Not Prime Time

Alternatively: Amazon Is Guilty Of Many Things, But Your Bad Shopping Habits Aren’t One Of Them.

However, I felt that was too long for the title box.

I recently purchased Amazon Prime, though for half of the discounted monthly price instead of the regular price. For whatever reason, they gave me an offer to extend the trial, so I’m currently getting two free months of Amazon Prime. The only benefits I really care for are the fast shipping and the discounts. Yes, I know you get free shipping if you spend over twenty-five dollars, but I said fast, not free. Not that I’d subscribe to Prime if I had to still pay for shipping.

Anyway, I searched for some reviews on Prime. The general opinion is it’s worth it if you shop on Amazon a lot, you live in a rural area, or you have a child. Of course, some people think Prime is trash, and that’s a valid opinion too. Online shopping is a luxury, after all.

But among the bad reviews, something I couldn’t help noticing is a lot of people claimed they saved more money after cancelling their Prime subscription because they didn’t shop as much for items they don’t need.

Amazon is no saint – big duh – but if you were needlessly buying items you didn’t need solely to make use of Prime, that’s not their fault.

Amazon does the same of any company that offers paid subscriptions. Yes, they make it easy to shop (ex: one-click button), but the same can be said about any store. I used to be a cashier, and I lost count of how many times a customer with an overloaded cart told me they came in for only one item. There’s no difference between doing that with Amazon and any other store, physical or virtual. We put extra stuff in the waiting aisle because we want you to buy more.

Yes, it makes it easier, but ultimately, it comes down to self-control and that’s never on the store. I’m not sitting on a high horse. I’m guilty of buying more than I came in for. I didn’t become a big shopper until I started working in retail, and I really just wanted to use my employee discount. But that’s still my fault, not my job’s. They’re not responsible for my shopping habits.

Now, yes, it makes sense to avoid something that makes you feel an unnecessary urgent need. I’d say cancelling Prime or avoiding a certain store is exercising self-control… if you can admit you were the cause. If someone blames their habits on Amazon, or any other store, they’ll merely take those habits elsewhere after cancelling Prime.

As for myself, I’ve had Prime for seven days and haven’t made a purchase since, despite wanting to. I haven’t seen anything I care to buy. I was interested in Amazon Fresh, but that’s an additional $14.99 per month, and shipping still costs a fee, so screw that. I doubt I’ll keep Prime for a year, but it’s going to prove useful for Halloween. Yes, I still wear costumes. No better candy than free candy!

Edit: Amazon Fresh is now free for Prime members and Prime Video has the entire Pokemon series, so I will be keeping that membership, and switching to a yearly subscription when I can afford to do so.

Setting The Bar Low

I don’t like to bring up social issues on this blog. There’s probably something that makes this seem like a lie, but I genuinely don’t. However, this is one I couldn’t ignore.

I’d rather not get into the details, but two days ago, I got a huge reminder of how fortunate I am to have my boyfriend. I say that in spite of the arguments and near breakups we’ve had, and I mean it. I’ve read a lot how men are praised for doing the bare minimum, especially when it comes to caring for their children, and I agree it’s ridiculous if that’s the case. At the same time, when you’ve never gotten even that, the bare minimum can seem like the peak of the mountain.

A friend of mine is in a very rough spot right now. She’s staying with friends and relatives, alternating between houses. She had to argue with her boyfriend just to get his attention and check in with him if he’s home or not, despite he knew she had to go out. From her frustration and arguing, it was obvious this happened a lot. He apparently has a habit of ignoring her just to rile her up (if she’s not exaggerating). Even when she finally got a hold of him, they continued arguing. All because she wanted to know if he was home or not so he could possibly let her in.

My boyfriend came with me when I needed a root canal for no other reason than I asked and was anxious. He asked the dentist if he could hold my hand. He couldn’t (dentist said certain things splatter), but he was allowed to stay in the room, so he did. Note my boyfriend lives thirty miles away, so this is going out of his way. He still did it, and arranged his work schedule to allow him the time for it.

That specific example may not be the bare minimum, but caring for your partner’s well-being is. January 2020 will mark five years since we met (June 2020 will be five years of being a couple), so any honeymoon phase ended long ago.

I hear of relationship struggles like my friend’s all the time. In general, it’s a running joke a woman’s first child is her husband and it’s so odd to me because that doesn’t describe my boyfriend at all. Contrarily, as an example, we argue (playfully) about who does domestic chores better and he insists on doing certain ones because “I don’t do it right”. Yet for some women, their boyfriend or husband washing a single dish would be a small victory.

I know being over the moon for doing what anyone who shares a household or a relationship should do is setting the bar low (note: I’m talking heaps of praise, not simple appreciation and a thank you), and my boyfriend agrees, but it’s hard not to feel I lucked out when I grew up with and continue to be surrounded by relationships where it’s an endless battle solely to get a helping hand. When my friend was arguing with her boyfriend on the phone to know if he’s home, my mind couldn’t stop drifting to my boyfriend, who’d wait at home all day until I came back if he knew I couldn’t get in without him (or give me the key, which is more sensible).

I feel writing this post is mocking people who have these struggles in their relationships, and that is not my intent. Rather, it’s bewildering to me this is so common, getting the bare minimum feels like winning a battle. I’m describing an observation, not trying to belittle others, and a very confusing one at that.

What the heck is this year?!

If any year has taught me you can’t plan for the future, it’s this one.

Way back in January, I envisioned myself graduating trade school and working a nice IT job with more pay than my retail job and weekends off. Reality could not be more different.

Here it is, September, and I work in a warehouse (not complaining, merely stating) that pays better than the IT jobs I had, I have my license, I have a car, and I’m on-call for retail. Summer, which is usually my second favorite season (favorite is spring because my birthday is in April), was an absolute nightmare. My retail job is falling further and further down the gutter, and I’m holding down the job that takes the most effort instead of the ones that take the least.

WTF is this year?! I’m certainly not unhappy, but I’m at a loss for words to describe this year. What I particularly can’t get over is the biggest thing I pursued (school) made no difference in my life, but the smallest thing that was an afterthought (getting my license) has, and the price was arguably as big (my credit is utterly destroyed). I’m almost scared of what could come in the next three months because I feel like for things to be going this well, something horrible must be around the corner, and I know it’ll blindside me. That fear has yet to be proven wrong, so I am staying on my toes.

Goodbye, Mi Amiga

Yesterday, my favorite manager – and my friend – told me this would be her final week.

I knew she would quit eventually because she previously mentioned her intentions to return to school. But to my surprise, that’s not why she’s quitting. Her reason is one that surprised me.

She’s tired of the store manager.

The surprise isn’t so much the reason itself as it is being the one she’s leaving. She is genuinely one of the kindest and most cheerful souls I’ve met in my life, and she’s the last person to complain about anything. Even when she does complain, she smiles through it, like she’s trying to brush it off. I knew of her frustrations, but I didn’t know she felt that badly.

I admitted to her I considered returning to being part-time for the seasonal period and she vehemently advised me to remain on-call and ask periodically if I need more work. She worked at this store for four years – since the day it opened – and it was her first job while the manager that eventually pushed her over the edge has been there for less than a year. Were there ever a clear example for the expression of people quitting bosses instead of jobs, this would be it.

I wished her well in life, and I know wherever her next job is, she will be excellent, and hopefully, with better management. While I am sad about her leaving, she unintentionally taught me a lesson in telling me so: never waste your time.

Most people cannot quit without a back-up plan, including myself, and after my experiences this past summer, I’ve been working three jobs out of fear of being fired. However, one has been nothing but trouble since the start due to payroll (they still haven’t paid me for the first day I worked, despite I brought it to their attention no less than four times and was told the problem was fixed, and it’s possible they no longer have the record of the day), lack of breaks during shifts as long as nearly twelve hours, smoking, and ultimately being stranded due to the travel required. I’m not the only one with those struggles at the job. The long-term employees have also expressed them.

The other job is my retail job, which I’ve wanted to quit for over a year due to the store essentially being a sinking ship and paying the least of any job I’ve had, but kept because I have history there, they’ve never screwed up my paycheck, and I genuinely love my co-workers.

The problem is juggling three jobs makes it hard to commit to the one I care about most. However, I’ve been at that job for only 39 days, which is not long enough to fully commit to it and quit the other jobs. While I have no reason to believe I’ll be fired, I thought the same with the two jobs I had in June, and that obviously turned out poorly (one involved a manager attempting to intimidate me due to being nearly twice my size and required getting a police officer involved to retrieve my stuff; the other dismissed me for not being social enough and worrying more about learning the job properly; my school faulted me for both, and I’ve since disassociated with them as a result). I’m too afraid to risk having a false of security again, and want to stick with the newer jobs for at least a year. But I also do not want to waste my time like my friend feels she wasted hers (“four years down the drain”), nor do I want to burn the history I have with my retail job. Even she advised me to always have a back-up plan.

Granted, the job I want to commit to is nothing like the jobs I was fired from, namely in that you get fired if you don’t do your job and you don’t spend the majority of your shift (think seven out of nine hours) doing literally nothing while being expected to pretend you have work to do. However, I feel that’s not sufficient reason to believe I’m safe. For all I know, they could decide they dislike how I style my hair and fire me for that (yes, people do get fired solely because a boss dislikes a trait or feature about them; US laws do not protect against that if it isn’t a protected class and most states are at-will, so employees can be fired at any time for any reason that isn’t illegal in written law; it’s one of the reasons I never want to join management, no matter how long I work somewhere, as that’s a level of coldness that’d keep me awake at night).

I don’t know where my friend will go. I don’t know where I will go. But wherever we do go, I hope there’s a bright future for both of us in the places we want to be in our lives.

“People leave managers, not companies” – Marcus Buckingham