Lindsey tries: Working retail

By Lindsey Rothering —

“Lindsey tries” documents the misadventures of a 22-year-old whose main career goal is to have a job that doesn’t involve asking “And would you like to join our rewards program?” a million times a day.

Like many of you, I have a job outside of being a student. During breaks, summers and some weekends, I slave away to The Man. And not just The Man but the Drugstore Retail Man. Which is like 30 percent worse.

Now before I get too whiney, let me tell you that it’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be (most of the time). I would venture to guess that roughly 80 percent of my day is spent doing one of the following: hitting buttons on a touchscreen, getting a full unsolicited run-down of some old person’s medical problems and talking about the weather. I’m really good at two of these (list-them-on-your-résumé level of good) and I’ve slowly been getting better at not gagging when an old lady asks where the anti-fungal cream for “under the bras” is.

Just kidding, I’ll always gag when someone asks me that.

One of the nerdier things about my job is I’m on the safety committee. I didn’t ask for it; my boss just assigned me. I guess my “question authority” vibes weren’t very strong, and I came off as my true rule-follower self. I ultimately agreed under the condition that I could bring food to the meetings.

I may actually be a good fit for a safety committee, because I have only been injured in the workplace once when I got a job at a deli. On my second day of work there, they showed me how to use the meat slicer, and on my third day, I took a visit to the ER. I wasn’t invited back to work after that.

So here I am, a safety committee member, lifting a box of product over my head when my hand accidentally breaks through a thin lightbox. I remove my now-bloodied fist, wondering how in the hell I’m going to explain to my boss that we need to order a new “Wet N Wild” makeup sign, and oh yeah, I need some band-aids too. I head to the bathroom to rinse off my hand, only to be greeted by the most foul smell when I open the door—and a giant poop sitting on the restroom floor!

So here I am, bloody fist, looking at a human (I’m assuming) poop on the tiled floor of the bathroom. I gagged, went “Nope!” and immediately ran to tell my boss everything because I sure as hell was not dealing with that.

Luckily, my boss thought my mishap was hilarious (albeit gross), and didn’t fire me like the deli people—although I don’t think I’m on the safety committee anymore. And I suppose while “expert frozen pizza maker” will stay on my résumé, anything mentioning “safety” will not.

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