Retail hours suck. They just do. They will say they hired you on for full time, but what they really mean is they hired you to work anything less than 40 hours a week. Because full time to them for you is really anything below 35 hours a week. Or, they will work you to death, pay you just barely above minimum wage, and always ask you to stay, come in on your days off, then you will procure overtime. Which is nice, it really is. However, you shall never reap the benefits of a full time employee, which, by the way, is only the managers. No supervisors, no one below supervisors. Just managers and corporate employees.
So, if you think you have it made in retail, think again. Unless you get lucky with a small store or a company that actually holds true to their promises. Which, some people do, and that’s awesome. Good for you! If only I got that lucky.
Once I worked a job as a part-time employee, but I was getting anywhere from 70-90 hours per two-week pay period. Yeah. Did I get paid for it? No. I got paid my regular salary (at the time was under $7 for minimum wage). And if I worked on holidays, I’d get time and a half (which happened every time, as it was a movie theater, those places never close down for the holidays because assholes like to come to the movies on the holidays then apologize profusely that you have to work on that day. Seriously, butt bomb? If you didn’t want to come to the damn movies, I wouldn’t have to work! But since you do, thanks for the time and a half on my paycheck. That’ll be $20.50 for your popcorn and drink, sir).
I was only 19 at the time and it was my first real job, I really didn’t know much better and never thought to call the Better Business Bureau or OSHA about it. There would be days where I’d work from open at 10am and close at 3 in the morning. Oh, and not get a lunch break because it was too damn busy and I was the only night bartender that knew anything about anything. Which, by the way, the movie theater I worked at was also a bar and served quick-type foods like burgers, hot wings, and personal pizzas. It was my first job, I had fun at it and I could do my job and it paid my bills.
Now, I feel like I have to slum it to pay my bills working for a higher hourly salary than my first job five years ago. Since I got fully trained at the service desk, I hardly ever get scheduled for cashier shifts. In fact, in the last month and a half, I haven’t been scheduled for any. The ones that I have had are ones that I’ve picked up from other people quitting or calling out of work. Sometimes my boss will come up to me and ask me if it would be a big deal if I could pick up a cashier shift. No, of course it’s not a big deal. He treats it like I should feel insulted to be asked to work as a cashier. I started off working like that, and it’s not like I get paid a higher rate to work at the service desk (thanks for the non-promotion promotion?). I like it when it gets switched up like that.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to have a steady schedule, and I don’t get that at all where I work, but sometimes I get sick and tired of working at the service desk. I get sick and tired of telling people no most of the day. Then, on the same hand, I get tired of being a cashier every single day, too. I get tired of standing there and waiting for people to come to me and not having a job to do in between guests. At least at the service desk, I have things to occupy myself when I don’t have a line out the door of people wanting to return this or that.
It helps to break up the monotony because I have found myself getting very bitter and angry if I do the same thing too often. Working as a cashier in between my service desks shifts is perfectly fine with me. It’s not beneath me and I wish my boss wouldn’t treat it like it is. As long as I’m getting scheduled for under 30 hours a week, I will do what I can to pick up shifts when I can. Sometimes they call me in and I can’t do it because I do legitimately have plans or my girlfriend has the car and can’t come pick me up to take me to work. But usually, if I find a shift available that I can take or can stay longer on shifts I’m already working, I will do it.
I’m starting to think that my laptop is a good luck charm for picking up extra hours in a shift. My girlfriend and I work at the same store (no, I didn’t get my honey where I make my money. We met long before and I met her through a mutual ex-friend who was also her ex-girlfriend) so most times, our schedules don’t match as she works on the sales floor and I work on the front end. If she closes and I get off of work just an hour or two before, I will stay on and bring my laptop to sit in the breakroom or go across the street to Starbucks or Barnes and Noble to surf the Internet until she gets off work. However, I’ve found that the last few times that I’ve done this with the intention of doing my own thing after, they’ve really needed someone to stay. So, why say no? It’s not like I have anything productive planned. I’m just going to bum around and do nothing special. I’ll be hanging out there anyway, might as well be put to work and get paid for it.
I should probably try this tactic more often. Sometimes when the girlfriend goes into work before I do, and it’s only a few hours difference, I’ll do the same thing, but sometimes my managers will feel bad that I’m just sitting around or walking around and they will find some excuse to let me clock in early. Hell yeah! More hours! More money in my pocket! Which is great, really, because my personal debt is growing by the day. And in my line of work where one week I can work 36 hours and the next I’ll have 17, the more hours I can pick up, the better. Starving artists can’t feed themselves, you know.
But hey! Now the Holidays are arriving, so everyone will be drowning in hours. They will be begging us to stay, to come in early, to do this, to do that. It will be wonderful! Then again, I won’t have much longer to complain about getting less than 30 hours a week.