Stories From the Front Lines

Titled: “Lazy, Lying Piece-of-Work Teenagers”

Subtitled: “And the Stunts They Pull”

Ladies and gentlemen,

It’s no lie that retail can be ranked as one of the worst jobs around. Working with the public is never easy, but working with everything else involved in managing a store front can be taxing on the best of days.

Since accepting the position of supervisor, I’ve learned enough about upper management’s short-falls to make me sick. It’s akin to being a teacher in a classroom – unending responsibility and hardship, absolutely no control over the students or politics.

Here, I’ll begin to regale you with tales I like to call “Stories From the Front Lines,” because it’s here that I’ve discovered what it truly means to lead a team.

I’ve always been fortunate to enjoy and appreciate every manager I’ve ever worked for and with at Walgreens. The same cannot be said for teammates (back when I was a cashier, or front store crew now that I’m a supervisor.)

Managing people is no joyful task. In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s worse than babysitting for a family you dislike but don’t know how to say “no” to because you’re a 13 year old girl and always taught to respect your elders, even to the point of prostrating yourself as a doormat. (If you’re a parent of a 13 year old girl, please teach them how to say “no.” They desperately need this weapon in their arsenal.) If you’re a man reading this and can’t imagine yourself in the body of a 13 year old girl, just think about the first time your mate accidentally kicked you in the nuts. Now imagine getting kicked in the nuts for a week straight every month for the rest of your natural born life, because you’re 13 years old and you subconsciously think the world is going to end after highschool which seems an eternity away.

But I digress.

Guess what I found hiding by the trash compactor at work.
Last night’s cashier returns. You know, all the items customers bring to the register but don’t actually want and are too lazy to put back on the shelves themselves.
Yes. Those are the responsibility of the cashier to put away at the end of his/her shift.
Guess who closed last night.
“E” – the lovely new hire who is turning out to be the laziest lying piece-of-work teenager to date.
Oh, guess who she’s friends with.
“K” – the last lazy, lying piece-of-work teenager to grace our store.

Now, “K” has already pulled and perfected all these stunts that “E” is attempting. At least I can credit “K” with being unique. “E” is just a lazy copycat. And because we have already seen all these marvelous stunts, repercussions are going to come a lot swifter.

And trust me. I’ve been perfecting my techniques too.

Welcome to Walgreens. Here, you’ll always receive service with a smile. But underneath that facade of corporate perfection, nothing is ever as it seems.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin


Break Downs in the Raw

I had my first melt down at work last week. A full year in the month and I managed to hold out this long. I survived the Christmas season, I survived nights of angry, unhappy, and vengeful people. I don’t normally post about my miserable experiences in retail, but this story must be told.

I went into work feeling good. It was going to be a good day. In fact, it was a good day. I was in full humor and ahead of schedule for my closing duties. So what made this incident so special? It was the last hour. One could say this woman tipped the scale, but it would be more accurate to say she kicked it over and then stomped on it for good measure. At that point, I just stopped caring–about her, about retail, about chores or customers or the last hour dragging by like a lame sea lion. I got her out of my line, and I made it. As soon as she was gone, I couldn’t hold it together any longer, but it wasn’t like I could run off to an empty aisle to compose myself. No, I had a whole rush of last-minuters to contend with. Now this is why I hate retail–no one noticed. I have been deathly ill, I have been falling asleep on my feet, I have been in shaking in pain, and now I have been in the middle of an emotional melt down, and no one noticed a damn thing even though they had front row seats to me falling apart. Well, one woman noticed.

I finally got to the last customer. I’m wiping my eyes on my sleeves and trying to sound cheerful and pleasant, because the show must go on. This little Hispanic woman lays her items on my counter. I ring them up. I go through my standard speel. She starts to pay for the items. But then she stops and says to me,

Oh, you have allergies?

… … …

“Yep,” I told her. “I have terrible allergies.” Damn, awful allergies. Every damn day. 


Fanny T Crispin