Well my job wasn’t in El Segundo, but in Manhattan.  And it wasn’t even a good job by any type of definition.  Eight dollars an hour for 36 hours a week should be a full-time summer job for a high school student, not a seasonal part-time gig for a grown man.  I took the job for some temporary extra cash while waiting to start another job while still looking for another.  Walk car rental customers out from the office to their cars, check in returning renters, and occasionally help the garage guys prep a car for rental (i.e. clean cup-holders, a quickie vac, etc).  I figured at the time I was hired I’d only have to work a week max.

But then the other job I was supposed to start hit a snag (or more accurately, someone was dragging their ass to get things ready), so one week became two.  The job duties to start weren’t half bad, except having to deal with the fact that the garage and the rental office were two different entities, which meant the garage had their own agenda and customers to deal with.  Naturally, this did not always coincide with the customer service needs of the rental office – garage guys can maneuver the hell out of a whip in tight spaces, but timely and professional customer service with a smile?  Not so much.

Along the lines of the garage having their own agenda, there was a major rift in what they considered to be a clean car and the level of cleanliness the rental office aimed for.  This resulted in me getting into a major spat with the garage manager because they refused to re-vacuum a car that really needed it – did I mention this particular garage was on the Upper East Side with many local area customers?  Starting to understand the level of difficulty here?  Good.

So the area manager decided that since that location wasn’t very conducive to having a Greeter, I was to be relocated to a garage in Midtown.  The crew overall was nicer, there were dedicated spaces just for the rental cars (the “ready line”) and the layout of the garage would allow me to help more with the cars…  which turned into me helping more with washing the cars… which evolved to me washing the majority of the cars because the garage’s regular car wash guy – who was somewhat of an imbecile – would disappear for stretches of time.  Couple this with the branch manager’s disdain for relying on the garage’s staff, and I became the main point man for getting the rental cars ready.  Remember, I was only supposed to lend a hand, not be the main hand.  As my boy put it, “They had you being the field nigga and the house nigga at the same time”.

I thought to myself that if I worked to keep three to four cars clean and on standby to immediately replace the cars rented out that I would be doing everyone a favor.  I even offered the rental office staff my cell number to text me when there was a car they were about to rent, since the wash area was in the basement.  Of course no one did this, and half the time the cars they decided to rent were not on the ready line or even of the cars I had cleaned on standby.  Frustration level ticking upward.

Thankfully, by this time I had already begun the other job (which was supposed to had been ready in late May, but I digress).  Between the two jobs I was working seven days a week, and why bust my ass for eight dollars an hour when I can spend more time at the other job which paid more.  I began negotiating with the area manager for a reduced schedule, in which his initial offers were only five hours less than what I was already working.  I knew there was a decent chance that this wouldn’t work out, and being that I was over a month into this job, I wouldn’t be all that bent if I had to give my two-week notice.

But then today happened.

A female rental agent apparently was under the impression that having the cars clean and ready was solely my responsibility.  Personally I didn’t care for her because she, being born and raised in Brazil, believed that Americans have nothing to complain about – I guess she’s never heard of racism or anything like that.  At any rate, there was a customer whom I was told  was vividly unsatisfied because they felt their car wasn’t clean although I saw two of the garage’s men clean it.  I was preoccupied with moving another vehicle, so I did not handle that particular customer.  Since I had nothing to do with that customer or their car, I told the agent that she should take up the issue with whomever handled that customer and that car.   She then insisted that if the car was cleaned beforehand (read: I should’ve cleaned that car beforehand) then the problem would have been avoided.  Again, I’m just supposed to lend a hand in cleaning that cars, not be in charge of anything or anyone.  I’m not the only one cleaning cars nor supposed to be, so why blame me?

By this time it was lunch break, and I was fed up.  I called the area manager, informed him about the beef, and told him that this job will no longer work out for me.  I offered to finish my shift, but he let me leave during lunchtime.

I think my extra effort to clean the cars beforehand might’ve spoiled the agent’s thinking to the extent she thought I should’ve been washing ALL the cars.  Regardless, it was way, way too much work and bullshit for only eight bucks an hour.  And it was the first company I ever worked for that did not consider 36 hours a week full-time.  What’s more, is that I’m probably older than all the managers they have there, and unfortunately, when you see young managers in salaried positions these days, it means their companies are using them up like batteries and taking advantage of what amounts to relatively cheap labor.  I hate seeing young adults being taken advantage of today’s corporate world, but they won’t be fucking me over – least not this company.

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