where the writers are
The Kroger Chronicles, No. 7: The Juggernaut approacheth
A riot, a real riot.

Health insurance at Kroger for part-time workers unfolds thusly: Work fewer than 40 minimum-wage hours but at least 34, whenever the manager assigns the shift, and it’s six months to be eligible. Work fewer than 34 hours a week – to build in flexibility for that second part-time job to make rent – and it’s 15 months. But The Little Clinic gives employees 10 percent off for flu shots and kids’ physicals for summer camp or sports.

Merrily, 40 hours are on the slate for this week and next for You Know What. Amanda has drafted two more cashiers and an assistant manager to help on the magic day. I nattered on excitedly yesterday about witnessing the sociological experiment of the floral department Feb. 14, and Amanda looked at me sidelong, head at an angle: “This will be the most interesting experience of your life.”

All of the rose bouquets that came in on Sunday’s truck bear the tidings of the holiday markup, from the usual $9.99 to $19.99, which is actually still a good deal for roses. But today, a regular customer, generally a jolly sort who buys roses for his wife, came to the department checkstand with a look of wounded shock. “Wha— happen—?” I could but stare at my shoes in shame.

Another customer later snorted at the creeping hearts and flowers because he knew all about women, dated about a million of ‘em. “You may think I’m exaggerating, but I am not. I’ll tell you why. I owned a business for years over in Landen where I got to know a lot of women, that, well, how shall I call it? Let’s just call it a dancin’ establishment.”

Everyone, including the store managers and Chef Kelley, are wearing the blue “SO GLAD” T-shirts, tied by their 100 percent cotton threads to this bustin’ customer-service campaign to emphasize rock-bottom low prices. Perhaps Beyonce could make these shirts look good. On everyone else, it imposes a vaguely North Korean sameness. One of the cheese ladies noted, “It’s actually Walmart blue.”



3 Comment count
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Lightning Bolt...

Oh, I thought Kroger's WAS Wal-Mart.  Huh.  I'll be damned.

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A good point

Thank you for commenting. That is, to me, part of what's interesting about this experience -- the uniformity of the work, besides the uniformity of dress.



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Check Out

Sometimes I almost expect the cashier at the Kroger-Mart, once my final item has been scanned, to ask if I want fries with that.