The Raven

The Raven

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's not all Roses

A Day in the Life of a florist at your typical, 21st Century, capitalist supermarket.
How many people do you think are responisible for all the following?
unload stock from pallets, usually 4-12 boxes, manuver a full u-frame through crowded walkways of cattle-like customers,unload, process flowers, plants, recut and care for older product before putting out newer product, wait on a customer, finish unloading pallet, get called up to a register to help alleviate the crowds accumulating, fill 32 gallon water tank, push it outside,water plants outside, get called back in to help a customer in your department, go back outside to water, push tank back in to be refilled, take the trash,condense cardboard and take it to crusher,wait on a customer, go upfront again to run a register, while water tank overflows, go back out to water, refill tank, help customers, clean department, help bag groceries up front, water plants outside... I think you get the idea- How many? ONE, just ONE! And they give me 5 or 6 hours per day to do all this! They cut back the cashiers upfront, and pull people from other departments to do their job, causing their primary job to be comprimised and often, incomplete. If workers had a specialty they could work on all day, they would be more able to dedicate their efforts and talents, and therefore, have a better end result; if one person has many things to do, nothing is done to its potential. Capitalists seem to want slavery back. Now, I am in no way trying to compare myself to a slave, I have never known what that is like, but worker's rights are not the priority to many capitalistic buisness classes- and I would not put it past them that if they could reinstate slavery for their buissnesses, they would. Their profits would go through the roof! No pesky healthcare costs, or fair wages, or paid holidays... they wouldn't even have to provide a place for us to take a break, for there would be no breaks!
What is most frieghtening to me is a recent incident in my town. Back in 1946, a place called Eatmor opened, helping this working-class community"eat more, for less." The meat cutters managed to get a union organized and the place survived many economic slumps for 60 years, under one family ownership. I worked there for 4 years. There were many things I hated about my job, such as the degredation from the customers, but I grew a thicker skin and survived and earned my unions wages and full healthcare coverage. Every cashier had their own bagger, usually a local, high-school male, which made things easier for the customer and the cashier; plus, the bagger could catch anything I may have missed on the bottom of the cart, which managment appreciated. They were there to help little old ladies out to their car and earn tips; many baggers could earn upwards of $60 on a good night, plus minimum wage, pretty good for a 16 or 17 year old. In 2007, the place was sold to a family from India, who had a pattern of buying and mismanaging stores, who managed to run the Eatmor buisness, a landmark of 60 years, down to the ground within one year by not paying bills, leaving an arrogant, inexperience 20 something to mind the store and being motivated only by money and ignoring the wants and needs of customers and workers. Towards the end, they laid off many workers, and eventually shut it down, causing all its workers, many who had more than 30 years there, to go on unemployment, to get rid of the union, and reopen under the SAME NAME, only adding an "E" at the end and to be ANTI-UNION; a real slap in our faces...

In modern supermarkets, where I ended up getting my new job after Eatmor, they practise tacts such as this... I used to be able to get 8 hour days a couple times a week. When new store managment came, they cut that out- the max hours we can now get is 7.15, which cut out one of our 15 mins and our 1/2 hr lunch break; this was done to "streamline" the front end, where there are no baggers ready to help customers out to their car; that's unheard of! The cashier, who is busy bagging, while the customer stands and stares hawk-eye at the screen waiting to catch her 10 cents not comming off, has to make sure there is nothing left under or in the cart. I guess too many cashiers were too overworked to see the many items going out the door unpaid for. I don;t blame them- it's one customer right after the next, literally, as you're saying have a nice day and hading the change back to them, another on the other side is shoving thier coupons and savings card at you. There are literally one right after the other since there are usually only a few lines open, so the owners can make more profit and not have to pay their workers too much! So, to fix this, my store has now put in place a scanner that looks for missed items on the bottom of the cart; a good, old-fashined bagger could have solved this, I thought!
 This enviroment makes for irritable workers and customers. If the workers are taken care of first- with fair wages, full healthcare coverage, and full-time hours, not  less hours and more responsiblity for the same pay- they will be happier and more efficient in the workplace which will lead to happier, more loyal customers.
If a buissness cannot provide fair conditions to its workers, should they even be running a buisness?

No comments:

Post a Comment