Every day I handle more money than I will ever make. Every day.
At the start of my employment, my boss showed me videos of people stealing, and we both had a chuckle about it. How silly they were! There was a camera overhead, and it’s not to watch the shoppers. See, we can’t actually stop shoplifters. They get away with it maybe nine out of ten times. But we, who are watched and tallied and witnessed? We are always caught.
At first it was hard to hold one hundred dollars bills. An amount I had never seen before. An amount that didn’t exist in my household. It’s normal now. Here is something that is not for me.
“What the hell, I’ll take another,” says the man, pondering our 200 dollar watches. What the hell. Total comes to 580 and not even a flinch in his face. I have been working for 11 hours today and made only 110 dollars. It will go to my rent. Today I work for free, it feels. When I get my check, I will have 35 dollars left for food and saving.
The six hundreds he hands me go into the cash register. For a moment, I imagine having money. Then I put it away, counting out his change.
I know for a fact we sell our products for double what they are worth. That I could be making commission. That they could hand me those 580 dollars and change my life and not even mark the difference in their checkbooks. He’s not the only sale they make today, but I am the reason they made it. He’s not the only one spending 600 dollars, but if I hadn’t spent two hours with him telling me about his life, he wouldn’t have spent any. I go home. I don’t own a watch.
I have watched and rewatched a video on how to make salmon four ways. My shopping list is always the same. Pasta. Rice. Tuna. If I can afford butter it was a good week. I dream of the world I will never walk in, where I can throw the best fish fillet in the cart with a shrug. I hold hundreds in my hand and look up at the camera. I put them under the cash drawer.
I go to work. I scrap together my savings. I eat my bowl of rice slowly. My manager takes a paid week off from work just for his birthday. He owns a yacht.
I’m not worth the cost of a watch.