Monday, November 12, 2007


One of the things I dislike the least about working at Red Circle (although let's be completely honest, it isn't that bad of a job. It pays well and they are respectful of the hours I need to work, not to mention the fact that I'm kind of a whiny asshole sometimes) was the ever-important Speed Score. Those of you who've worked in retail probably know what I mean. You log into your register, you start checking someone out, and meanwhile the computer keeps a timer. At the end of the transaction it tells you if you did G or R (no one has been satisfactorily able to explain to me what R stands for. This enigma throws into serious doubt the true meaning of G, as well. In fact, I wonder if has anything to do with the fact that my gas tank, instead of an E for empty, has a R for...Refill? Replenish? Risky driving on so little gas? When the tank is full it says 1/1. This never fails to make me laugh). Over time, the computer keeps tabs of all your scores and gives you a percentage of how well you are doing. So, get 3 Gs and an R and your overall speed score will be a 75%. I won't go into the general unfairness of the computer's continuing to time you after you have scanned the customer's items and pressed 'total'. Some people just take for friggin' ever to pay and I don't see why I have to suffer for it.

At any rate, the powers that be like to keep tabs of your Speed Score and record it down, thus creating a log of your overall performance. So once a week or so a manager will come up to 'discuss' my SS, which basically means I'm told my averages for the week and the month. Since anyone with half a wit could do this job, my averages are generally very high, well into the 90s. When I started working there, I tended to think of cashiering under a timer as a sort of boring-ass, incredibly easy video game. Since they've begun updating me on my weekly and monthly averages, it's become more and more like high school. I'm reminded of all the classes I took that didn't resemble my upper-middle class white upbringing, like Typing and Health. Whereas I had to mildly work hard to get As in AP Bio and Calculus, in those non-college rated courses I could guarantee doing the least amount of work in order to fluff up my GPA.

Of course, that never stopped me from having hurt pride when I discovered that I'd gotten a B in Economics. A B!! In Economics! WTF? It's the same pride that smarts when the computer issues me an R and drops my score into the 80s. Not to mention that Red Circle wants your average score at any time to be an 88 or above. Wow! In the real world, you have to be Above Average!

I'm not applying any of this pride to my distinctly abysmal Credit Score. I have gotten all of two credit applications while working in my two months there, and one of them, today, was handed to me in the form of the customer just up and asking to apply. There's a mild incentive in the way of $50 if you manage to get lucky enough to ask a Secret Shopper if he or she wants to apply, but I've yet to thing those odds are good enough for me to be extracting energy from my already dwindling moral compass to sacrifice myself to the gods of credit. I know, I could be out stealing car batteries instead, but ethically we're looking at about the same amount of bad karma.

Thinking about this today got me wondering about my decision to become a professional musician, a career that requires a certain amount of achievement to be successful. Am I truly destined for this path in music or am I attracted to it because, unlike most other things in life, I actually have to work my ass off for it? I mean, I could just as easily do something else I enjoy but also have to work hard to be successful in, like writing, you know? I just get the feeling that I wouldn't be as happy working as something that offers me easy recognition and general skill but isn't nearly as challenging. It's the same difficulty in being satisfied with a cashiering job where I mastered all the speed tricks and made up a few of my own in the first week of work. It was entertaining for that week, but after that...

I guess that means it's time to go practice.