Minimum wage

This summer was the summer from hell.

Whoever said getting an easy job for a few extra bucks was simple obviosly has never been in my shoes.

I had the worst experience working not as an itern (i.e. slave) for a big company but rather, get this, RETAIL!

I would wake up every morning at 9:00 a.m. just to rush out of my house and be at work to start my 9:30 shift.

I was cashier in a little clothing store where everywhere I turned I would be ridiculed for not speaking Spanish.

Sometimes the store would get so full that I literally would panic to the point of exhaustion.

One of the worst parts of it all were the countless hours I would be on my feet. A 10- hour day would seem like an eternity and when I went home, I could barley walk because my feet hurt from standing all day.

I was made a cashier the second day I worked, and was expected to know everything about the store and the cash register all at once.

When I made a mistake, the boss was constantly on my back.

Then one day, something happpened. I was at the register and had been working for six hours already and had not taken my break yet.

I would work till closing that night which meant another six hours. I was getting sick from not eating all day.

So, I went to my boss and asked him if I could take my break and he said that was fine.

At the time I was in the middle of putting some new clothes out on the floor. I left them on the counter until I could finish after my break. I also left a bag of hangers on the floor. I only had a half-hour for lunch anyway.

My boss became so furious that I had left these things out, that he told me to go home for the rest of the week.

I took that as his way of firing me so I called him up and quit.

Later on he called back and offered the job to me again. I accepted, not because I wanted to continue working, but because I needed the money.

I did more work than any other person there and I receive credit credit for it. Since I was the only girl working there that knew how to speak English fluently, I was responsible for the register, talking to customers, helping with the floor plans and making displays, and getting the clothes ready to be put out on the floor. All the other girls would have one of those jobs to do.

I was also the only one in the store to take any initiatve to do anything. All the other women would just wait around until the boss told them what to do.

I was pretty hurt that, of all people, I was almost fired. For the work that I did there, I should have been paid a lot more, but it was quick cash and I couldn’t be without money.

Do you know what its like to do such hard work and take home a check of $300 every two weeks? It doesn’t feel too good.

I would have rather worked in an office where I could sit and use my brain all day rather than the physical labor I put up with in that store.

Anyway, no matter how horrible my retail job had been, it did serve its purpose.

I made money. Also, I managed not to be a total bum for the entire summer.

It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t fun, but it was a paycheck.