4:30 a.m. We show up an hour and a half before the store opens, as demanded by the district office. We stand around and do nothing.
6:00 a.m. We all line up in expectation of hordes of customers. Six on one side of the store, six on the other side, pallbearers of an invisible casket. The manager opens the doors. No one is waiting on the other end.
7:00 a.m. Nobody has walked into the store. Nobody has been seen even walking past the store. This infuriates the manager, who at this juncture elects to fire one employee, right there on the spot, because her sweater is a shade of red that is inconsistent with the dress code.
8:00 a.m. Someone almost walks in. She kind of turns toward the store, sees 11 of us just standing and staring at her, and turns a 180. Don't blame you, ma'am.
9:00 a.m. First customer! Someone just walked in and bought a cordless phone battery. One of us would have made approximately 23 cents on the sale (18 cents after taxes), except you don't start making any sales commission until you surpass a monthly sales figure that is usually unreachable and arbitrarily set. (I worked at RadioShack for 43 months, and barely hit this mark once.)
12:00 p.m. We've sold maybe $90 worth of stuff. Two more employees walk out and don't come back.
2:00 p.m. A couple comes in to return a pair of cell phones I sold them a couple weeks back. I received about $40 for the sale on my last paycheck, and now they will take $40 out of my next paycheck. Voiding a cell phone contract is a process that takes an hour or so of waiting on the phone and talking to three or four different gatekeepers. This time, it's even longer, because someone errantly slapped them with a $200 cancellation fee. My manager gets wind of this and starts screaming at me: "JON, WHAT DID YOU DO? WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?" She then tries to initiate a shouting match with my customers, who don't bite.
3:00 p.m. Two more employees quit, one because the manager has refused to give her a lunch break over a 10.5-hour shift.
9:00 p.m. Mercifully, and with sales numbers that are beyond abysmal, the district office tells us to close the store and not to remain open until midnight, as planned. Someone else came in to return a phone, so my sales are now about $60 in the hole. I make $5.45 an hour, and have worked a 16.5-hour shift, so that's about $90. Minus the $60 I've lost, that's $30. So today, I have made about $1.80 per hour, for a shift of nearly 17 hours. Before taxes.
9:45 p.m. Ha ha ha ha I am still at the store, counting the money and helping clean up and such, but not getting paid for it. This is RadioShack's thing: if you're working while the store's closed, they might decide to pay you and they might not. I worked countless hours they never paid me for; this is one. We finally close up. On the way to the parking lot, I ask my manager whether I can take Christmas Eve off; this would allow me barely enough time to make the seven-hour drive home to Kentucky to see my family, then head back. She doesn't say no. She yells no, and tells me I'm not special...
Click here to read the rest