A Fool And His Money

Chaos in Print

Now that I’m finally getting some money in the bank, I thought I’d head into the city to blow that first paycheck. On my way home, I noticed that I needed some gas for the car. I was passing the Stony Plain Petro Canada, when I saw the great big sign saying “58.9.” I pulled in, and the friendly attendant bounced out of the station. He asked if I wanted it filled, and I said yes. He stuck in the hose, and started filling. It was at this point when I noticed that the price on the gas pump said “62.9.” I asked the attendant “Hey! How come the gas pump says 62.9, but the big sign says 58.9?” The attendant responded “Oh! That’s the self-serve price, and you pulled up to the full serve island.” I grumbled, muttered a few curse words, but what could I do? The tank was already half-full. I walked into the store, where the manager behind the counter turned to me and said “He forgot to tell you, didn’t he? Yeah, he’s supposed to do that before he starts pumping.” Normally, something like this wouldn’t bother me, but given the ordeal I had to go through to get my second paycheck, I was pissed.

“What ordeal?” you may ask. “Don’t you just bag groceries?” To know what’s going on, you have to flash back a week to what should have been my payday. My employers have me on a direct deposit system, meaning that my paycheck is automatically deposited into my bank account on payday. With the second paycheck coming, the direct deposit should be working for me. So, bright and early on payday, before I went off to work, I dropped by the ATM to see if my check had been deposited. I checked my account to see that I had been paid the grand total of…$35. I found this odd. For my second pay period, I was overworked, and had put in 50.5 hours. At $6.25/h, that meant I should have been paid at least $315.63. But no, just $35. This troubled me. I thought it best to wait until I get to work. Perhaps my pay stub would hold the answers. Maybe I just had to pay the mother of all EI deductions.

So, off to work. After a few hours of bagging the groceries, things slowed down for a few moments. My boss took advantage of this slow spot to hand out the pay stubs. I tore mine open to find that I had been paid the grand total of…$35. I was even more troubled now. When my break came, I sat down and analyzed my pay stub bit-by-bit. According to the stub, I had only worked a grand total of 20 hours. And, I had already been paid $90. Things started becoming clear. Since the direct deposit wasn’t working for my first paycheck, I got cash advanced $90. This was the remainder of my first paycheck. But where the hell was my second? My break ended, and I went down to see the boss, only to discover that, while I was on break, her shift ended and she went home. It would have to wait until tomorrow.

Tomorrow came alright, but, to my disdain, my boss had that day off. Who the heck was I supposed to talk to? My troubles seemed to grow. But, at this point, one of the punk ass teenage baggers came in, and he was screaming, yelling, and demanding blood. Turned out the same thing happened to him, and it brought out his inner Klingon warrior. He demanded to speak to the boss now. So, the supervisor called the boss, and she said she’d come down to sort this out. But, before the supervisor could pass this info on to the punk ass teenager, he stormed off into the night in disgust. Soon, the boss showed up. Now that she was here, I summoned up my courage, and asked if I may have a moment of her time. “Let me guess,” she said. “You didn’t get paid either.” She then went on to explain how there was a new person working payroll, and this new person forgot to send in a few time sheets. I was the fourth person in the store that this had happened to. She called the Big boss, the store manager, and relayed my problem. As soon as she was off the phone, she said that they would have a cash advance prepared for me on the next day I was in: Monday. This, of course, was Friday, and I had the weekend off. A whole weekend without money.

Monday came, and again my boss had the day off. So again, I had to spend a troubled day at work wondering if I would be able to afford gas to get to work the next day. Tuesday came, and my boss was working! I approached her. She said she had the paperwork all prepared, but the Big boss had the day off, and wasn’t around to approve it. Again, I was devastated. I mean, hey, sure I live rent-free in parents’ basement, but part of the deal of me using the car this much means I have to take care of it. And taking care of a car isn’t cheap.

Wednesday came. Again, I asked for my pay. This time, the Big boss was in meetings all day, and couldn’t approve the paperwork. Again, I went home distressed. Now, my inner Klingon warrior was starting to emerge. In my family, whenever legal matters arise, we all go to Mom, seeing as to how she’s turning into a career politician and is a former Justice of the Peace. My father, being a longtime member of the Alberta Union Of Provincial Employees, was also qualified to give advice on this matter. After I laid out my problem for them, I asked who was the higher body I complain to, and when would I be justified in doing so. They said that, after waiting a whole week for my pay, I’d be qualified in going to the Labour Relations Board. Ever notice how the more peaceful solutions tend to be more painful? I mean, you can demand blood, but cuts heal. A complaint to a governing authority, however, results in black marks on a permanent record that tend to haunt a person for a while.

I had Thursday off. My boss said that if the paperwork was approved, she’d call, and I could run on down to collect my pay. I canceled all my plans I had for Thursday, and spent the day waiting by the phone. Although I’ve never dated in my life, I now know how it feels to be stood up. Even though my pay was now one week late, I formulated my plan of action. If I didn’t get paid on Friday, I’d be placing a call to the Labour Relations Board.

Friday came. When I showed up, the first thing my boss said was “Today! I promise!” Halfway through my shift, the Big boss showed up for work. Three-quarters through my shift, my boss came up to me and said I could pick up my paycheck before I went home. I finally got my second paycheck. It was a eight days late, but I got it. Good things really do come to those who wait.

And that brings us to my excursion to the city. With two paychecks behind me, it was time to blow the first one. I purchased a video cassette copy of that great sci-fi movie that came out within the last year and a half. I had been dying to get it ever since it came out on video. Yes! I bought Star Trek Insurrection! Oh, and with the money that was left, I bought some little movie called Episode I. I vaguely remember seeing it, but from what I remember, I liked it.

So, what have we learned here today? Two things: good things really do come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue, and I am fortunate to have learned it at such a young age. Secondly, based on how that gas station manager and pump jockey laughed and gloated about how they “suckered another one,” I am never going to the Stony Plain Petro Canada again.