Open Availability

Posted on 04/23/2018 in misc

Help Wanted sign

The WaWa near me has had a "help wanted" sign on the door pretty much since the day we moved to Richmond back in November. The job pays $10+ and hour, all shifts available. No more than 29 hours a week though, because, benefits. . . . .

Open availability only.

If you are not up on current job lingo, open availability means exactly what you are thinking it means. Even though WaWa is promising you'll never get more than 29 hours in a week, you can't have another job because you never know when they will need you to work. It's "open."

It's also bullshit.

They expect people to work for about $300 a week, with absolutely no ability to have another job to supplement the WaWa income. Who can afford to live on $300 a week? High school students can't work there because they are not available during school hours. Same thing with college kids. I guess people trying to get an education and better themselves are not the kind of people WaWa wants working for them. Anybody who actually needs a job to pay the bills probably can't pay those bills on $300 a week so they aren't going to be excited about the WaWa opportunity. What does that leave? Retirees and people with a partner who can mostly pay the bills on their own. Anybody else?

Is it a surprise that WaWa is perpetually short on help?

I'm not picking on Wawa here, This is SOP for pretty much all retail companies. They all use algorithms to predict labor requirements to provide the bare minimum of service necessary to keep the store functioning. Since they never know what the computer will spit out for labor needs, they keep everybody on call, more or less, without actually paying them to be on call.

I'm thankful I don't have to work retail, but I feel bad for the people that do. It was probably never a particularly fun career path, but many, many people of my generation worked some retail on the side to supplement their day job, especially when they were just starting out. I delivered pizzas for that, but I wouldn't be surprised if Papa John's expects open availability these days too. People are no longer an asset for these companies, they are a commodity to be acquired and used at the lowest possible cost, at least until they are all replaced by robots.

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