Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Onto the Soapbox I climb.

I've been reading here and there various takes on Tower closing up shop. I worked at Tower here in Seattle in the U district for a time and frankly, (contrary to what I thought i felt about it) I am not entirely moved.

Probably due to the fact that I worked there. Granted there were none of the absurd Pep Squad tactics of say the Warner Bros. Studio store (where I also worked) but, for all the amusement and cool things there was a lot of bullshit. Not just the typical retail bullshit, I was used to that by that point. But doing a lot of work for minimum wage.

What always irked me that even though I was (and am) a gainfully employed hard working drone, I could not afford to shop there. They did not keep up. When someone at the store lamented about getting crushed by local competition when it came to large selling titles my response was fairly simple. Stop charging 1991 prices.

I did love that I could find pretty much anything at Tower. I loved that I could call the store in LA, talk to the boy who always said I had a sexy voice and he would often send me something. I liked getting free shit from record lables, I loved after the boss went home blaring NWA interspersed with Squarepusher. I loved dancing in the front window for tips (with a few other disgruntled employees) when we were not allowed to leave a half hour early on New Year's Eve.

But am I really sad to see it go?


Another reason I'm not overly upset about it is the greasy feeling I had working there. At a look Tower was fantastic. Cool strange people working there, I could wear pretty much whatever, no one batted an eye when I (or any of the other employees) wore weird clothes or hair. But, underneath the uber-cool facade was the reality. Wage slaving for minimum wage and praying for a "promotion" to make that extra quarter.

Most of the people I worked with weren't slackers, most of them just to make it, had 3-4 roommates, ate shit food etc.

Actually let me stop here. My blase feelings about Tower are the same blase feelings I have about many companies.

Too much expectation for too little payout.

I'm sure many of you gentle readers know what I'm talking about.

You take a job, whatever job you have and (at least from personal experience) most have the rah rah "give 110%" type credo of one sort or another.

Sell more!
LOVE the customers!
BE the BEST!

However when it comes time to pay you for your efforts, you're presented with what amounts to a drop in the bucket. I don't believe that people are poor simply because they don't work hard enough. I think many people are and remain poor because working doesn't pay the bills. Let me put it this way, if you're making 24k a year as a customer service rep. and where you live the median income to live is around 36K a year, do you really make enough money to give a tin shit about your customer?

When you're scrambling to make sure the rent is paid, the phone is paid, the car is working, you have a bus pass etc etc etc, when you are sitting debating eating ramen for a week so you can pay your phone bill or just going without, would you care?

I don't.

I don't know how many people I know who work damn hard, who struggle and hustle just to keep a rented roof over their heads. What's the solution?

I think Big Business needs to take another look. What would be the best thing ever I think, (as suggested by Tupac Shakur) would be that the Haves trade places with the Have Nots. As in that book Nickel and Dimed.. If you make say 250K a year, you get to trade places with someone who makes 25K a year. You're a well paid whatever? You get to work at McDonald's or WalMart.

I'm not talking forever. Say 6 weeks.

I'm suggesting that the people who ostensibly run shit, need to be reminded if they've forgotten, or learn if they don't know how hard it is just to be a working stiff.

Now don't mistake here. This isn't about welfare, liberalism or even so much class issues. It's simply about practicality. I'll steal a line from Fight Club here and say, "we protect you while you sleep."

It's about understanding what the fuck is really going on in this country. It's about right and wrong.

I will step off of my soapbox now.

No wait back on it for a minute. I just read a post in a LJ community about the "low income lifestyle" what the FUCK is that supposed to mean? Being poor isn't a fucking lifestyle. I hate it when people try to be some cachet into economic motherfucking hardship. Worrying about being homeless isn't a lifestyle. Working yourself to death just to stay clothed fed and housed is not a fucking lifestyle. Fuck sake.

And now I'm spent. I am honestly not in a great frame of mind. Holiday malaise combined with a cranky tummy. I'm spent.

1 comment:

Miss Paige said...

These and more are all of the reasons why I love you. You have this wonderful way of wording what we all feel & most of us think. Being poor is not a choice, a lifestyle, or a state of mind. It is a reality that many of us have to face for a time in our lives. Thank you.

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