A Useful Comeback

| Working | January 31, 2016

(I’m a new hire, a bagger, just a few weeks into my summer job. It is a Saturday morning less than an hour after opening. It’s just me and a handful of other cashier and bagging types, as well as one assistant manager who is playing Angry Birds on his tablet. While waiting for customers to arrive, we have already cleaned all the checkout conveyor belts, made sure that all the checkouts are stocked with paper, plastic, and canvas bags, placed all the carts and baskets at the front of the store for customers, and returned all displaced merchandise to where it belongs, apart from some items that just turn up seemingly from nowhere, which we don’t even seem to have in stock. With all this stuff done, we’re just hanging around and waiting for customers to show up. I’m looking at one of the gumball machines just for a second when suddenly the store manager walks in and comes up behind me. She isn’t happy.)

Manager: “[My Name], what are you doing?”

Me: “Good morning, ma’am. I’m waiting for customers to arrive.”

Manager: “Why are you standing still doing nothing?”

Me: “Because everything has already been done, ma’am.”

Manager: “Go find something to do.” *she points to the assistant manager, who is still playing on his tablet* “Like him; he never stands idle.”

Me: “Understood, ma’am.”

(I just grab a can of soup from the shelves and pretend to be looking to restock it. When I check back on the checkout lines, there are a few customers and none of the cashiers are overwhelmed. However, the manager was there, and she was not happy.)

Manager: “Where were you, [My Name]?”

Me: “I was making sure that all the canned goods were in order.”

Manager: “Why weren’t you bagging items?”

Me: “Because I was making myself useful elsewhere as you told me to do.”

(That was how I learned to always leave at least a couple things undone, just for the sake of looking busy.)

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