Yes, I Work in a Supermarket
I had to think twice about writing this post. Well, for a number of reasons really. Of all the things I get asked when fans, readers and reviewers question me is: Does Writing Pay Well? If all us indie authors got a pound for every time we get asked that question (or something similar along those lines) we would be rich. Writing does not pay well. And by this I mean in monetary value, and excluding the huge famous authors like Terry Pratchett, Stephen King and JK Rowling – who incidentally get paid huge advances.
But how do you pay the bills? I get asked next. By working a normal job, of course. And for me, that means, stacking shelves at a supermarket. It was a job I fell into when I left Sixth Form – you know, the kind of job you always say it’ll only be temporary until you find something else, but that’s never how it works out. You know what I mean, don’t you? I’ve been working at this job for nearly ten years now – and let’s just say – it pays the bills.
And that’s when the funny looks come. The dirty, I’m-going-to-look-down-my-nose-at-you kind of looks. What is it with British culture that makes people think they are better than others simply because people work in a supermarket? I’m always polite and carefully attempt to move the conversation on – but inside I’m seething. People are not better than me because I simply stack a shelf. They may earn more than me, do more important work than me, hell, even get a lot more enjoyment from their job, but that doesn’t mean they are better than me as a human being.
It gets me down.
It’s difficult. I live in a moderate English town than is steadily building. In days gone past, Gainsborough was an industrial town – lots of factories alongside the River Trent, among others. But as industry fell into decline, so did the town and employment is difficult. Now, apart from super specialist jobs like solicitors, nurses, electricians and plumbers – that sort of thing – there isn’t much scope for jobs. Retail, cleaners and care workers just about sums it up. If I want a more respectable job lets say, I would need to commute. But wages aren’t great and I would need to take travel into account. I’m sure a lot of people who read this may be in exactly the same position.
I know what some of you are thinking. Why I am I justifying myself for working in a supermarket? Does that mean I think it so abhorrent I cannot bare to admit it?
Well sometimes, yes. But what’s my point?
The next time you go and do your shopping, please have a little respect for those that allow you to buy your shopping and groceries. We aren’t thick, stupid, underachievers who don’t have dreams and still live at home with Mummy and Daddy.
Yes, I’m a writer, a published author, but I’m also a general assistant at a supermarket. If any of you have read my books, would you say that I’ve taken something away from them now that I’ve admitted to the whole world what my day job is? (well night job if I’m being technical as I work during the night.)
Life’s hard, for want of a more expletive word, and unfortunately, money does make the world go round. And while my royalty rates aren’t great and five figure, I need to find some way of paying my rent etc.
Here’s an official shout out to all the lowly shelf stackers of the world who have aspirations and dreams, but unfortuantly, at this current moment, cannot fulfill them. Keep going, guys – you are doing great!