I’m 27. A perpetual college senior that is stuck between that supposed “American Dream” and the harsh reality of being a lowly retail specialist. Definitely out of place, I live in a city classified as the leader of the heroin epidemic. Lovely sight I’m painting, huh? I’m not done.
Aside from living with my parents at this age, I’m still trying to finish college. College, in my opinion, has become this over-hyped and over-priced stigma that this country spits out. I know, other countries have colleges too. My point is that the idea to get far in life is college. That is the biggest point my high school made. Graduate from high school, go to college, graduate from that, and get a job.
What high school failed to put forth in our little impressionable brains is that college isn’t made for everyone, meaning that those with no resources, money or networking (socially). My University has shown me that numerous times, to the point where graduation is bleak.
The past year was tough for me. I worked at Kroger (the most backwards retail conglomerate ever) for five months. I quit because of the wrong treatment of management and the severe pain I was going through. I was a cart pusher working for minimum wage. Eight dollars and twenty cents per hour. This job paid two dollar less than surrounding areas, took almost eight dollars for “union dues” and hours weren’t the best. Why’d I choose that job? Sometimes I wonder.
2017 was a testicle-grabbing year financially. Our car just gave up. I spent $1800 for a paperweight. I spent all of my money, out of desperation because I had no means of transportation for most of the prior year. Anywho, when the car broke down, my college semester had spoiled. I tried to explain that I’m completely broke, and what money I did have went to food and medication because well, the potential starvation or deterioration triumphed over pesky classes. Call me stupid, but my (along with my parent’s) well being had to come first. My professors did not care one bit and my Ethic professor suggested me taking an Incomplete, which allows me to retake the course at a later time.
Since the semester was shot, I took the job at Kroger. It was offered to me through good faith from my first stint there. I thought that I could use the quick buck to get the car fixed and get back on top of things. I didn’t though. The car was beyond repair, so we had to get financed for a car far too expensive for it’s value. So, I had to use this job to help with any bills lagging.
When I was working at Kroger, I had somewhat decent hours. Even though I was getting paid an awful amount per hour, I was getting by. Not as a livable wage, but something nonetheless. Halfway through my tenure, management changed and things went awry. Reasonable management was out and stupidity floated in. The new bosses hired a slew of children. Literally hired a dozen high school freshmen. Thanks to that, my hours were cut. I went from 30 hours to 17-20 hours. During the peak of the Summer, I accepted it. It was hot. 92 degrees hot. That was not too good. Since we had new people and new management, laziness ensued and I got the bulk of the work. I worked 6 of my 8 hours on hot pavement and nobody would listen to things I had to say regarding that. Supervisors never supervised. I asked about having help and questioning why I was not getting it and the Supervisor literally said “What do you want me to do?” especially when I asked why the kids weren’t doing their job. I had the idiotic assumption that um, they’re suppose to run this Titanic. I ended up working most of duties. That’s not me trying to come off as Superman. Ask the cashiers. I was dying out there.
One day, I was shoveling in a dozen carts (the recommended amount). I pulled it out of the corral and my back popped. I didn’t think of it immediately until after break. The rest period had my back in agony. Welp, I finished the day. After a week, something didn’t feel right, but I was accustomed to feeling awful, especially through the heat. After another week or two, I wasn’t feeling right at all. My fingers started to tingle and go numb. I went to management and found out that I didn’t have nor qualify for insurance. I asked for a little help because my grasp was off and something just wasn’t right. What was their response? “Suck it up, that’s life”. Seriously. I may be funny, but I wasn’t joking. I tried working but I was nowhere near the level I could’ve been. Nevertheless, I was outperforming the other cart pushers by a wide margin. To this day, six months after I quit, I’m still in pain. I’m nearly 6’4″. You wouldn’t know it because it hurts to straighten up. It’s very likely I herniated some discs and Kroger did nothing to help the problem. I quit in August because I was working too hard and a new temporary manager was putting me down as did her supervisor. She told me to clear the lot. I was trying. I was exhausted. I told her that the kid I was scheduled with wasn’t doing crap. She called me a liar and told me that I’ll be written up if I didn’t. I tried to plead my case and she called me a liar and accused me of not doing squat when in reality, she was the one loitering around with cashiers. I snapped. I laughed in her face, took off my vest and clocked out. If you were there, I would totally have your support. Cashiers had my side and tried to vouch for me, but the manager didn’t want to hear it.
I quit Kroger shortly before the Fall semester. I thought I would take another crack at the University. Nope. It didn’t work out. Power got cut off and I had to pawn my laptop. I couldn’t get anywhere either because the intermittent shut down of the car or conflict doctor appointments. I just couldn’t make it there because of financial and medical hardships. Again, my classes tanked. I applied for course forgiveness in the way of a petition. I attached receipts and detailed accounts of my issues. I went into a lot of depth to plead my case. The dim committee said that wasn’t enough. They told I had to do things I already did. They didn’t care. They even said they didn’t read some of it. So, what part of that was my fault? Because of being broke and living in poverty, I can’t graduate. The backwards college doesn’t seem to get that some people don’t have a trust fund and some people run into issues. Maybe it’s insensitive, but I hope they get a taste of what happened over the past two semesters. Things happened beyond my control. I don’t know what to do and frankly I am losing my touch on giving the slightest bit of crap. Everyone I know is becoming a success and I’m watching myself grow old and depressed.
Thank you Kroger and Wright State University. Maybe I’ll become out of touch and garner the strength to ruin other people’s ambitions and work ethic.