Written by Jasey “Bring Out the Guillotines” Roberts
For those that don’t know, when I’m not disappointing my parents, I am usually working in a chain grocery store called Food Lion. I got hired at this place at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, right when they were at their most desperate. I was seated across from a man who would soon become my boss (let’s call him Slobber), and during the interview, I went on and on about how much experience I had in the retail industry. I’d held down a job for seven months at Wal-Mart, and when I was working there, I’d made $11 an hour.
Slobber turned flush. “Well, um. Actually. The most you’re going to make in a place like this is $9.50. That is the best that I can do.”
And here’s where I’m thinking, “This guy is trying to shortchange me. $9.50?” But I hate job hunting, so I signed on anyway. In the intervening months of shucking groceries and having the PLU codes for every major produce item laser-burned into my memory forever, I began to notice a pattern. Whenever I brought up my wages to my fellow blue-shirted clinically depressed food lions, people seemed to get pissed off. There was a man who worked up front who had been working there for going on five years and he made the same amount of money that I did. $9.50 was the max. By Food Lion standards, Slobber really did come through!
Now the VA minimum wage is going up to $9.50 exactly. Slobber texted me last week, framing it as if the company was being gracious: “Just wanted to let you know- Food Lion’s giving everyone a raise to $9.50!”
“Oh gosh, really? But I already make exactly that.”
Slobber texted back, soberly: “I do not know what your raise will be then.”
It hit my bank account last Wednesday: a whole six dollars on my paycheck more than what it had been before! Thank you, Food Lion! Thank you, Slobber! Good truly prevails! I will use this additional six dollars to buy a salad with dressing for my next 10-min lunch break.