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8 11 2011 8 54 PM by Reid May

Monday, April 30, 2012

Before April is Gone

(Listen to audio here)

Mary took another job in retail.

Before her first day of work, she read online reviews of what current and past employees thought about their employment experience.  Common statements from female reviews said something along the lines of, "it's not the typical 'Boys Club.'"  A co-worker later told Mary how strange she thought it was that she made more money than anyone else at the store, and worked the least amount of hours.  She chortled as she said she was hired by a manager who loved women.  Another co-worker replied that she had heard about that.

Mary trained for one hour with a large male co-worker on the basics of stocking the milk gallon shelves.  After that, she only entered the cold storage room if a desperate customer wanted something that was not on the shelf.  Often, she didn't even have to go through the door because she was able to ask the male working in the section if he could see any back-stock of the item. And if it was a male customer asking, when Mary tells him she will go check if there is any back-stock, usually the man will tell her to not trouble herself.  She'd tell him it would be no trouble at all, and the man will insist she forgets about it.

She spent many of her mornings, early in her employment, training in managing the flowers that were for sale.  Her trainer was a small, middle-aged, and single mother named Linda, who wore modest amounts of makeup and kept a manicure.  Linda introduced Mary to the other employees who passed by the floral section.  After each introduction was over, and the passing employee stepped away, she would mutter a few words to Mary out of the sides of her unnaturally colored lips.  Usually, the comments were about which co-workers they were sleeping with.  Linda would say, "hands off him. He's dating So-and so."  Or, "don't worry about her, she acts like that to everyone.  She needs to get laid, if you ask me."  Or "forget about him.  He's a queer, and he's sleeping with the regional manager!  What's weird, is that he seems so normal..."  And, "why are the good looking ones always queer?"

Mary thought her floral trainer resented the other co-workers because during each introduction, the employee would say jokingly, "whatever you do, don't listen to Linda!"  Mary would always smile awkwardly, and glance back at Linda.  Linda would always respond by saying something like, "Oh, go to hell!"  Or, "Blow it out your ass!"  To Mary, Linda's tone always sounded like she was saying more swear words than she really was.

After not-too-long, Linda was able to spread the word to all the male employees that Mary was single, and had no children, and was definitely out of their leagues, so they could forget about asking her out.  They all started hitting on her any way.  She turned them all down.  Mary didn't understand why everybody else in the world only seemed to care about fucking everybody else.  She felt uncomfortable every day at the store, and when she thought about quitting, the thought of getting good health insurance and a 401k made her reluctant.  Then she remembered that she would have to wait five more months to get them because she would still be within the probationary period until after then.  She concluded that everybody will die sometime, with, or without health insurance, and retired, or not.  Mary quit her job.

Soon enough, Mary found another job in retail.

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