nudge pst. You. Hey, yeah, you. C’mon, I can see it all over your face. You’re one of us, aren’t you? Crappy job? Just in it for the meager paycheck? Fast food? Retail? Waiting tables?
Welcome, comrade. Let’s see if we can find the worst job amongst us. I’ll start.
Currently, I’m working at a “cinematic megaplex.” It’s a major movie theater chain that’s about to enter into some sort of corporate merger with another, to become even more globally dominating. There are 24 theaters in the sprawling suburban building. Us employees rotate through all the positions, though I’ve only worked the box office and concession stand. They both suck. The average shift is 8 hours, during which you get one unpaid 15 minute break. When you’re working, you’re standing, mostly in the exact same spot.
If it’s not busy, the lobby is big, empty, and echoing. The movie-theater-radio network fights with the bigscreen TVs which play ads in back. We get treated to the same cycle of five ads competing with the same handful of top-40 songs over and over and over and over again. There’s an American Express ad featuring Ellen Degeneres dancing to different ditties, which I now have memorized.
Customers - I’m sorry, “guests” - get irate over the prices all the time. Understandably; the matinee price is $7.00 per adult. THey don’t seem to understand, however, that it’s not our fault: us employees don’t set the prices.
Saturday nights, of course, it gets busy, so a couple local cops get ‘stationed’ in the lobby. They stand right by the box office and…loom. I found it immensely unsettling to have this cop just standing there, behind me, for a couple hours last night.
We’re not allowed to eat or drink while working, so if you want to not shrivel up and die, you need to be on constant alert for supervisors and managers. It’s entirely irrational to expect us not to need a drink, especially if we’re supposed to actually follow the looong scripts for how to greet customers, answer the phone, and so on. Plus, we have to harrass people to donate to some cancer organization.
The final indignity: We have to wear ties. And spiffy, ill-fitting, 100% polyester vests.
Next? Make me feel better about my job.