Sowing The Wild Seeds of Unrest

Another lengthy work shift filled with false smiles and undercompensated labor ends and it’s closing time. I had been busting my tail, as usual, all day and knew I exceeded my sales expectations set by the managerial Overlords and would remain on their good graces for another day.

The last customers exit and the doors are locked behind them. The Manager On Duty presses a few buttons on his phone and his voice rings throughout the store on the intercom system. “Okay, everyone! Let’s all meet at the customer service desk for our nightly meeting.”

Me & the rest of the staff drop what ever project we were working on in preparation for the closing recovery period. The faster we fix & clean up what the feral public mussed up and make the store look as good as new, the faster we can get home. The nightly meeting is little more than a 5 minute unwanted & unneeded interruption. One coworker, an older woman with a curled grey Lana Turner-like hairdo, speedwalks out of the breakroom, quickly clocks out at the terminal, and makes a break for the door before the meeting starts. We all hate how she ducks out on obligations like this but she’s been with the company for over 15 years and earns the same pay we do. We don’t object.

The MOD prints reports off the register and walks up to the desk. “Good job today, everyone. We brought in $17,400.58, smashing our plan of $12,000. A special acknowledgement to you,” he turns to me and gives me a huge grin, “who had the highest customer appreciation [a shallow term used to replace ‘upsell’] conversation rate. Congratulations! Keep up the good work!” I pull my lips upward into something I hope resembles a smile and tune out as he continues to ramble on about upcoming events and other store news.

The meeting breaks and we all return to doing recovery. I walk up to one of my favorite coworkers, a deliciously sardonic lass who gives obnoxious customers a blank stare that never fails to make me laugh.

“Do we make more money if the store makes plan?” I ask.

“What do you mean?” she asks while dusting off a shelf.

“I mean, if the store reaches its goals and we upsell like we’re supposed to and achieve all the sales goals we’re supposed to, do we get bonuses or anything?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“So what’s the incentive? Why should I give a shit about whether or not the company makes as much money as it wants to if my check looks the same either way? Why do they even tell us about it at the meetings if it barely affects us?”

She pauses for a moment, both hands frozen in position on product while she took in my inquiry. Then turns to me and says, “That’s a good fucking question.”

She walks away and I watch as she goes from one coworker to another, whispering something in their ear. The coworkers shrug their shoulders and nod in agreement to whatever she’s saying & look down at their uncompleted tasks as she leaves, noticeably less enthusiastic.

“Excellent…” I whisper as I tent my fingers together. “Soon, my pretties, soon.”

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