Friday, August 04, 2006

You know, I despise politics, and I'm not into activism because if I was and I felt the need to act on all the injustices that bug me, there would be no shutting me up.
But all the same, because of recent events adn those that are still occuring, I must say that I am uber pissed. After yesterday's blog explosion, I still had diarhea of the keyboard as I felt the need to poop out a letter in response to Fox having one of those stupid yes/no polls about the whole issue of "big box" stores and fair wages.

Never mind that I also have the new snog album and the V for Vendetta DVD. The government should be at my door any minute to silence me after those confessions.

Here's the email that I sent, for your enjoyment:

As someone who works retail, and has had to on and off throughout their life to pay bills/debts, I think that this big box proposal is a must for the good of those who are the backbone of companies such as Target.

I have worked in both corporate offices and as a clerk, so I am not blind to what goes on involving either group.

I make only $8 an hour where I work. My store is also run by a large national corporation. I know that employees at places such as Target make less than I do, and I will tell you now that thanks to the ever rising cost of living, college debt, and constant squeeze on the middle and lower middle, and lower classes (where all the big box workers come from) that the money they make is NOT a living wage.

To try and live on $8 or less in an expensive city like chicago is impossible, especially without benefits, as most of these jobs offer poor benefits if any, and usually only do so for full time employees.

To live on such poor wages, while performing an often stressful, mind numbingly repetitive job is demeaning, and is essentially devalueing to the employees. People have a tendency to get sick, burnt out, depressed, and angry more often at these sort of jobs because the upper management does not truly care about the wellfare of those who do most of the work for the company. Thusly, these companies have high turnover because of employee dissatisfaction and instead of actually working harder at keeping employees and keeping them happy and well provided for, they find their workers little more than expendable cogs in a larger corporate machine.

The workers are little more than wage slaves in this kind of situation, and the upper management doesn't give a damn about it.

The corporations that are threatening to not build anymore stores are already saturating the market. Their threat is meaningless and not unlike the temper tantrums of a two year old child who hasn't gotten his way. These stores are out for the bottom dollar, the profit is their concern, and their power to expand and control the market even further is their concern.

Businesses such as these have no conscience, and are often the ones who push privately owned businesses out of their way and force them to shut down JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN. They truly care no more about their customers than they do their workers, as the customer, or CONSUMER, merely exists to provide them with more revenue and a greater reach. These stores want people to see THEM as their only option.

Companies that behave in such an infantile manner do not deserve our respect or business.

The fact that they are not willing to give people what they actually need and deserve to live is reprehensible. When was it decided that those who work in retail outlets are automatically less intelligent, less worthy, less human than those who work in an office?

Every day, I come in contact with hundreds of people, some of whom have no concept of what it is like to work behind a register or in a stock room, dealing with people's gripes, complaints, and personal negativities. You are treated as unintelligent, as some kind of robot or menial servant as soon as you don an apron and a nametag. I've seen far too many cheap yuppies quibble over the price of ridiculous and pointless consumer items that they could easily afford-and they act as if their lives depend on such things- when the person they are arguing with is lucky that they are able to eat ramen noodles for dinner.

There was some comment made on fox via email that a man made about having to demand more education from his employees if he was expected to raise their wages.

I can tell you firsthand that a college education does not make one any better of a fit for these kind of jobs, and in fact, it makes one feel like less for being overeducated in a menial job. I know many people who are in my position and a large portion are college students or recent graduates whose education has driven them into debt and the job market has not afforded them anything better than finding a job at a big box retail store or the like. There is nothing worse than have to work at a job that is below you, except being denied enough money to live on and being treated like crap while you are doing it.

To demand more education is to put people who can't afford much as it is even further in debt, and is indeed a very cold, ignorant statement.

Saying yes to these large corporations means that we condone their mistreatment of our fellow citizens, and that we are letting them control us. We are marketing data, a demographic, a walking wallet. Anyone who works at these big box stores is usually not just an employee, they are also a customer. These companies, by making their threats, are saying that they don't truly care about their workers, that they are just means to an end, and so is anyone who buys from them.

If they truly cared about their employees, they would train they properly, treat them like human beings, pay them so they could raise their families and pay their bills, and give them the other necessities like health care benefits so they could stop wasting time hiring new people and just keep the ones they have.

The only company that I have heard of so far who does this or comes close is Costco.

I like, others in my position, will continue to deal with corporate management who dangles invisible carrots like "sales incentive" programs in front of us, as a smokescreen to the fact that they are not willing to take a pay cut to pay us what we are worth. They will skimp on necessities in the work place, they will run bureaucratic circles of red tape around us to make every moment a frustrating experience, and then talk to us in a condescending manner in unintelligible language using Orwellian speech.

If anyone out there has a conscience, or a heart, they must see that these are people we are talking about, not a "plan" not a bunch of numbers, HUMAN BEINGS. they are no less human than the self important CEOs who wouldn't last a day behind a register.

Someone has to stand up for the workers.

Screw the stores and their threats. Pay these people what they deserve.

Pam from Chicago

To continue the ongoing saga of why my goal is not to work for other people ever again, the event mentioned in my previous email that I did not expound on involved OSHA getting called. I will not get into many details as it is not a dead issue yet. Needless to say, however, the asshat of a manager who is my GM's boss called the other day (twice) to try and get a hold of the manager who had taken OSHA's call to us. He's a self important bastard, who in the previous post I noted as the one who suggested we get industrial fans. He's also the type of guy who can be quoted as saying stuff about how powerful he feels wiith his cell phone, that he can use it to get a hotel room anywhere he wants.

Aww. That would make me feel special too. The kind of special that deserves a rusty railroad spike through many sensitive organs.

This guy apparently asked who called OSHA. It is also apparently illegal to ask such a thing.

And, to top off my weeks of blazing hell and stupidity, the COMPANY is raising their prices on everything this tuesday. I'm going sunday to get whatever I think I need before the prices get jacked up.
We spent a grueling day - all of us, restickering everything, and we're not even halfway done.

I will say that i really do love the people I work with. we've bonded more during these last few weeks than ever. There's nothing like being oppressed by a common evil to bring people together.

I would love to continue working with them- somewhere else.
As much as i don't want to have to look for another job, I'm going to start keeping my eyes peeled.

I'm done with this scenario. I'm so very very done with it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hello, I am an expendable cog. I have been figuratively castrated by the authority of my workplace, which cares no more for me than it does for its customers. (Never mind that I am a customer)Pleased to meet you. Please, feel free to make my life even more meaningless. Would you like fries with that?

So, as someone so aptly put it, "day 147 of death heat" on the sign in sheet at work,
work is hell. I think we have vogons working at both the air conditioning company, and in the corporate offices. I'm surprised anyone can take a shit without having to fill out papers, yell at anyone, or make stupid pointless decisions.

Our store has been with AC for only a couple, maybe 3 or 4 days during the month of July, and it is now August. The list of excuses makes Santa's list of good and bad look like a postage stamp. I don't even know who's fault it is anymore, nor at this point do I care. I, like any other I've worked with, just want to not be sweating like a pig while standing still.

The AC people, after much verbal sparring, finally came out not once but twice. the first time did nothing. They were out again today with a crane, and the guy who was here to fix the stuff kept saying "well if it rains any harder we can't go up there with the crane" It was barely raining, a drizzle. So, we're supposed to let you go again, and not fix the damn thing when you already used the excuse that you didn't have the right part? Then the guy in the crane, who is getting paid more than I am (i'm sure) to SIT THERE, finally comes in at some point and said we should close the doors because it should be working.

A short trip to the vents told me no air was coming out. And....we're supposed to close the doors and contain the heat inside instead of letting the lovely breeze blow in so that we're not suffocating?

I could bake cookies on the floor in our breakroom, which has no ventilation and no windows. No one has been using it for days now, except to drop off empty cups used for mass quantities of water.

Customers have been complaining, occasionally walking out, asking for a number they can call, so we gave them one of the big bosses cell # and work numbers.

there is another development that I am eager to relate, but I will not divulge it yet, because our GM will be back and let me tell you, the shit will be hitting the fan (or fans. we don't have nearly enough)

But I will tell you this:

Apparently the asshat who is my GM's boss suggested we rent industrial fans to cool the place off. Right. Let's spend money on giant fans that will scatter the paperwork everywhere and only manage to blow the already hot air around in an oven-like building, when you could be spending that money on finding someone who actually wants to fix out goddamn AC. But, since you've contracted the lowest bidder because you don't give a shit about us and want to keep costs down as well as ignore our needs, you come up with lame ass suggestions instead. Brilliant. I see why they pay you the big bucks.

There have been plenty of customers who have been kind and are aorry we've had to work in the heat, but there are also the usual assholes who somehow don't notice the large flourescent orange signs on the door saying that there's no AC and then proceed to ask the cashier " Wouldn't it just be easier to turn the AC on?"

It would be much easier to use your head as a holder for this giant stainless steel axe. it's apparent you're not using it just now. I would mention something about your heart, but i'm pretty sure the flying monkeys have already made spaghetti sauce with it. Now go back to your air conditioned office and pretend there are windows in your cubicle you worhtless stuffed tatter of pima cotton.

You know, I remember an event in recent history. A tragedy happened. there was this big storm, and millions of people's homes were destroyed. There was a flood afterwards, and people were being herded into safe spots. They waited for several days outside in the hot sun, waiting for aid. they were promised it was coming. They got dehydrated. They were promised help was coming. Many died. they were promised help was coming. Some still haven't gotten the help they needed.

This was a very large scale event. maybe some of you remember it.

these people weren't getting the help they needed because lots of bureacracy, finger pointing, and inability to just get the fucking job done kept getting in the way.

What is happening at my company is small in comparison, and no one has died, but it follows the same pattern. just because it is a smaller incident makes it no less importantto those involved. A small injustice is still an injustice. It is because smaller events like what i've been through that larger scale events like katrina clusterfuck are allowed to happen.

instead of just getting off your ass and saying let's get this done and get it done right - the following it up by actually doing it, people drag their feet, and make excuses, and wait for forms, and don't answer phone messages, and harbor a general unconcern for their fellow man who, meanwhile, is suffering.

it's because the small events are tolerated that the big ones are allowed to happen.

Might I add, that one of our managers, in the stead of our GM who has been in France for the last couple weeks, has been working every day for nearly 18 days straight in this heat, and spent a good portion of one of them throwing up. She is such a trooper, and she, like the rest of us, have all gotten the shit caked end of the stick. She had been diligently calling people to try and get things fixed, everyday, several times a day, to not much avail.

I am watching a ship turn mutinous, and I am almost happy.

i'm sure we'll hear our GM say for the umpteenth time "thanks for being so professional during all this"

I didn't know that being professional means putting up with inhumane conditions just so someone else can get their bottom line. If that's the case, i'd rather be a berserk nutjob.

I know that throughout my life I have had issues with authority. When I have so often had to deal with the people "above" me being incompetent, inconsiderate, greedy, insensitive, and complacent, isn't really any wonder why? it's like the cop who pulls you over for running a red light, and then he does the same damn thing and gets away with it because he's a cop.

I'm done with authority who uses it power to abuse others and use them as an means to its end. I am done feeding fear to the bloated machine of control that is being used to make me feel small and insigificant in comparison. Those who use fear to abuse other in order to retain power (and thusly demand loyalty, or try to buy it)do not deserve any sort of respect or even obedience.

I will help customers because they need help, not because you want your dollar. I will direct them elsewhere if they cannot find what they want. I will not sell them things because you tell me to, because you view the people who keep you afloat as pawns and walking wallets. I don't care about this mirage of an incentive program that barely masks the fact that you don't want to pay us a living wage, that you skimp on things like toilet paper and water, and AC.

I owe you nothing. you are a drop in the bucket of my life. you are a faceless entity without rights, without reason, and without emotion. Even if you fire me, I will find somewhere else to go. And you will find some other cog to install where my place was to run your greasy machinations.

You cannot hurt me. Your power is empty, and you are delusional to think that you can have any control over me or anyone else who works for you.If we, your wage slaves, were to leave tomorrow, all as one, you wouldn't have a leg to stand on. You wouldn't know how to run anything, how to explain anything. you'd be useless, just as you are now.

Only everyone would know for sure just how useless you are.