My son works at a major department store. He has worked there almost a year now and loves it. Recently his store location changed to a fulfillment store for smaller stores needing items shipped out. To facilitate this task, employees make a round through the store with rolling racks, picking up the items requested for fulfillment shipping.
The employees used for this task are not new employees, my son was told. They have worked there for years, yet he had never met them, or even seen them until recently. He asked where they had been assigned and was told they worked in shipping. He said he’d been out back and down to the basement to the shipping dock; he had never seen all these people. He was then told they work in shipping and they work UNDER the shipping dock.
Since you have to go to the basement to get to the shipping dock, he couldn’t conceive where “under the shipping dock” would exist. Curious, he went down to the dock and then asked how to get to the other shipping area below. When he finally reached “under,” he was amazed. He said to start, the door was misshapen and an irregular size – off kilter, short and skinny. Then when he went in, he felt as if he had entered a third-world sweatshop.
There were several people squeezed into this tiny room that was grey and depressing with no air-conditioning. Let me repeat this key bit of information, there was NO air-conditioning. We live in southwestern Tennessee, which is the The South. It is The South that is known for its unbearable humidity and summer temps in the upper 90s - low 100s. This room had no window, no air, just table fans to move the unbearable humid, summer temp air around. Like worker bees the employees sat clicking security tags onto clothing and other items one tag after another.
As my son backed out of the door and back up the hall to the basement, he couldn’t grasp that these people come to work each day like he does, for the same pay, in the same uniform of dress shirt and slacks, to face 8 hours of, as he called it, “slave labor conditions.” I explained that the employees were getting meal and bathroom breaks, a legal wage, etc., so in that respect it was not slave-labor. I told him there are many jobs that are not performed in air-conditioning. That said I cannot believe the conditions that these people work in, either. I have to admit that it shocks me that a high-end store, a company of this one’s size and history, would purposely set up any part of their operation in this manner. Air-conditioning in our area is a life preserving necessity.
I could not go to work each day knowing that I would sit in a grey room with no windows, no air and do the same repetitive task thousands of time for 8 hours. I know people will argue that if you need a job, you need a job and yes, that is true. If my life and the lives of my family depended upon me doing that each day, I would do it…UNTIL I found something else, something better, something with a window, or air, or not relegated to the “third-world” pit. I would do everything in my power to not do it for years.
When I started my story, I did so just to pass on to you the weirdness of the story as I was told. No lesson. No enlightenment I had found. However, I tricked myself. You see, this morning I did not appreciate my job. I was actually complaining about an aspect of it that now seems very childish. I’m telling you, this journaling stuff is priceless for learning and gratitude.
Peace & Air-Conditioning to All!