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01 November 2018 @ 11:14 am
LJ Idol Prize Fight: "Employee Loyalty"  
Employee Loyalty
LJ Idol Prize Fight | Week 4 | xxx words
Ghosting

~*~*~*~

I've had some lousy jobs in my time, but this has got to be one of the worst. Okay, not the worst—I mean, it's not a gas station or a convenience store, or (god forbid) telemarketing. But it's the kind of place where you realize that if you don't get out, it'll drive you crazy.

It's one of those 'everything stores,' where they sell clothes, groceries, household goods, home repair products, toys, electronics, and pet and garden supplies. Kind of like a Walmart, but generic. Ultra low-rent, and definitely cheaper.

I mean, it even sounds like Hell.

The lighting isn't great. It's murky and sickly green out on the sales floor, and the back is either too dark or it's that eyeball-stabbing blinding desert brightness that guarantees you'll never sleep again. Every single thought hurts.

The parent company has probably forgotten the store exists, or maybe they just gave up on setting guidelines. Things are bizarrely inefficient. For instance, the store's layout changes every couple of weeks. It's all the same merchandise, it just moves around—like someone hitting 'shuffle' on an MP3 player. That means restocking stuff is a real pain. I don't know what the underlying thinking is. Maybe the theory is that forcing people to look harder for what they want keeps them shopping longer, increasing the chances of impulse buying. Well, as long as shoppers don't get frustrated and leave, anyway. Or maybe it boils down to a different managers having competing visions for the store, where they each get a few weeks to try out their ideas before it's someone else's turn.

Whatever. The whole thing is stupid and annoying, and you never know where anything is. That makes it hard to be helpful to our customers.

The customers, by the way, are the worst part of this job.

Most aren't very smart, and they sure complain an awful lot. And they could definitely use better hygiene. But the biggest problem is, they just don't have sense. You keep wanting to say things like, "With your blood pressure, are you kidding me? You can't eat that!" or "Geez, you look like a traffic cone in that outfit!"

Do they listen? No. But somebody should say it.

Customers knock stuff off the shelves, they paw over the merchandise, they spill milkshakes and Fritos all over the floor. Seriously, they're like barn animals or something. I spend half my time cleaning up their messes.

They're rude and they're angry—usually at each other. I don't know what goes through their heads.

Plus, they spread rumors. Sure, it's mostly dumb things like, "Did you know this store is haunted?" But that's ridiculous! Why would you even say that? Sometimes I think they just make stuff up. Clearly, they've got nothing better to do than buy junk food and try on ugly clothes all day…

The other employees aren't very friendly. They're as messy and rude as the customers, always interrupting me or leaving their crap in my locker. Most of them ignore me, which is probably for the best—the turnover here is unbelievable. My friend Jimmy's okay, though. We talk out by the loading dock sometimes, on break. That poor kid has been on parking-lot duty forever, rounding up shopping carts and picking up trash. You'd think he'd have been promoted by now. Me too, come to think of it. I've been here longer than anyone.

Out on the sales floor, I can see it must be close to Halloween now. Already? I could swear we were selling Christmas decorations just the other day. Time flies, I guess. Work, work, work. I can't even remember the last time I had a vacation…

But the Halloween candy's out, and the costumes displays are up. Huh—I don't even recognize half of the new characters this year. Must be from kids' cartoons or something.

There are costumes lying on the floor, so I should probably tidy them up. A woman with black lipstick is standing in the middle of the display area, drinking coffee and eyeing some kind of Vampirella get-up—which would not be much of a stretch for her, obviously. I pick up a child-sized Superman costume and put it back on the rack, and—

Whoa. The woman totally freaks out and throws her cup right into the air!

"Aw, geez! Now I gotta clean that up too."

She screams at me—screams, I kid you not—and bolts off down the aisle, knocking stuff over right and left.

Ugh. Thanks, lady. Make an even bigger mess, why don't you? Who does that?

God, this job.

I should really start looking for something new, and this time I mean it. No really, I swear—my next day off, I'll look through the paper and see who's hiring.

Whenever that is, because I don’t actually remember.

Funny, but it feels like I've been at this job forever.


--//--

If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

 
 
 
cindy: misc fictsuki_no_bara on November 4th, 2018 11:44 pm (UTC)
at first i thought the narrator had died and actually gone to hell, but then i remembered the topic and i just felt bad for them. i mean, they don't know they're a ghost or that jimmy is too. altho at least they have each other for company.... i really liked it. the frustrated conversational tone is great, and by the end it's obvious what's going on but as you're reading it could be a bunch of things. and man, haven't we all been in stores like that? they're terrible and having to haunt one would be THE WORST.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 5th, 2018 07:39 am (UTC)
Neither the narrator or Jimmy realize they're ghosts, though it's true that they have each other. That would have to make things more bearable, especially since the other employees won't talk to them. :O

I think haunting a place like this would be really similar to being in hell. How would you ever know the difference?!?

So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and commenting!