Thursday, June 19, 2014

Retail me not!

Every photographer is familiar with retail - where you go in to buy something and are served by a not terribly competent person who really couldn't care less if you bought something or not or whether it was even the right thing. Really and truly that shop assistant probably wishes you would go away so they could continue texting their friends.

Looking at it from the manager's point of view, they know the staff are low quality and unmotivated. They're not allowed to pay them enough to get good quality staff so the service is always going to be sucky. All the managers can do is threaten staff with dismissal if they suck too badly.

From the employees point of view, it's probably about the only company that would take them on amidst a mass of unemployed people. The money they receive does not really pay their living expenses so they have to bunk and sometimes double bunk with others.

A few days ago I wrote an article about telephone etiquette. Yesterday I had a phonecall from somebody that said I'd applied for a job with them and they wanted to interview me today. Needless to say, I turned up and was appalled at what I saw. The place was dirty and a gambling establishment. My role there - should I ever accept such a role - would be to run around for 8 hours a day for possibly the giddy heights of $8 per hour. Given that it's 25 miles from me and would use 2.5 gallons of fuel per day at a cost to me of $10.50 (or an hour and a half's wages) and that my rent is $525 a month, that job would have me paying to work. The hours were 25 to 30 a week and without tax that would represent a maximum of $240 a week out of which I'd lose (since it's a 4 day a week job) $42. That leaves $198 a week out of which $131 would be rent. That leaves $66.75 left for food, medical, clothing etc. Of course since tax would be charged I would be getting a lot less. One of my old paychecks from a store where I earned $279 in one week gave me $238 after tax. If we therefore assume that tax will be 15% then that would leave me with $31 for food, expenses, car insurance, car tax etc each week. That is of course not counting unexpected expenses which do crop up on an almost weekly basis. Nor does it cover vehicle maintenance etc.

I guess the moral here is I must remember to ask questions before agreeing to attend interviews - especially for jobs that I don't believe I applied for.

So, retailers - don't call me. I'll call you if I want to work retail again. Retail is OK as a hobby job or a part-time job for stay-at-home moms. It's not a job anybody can live on for an extended period.

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