Nine to Five by Brendan Lempe ’18

Eight hours left

I walk through the doors and I’m greeted by the familiar smell of dust

As per usual it is far too loud, far too cold, and far too many people

Looking at my surroundings I can feel my eyes droop and my patience become nonexistent


Seven hours left

Twenty-four people have asked me how to use a gift card

Nineteen people told me they’ve forgotten their pin

And at least four people have told me that it’s my job to know where a product we don’t sell is located


Six hours left

A mother has left her crying child sitting in a cart, so that she can go to the bathroom

My manager is nowhere to be found

I am now the child’s temporary guardian


Five hours left

The same fourteen-year-olds keep calling the store

They ask “is this Walmart?” and I say no

They always laugh before they hang up


Four hours left

I go to buy a pizza to eat during my break

As I reach out to grab the last one a customer pushes me out of the way and takes the pizza

The next one will be ready half an hour after my break ends


Three hours left

A woman hands me a coupon

I scan it and inform her that the coupon expired last year

She now wants to talk to the manager.


Two hours left

My co-workers have been picked off one by one

Tears fill our eyes as we watch the carts filled with goods approach

Danny didn’t make it


One hour left

The once vibrant store is now silent

I play with the Bop-it that is always abandoned at checkout

And watch that weird guy who showed up three hours ago pick out clothes and put them back in the wrong spot


Zero hours left

Walking through the dark parking lot I look back at my prison

The neon Target symbol looks like an eye always watching me

I pick up the pace even though I know it’s no use

I have another shift tomorrow