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So they call these devil-worshipping, mindless, seemingly needless overnight events “floorsets.” Floorsets feel like they should be illegal but they’re not; people work in 24-hour restaurants, the MTA does the majority of its construction at night and on the weekends. Why can’t a serious, career-oriented industry like retail–the leftover of industries, the jobs so available that people with master’s degrees can flock to them to get harassed and insulted by teens without a high school diploma–lay claim to every waking hour of your life? They gave you sweet benefits like a 30% discount on stuff neither you nor anyone in your family wears and one of the least impressive 401ks in the history of 401ks.

I guess my greatest issue with floorsets is that if they’re so important why are there like ten people fixing an entire store? In a time where every manager says, “Yes, we’re hiring” and we’re theoretically expanding, why wouldn’t we bum rush the show with like 30 people and get it done in three or four hours instead of eight? On top of that, why do the people scheduled for eight hours get to leave while everyone else has to stay? I finished my projects in around seven hours, but one of my coworkers’ projects was yet to be finished when I was done, so I started helping out.

Not to digress, but these floorsets are generally the most aggravating parts of an aggravating industry: heavy labor and misdirection compounded by the fact that it’s all being done when any normal person would be asleep or on some sort of self-induced and assuredly awesome drug binge. The best way to cap off your MLKJr Day? Trying to figure out what the fuck corporate was thinking when they mailed you these misguided, mismatched diagrams; not only do they not have the same amount of shelving units, but they also don’t have the same products on one diagram as we do on our shelves. So you waste like an hour matching up diagrams and creating something that kinda looks like your smattering of schematics while trying to move as little product as possible because it all weighs so much. Of course, the best part is thinking back to the last floorset and remembering that the products that are getting moved are getting moved back to where they used to be.

Say you’ve been working for nine hours, just lifting boxes and solving puzzles that aren’t even fun. The last thing you want to hear is that you can’t–and this will come as a shock, knowing that I’m a heterosexual male–tie a bow correctly. So you learn how corporate wants bows tied. You do that. But you keep finding other things that need to be moved, products in understock, products from the backroom and all you wanted was some help from that guy who left three hours ago. I presume his bow-tying skills must have been so sub-par that he could neither be taught nor tolerated.

Then you find out the other guys who came in this morning  (your night?) stacked all the storage bins on top of each other, just four solid stacks all standing upright, on one handtruck. For some reason, they were surprised when it all fell over in the middle of the street. So you tell them it would have made more sense to use short stacks laid horizontally on top of each other instead, but in your panic you just stack it back the same way because it snowed earlier then started–and is still–raining. Your gloves are done because some of these bins are at least three inches deep in slush and you still have to go about a quarter of a mile to get to the storage unit, holding the bins so they don’t fall the whole way. Anything to get out of this weather and these hallucinations. There’s even more than one handtruck and you stand shin-deep in water in order to make sure each one gets over curbs.

Back in the store, someone from corporate is there and thinks you look terrible like all wet like that. What happened? You have no words and the rumblings of a cough deep in your chest. Wrench your socks over the men’s bathroom toilet–totally worth it, good going. You tie another gay bow and, since none of the seven or eight managers will respond when you ask, “Do you need help with anything?” leave. Try to find breakfast at three different fast food joints because, wait what time is it? Stop lying, new hippo friend.

Warm up a little on the subway and then freeze to death on the walk back to the apartment as the wind picks up and permeates your lovely soaking pants and shoes. Walk into your building about 14 hours after you left it, just a little after noon. Discover a diminutive mail lady filling the boxes, ponder how to get your mail and start reaching in for the kill. Your hand gets smacked away as if you had been a third grader reaching for the class bunny during petting time and receive an awesome scolding to the tune of, “No. You have to wait until I’m done.” Because it is your burning desire, your sole reason for being, to read someone else’s Valpak. Without hesitation, walk away, consider burning your work clothes and sleep until midnight.

Wonder how the hell you’re supposed to get to work 10 hours after you woke up, try to go back to sleep, end up sleeping for an hour and a half, return to the promised land. That night, sleep for another 15 hours and nurse your magnificent cough and college degree.

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