Two and a half months ago, I left my adult, professional career job to “take a break from education.” I place that phrase in quotes simply because that is the neat way of excusing myself from the action of rank rising and vertical movement. My reasons for leaving are complex, as is basically everything in my life.
However, in leaving, I knew I wanted to make some money and land a job where all my dreams come true…(name withheld out of respect for the organization, however…y’all know exactly where I work). After two months and ten days of being employed here, I have generated some lessons I would love to share with the whole world (or the ten people who read this blog).
Lesson One: Cart Runs
The activity of wrangling long lost buggies (apparently people call them this) and manhandling rascally rows of ten carts at a time has truly exposed me to new depths of myself. While I do not necessarily hate the activity (I do when it is 106 degrees outside), I have concluded that cart runs make me hate humans…well, most of them, specifically the folks who leave his or her cart ONLY FOUR FEET from the cart well. COME ON!
FOUR FEET. How much effort does the process of shoving your cart a measly four feet into a row of carts require? Not much, friends, not much.
The lesser hatred rests on people who decide to leave his or her cart twenty miles from the store (admittedly hyperbole; truth is, I find them in weird places in the parking lot…but if I took a stroll up the greenway, I would probably find a little red cart or two). I both love and hate these humans, because discovering a cart four miles up the greenway is a hysterical delight which makes me question my belief that humans carry any sort of inherent goodness. I submit these people do not. These people and the people who leave carts four feet from the destination are probably hell bound (or moms/dads who have tried to tackle grocery shopping with four kids ranging from the age of one week to three…this is a reasonable excuse for displaying a lack of effort).
Put yourself in the carts shoes…do you want to be left out, alone in the wilderness to be hit by a car, a toddler, a crazed greenway runner…far away from your family and friends. I think not, think before you heartlessly abandon the cart that carried all of your needs, strained under the weight of two hundred dollars worth of Pumpkin Bread Mix, Organic Gala Apples, and Kosher Ground Turkey.
In conclusion, my new love language is cart returning…like, I would fall in love with you if you return your cart (mostly if you are an attractive male between the age of twenty eight and thirty five…oh, heyyyyy). If you return your cart, I know I am loved. This is a personal thing.
Lesson Two: Hurricanes Happen
When a stores distribution centers are in the heart of Florida where HURRICANES HAVE DEVASTATED HUMAN BEINGS LIVES, our selves will be barren. I am sorry we do not have the Spatchcock Chicken your daughter told you about; do not huff at me, ma’am.
Sometimes really terrible things happen, and we are so distracted by our own comforts, our own favorites (…yes, I was sad too that we ran out of Kale), that we choose to overlook the cost of our comforts. We are all shortsighted from time to time. We struggle to see anything outside of our own measly peripheral vision and needs. However, the cage-free-grass-fed eggs and organic pizza dough will return. In the meantime, consider purchasing some Tunisian Organic Extra Virgin Unfiltered Chetoui (told ya, we bougie) Olive Oil…seems we’ve got plenty of that.
Lesson Three: Hard Work, Money, and Carpel Tunnel
Leaving a moderate to low productivity job with great salary and benefits for one that is basically eight hours of hard physical labor without benefits and salary has produced a new sense of gratitude in me. Not only have I developed carpel tunnel in my right hand, bruises and cuts all over my body, I have also experienced a consistent and acute exhaustion related to my job. How do people do this for years?
Modernity is built on the backs and by the hands of men and women who labored. The work is not glamorous, and my income is pretty feeble in comparison to what I formerly raked in; however, I look at an apple and know the cost of it is twenty minutes of shelving twenty different versions of organic and conventional nut butters. I have had to decrease my spending in ways which make me feel limited, and I have seen my own privilege in specific ways. Budgeting and saving was always an easy practice because my income was always far more than my need (and for so long, I lived with and was supported by my parents). Thankfully, I have friends who have taken me in during this particular time; otherwise, I would be living in one of my store’s giant cereal shipping boxes out back.
Regardless, I am thankful for the experience…even though I have lost 90% of the feeling in four of my fingers in my right hand. No biggie.
Lesson Four: Attractive Men
When I started working here, a few folks said… “oh my goodness, you are going to meet some really attractive men!” I have a couple of thoughts on this:
- Yes, undoubtedly, there are attractive men who choose to shop at my store.
- They are ALL MARRIED.
- The End.
But there is always Iain!
Lesson Five: People and Food
There is a beauty to working at a moderately bougie niche grocery store. Mostly, the beauty is the people (only ones who return carts), and specifically, the kid who told me he saw a dead cockroach in our light fixture.
When I leave every day, I walk into a world where everything seems to be blowing up, where chaos and hatred seem to rule, where children are being shot or abused or sold. I struggle to keep myself afloat in the ache, but I think of that kid.
A world where everyone just seems to be deeply hungry.
And then, I think about the woman who told me her husband was going through his eighteenth month of chemotherapy…and the treatment was simply not working. The beauty is the goodness of a woman who consistently and seriously asks me if I am well, asks how she can pray for me, and consistently follows up…a register between us. The beauty is seeing a familiar smiling face who I know just left a miserable job. We have some beautiful folks come through our lines, and in the store, sometimes I feel like the world is a safer place.
For someone who has a history of trouble with food and depression and anxiety, this has been a gift…because life can be pretty simple. People really do need food, and for eight hours a day, five days a week, I can help someone have a full, happy belly.
(Unless there is a hurricane, then….NOBODY gets Spatchcock Chicken or Holiday Challah…because all y’all is so bougie.
Please return your cart…to a reasonable place.