Nightmare on Commonwealth Ave.

As most of us know by now, it’s pretty difficult to find a job in this economy.  And really, when it comes down to it beggars cannot be choosers.  I myself have been in and out of work for the past 2 years trying to finish up college.  In that short span of time, I’ve worked in different counties and cities in Virginia and Tennessee.  I’ve worked in restaurants and cafeterias, maintained lawns, worked on cell phones, become a temp, been a telemarketer, and have donated plasma countless times.  But the absolute worst job I’ve ever had since I joined the work force almost a decade ago was right here in Bristol.  For a very long month, I was employed as a cashier at Quick Stop #38.  You may know it as The Marathon convenience store on Commonwealth Ave.

In that month I experienced the worst of nearly every facet of any job I’ve ever had.  The hours were long and unpredictable, I was there by myself most of the time, and certainly by myself on the graveyard shift, 11pm-7am (the most dangerous shift).  Now I know, working at a gas station I have to accept the risks of being robbed or someone threatening my life.  That would have been all well and good if I weren’t getting paid minimum wage.  I think we can all agree that your responsibilities should match your pay rate.  Risk equals reward, right?

While there, I was almost on a first name basis with the local Police Dispatcher.  I was calling them every other day on average, sometimes 4-5 times a week.  The management was very shoddy and if something happened, even if I followed the procedure I was told to, I still got in trouble.  I was never allowed a bathroom break, because I was the only one there, even though we had 2 cash registers.  They didn’t even have 2 people in that store during race weekends.  Again, it turned out to be my fault that I had a line out the door.  I had worked a total of 48 hours before my first race weekend.  I was inexperienced, and alone.  It proved to me that the Green Oil Company, the owners of Quick Stop #38 (and to my understanding subsidiary of BP), wanted to run that location as cheaply as possible.  Even if it meant treating their employees the way one would treat a leaky bucket full of crap, rotting fish, and vomit (both human and cat).

The General Manager at the time was lazy, didn’t care about his job, and was very poorly qualified.  He struck me as the type of man who chose paperclips over staples because they were more fun to straighten out.  And coincidentally when he didn’t want to come in to work “he hurt his back”.  Despite him bragging about being the portrait of health and acting like some huge tough guy he could hurt his back while driving down the road.  He was so lazy he couldn’t even change his excuse.

I had minimal training (my orientation took 4 minutes), and the technology reminded me of 1996.  The whole place needs to be remodeled; you can notice even today that none of the fluorescent lights have covers on them.  The restrooms are breeding grounds for diseases; so much so that I refused to clean them while I was working there.  To be fair though, I also wouldn’t let any customers use them.  Minimum wage doesn’t cover the typhoid fever-scurvy-tetanus cocktail I would have gotten by going into those bathrooms.  Instead I stayed sure that no one was stealing things from inside, by staying inside.  God forbid ANYTHING happen during my shift for fear of being written up, or fired.  This all lead me to believe that Green Oil Co. was taking advantage of peoples financial situation during these recessive times.  They knew they could treat anyone however they want because jobs are few and far between.

Overall, even if you’re desperate for something quick I recommend going somewhere else.  There’s at least 3 other gas stations within a mile of that place, and they’re all much better.  There probably aren’t drug deals going on in their parking lots either.  I sometimes refrain from stopping there just based on the recent oil spill caused by British Petroleum.  It’s simple; it doesn’t make sense to me to give money to an irresponsible company.  And what would the founding fathers say?  Wasn’t America formed to get away from Great Britain?  As an American, I consider it my own little patriotic ritual every time I pass by Quick Stop #38.  Sometimes I even do it while saying Pledge of Allegiance.

POSTSCRIPT (30 Aug. 2010):  I’m not picking on the managers, or the company for that matter.  I really liked my GM as a person while I worked there, and I’m sure he had talents and work ethic that benefited him.  There was just something about that ONE location of this particular chain.  I wanted to point it out because there could be room for improvements there, and I hope it changes into an enjoyable place to work.  Family members of mine (and yes, even I am guilty of this) have been customers there since my employment has ended, and I can see slow but steady steps the company is taking to remedy situations that I found less than appealing.

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10 Responses to “Nightmare on Commonwealth Ave.”

  1. When i visit a blog, chances are that I see that the construction is poor and the writting bad. On the contrary,I could honestly say that you writting is decent and your website solid.

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    • I gave tons of back up for what I said, and I worked there, so you go ahead and take your best shot bro-ham! Either that, or suck on this…

      It was going to be a picture of a pickle, but it won’t let me put one up. You can still suck on a pickle though, it’s better for you than anything else you’re doing!

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