mart, and they only ever seemed to care if I could put groceries into paper or plastic bags. “I need to make sure I got the days I needed off,” I thought to myself. My feet hit the white tile. Darkness inhibited all the employees from realizing that there are better jobs out there, than the one that requires them to ask every customer “do you have a preferred card”. When I walked past the aisles and aisles of check stands, I reminisced about the phony smiles from the people (who are cashiers) who probably only ever dreamed of working in this hell hole.

I went to the break room, past the cash registers and lobby, to see what they scheduled me for the next week. A bitter scent filled my nostrils as lights seemed to dim. Hundreds of lockers towered over, as if to warn me of my imminent future. Festivity crowded every corner of the break room. Pasted on red leaves and fake vines were on the board I needed to look at. “Why would anyone go through so much trouble to decorate this area, when employees don’t seem to give a crap?” I questioned. When I looked past
the frivolousness of the decorations, I noticed my schedule hadn’t been fixed to my needs. “What!” I exclaimed. “They didn’t give me the days I needed off!” This really sucked. I wrote in my availability, gave it to the lobby supervisor (her and I are cool so she must have given it to one of my managers) and my manager must have lost it. As I zoomed out of the break room, I could smell the faintest scent of urine from the boys’ filthy bathroom. Something must have turned sour.
Management was busy on both sides of the store. My manager Tim was talking to a future employee and my assistant manager Jan I had seen earlier checking groceries feverously. Warm bread flourished the air with its magnificent scent, giving me hope. After a million year wait, I explained my position to Tom. He told me Jan would put the days I asked to have off back in the computer. I eventually talked to her, after waiting for another decade. A cloud began to hover over my head. The red box (a box like machine that one can rent movies from) irradiated in the background, lighting up Jen’s face satanically. All sound skittered away, like a bug that’s about to be squashed. “Okay. So, I wanted Friday off and Sunday off for family reasons. I gave Michelle, in the lobby, my availability. Then she gave it to you guys. I came in eventually and asked Tom what my hours were for the next week. I was scheduled to work on days I had requested off,” I explained to Jan.
“You are supposed to come to me with schedule changes. You are going to need to call people to work for you,” Jen replied.

“Uhhhh….That’s impossible, because I wanted tomorrow off.”

“Well, you should have come in sooner, instead of the day before. So, are you telling me you are not willing to call people?” she asked in a demeaning manner. That question had really put me on the spot. It was like she was asking me, “Do you want to be
fired? Are you not willing to conform to the job?” It was extremely rude. I had put in my request, and they didn’t give it to me. A few days ago, I wrote it in her stupid book for requesting days off. They still didn’t give it to me! If anyone were to ask me if I think their system fails, then I’d reply with a definite yes.

“No, it just seems too late to ask people the day before,” I replied. People usually have plans, and I’d personally be pissed off if someone asked me to do it the day before. Confusion and rage reeked from my body. I wanted to run home and tell my mommy. The ironic thing is I ended up seeing my mom in the parking lot and telling her. This sucked and it still sucks. Friday is my mom’s birthday, and I won’t be able to do what I wanted to do for her because of stupid capitalism. Instead I get to spend the day bagging things for people I could care less about, and clean up uncleanly bathrooms. Sunday is going to be a day where we celebrate my brother’s, my mom’s, and my birthday all in one day because coincidentally are birthdays are all three days apart. If I don’t find anyone to go in for me, I’m calling in sick. I don’t care if I get fired. There has been too much drama in that stupid place. “Grocery Mart” sucks.

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