Tag Archive: pawn shop


A Week Of Work

So I have now been employed by Alan’s Jewelry and Pawn for a week. I’m still training, but I’m not sure how long I’ll stick around. It has its good points and its bad points, much like any job. But the bad seem pretty overwhelming to me. I have a few major complaints…

1. The hours. I knew going in that it would be over 40 hours a week, and I don’t have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is how those hours are arranged and what you can and can’t do during them. The shifts are enormous – typically from 8:30 in the morning until 7:00 or so at night. One week you work five days, the next week six. During those shifts you get two fifteen minute breaks and an hour lunch break. The only problem is there’s no break room, nor anywhere to sit at all except for the stairwell, and unless you’re on one of the above breaks, you’re not allowed to sit there. You’re also strongly encouraged to limit water and bathroom breaks to the absolute minimum.

With no break room, lunch becomes a wasted hour that ends up costing more money than it’s worth. No one wants to sit in a stairwell for an hour, and the summer heat makes sitting in your car unrealistic. That leaves going somewhere as the main option. Going home is cheaper than going out to eat, but either way I’m wasting gas. I’d much rather take another fifteen minute break and leave 45 minutes sooner, but that’s not an option. Also not an option: moving your days around, switching shifts with coworkers, or getting any time off around Christmas. So basically it’s 45-50 hours a week, spent on your feet, with very little water entering or leaving your body, and if you don’t like that there’s really nothing you can do about it.

2. Everyone who ranks above me tells me to do things in a different way. It’s pretty much impossible to know if you’re being trained correctly when the answers you get to your questions are completely different depending on who you ask.

3. I’ve barely been able to do what I was hired to do (sell musical instruments). I understand there are many departments and many different types of products and transactions, but it’s a bit frustrating when you take a job specifically to focus on something you like, only to spend more time learning other things. I’ve spent entirely too much time messing with guns and jewelry (our two biggest money-makers, neither of which interests me even a little). I’ve mostly gotten the hang of the pawn/sell process, bill pays are easy, check cashing isn’t too hard, and walking the sales floor is like every other retail job I’ve ever had. Why can’t I do those sorts of things when there’s no one in the music section and when I get someone asking about guns or jewelry or power tools or whatever else, find someone who knows about those things? There’s something to be said about workers who can cover all the bases and do a variety of tasks, but the Industrial Revolution was built on specialized labor.

4. The pawn business is crooked as hell. We base what we pay for things on what they sell for on eBay, giving about a third of what they go for in decent condition. Then we turn around and sell them at scarcely less than full retail. We pride ourselves on being a place where people can bargain, but we refuse to come down too low. Today there was a man who bought a $20,000 diamond who was also interested in an XBox 360. The store manager told me to treat him like the most important customer I’ve ever had. When I pulled out one of the 30 XBox’s on the shelf and he asked how low we could go on it, I assured him we would give him a great bargain. Then I asked the store manager how low we could go, and he told me to take 20% off the sticker. The “most important customer” who just spent $20,000 can only save about $15 on his video game system. Something seems a little off there. And we haven’t even gotten to the crazy interest rates on loans and the many fees for check cashing, bill pays, and using a credit card.

So yeah… those are my main complaints. I’m sure the money will be good (they still haven’t told me my exact rate of pay) but I’m not sure it’s worth it. I’m still keeping my eye out for something better, and when I find it I’ll jump. Speaking of which, tomorrow night (night?) I have an interview with one of the animal hospitals I applied to. They’re a 24 hour hospital, and luckily the person in charge of hiring veterinary assistants works night shift. She called me and we played phone tag for a while before I finally got to speak to her the other day. I’m hoping she likes me, and that they give their assistants full-time hours. If so I’ll definitely take the job, even if the money isn’t as good. If it’s only part-time hours, I’ll talk to my current job and see if it’s possible to cut down to part-time. If not I’m not passing up the opportunity to do what I’ve been studying the past few months, so I’ll settle for part-time and try to find a second job, possibly going back to the gas station if I have to. One way or the other I will have a job I like that pays well, even if it takes a little work to get there.

 

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A few interesting things have happened in the past week or so…

Shortly after writing my last entry, I found out that I was approved for food stamps, and that I’ll be getting way more money than I typically spend on groceries. So I guess I’ll be living large. Except that over a week later, my card still hasn’t come in the mail. I keep putting off grocery shopping, because why spend a bunch of money on food when you have a card full of money on the way? Today I finally had to break down and buy a few things so I could make a meal or two. Hopefully before I run out of leftovers my card will come and I can do a real shopping. Fingers crossed.

I spent most of the day this past Sunday watching the new season of Arrested Development, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not as laugh-out-loud funny as previous seasons, but the plot is so dense and everything is so interconnected. It’s probably going to take several re-watches to catch everything, there are just so many little details and references. I was a bit worn out after a nearly all-day marathon, so I spent most of Monday trying to be productive, going on little walks and trying to get fresh air and exercise.

On Wednesday I had not one, but two job interviews. First up was Alan’s Pawn – they’re looking for a “musical instrument specialist.” I saw an ad on Craigslist but they never mentioned the business. I sent a resume and a cover letter talking about all of my music experience and knowledge. The interview went pretty well – they seemed to like me and gave me every indication that they plan on hiring me. They had me do a criminal background check and a drug test, and said that when the results are in we can go from there. It will be about 42-45 hours a week, with Sunday counting as an overtime day. They asked what my minimum salary expectation would be, and I said I could probably be comfortable with $9 an hour. They told me they would be able to beat that, and after the drug test and background check they would be able to make me an exact offer. After 90 days I would be eligible for commission on any sales, so that plus 5-10 hours of time-and-a-half would mean a pretty sweet paycheck. It’s not exactly my ideal job, but I have enough knowledge of musical instruments to sell them, and for that kind of money I can’t really refuse.

My other interview was at Pet Supermarket. It’s the kind of job that could help me in the long run with becoming a veterinary assistant, because it would give me more experience with and working knowledge of things like pet foods, medicines, and basic pet care. But on the other hand, it’s your basic shitty retail job. Chances are it wouldn’t pay much above minimum, and there probably wouldn’t be any incentive to advance. The final part of the interview was one of those self evaluations, which I never seem to do very well on, so chances are they won’t offer me a job anyway. But at least I know that all of my applying and dropping off resumes hasn’t been in vain.

So basically now I just wait to hear back from Alan’s and hope this is a move that pays off. In the meantime, I signed up to volunteer at the Humane Society. I have my volunteer orientation this Saturday. Also on Saturday is an opening at Zapow. Even though I don’t have any pieces for the show, it would be the first opening that I can attend as a member artist, so I’ll definitely go. I’m also just about finished with my online class – one lesson and the final exam left. I’ve been kinda procrastinating, but I have nothing at all to do tomorrow so I’ll probably finish it up then. And that’s basically what’s going on in the life of me. The End.