As much as I like my coworkers and making my Dad’s eyes bulge when I talk about what I do for a living at his church functions, all the love between me and the Pleasure Chest is gone.
It all started a couple of months ago when I got in “trouble” for writing this column. It wasn’t my obvious scorn for certain customers that was at issue, as one might expect, but the fact that in one article I made an absent-minded crack about how much I get paid. The big boss got mad because I said I make minimum wage, when in fact I make minimum wage + commission.
Apparently he reads this column, which surprised the hell out of me.
A muddled directive from him trickled down to me, but because it was filtered through three other people, the only clear point I got was that I “wasn’t allowed to write things anymore that made the company look bad.” There were some idle threats thrown around about me getting a written warning if I continued to do so.
At first, I was pretty contrite about it because I don’t like rocking the boat and because I was worried I was going to get my direct supervisor in trouble. But the more I thought about it the angrier I got. Let’s be real. I was just kidding around, but the truth is that even with that piddling commission my pay isn’t even remotely in the ballpark of a living wage. This tax year, I made a third of what I made in the one previous.
Of course, that’s not an issue to be had purely with sex toy stores, it just represents the terrible wage-to-cost of living disparity endemic to New York. If I wasn’t from NYC and if my family wasn’t here, I don’t think I’d have the stamina to make it in this city.
I pretty much ignored the big boss’s threat. What the owner of the Pleasure Chest fails to understand is that writing this column is what I liked most about working for his company.
I’ve been coasting through my shifts on autopilot for the last couple of weeks, doing the bare minimum just so I’d have fodder for this column, but because I’ve long since checked out mentally, it was getting pretty tough to come up with articles that concluded something other than a) there are a lot of maniacs in New York and b) I am snotty when I have to work retail.
Recently, our manager informed us that the company is being restructured and that if we want to stay at the PC we’ll have to reapply for our jobs. The big boss is coming from LA in order to re-interview us, which means that even if I reapplied, I’d probably get kissed on the back of the neck by a guillotine anyway.
As an employee at the Pleasure Chest, I think I provided a good service. I reminded people that there’s nothing shameful or dirty about sex (unless that’s what you’re into and if it, it’s cool), but I was getting pretty tired of having to pretend—to customers, employers and myself—that I found it to be even remotely fulfilling work anymore. I know what I want to do with my life and extolling the merits of a $100 vibrator is not it.
I was recently hired for a new job at an entertainment start-up and it’s been good so far. My boss is a pretty hardcore conspiracy theorist, but I like him and I hope things will go well.
I want to thank Jonny Diamond for giving me the opportunity to write for The L and you for reading.
I guess that’s it. See ya in the funny papers, kids.