Wednesday, December 5, 2012

20 Things I've Learned from My New Job So Far

Today was day two of my new job.  Here's what I have learned so far...

  1. People buy A TON of stuff from the Dollar Store for Christmas--cards, bells, stockings, chocolate Santas, tree decorations, gift bags (lots of gift bags!), etc. 
  2. A LOT of people use EBT (food stamp) cards.  They look like credit cards but it comes up on my screen "EBT card".  And some of these people are carrying Coach purses and iPhones(!).
  3. This store I am working at has a high turnover of employees (it's minimum wage and lots of work so I guess people head for greener pastures or something).  I noticed five employees crossed off the schedule just this week.
  4. Overall people are really nice.  Maybe it's Christmas cheer or maybe they feel sorry for us hard working/low wage workers.
  5. Some people seem to buy everything at the Dollar Store--like food for a month (one lady I rang up totaled $130--that's 130 items!).
  6. I literally have no time to chat with my coworkers.  I am too busy running things across the scanner for five hours straight to do much more than say "hi" and "thank you" to each customer.
  7. It seems like many of the people I work with are young mothers. How they can support themselves, let alone their kids, on minimum wage is beyond me.
  8. I had a Canadian couple, a Russian lady, and a German couple come through my line today. All were happy to be in our warm weather instead of the weather back home.
  9. I've got to use my Spanish three time so far with customers who didn't speak English.  I haven't had to speak Spanish for two years.  My Spanish isn't very good.
  10. I see a lot of things slide across my scanner that I didn't know they had at the store.  I have a marginal urge to shop but that kind of defeats my purpose of earning money to save for my big goals.
  11. Sometimes I wonder about the items people buy.  One guy bought rubber gloves, garbage bags, zip ties, and a saw.  Serial killer? Eekk.
  12. I am never going to roll my eyes again when I have to wait in a long line at the Dollar Store (or any other store for that matter). Poor pay, under staffed, and scanning as fast as I can go.  Now I appreciate these people who have to do this for a living.
  13. This is the most conversation I have had with people in two years!  I've been kind of secluded--in my home, in the library, with the cousins--so I'm kind of amazed at how much I have to talk every day.
  14. Hubby came in and shopped today.  He grinned at me as I checked him out.  He still thinks it's funny I am working there.  He should be used to me now--I once did a paper route to get some exercise, I worked in a concession stand at a baseball field because I wanted to be outside in the nice summer weather, and I worked in a library because I liked books.
  15. Sometimes I want to lecture people about their health.  I mean they buy a giant bag full of junk food and I want to tell them that if they keep eating like that they will die, but I restrain myself.  The Dollar Store does have the best prices on junk food bar none, however.
  16. People buy way more gift bags than wrapping paper.  I think because it's easier and equally cute.
  17. One lady asked how I was and I said "great, happy to be here".  She said "at least you have a job",  She works at City Bank and just got a lay off notice.  
  18. I'm surprised at how many people come into the store every day.  A number of people mentioned that they shopped at the store nearly every day. Wow.
  19. I am nearly ready to collapse after five hours on my feet.  There is a little old Filipina lady who is my favorite cashier at the 99 cent store and I have no idea how she can work 40 hours a week on her feet.  She has to be more than 70 years old!  Or maybe I am just a wimp.
  20. I want to go on a cruise.  I want to go on a cruise NOW.
Yeah--tomorrow I get a day off!


  1. This is one of my favorite posts from you! (cracked up at #11). I think that perhaps you can turn this experience into a short story or maybe even a book. My lunch lady job started out at minimum wage, but because I'm now in a union, I get a good hourly rate, (but it's only for 3 hours a day). Still, it's work not many people would want to do. It's hot, messy and exhausting, but I'm thankful to be working. My job has taught me how to relate to kids. Also, seeing the special needs kids every day makes me thankful for my healthy child and for all that I have. I must admit though, that while I'm running 275 ketchup laden lunch trays through the dishwasher, I daydream about a nice warm tropical vacation. :-)

  2. I think you're making assumptions about the people who shop with you. You don't know if the people with EBT cards and iPhones or Coach bags received those things as gifts, saved up for them for ages, bought them used at a bargain, have them from work, borrowed them, or whatever. Why assume the worst?

    You also can't tell when someone will die by what they purchase. No need to buy into the hysteria that fat = unhealthy. Fat is just fat. I know this is kind of a wild, counter-cultural thing to say, so I suggest you check out

    I really like your blog. :-) Oh, and sometimes I still see Portuguese posts in my G-Reader.

  3. Lorraine--I think being a lunch lady would be an equally fun job--good exercise and the kids are probably nicer to the people that feed them than they are to their teachers!
    Culo--You are right about the Coach bag part--people can buy them cheap at the Goodwill and on eBay these days for like $30. I still have a problem with the iPhone though because the monthly fee for that particular phone us upwards of $70 a month whereas a basic cell phone--even a smartphone--can be as low as $30 a month. An extra $40 a month can go a long way for your kids when you are poor enough to qualify for food stamps. Also, I love fat in all it's forms (and I have a terrible Raisinettes habit but I digress) I just think the long list of chemicals on much of the junk food people eat plus the empty carbs which make up much of the junk food these days and which also spikes your blood sugar and can lead to diabetes/high blood pressure/high cholesterol will kill them sooner rather than later (re the 35%+ obesity rate in the US these days). Thanks for the comment--it really made me think!

  4. A LOT of people use EBT (food stamp) cards. They look like credit cards but it comes up on my screen "EBT card". And some of these people are carrying Coach purses and iPhones(!).

    I found the same thing when volunteering at the food bank, people were coming in better dressed than me!!!


  5. I'm happy you like the job and the customers treat you well!

  6. good luck with your new job!