I wanted to write this story down because I saw it happen to two of my colleagues and it’s bothering me. Before you judge this thought piece to harshly please read everything that I have written because context is important.
OK, the ABC board likes to send underage people into our store every once in a while with fake underage ID’s to purchase cigarettes. We; of course, have to always turn them away. The problem; however, is that two of my fellow employees have both been busted in a 3 year time span (acceptable to state law). I have seen both events go down and it has left me with something of a negative impression of this entire process.
First of all, mistakes do happen, but mistakes can also be triggered from other related things which compile to create the mistake itself. I know, as employees we are ultimately responsible for our own errors, but… when you go 5 hours without a break, dealing with petty cretins, only to miss type the birthdate on a single ID, and then for the following to take place… you can’t help but feel slightly conned.
When busted, they will write you a citation, give you a court date, the store gets fined big time, you get fined ($500 first offense plus court costs), you lose your job and can’t pay fine, fine is 2-3 paychecks in our crap job (more once court costs are added in), depending upon the officer whose writing you the fine you might also be arrested on the spot and taken to jail, sooo +bail. Oh, and this is for cigarettes… beer is WAY worse in our state since its instantly a felony.
I’ve seen it happen twice, and my issue with this is… it seems slightly inhuman to destroy someone’s life so cheaply. I know that the officers are just doing their jobs, and the error was the cashiers to make, but… considering all a cashier puts up with this seems like excessive punishment. Furthermore, a blatant arrest means what there is no third person to rotate in on the registers so taking lunches and breaks becomes almost impossible on high traffic days (the law says take a lunch by the way, but screw that). The high traffic itself can also trigger the event as employees struggle to keep up with the zombie horde of the damned.
I know that this must all seem… ‘irrelevant’ for a Judge Dread minded individual, because surely everyone must be held accountable for their own errors, but… it bothers me like a ghost because the more I observe in this occupation the more only the clerks are held accountable for anything. One mistake, one very simple mistake, and your life is ruined… especially if you’re a teenager cashier, and this sense of wrongness is only made worse by the more wicked crimes that I see on a daily basis. Theft, child abuse, fire lane parking, non-handicapped people parking in a handicapped spots, drugged out people on meth and weed, drunken church people… just to name the consistent. I even once saw a fat white woman almost rotate her 10 year olds arm out of its socket because the kid didn’t want to stand and walk. That scene… was terrible, and it took some serious restraint not to say or do anything because… “that stock clerk was rude to me,” crap our society has developed to justify the lordliness of our rude-arrogant-customer gods.
They get away with it, and nobody cares. But a single mistake by a cashier… and their lives are ruined. I don’t know. I just had to write this down because it was bothering me.