As I walked toward the till room, he brushed right pass me in such a hurry I could see his necktie flip over the left side of his shoulder. This was an indication that he was too busy doing whatever store manager do during the hours in a supermarket. “How are you doing, eh?” Not really waiting for a response he continued in the opposite direction. I stood and watched as the manager headed to the front end of the store. Shaking my head I knew I wouldn’t want his position working as a store manager. The though of having to handle such responsibilities of a large business wasn’t in my career decision.
I clocked in for work and proceeded to the till room. As I counted the cash from my till, over the intercom boomed a stern voice. “Lamekia, customer service is needed up front.” Can I finish counting the money in my till, first? I thought to myself. The grocery store wasn’t that crowded and it seemed as if the customers were checking out at once. “I’ll need you to open up on any register, ok? And make sure you scan all orders fast. You can do that, can’t you? I’ve seen from previous records that you’re capable of doing such a task. Other employees have complimented on how well you have carried out each order, you know…”
The manager stood there with one hand on his waist, gesturing with the other. I felt intimidated. As I took care of each customer’s order, scanning each item across the conveyer belt, the lines started to slow down. The customer’s facial expressions grew pleasant as they came closer and closer to the register.”Every time I come to this store the lines are too long,” complained one customer, even the express lane.”
As if I haven’t heard this statement enough, I finished up the order and decided to clean up the register. I looked around my work station with disguised as bloody meat stains, sprinkled sugar crystals, and small puddles of water (from the freshly cut vegetables and fruits) lay across my counter. I knew my job was to keep the area tidy but I wasn’t going to make it my home, spick and span. Besides who knows how long cleaning up this place would actually take while using only an original cleanser and paper towels.
“Be sure to fill up the bag rack. The plastic bags are underneath the registers. Also do you mind taking those items back and putting them on the shelves?” the manager asked while pointing to a shopping cart adjacent to me. In the back of my mind I wanted to curse the hell out of him. Who do you think you are telling me what to do and when to do it? If it wasn’t for my financial situation what would I do in my spare time? Where else would I find work that didn’t involve cleaning up messes, exchanging goods for money, or dealing with the attitudes of customers and employees?
“What I like more than anything is a clean workplace, where we as people don’t have to worry about trash and spills. The manager said to me, “Would you continue to do go-backs and keep your register clean? I’ll be sure to reward you later.” Then he gave me one of his phony smiles. My skin crawled and the blood warmed in my flesh. He was now taking advantage of my normal cashier duties. I’m a dependable worker. At times I didn’t mind doing favors, but, only to a certain degree. For instance, if I wasn’t tending to the customers I would reshelf items the customer no longer wanted to buy or organize the candy/magazine display.
One day he needed me to cover someone’s shift. I turned the opportunity down, having plans of my own that Friday evening. The following day, I arrived to work ten nutes late after staying out the night before. I felt tired. I was prepared in uniform but not in my mind. The first words to pour from his lips were, “Good morning, Lamekia. Tuck in your shirt.” He became more and more aggravating and strict.
Around noon, I was spent to go on meal two hours before going home. I took my break in the meal room where most employees eat their lunch. As I walked toward the room, I could hear someone talking. It was coming from the conference office which is located two doors to the right of the lunch room. One of the voices was masculine which sounded familiar. The other person had to be a female because the ability to speak was quite sensitive. I didn’t want to be heard nor noticed eavesdropping on the two, therefore I tip-toed in the direction of the door. As I approach the door, that has a window in the middle, I could hear the conversation quite clear.
A male voice asked, “So you have worked as a cashier for Winn-Dixie before, huh?” “Yes! I wanted to find a job while finishing up college.” the female replied. I raised my eyebrows in curiosity. Was he hiring a new cashier? I took the risk of looking through the window. While standing there with one hand on his waist and gesturing with the other, the manager seemed interested in hiring this female. I could tell by the glistening in his eyes, the same set of eyes I noticed when we first met. “Well there’s available at the front end of the store. That way I can work around your schedule. Is that ok with you?” The manager said to the woman.
“Sure, but can I ask you one thing?” she requested of him. “Yeah, what can I do for you?” he looked at her in suspicion, as if she wanted something not relate to this field of work. “My duty as a cashier doesn’t involve cleaning up, does it? I mean isn’t that as a bagger’s responsibilities?” I chuckled. Noticing the woman’s attire I could clearly see why she objected to such a task. The manager told the woman she wasn’t to worry about cleaning up anything. “As a cashier you must keep your register clean using the paper towels and cleanser available underneath each counter.” he noted.
My watch on my wrist beeped indicating that it was ten minutes left until I return back up front. Therefore I hurried through my lunch and proceeded back. As I walking to clock back in, I noticed a confrontation between the manager and a customer. The customer was complaining about having to wait for an extended amount of time while checking out at the register. Whenever this happens the customers are usually comparing the store to local supermarkets. He tried to convince the customer to be patient but it didn’t work. When I arrived back I opened up one of the registers, announcing that I was available for checkout. It’s been a while since I’ve made that announcement over the intercom. The manager looked in my direction for a moment and gave me the thumbs up sign.