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Bottom-Shelf Standards

| Working | July 21, 2014

(During my studies, I go to the student recruitment office for jobs. I am overqualified for everything, so I take on every job that sounds okay and matches my free hours. The recruiter sends me to a job described as ‘standing at a table folding and sealing packs of clothes’, in an industrial clothing factory way out of town. I arrive at 8:00 sharp. There appear to be no other students working.)

Manager: “Ah, you must be the new girl from [Recruiter].”

Me: “I am. Nice to meet you. Where can I start?”

Manager: “I’ll hand you a cart and a barcode scanner. You can start in the warehouse.”

(Indeed, I’m given a huge wooden cart packed with sealed packs of clothing and a barcode scanner. I’m told to scan every item and shelve it. The shelves go up to the ceiling. While scanning my first packs, a worker walks by.)

Me: “Hey, is this right? This package should be on the top shelf, but there’s no ladder. Did I miss something?”

Worker: “Oh – you’re short. Just climb there.”

Me: “…Okay.”

(This continues for the next bunch of packages. After a while, I head to the manager.)

Me: “Hey, just checking, is this really the work I should be doing? I was told to work at a table, folding and packing clothes.”

Manager: “We don’t have that kind of work today. We need you to pick orders.”

Me: “Okay, but one more thing, most of the orders are way up on high shelves. You might know that continuously lifting heavy packages over my head is against the law.”

Manager: “There’s no such law. You’re just short. Just climb there.”

Me: “There is a law, and besides, climbing there is dangerous without a ladder.”

Manager: “So… are you going to do that work or not?”

Me: “If that’s all the work you’ve got, then no.”

Manager: “Then you’d better leave now. I’ll pay you the first two hours, and call [Recruiter] for someone else.” *mumbles some insults while I leave*

(On my way home, I stop by the recruitment office and explain what’s happened. They agree with me and call the manager. He only says I refused to work. Again, I explain the work was not as promised. The recruiter hangs up and confirms me that tomorrow the company again needs one person. We agree on the kind of work, and next morning I go there again, 8:00 sharp.)

Manager: “Oh no! Is it you again?”

Me: “Um, yep. You have the right work for me, today?”

Manager: “No! We only have order picking! Now are you going to work today or not?”

Me: “Not if it’s picking orders from top shelves again. You promised [Recruiter] you would have packing work at the tables for me today.”

Manager: “We have no such work these days! Now leave, before I have to pay you your first hour! And don’t come here again!”

(The story at the recruitment company repeated itself, and no, I never went there again.)

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