Stop and Shop
Huge disclaimer, I am not attacking the store/company, rather I am discussing what it is like to work at my Stop and Shop. If I say something like “I hate Stop and Shop” I mean the people that I encounter at the store, not the name itself.
So yes, I finally have a job. After rejections from Wegmans, Chipotle, J.P. Licks and maybe more, I have found a place who hires me the day of. However, this was the one place I was trying to avoid. This Stop and Shop is located in the city next to us, however we live on the border so the commute is a little less than a thirty minute walk. My older brother worked at this one and everyday he would complain about working there. He has no desire to return ever again, truly. When he was home from college, he and I had to buy something from Stop and Shop so I suggested driving to the nearest one (the one he used to work at) which is only about five minutes away by driving, maybe less. He decides he has no interest in ever returning to that store even if it meant just buying one item. Instead we drove to the one in our city which is a twenty minute drive from home.
Working here is really a mix of emotions and I believe it takes a lot in a person to work in a setting like this. The place really drains me. I stand for a long time, deal with disrespectful customers and sometimes I do not really see how I am benefiting from working here if it makes my day worse. However, the other side to this is that I am learning how to talk to strangers and be more responsible, with my time and with others.
When I was younger I watched this movie called “Blue Crush.” It was about a girl who surfs in competitions and one day she met a guy and her priorities were not the same. Sounds like many other movies. However, I loved (and still love) this movie because I have always thought surfing was the coolest thing and living in Hawaii while doing it must be amazing. So what does this have to do with being a cashier at Stop and Shop? Well, the main character and her two best friends were maids in the movie. They were treated with the utmost disrespect and guests did not view them as human beings rather servants to them, slaves basically. Honestly, that is how some people view me and I hate it.
There is another movie that I love called “Maid in Manhattan” and the maid is Jennifer Lopez. I believe in the scene when she was in the process of being fired and returning her badge and things, one of her coworkers said, “Although we serve them, we are not their servants,” and the guests in the movie and customers at Stop and Shop really do not understand what that means and the conditions people work in.
Now I started this job in August and have worked almost everyday since. There was this one time, when I first started, that I was on the register rather than bagging. I was still in training and did not take any courses/tests on how to operate the machines and such. I learned by having somebody next to me and yelling at me when I did something wrong or telling me what the code for avocados was. I was at register eight which is the last and furthest register away from the front desk and door. There should not be many customers coming to register eight therefore I should and did train there. One woman came into my line and I was trying to ring up dozens of plantains. Usually, I know now, plantains are either four for one or three for one, but that is if the customer has a card to enter or I scan a card for them. This time I forgot to scan a card for her. Therefore, the price rang up as expensive…more money than what the signs were telling her in the produce area. She went bonkers on me.
I kept telling her what the price was because that is what my screen read and she would tell me in a very strong Haitian accent that I was wrong and that I was putting in make believe prices in order to get more money out of her. A friend who works as a cashier came over and tried to tell her that I cannot personally put in the prices, rather the price on the screen is the correct amount. He went over the purchase and concluded I was right and that was the price. However, she got angrier and louder, and I got more confused and ready to go home. Then the front end manager comes over to see the problem. He does some beep boop stuff and uses his keys, which magically changes the price. The manager whispers to me that I need to put in a courtesy card for the correct price to come up.
Now wait a minute y’all. I know that I said that I forgot to put in a card, however I am even more sure that I did in fact put in a card, rather it was not processing. Then when my friend comes over and reviews the order, the price I had was correct too. So now when the manager does magical moves with the keys the price drops to the correct amount! What!
As the lady was paying she began to rant to me about how stupid I was and that I need more help on the register. I took it all in and did not respond. I really did feel stupid, but I also did want to cry. However, I was still in training and have barely been there and have yet to deal with the real crazy, so of course I wanted to cry.
After several instances of being called stupid directly and indirectly, I have taught myself how to get through the long and slow shifts. More importantly, I have learned to shut those people out. They would question me on whether I could do math and flat-out dissed my life and I would believe them when they made those remarks.
This post was a negative point of view when working at Stop and Shop and I should do the positives of working there. I just wanted to say that working in service types of jobs really drives this country. No body wants to do it, yet it still gets done, disrespected, and taken advantage of.
In conclusion, help them bag your items, help them clear the table, put the blouse back on the hanger and of course do not assume they know every answer to your questions they could be in training.