Sunday, February 12, 2006

Crystal Walrein as Tillmonkey

Some days don't afford me time to sit up in my room thinking of what attacks to plan, what snides to make on James, or what snubs to make on forum ills. Rather, these days — six hours of them at the very least — are spent in the world of what James calls the 'tillmonkey'. Each day I have six hours to sell off chunks amid chunks of shovels, pails, crackers, Luckies, mixed peppers, and lottery tickets.

Hectic as it may intially seem, the job I hold is surprisingly menial and complicated all at once. The Coinstar machine tells you to vouch your slips (which deduct nine cents on the cashed dollar) at the cashier, but we're told to rediret them to the front desk. Up until a few weeks ago we weren't capable of returning cash on debit cards. And even today we have to go up to the desk when our till accumulates more than $750 to extricate $500 and plunk it down for entry into the vault. And a lot of these mishaps had — and still have — caused disruptions of orders, poisoned infected food, falling chickens, and cries of 'VOID!' when a cancellation was needed.

Often I, being a particularly enthusiastic worker that has been reduced to roaming the aisles an hour before actually starting work, am called in on off-days to handle shifts emptied from people calling off for holidays or unusually high consumer volume. At least I don't have to complain about my wage of $7.00 an hour, which'll go up by a dollar in May and then become invalidated as a figure by the state income law in October.

Perhaps I shouldn't complain about the glitches involved with working for this food store chain, either. After all, not only do I get to talk to people that have flown in from all over the world to gamble in Atlantic City or enjoy the ocean views (or both, if their wallet is fat enough), but I also get to connect once more with friends that I had become estranged from upon graduation from junior high school. And as I said before, there happen to be a few girls that gawk at me as I work. It may be annoying and cause me to mutter darkly, but there are people at my age other than my co-workers and bosses who actually respect what I do.

Next to the store is a dollar store, from which some people will buy items that'll occasionally ring up on our registers. It also has a few small toys, gizmos, and colouring books that do for a long trip up the Garden State Parkway. Of course, others will prefer to cash their checks at the bank or brew coffee at Wawa. There also exist people that regularly visit other stores and actually try to use their cards for those stores (Shop-Rite and Stop 'n Shop) to get markdowns — when our policy is that they apply to everyone!

But a lot of the joys of working for such a prominent food chain are compromised, of course, by the inability to post for you or actually see people to add to my game data files. Of course, since I'm not a child anymore, I have no right to gripe on that subject. Sometimes, though, I'll bring a console and play it in the back room an hour before the shift begins.

All things that can be used to fix up the home and a banquet to boot pass through my hands, over the beams (with the exception of some Rosa packets whose barcodes are blurred), and into a plastic, paper, or hybrid bag depending on what the customer demands. Of course, there will be occasions when I have to rip out different-coloured peppers because the rates aren't the same. There will also be occasions when I have to go with a customer to investigate a mismarked item and then either have them return it and call 'VOID!' to take the item off the roster, or call 'VOID!' and have the code fixed.

Getting to the store requires that I navigate my bike or plan a walk around the lighthouse roundabout (luckily, the main street has a divide when it approaches the roundabout so that I can clear one lane at a time) and then squeeze between undermaintained sidewalks and moving sport utility vehicles that fly down the streets as if they're motorways. Often, I'll have a transport arranged for the purpose of cutting such hazards out. even with the work in the building and the intricacy of getting there, I enjoy my job very much. It's one that I intend to hold until I flee to the UK or go to college. And it least puts me at a position above James for being able to work whereas he quit to go to college and was apparently very happy that he did....

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