Category Archives: Band aids

Testing out the Creaky Writing Fingers Again

Hello? Hello? Anybody there?

I guess you can’t see all the blog posts that are in my mind, because they never got written down.

Remember? I started working at the grocery store in June. Two times I crept home from the store and wrote about my experience. Most other days, I collapsed on the couch and pondered the state of my aching knees, hips, feet, shoulders, arms, and hands. Even with that, it took me four months to quit the job, in tears, and begin to heal.

At first, I dreamed about the store. I missed it and had to clothespin my lips closed when I went in to shop lest I blurt out my desire to come back to the familiar pain.

A month of recovery later, my knees could bend without constant pain; my hips went back to their normally schedule programming; and the knot in my back had loosened.

Two months of recovery later, I can walk in the store, buy my pomegranates and cereal and grass-fed beef, and have but a distant memory of stuffing product on shelves, cleaning up after customers (such messy people), and rushing, rushing, rushing to get the unending and unreasonable to-do list a little smaller.

I do miss T., one of the store co-managers, and L., my remarkable boss, and N., a co-worker.

In the quiet of my home, the memory of the non-stop sensory stimulation continues to become more distant. No longer does the advertisement for Forever Stamps echo in my head. The ache in my hands from baling the cardboard has faded. Straightening hundreds of bottles of shampoo and body wash no longer takes up any space in my life.

Retail is kind of brutal, when all is said and done. Local store personnel, dedicated and committed, are constantly dealing with choices made by distant corporate types. Distant corporate types who occasionally come by, unannounced, and see that their minions are doing it all right. The pay is low, the hours are long, the work is hard, and the workers are faithful. Not all of them, of course, but the core group at my store were committed to providing the customer with a great shopping experience. And they did, as great as it can be when the shelves are mostly full of highly processed products, all crying out for attention — Buy me! Extra roll enclosed! See my colorful packaging! New! For a limited time! 

Plenty of other women my age, in my season of life, don’t have the luxury of deciding the job is too physically demanding. If nothing else, that brief foray into working in the retail grocery business opened my eyes to what many people have to do to earn minimum wage.

Testing. Testing. Check 1. 2. 

On my Further Adventures in Retail

I gave my notice yesterday.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to give my NOT ENOUGH SAND speech, which I think is a good thing, considering how the folks who are working there are also spending their sand, and might not have taken too kindly to my pithy phrase.

As it further turned out, I realized that all the nifty box opening and box breaking down and whatnot has been making my poor little hands hurt — inside and out. Inside, I think I have some arthritis lurking in there, and some tendon issues as well. Outside, the cardboard keeps on biting me, giving me paper cuts (cardboard cuts?), ripping my fingernails below the quick (and THAT is jolly good fun, let me tell you), and generally just drying out my skin, and leaving me filthy to boot. The filth washes off, but the pain from the tendons and joints doesn’t go away so easily. So, I had the perfect reason to give for why this job is not a good fit for me.

I DO remember there are many people in the world who would love to have this job, who would be glad to be in such a well-lit, well-stocked place, and who would find my pay to be simply fabulous. May they find their way to my store and apply for the job!

Yesterday, on my second-to-last day, I had to face down the bandaids again. They were ornery as ever.

Yesterday, on my second-to-last day, I had a big aha moment. My passion is about simplifying life. Retail is most definitively, definitely, confoundedly NOT about simplifying life. Advertisers want us to buy MORE, MORE, MORE! Merchandisers set things just so in order to capitalize on our impulse buying, our attention span, our desires for gratification. Those are all honest jobs; I do not fault the people who do these jobs.

Even in such a short time, I got a very interesting glimpse into a job and a business that I was only familiar with from the outside. I am grateful for the opportunity to have tried this. And I am keen to discover what is going to come next.

Not Enough Sand

http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/

Did you ever play store when you were a kid? We did. We would climb up onto the stovetop and pull canned goods, oatmeal, teabags, cereal, and more out of that upper cabinet. Then we would go get some paper bags out of the closet, and carry it all into the living room to set up our store. There were three of us kids so we had a bagger, a cashier, and a customer. Sometimes we would strain the cashier’s capabilities and have TWO customers in line. Ah, it made for hours of fun.

I remember how fun it was to set up the store. When I started mulling over the possibility of getting a job in retail, my local grocery clerk actually asked me out of the blue if I would like a job, so I pursued it. There are some fun things about stocking shelves. Making everything look nice, filling in empty spots. The best part is being able to direct a customer to the product they are seeking.

And then the band aids happened.

Let’s just look at Johnson&Johnson, a popular brand of bandaid. The line that my local store carries includes comfort-flex plastic (60 count), medium comfort-flex adhesive pads (10 count), large comfort-flex adhesive pads (10 count), comfort-flex sheer (40 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (40 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (60 count), comfort-flex sheer assorted (80 count), comfort-flex extra large (10count), comfort-flex clear (30 count). And so on to the tune of over 40 varieties of type, size, and use.

Ah, but we would be remiss if we only offered 40 types of one company’s product. So we also offer another 40 or so similar products of the generic house brand.

Even if you skipped those last two paragraphs, that means EIGHTY types and varieties of band aids. And band aids don’t come in those sturdy metal canisters anymore. No, indeed. They come in paper boxes.

Paper bandaid boxes fall over at the whisper of a touch. So, the poor sod who gets the job of restocking the bandaid shelves — it’s like playing that children’s game “Operation” where the buzzer sounds if you touch the sides of the “incision.” But in this case, the boxes fall over, mix themselves up, turn their backs on me, slide, fall off the shelf, stand on their head, and turn on an angle. Anything but stay where they are PUT.

Of course people need band aids. And no doubt the magic Market Research has shown that people need band aids to come in all one size, and assorted, and waterproof, and extra large, and medium, and sheer, and clear, and flexible, and sport, and pre-treated with antibiotic ointment, and shaped for fingers, and shaped for toes, and extra-sticky, and less sticky, and the all-important travel pack.

But I don’t need to be the one who messes with the incredibly tedious job of straightening and

restocking the bandaid shelves. I felt the sand of my life descending into the bottom of the hourglass as I conscientiously did this job. NOT enough sand in the top to make this job worth me doing.

Not only band-aids, but allergy medicine, shaving cream, lotions, shampoos, vitamins, diapers, chocolate bars, hairspray, feminine products, toothpaste. They all come in MULTIPLE multiple sizes.

Not enough sand, my friends, NOT ENOUGH SAND.