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Wide White: Shopko, Rhinelander, WI

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shopko, Rhinelander, WI

This is part 2 of my summer job series. Click the following links for part 1, 3, 4, or 5.

My 2nd job was at a Wisconsin-based retail store called Shopko. The starting salary of $6.25 an hour was a $0.50 raise from my previous job.

I started out as a cashier since that's what I'd done at the grocery store. I was training another new employee a week after I started. Within 2-3 months my boss recognized that I was bored and moved me to stocking shelves. I spent most of my time stocking new shipments, unloading trucks, backstocking merchandise that didn't fit on the floor, and restocking the floor.

I remember them training me for a few months to take on a role of a full-time employee who would be going on vacation. Right when her vacation came up my little brother's Little League baseball team made the state tournament and my dad was pretty insistent that I go with the family. I was sure I'd lose my job for it, but as mad as my boss was, I lived to see another day at the store...

A year or so in I got a new boss, Tom. We never got along very well. I didn't like him and he didn't like me. He gave me a written warning once because he claimed that I put the price stickers in the wrong spot in the lamp aisle. He tried to deflect responsibility and say the store manager was really particular about the lamp aisle and it was him who really had the beef with me, but the store manager never said a thing about it. I argued my point with Tom since I thought he was crazy and only signed his written warning when he assured me it only meant I'd read it, not that I agreed with it.

Our security guy would occasionally ask us for backup. One time, 5 or 6 of us were called off from unloading a truck to come up to the security room and help with a bust. We watched the security cameras as a group of 3 people in their 20s with a baby in a car seat stuffed CDs into a diaper bag and the car seat. We were then stationed near the entrance of the store to help in case they tried to run for it when they left. Thankfully they didn't.

That same security guy was later fired when he used a key to get into an employee's locker, take her car keys, and prank her. I think he pulled her car up to the emergency parking area and left it there.

The music selection in Shopko was awful. To this day I refer to songs on their playlist as the "Shopko Classics." It wasn't uncommon to hear the same song twice in a shift, which got pretty old after a few years of working 5 days a week.

By the time I left I'd worked in every department except Optical. I helped out in the pharmacy a few times, lawn & garden in the spring and summer, and pulled the night shift during a couple of winter breaks in college. When I left I was making something like $7.15 an hour, not much, but enough to pay for my first year and a half of college.

I think everyone should work retail at some point in their life. It gives you a whole new appreciation for people, both customers and employees...

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