Eighteen Hour Day


Slumped against the cold tiles of the public bathroom, feet grieving from the walking and standing demanded of them. Eight hours she had been on her feet, from 6:30am to 11:00 at night, she had no other break. Shuffling out of bed in the morning, and collapsing into it at night. She would drearily get up in the morning just to pass out with the same mentality.

The smile she had forced all day melted as the door closed. She locked it, ensuring she would finally be alone for two minutes. No voices calling for her over the radio or people asking where their theaters were. No one telling her to write three essays in two hours, or giving her laborious math tasks that no one else understood. She was alone, and it was cherished, not even when she lay down at night could she have this luxury anymore. Constant ringing and buzzing of her phone, the hungry stomach making her go out to get food, the bills racking up.

She released a healing sigh, taking comfort in the silence that was the background music as she sat on the floor of the public bathroom. So cold. It rejuvenated the tired soul within her. Closed her eyes for the first time in eight hours. The temptation to fall asleep teased her, however her break was almost over.

Rather than walking out the front door, knocking over tubs of popcorn, and screaming fuck you at the top of her lungs, she washed her hands and turned the radio back on. Deep breath. Dull eyes staring back at her from the mirror, void of recognition. Straight lips that said more than ones which smiled, she turned to clock back on so there would be rent at the end of the month.

The weight of her eyelids grew, tapping the old computer screen to take orders. I can help whoever’s next. Many personalities came and went, some pleasant, others mediocre, but most were insufferably selfish. What can I get for you? Unaware, uncaring, seeking only what would please their hungry, draining personalities. What size? Had they been asked, every one of them would have said they were kind and aware – those who claimed we had no customer service skills should have reconsidered what kind of customer they were. Would you like butter on that? However if you have never worked behind a counter for long periods of time, or if you have never had someone tell you that you need to smile more so you get their tip, or heard a variation of “is her break more important than my service” or “Excuse you, the customer is always right” directed at you, then you cannot understand the anger and the frustration that comes with serving you. Alrighty, are you a rewards member? because it just takes a little bit of experience to comprehend what makes someone rude, and that is not when someone takes a sip of water after helping people during an hour long rush – and it’s not when they don’t hear you the first time. Enjoy your show.

Before you tell me that I have to smile to get a tip out of you, think about how I may not want money from a selfish asshole, because even though I’m broke, money doesn’t have that much power over me. I won’t sacrifice my integrity or honesty to get it, which I would be if I smiled just to get a dollar.

Before you tell me I need to serve you, think about why I might have the job that I do – it isn’t because I have this burning passion to clean up children’s vomit in theaters and carry five dirty wine glasses in one hand. I don’t want to rip your tickets, tell you where you self-explanatory seating is, or get unwanted life lessons from strangers who think they’re wise. I am more than an instrument in the popcorn factory.


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