Archive for June, 2010

I Think I’ll Feign Fainting.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , on June 29, 2010 by Sara Lilly

I’ve already said I’m a miserable cashier at a fucking grocery store for half the week. The other half, I’m a slave to a multi-millionaire literary agent. While neither job is particularly satisfactory to me in my going-on-20-degree-seeking-student stage of life, if I had to pick just one to do all summer–I’d pick slave. Does this show how much I truly hate being a cashier? How much it makes my skin crawl? How I want to leap over the counter and punch some customers in the face and the only thing that keeps me in my place is, “You’re getting paid. It’s shitty but, you’re getting paid.”

The front end is run by a group of young people who thrive on making their cashiers’ lives miserable because they realize that they will never have another opportunity in their life to be a boss. To be fair, (because that sounded harsh) I directed that last statement to a select three people whom I’d like to ask every now and then, “Hey, what is it that you DO exactly?” The group of young people, particularly three who I have in my mind, make it their duty to enforce the long list of absolutely absurd rules:

1) No drinking on the register. (But it’s a 100 degrees!)
2) No leaning. (But I’ve been standing here for 7 1/2 hours!)
3) There is no reading on the register. (But it’s 7 AM. There’s no one here.)
4) Stand in front of your register. (What. Really? C’mon.)
5) No purses behind the register. (Huh?)
6) No unrelated work conversation. (…there’s no one here.)

None of these rules apply to the group of young people who run the front end. They are free to drink their water, go on coffee runs, dinner runs as they read through things and laugh about unrelated work conversations.

I’m going to purposely faint one of these days. I’ll sigh and go down to the floor and when they ask how I was feeling I’ll say, “I needed water. But you wouldn’t let me have any.” I’ll then call the local media and have my workplace exposed as a sweat shop posing as a grocery store. Mwahaha.

The end.

Oh. One last story about the front-end running kids:

I’m also a flower girl at work. I cover the permanent florists’ vacations and go there on holidays and whenever I’m needed. I worked full time there before I quit for the past semester. Anyway, on Mother’s Day, you had better believe the floral department was packed. My co-worker and I got there at 6 AM and by 10 AM, we ran out of flowers. Literally. We were out. They had to run to the other store 10 miles away to pick up more. Amidst five girls (2 of whom knew exactly what they were doing), tissue paper going everywhere and rose petals, the phone was ringing. We’re all stripping roses, curling ribbons and wrapping daisies. The phone goes unanswered. Twice more it rings before I finally pick up the phone.

“Floral department,” I say, exasperated.
“Hi, it’s me,” says catty voice from the front end. “A lady has a question about flowers and she’s yelling at us because no one in floral is answering. So can you learn to pick up your phone when someone calls?”
Oh God, I’m not someone for cursing out anybody. I took a deep breath and said,
“Go ahead and tell her it’s Mother’s Day in the floral department. Goodbye.”
I hung up. Yes.

Workaholism.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Sara Lilly

I’m about to be a junior in college and while most of my friends are going to the beach, lounging poolside and shopping, I’m working fifty hours a week. 30 hours go to the mindless, horrific but steady well-paying as a grocery store clerk and the other sixteen hours go to being a personal valet to a multi-millionaire literary agent in New York City.

I write at night so I hardly sleep. When I have time, I work on planning a class I’m teaching to first-year students in the fall. I keep up with the World Cup via Tivo and text messages with my friends. People ask me why I work so much, but seriously…I have to pay for my gasoline, my phone bill, my commute to New York, and hopefully save some for spending money if I get to go study abroad in England like I want to.

After college, I’m going away. I need to relax, to breathe. I don’t know anyone else my age who works as much as I do–I’m a psycho.

About my grocery store job, I worked 8 hours there today and will do it all again tomorrow. As much as I 100% detest my job with a burning passion, I get a few giggles every now and then. Here’ s my favorite story from the job from hell:

An old woman came to my register with a coupon for Smart Balance milk. She bought another brand.

“Ma’am, this coupon is for Smart Balance.”
“Oh, no!”
“Okay–do you want me to ask someone to get you the Smart Balance so you can use the coupon?”
“No I don’t want that brand.”
“All right. So you’re taking that milk?”
“No, I don’t want it unless I have the coupon.”
“So you don’t want any milk?”
“I need milk!”
I paused. I then tried again.
“But you don’t want Smart Balance?” I asked.
“No.”
“And you don’t want that?”
“No.”
“So you don’t want anything?”
“I need milk!”
At this point, I’m trying my best not to laugh.
“Ma’am, what do you want me to do?” I asked.
“I need milk!”
I’m laughing now. “Would you like me to ask someone to get you a store brand milk?”
“I need milk!”
“Yes, the store brand milk?”
“Okay.”

The end.

On Writing

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by Sara Lilly

So I intern at a boutique literary agency in the lovely city known as New York. My job is to run whatever errands my boss wants me to, (anything from picking up his dead dog’s ashes to getting him a camera charger) and read manuscripts. I have yet to read anything spectacular. In fact, everything I’ve read with the exception of one can qualify as utter crap. I talk a lot about this with one of my co-workers and he said to me,

“A lot of people think anyone can write a book. They don’t realize that not everyone is a writer–in fact, most people who think they are, are not writers.”

I could not agree with that more. I believe you’re born a writer, the same way someone might be born an actor, or a painter or anything artistic–because being great is so much more than knowing how to do something. It’s more than just the mechanics of artwork. It’s about seeing something in a different way, about instincts, feelings–things that can’t be taught. A good writer never decided they were going to be a writer, they always just knew. They have to write like another has to breathe because it’s who they are, it’s their existence.