Peak Season Hazards at Work

The situation I find myself in has become a burden. Work has become a life threatening burden. I’m pissed.

At about noon today I felt myself get so angry I wanted to kick the living daylights out of something, anything, kill it, shred it up and devour it. I hate that feeling. I hate that feeling of being so out of control that you lose yourself in the moment.

It was all I could do to stay calm, talk only to co-workers and regress my anger towards one of two new managers today. I work with glass every day. EVERY DAY. BIG FREAKING SHEETS of glass. These sheets of glass I cut down to fit custom ordered frames. We have a steel garbage can on wheels to dispose of any unused pieces into. All of the employees in this store use this framing department glass can to safely dispose of glass or other sharp items than can CUT you, your family or friend. We framers where goggles and also dawn protective hand gear when cutting and handling glass in the frame shop.

Fuck we are so mismanaged. Our store manager quit late last week. Our assistant manager got hit in the neck with a Christmas tree box and is still quite ill. I don’t blame her for quitting. It’s a zoo where I work. The company policies make it impossible to do a good job. I do not earn enough money to compensate with the stupidity of two new replacement managers. Are they even managers. NO! They are freaking managers in training. Do they care? NO. They make the big money. We make minimum wage, give or take a few dollars. I am using every fiber of my being right now not to pick up the phone and call Health and Safety. *Ralph is so fucking dumb with his rosy cheeks and grin. I feel for the department managers. They are a gift sent from heaven right now up silently warring against corporate evil.

My hands are swollen from handling dirty cardboard early this morning at 7AM. Our cutting instruments do more damage than actual cutting because of the STUPID COMPANY safety policy mechanisms on the cutting knife. My feet continue to swell from being on them for 10 hours. Fuck. I’m not scared of hard work. Never have been. I want to work. BUT when you are a labourer you at least get paid **19 bucks an hour to do your job. I earn 9. Nine dollars. Was $8.75 but just got a 25¢ raise. Woot. I can afford to do…


So Ralph or John break a frame around noon today. CRASH throughout the store. The music is off in the store. EERIE silence. Glass breaking. There might be 200, 300 people shopping in the store at this time. OK. Breaking or dropping something is no big deal. It happens all the time. You simply pick the broken pieces up, dispose of it, record the SKU number and go about your day. This has nothing to do with the Christmas rush! I’ve worked retail before. MANY fucking years either part-time or full-time. I know all about it. RALPH is dumb and placed my safety and integrity at risk. He also placed your safety at risk. Ralph or John broke a framed piece of art. No big deal.

FUCKING dude(s) left the metal glass bin in the center isle where your little sons and daughters can walk by and easily rub there hands along for over an hour today. THAT IS A BIG DEAL! We are so freaking busy right now in that store. We are very lucky none of the public was hurt. I shouldn’t have to look after one of the so called managers on my wage. I’m not being paid to do so. IT should be the other way around. I shouldn’t have to think about them at all. I went and gave RALPH a piece of my mind, telling him you can’t leave sharp glass laying in the main left center isle. He just smiled dumbassidly. The other framer, my posse backed me up. No one cares right now down there. No one cares. Moral is low and it makes me sad.

I’m exhausted. Today was the breaking point. Another co-worker came looking for the glass bin which should have been placed back in the frame shop after the broken glass had been cleaned up. This coworker met me in an isle carrying broken Christmas ornaments. She asks “Where’s the can?” I answer I don’t know. Then think… “Is it out back?” in the stockroom it’s home away from home where the glass get disposed of by the shipping/receiving guy. She says No.

I take the glass from her and go searching remembering RALPHhhhhhhh had taken the glass can. He never returned it. I felt my stomach turn. I should have went with him to retrieve the can after he was done using it. BUT was so busy in custom framing I could not and honestly forgot about it after dealing with the umpteenth person asking about whatever they were asking about.

I am so tired you guys these past few weeks. So much is going on behind what you read here on this blog that it is all I can do to stay sane. Having an art education where I work means nothing. It means an average 25¢ to 75¢ more than the average joe off the street earns per hour as I found out about three weeks ago. That man has since been fired since I said I was giving my notice and after a few of the other department managers noticed his antics also. I just happen to be the first employee to voice my concern not so much over his wage but over his lack of honesty, integrity and plain down right VILE attitude towards people in general. How could he earn almost as much as me when he did nothing! I hate it there. I’m beginning to hate men in general. I find they have no fucking clue lately.

The women and two good men (***tom and harry) in that store work very hard. These other two men (Ralph and John), as hard as they may think they are working, are not cut out for the job. And maybe I’m not either. Maybe I should re-consider leaving.

I hate having to work so much not to even meet poverty standards in Canada. The only reason I’m not living on the street is because I live at home with my folks.

Maybe this is just a bump in my life. I started to make mistakes at work today. I measured custom orders wrong and cut orders wrong because they have me doing toooooooooo many different jobs that I can’t concentrate on a $500 dollar order which I feel is more important than unpacking $5 fucking freight. I’ll unpakc the freight. No problemo. BUT don’t get angry when custom orders don’t get complted in time for Christmas. We are severely understaffed. MAYBE if the company payed it’s current employees an itsy bit more we would work the extra hours needed to make up for the lack of bodies supervising the store.

I’ve been practicing leaving my work at work. That’s not working so well these last few weeks. We get a new manager again come the New Year. I keep holding my breath hoping that she will be good, fair and honest.

I was so happy to see the framing manager start her shift this afternoon. She is solid.

There are those of you who read this blog that know who I am and where I work. You most likely are close to this situation. None of this is directed at you for you are in the same boat as I find myself in. And I think you are a doing a fabulous job. You are the reason(s) I stay. You are great to work with during these dire times.

I wonder what would happen if we, the workers decided to unionize. We definately would get fair wages for the work we do. All of us regardless of education or not. What would happen if we went on strike during peak season! YAH!

I’ve been holding much back here on this Blog of mine. I don’t think I can censor myself any longer. An artist censoring herself is like taking a fish out of water and leaving it to die, rot and stink in the sun.

Time to live and come clean!

*names changed
**standard UNION labourer pay in New Brunswick
***names changes – both great guys!

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6 thoughts on “Peak Season Hazards at Work”

  1. I hate to say it but if you tried to unionize the Corporation would probably just close down the store. McDonald’s has done that a couple of times in Quebec and I think Walmart has too. I am realizing I am lucky that I like and enjoy my job, even when I had to go in for a few hours today.

  2. Brian and Heidi – I like my job; the actual job of custom framing, helping customers and all that is involved with that aspect of where I work.

    Friday just stood out from the rest as an awful day in general. As with good days, the bad ones pass to. Today (Sunday), I feel more myself. I don’t like it when things are happening WAY beyond my control that shouldn’t be happening. I had to let it out somehow. That is why this post was written.

    Repressing anger isn’t good for anyone. Maybe this post was a bit harsh but nonetheless at the time it seemed the thing to do as I am done with the days of hurting myself over others mistakes.

    After writing a post like this I feel empty. Not so much guilt just frustration over the situation that I had found myself within and experiencing that day. The days events snowballed, continuing to grow for myself and those around me.

    Even the two managers I realize are under due stress due to being in new jobs.

    Having a couple of days off from working there and also from contract work and art creation this weekend has done wonders.

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