nfotxn: (Default)
See the thing about service economy jobs is that facing the public is like wading into tide. You face a celestial capacity force of human emotions that only let up when the doors of the store close. In my small space behind the register at work I face torture like a caged X-Man at the hands of Magneto or Apocalypse or something. Bourgeois fucktards green-washing their self-indulgence with organic junk food. Insecure fat middle-aged men talking on cell phones in an attempt to feel important. Crappy parents abusing their kids without even trying. Mental energy is extinguished and by the evening's end and I lay there, torn spandex jump-suit, waiting to recuperate. Sometimes I team up with a friend at work and we combine our powers of controlling the situation and spreading cheer. But it's hard work and the world is full of sour, sour people.
nfotxn: (Default)
So I am the self-scan attendant at Local Unionized Upscale Grocery Chain now. Part of my job includes encouraging people who've never used the self scanning checkout to give it a try. We coach them and put on the training wheels the first few times. That's why we charge the big prices, for that human interaction. It's part of what keeps me there.

But it never ceases to really amaze me what total luddites many younger people today are. It's as if being a total bourgeois fuck is fashionable.
"Oh I won't use THAT thing! It'll cost you your job! It's a machine! It's de-humanizing!"

Now having worked in the grocery biz a year now I can definitely agree that a big part of the job is the social bit. It's a "Care Moment" for a lot of people. The lonely and often elderly getting that TLC they don't get at home.

Now to separate the machine in which you check-out your own groceries from the cashier as two distinct experiences I think is flawed. You pay the same price and are therefore entitled to your own slice of Care Time, customer service or what-have-you.

What infuriates me is the implication that it will cost jobs. Anyone who's attended to one understand that it requires more work. But the kind of work that we want to have people doing in the developed world in 2005. Mostly the job is about keeping information up to date, auditing problems with inventory in the store and generally it works as a check-point of other departments in the store. Best of all it prevents workplace injuries. I can come home and have my hands functional enough to type or play my viola. On a hard day this is often not the case when I'm slinging your cases of water and boxes of Tide around while typing in endless numbers.

It's funny that the majority of people who have these opinions seem to be the yuppie organic hipster set. Now don't get me wrong, sustainable and locally grown food is a great thing, but more often then not it's a lifestyle. And what good is a lifestyle without letting other people know about it? How condescending is it not to just decline using it but go on a diatribe about how terrible the job that provides so much benefit to the worker and a lot of customers? It also outlines the pessimistic trend towards progress (the Victorian type) I've seen in the culture. It's shear neo-liberal arrogance that fuels this shit and its just as tired, in my head, as the same shit bible-thumping neo-conservatives are pulling.

Give it a rest. Give the good kinda progress a chance.


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