The convenience store workers' bill of rights and privileges
I am a huge fan of the movie “Clerks”. I have also spent over 25 years in the retail trade, most of it in the convenience store industry, so I can appreciate the humor in the movie more than most. However, the people I work with are not slackers like Dante Hicks and Randal Graves. We are hardworking folks who are just getting by day-to-day, doing our jobs.
And we have to deal with some of the rudest, obnoxious people on earth. Most of them are not, though. Most of them are good people who treat us warmly or at least politely. It’s the ones who think that they can do anything they want because they’re in a convenience store and can be rude to anyone they want that ruin everything. So, with that in mind, here is the following for all of us long-suffering staff:
THE CONVENIENCE STORE WORKERS' BILL OF RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES:
We have the right to be treated with respect.
We apologize for things out of control, but it’s not our fault if the gas pumps don’t work, or the credit network is down, or the slushie machine is defrosting.
We are human just like you. We have bad days. Just let us do the best we can, and we’ll get through it.
We must count all of your money before you leave. Just because you say that pile of change is $3.59 doesn’t make it so. Who knows, you may have given us too much!
We are allowed to roll our eyes once a shift.
We are allowed to take a slight break to scream at the top of our lungs, off the floor of course.
We have the right to card anyone under 30 for cigarettes no matter how it annoys you or how much we hate it. We don’t care if we carded you yesterday, and you don’t have your wallet today, we have to do it. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.
We have the right to check every $50 and $100 bill to make sure it’s genuine.
We have the right to use the bathroom once a shift.
We have the right to get a long, tall sip of some beverage at least once an hour.
We have the right to refuse to turn your bag of loose change into dollar bills, or at least to ask you to move to the side, and count it out before you give it to us.
We are not substitute health care professionals or therapists. Do not ask us to solve your personal problems. We don’t know you that well.
We are not mind readers. If we were, would we work here?
We may spot you a penny here or there, but don’t ask us for more than 50 cents. You don’t do this at Walmart, do ya?
Just because this is a convenience store doesn’t mean we are less of a place of business than a department store or a grocery store. The same rules of common decency apply here.
We are obligated to serve you to the best of our abilities. Remember that.
We will serve you as quickly as possible. Some of us are just slower than others.
We are a convenience store. Don’t complain to us that you could get that gallon of milk or can of soup cheaper somewhere else. You chose to come here, not there.
We reserve the right to have LISTENABLE MUSIC in our store. Five straight days of hillbilly music is enough to send someone screaming into the night.
If you stand there for an hour to play lottery and nothing else, don’t expect us to drop everything whenever you yell at us while we have a line of customers. Just get back in line, and we will be happy to serve you. Either that, or get a different hobby.
We are not as perfect as you think you are.
When we talk to you, don’t ignore us. Give us a grunt or a nod, or something. We have feelings, too, ya know.
We cannot talk over a cell phone. Finish off your annoying phone call to your home girl or Aunt Freda before you get into line. It’s annoying as hell to have to perform a transaction with someone who is on the phone.
We’d appreciate it if you spoke a little English when you get in line. At least “Hi”, or “10 dollars, pump 2”, or something. And I’m not just speaking about people for whom English is a second language.
We have the right not to smell the remnants of your 13th beer when you come into our line, nor do we have to catch a contact buzz from all the pot you were smoking in the car on the way here. We have to be clear-headed at all times.
And finally, the quote the trailer for “Clerks”, just because we serve you doesn’t mean we like you.