My first real job was at an ink cartridge specialty store. Previously I’d been babysitting, petsitting, housesitting, house-cleaning and such for cash. I was fifteen and sixteen when I worked there, and, for all intents and purposes, I was a good employee. I was never late, I did everything asked of me fairly quickly and reliably well, I never took breaks (even legally required breaks), and I often volunteered for extra shifts. When I started I was the only part-timer, so they had me doing all the stupid menial stuff like vacuuming the front. Whatever! I’m cool with that.
Things got dicey when they asked me to clean the bathroom. It was gross. Really gross. Part of our work was to refill ink cartridges, and we’d dump the excess ink in the bathroom. Also, I came to find out that it had literally never been cleaned since the store opened three years prior. When I asked why, my manager responded, “Well, you’re the first girl to work here.” Yep. A few weeks later I had to clean the fridge, which was in a similarly disgusting state. I got the same response.
Six months after I was hired, another part-timer started, a boy who was a year older than me. After he was hired, I still had to vacuum the front, do inventory, and all the cleaning, including taking out the trash. He was never asked to do anything menial whatsoever. He was also being paid fifty cents an hour more than me. I asked my manager why, and he said it was because the other part-timer had prior work experience. I asked what it was. Apparently he used to clean houses. Which I had also done. And which somehow precludes him from cleaning the store.
Also, right before I quit for another job, I was trained on register. Not because I had spent almost a year there at that point, though. No. It was because one of our creepy old man customers thought I was too cute to be in the back. Aw, melt my heart and puke it up.
I had a terrible experience at that job. I cried more times than I can count, I was constantly stressed out, resentful, and on guard against unwelcome comments about my body. As a bonus, after I quit, my boss asked my brother to put in an application. He did, but my boss said he wouldn’t even bother reading it because of my brother’s handwriting. My brother has a motor disability called dysgraphia, which makes writing things by hand very difficult and very painful. My boss said he didn’t care. But I guess it was all #MFIF and his fault he’s disabled. Now, if only my boss had ever cleaned the bathroom in his own store, he would have seen the huge laminated sign about employment discrimination hanging up on the door.