We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him.
The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.
“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.”
The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked.
“So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.”
The doctor and nurse were professional and kind, and it was clear that they understood our sorrow. They too apologized for what they had to do next. For the third time that day, I exposed my stomach to an ultrasound machine, and we saw images of our sick child forming in blurred outlines on the screen.
“I’m so sorry that I have to do this,” the doctor told us, “but if I don’t, I can lose my license.” Before he could even start to describe our baby, I began to sob until I could barely breathe. Somewhere, a nurse cranked up the volume on a radio, allowing the inane pronouncements of a DJ to dull the doctor’s voice. Still, despite the noise, I heard him. His unwelcome words echoed off sterile walls while I, trapped on a bed, my feet in stirrups, twisted away from his voice.
Most Chicagoans share my experience. They have random people they love that are permanent fixtures but only come into contact in passing. People like Pizza Johnny at Village Pizza or the guy that plays the accordion downtown. Hi Guy. Muffin Lady. Tamale Guy. The guy preaching in front of…
First off, I was never interviewed for the position I was hired for. I had interviewed with AA twice before, in 2008 and 2009, but didn’t get hired. In March 2010, my friend referred me and told me to drop off my resume at the store. I remember prepping myself to answer any interview questions on the spot but apparently I didn’t need to. A few days after, I was told to meet up with a hiring manager at another location. She took my pictures and then a few days later I was ready for paperwork. I remember being sketched out about not being interviewed at all, but then again I was desperate for employment so I didn’t question it. I learned very quickly that this was common protocol for the company. To this very day, the manager I worked with at the Washington store does not really interview people. She just takes their pictures, scans their resumes, and sends them to district management for “approval.” By the way, AA just came out with an Interview Guidelines .pdf for managers, maybe about two months ago. So I’m not even sure how interviews were being conducted or monitored before that, or if they were even mandatory outside of open calls…which by the way, I think they should be, considering they are notorious for hiring some pretty fucking incapable people.
Speaking of the manager at Washington, she is one of the main reasons I quit. It’s a shame because we were friends at one point, but whatever, I’m over it. Anyway, here’s why she sucks at her job:
Rampant favoritism and childish passive aggression. She openly talks about who she wants to promote/demote/release but NEVER to the person in question. She keeps them in the fucking dark until another employee tells that person about it. She mentions her favorites in MEETINGS. How is that supposed to create a successful work environment if you’re pitting everybody up against each other?
BITCH IS RACIST. I rarely even use the term bitch but this girl warrants name-calling. At store meetings she openly has said things along the lines of “We all know it, black people steal.” And one time a black couple tried opening our store doors before we were open and she muttered “Fucking ni**ers.” She also thinks “Asians are aliens” because of the shape of their eyes, and “how smart they are, it’s unnatural and weird.” What a goddamn idiot.
She sat on her ass all day reading and responding to emails/cleaning the backstock instead of working on the sales floor. She NEVER confronted customers because she’d tell key holders “that they’re managers too” aka she’d ignore her duties as a manager. And since when does it take 8 hours to make a schedule for a staff of 20 people, almost all of whom have open availability?
She barely understood any of the emails from corporate. When I was assistant manager I felt like I was teaching a sixth grader how to read, I literally had to assist her. She could never make phone calls because she was “too scared.” There was one point where she would text prospective employees asking them to come in for new hire paperwork. I don’t know about you, but that is some unprofessional-ass shit.
Almost every email she’s sent is full of erratic capitalization, big bold red letters, a scary amount of unnecessary exclamation points, random underlining, etc. They are rarely encouraging and mostly about what everyone is doing wrong. What a great store environment to be working for amirite???
She never closes or works weekends, but she is a manager. She has gotten away with never working on notoriously busy weekends like Memorial Day Weekend and Ultra Weekend. Then she’d complain every Monday morning about how the store looked like shit even though she would never be there to experience the weekend madness.
She complains about how much she hates her job, but is completely devoted to just sitting in that office chair. She is too scared to quit and get a job anywhere else because she “doesn’t know how to do an interview.” Those are her own words……..I am not joking.
One summer they sent this super sleazy dude from corporate to ~*~*reinvent~*~ one of the stores I worked at and apparently a bunch of my coworkers saw him chilling outside the store trying to scout for sales associates, but he was only asking girls in really revealing outfits (the store was right on Ocean Drive in South Beach so there were girls waking around in just swimsuits/bodycon dresses).
Lack of communication at every goddamn level.
Lack of recognition for hard work (not just mine, a lot of peope’s efforts go unnoticed, which always drives them to quit so there’s constantly new staff/people that need to be trained) etc. etc.
Shady shit: AA stopped paying people with paychecks and now use ADP paycards, which are basically debit cards that have no particular bank assigned to them. You have to go to the ADP website to find fee-free ATMs for the cards. AA also stopped their bonuses program for employees who beat their weekly sales goals. They now reward staff for beating the store monthly goal, get this, not with a bonus on their paychecks, but in the form of free clothes…how completely and utterly useless.
More shady shit: Staff were always complaining about how corporate would fuck up their paychecks, especially when it came to overtime. I recall sending about 10 emails to corporate, on separate occasions, about requesting retrograde pay for a bunch of my employees because they skimped on their checks.
AND EVEN MORE SHADY SHIT!!!! They just came out with a Human Resources hotline…in 2012. They have been operating stores since 2003. A bit behind the times, no? Every legitimate company has an HR hotline.
I could go on, honestly. But I’m too tired and annoyed and this subject is tiring/boring to me now so if you have any specific questions, message me, but I can’t promise that I’ll answer it.
just a peek into the shady world of retail, if anyone’s curious. i wish there were more companies in the US with ethically-made clothes so i could support companies who also have ethics when it comes to their store employees (and who’s CEO isn’t a pervert)
“Yesterday at 3 p.m., just outside San Diego, a family of Iraqi immigrants ended the life support that had been keeping their mother, 32-year-old Shaima Alawadi, alive since Wednesday, when she was found beaten bloody in the dining room of her El Cajon home, with the house’s glass door smashed apart. She’d been repeatedly hit in the head with a tire iron, her 17-year-old daughter told local news sources, and next to her body a note was found: “Go back to your own country.”—
ps one of my friends got jizzed on by a stranger on the metro today so if anyone wants to tell me that women don’t have to live in constant fear of being harassed please step up and i will gladly put my elbow in your eye/balls