So, here it is. Now that I’ve got this new posting to Japan coming up, I turned in my letter of resignation to Extra Foods. My final day was to be May 4. But, lo and behold, as I was walking out the door a week ago, the store manager pulled me aside to have a word with me. See, I was a supervisor. I had access to computers and money and the like. Store manager told me that, since I had just two weeks left, the company was buying out my last two weeks. Apparently, this is store policy, so the person leaving doesn’t try anything vindictive. Two weeks ahead of schedule, I was thrust into the unemployment line. I’m still getting paid for these two weeks. I’ve still got my medical benefits. On paper, my final day is still May 4. But, in reality, EXTRA FOODS IS BEHIND ME!
Before I show you the letter of resignation that spurred all this, some Fast Facts about my time at Extra Foods:
– I worked there for two years and a month, making it the job I’ve held the longest.
– Since I’ve worn a name tag for two years and a month, I am no longer stunned when a complete stranger calls me by name.
– 85% of the grocery store’s staff is female. I’m fairly certain that never again will I be surrounded by women in my job.
– When doing price checks, I would sprint through the store to get it done with quicker. I modeled my run after the T-1000 from Terminator 2.
– No matter what kind of store I walk into now, I freeze when I hear the P.A. system come on, in the off chance that I’ll be paged to the front.
– I was promoted from bagger to cash office supervisor because I was the only one brave/stupid enough to do it.
– My name tag had the title of “Packer” on it. Far too many people thought my name was “Mark Packer.”
– When the store was closed, and I was the last one left preparing the nightly deposit, I used to bring some of my CDs and play them over the store’s P.A. You haven’t experienced Weird Al until Dare to be Stupid has echoed through a grocery store. I stopped doing it when the produce staff had to work late one night and complained very loudly about having to listen to the Star Wars score.
– The song that went though my head the most often was The Touch from Transformers: The Movie. Why? Well, when a person’s debit card wouldn’t swipe through the card reader, I’d ask to see it, and I’d get it in one swipe. After that, the customer would always look up at me and say, “Wow. You’ve got the touch.”
– Throughout the two years and a month I worked there, the store went through four grocery managers.
– Out of all the women there, I only saw one as a potential girlfriend. In my true fashion, I never approached her about it.
What now follows is my actual letter of resignation:
To whom it concerns,
One of my idols is my best friend. We met in university. He was the editor of the school paper, and I was the #1 DJ on the campus station, seeking to expand my horizons. As our friendship grew, we soon wanted to do some form of project together. We were going to do the university’s first TV show. My friend decided to resign from his position as editor of the paper to devote his whole time to this project. For his letter of resignation, he did nothing but write out the lyrics to the theme from The Littlest Hobo. I hope you’ll forgive me if I choose a song lyric a little more…poetic:
Oh, somewhere deep inside of these bones
An emptiness began to grow
There’s something out there, far from my home
A longing that I’ve never known(1)
Please, then, accept this song lyric as my resignation.
Yes, you heard me right. I’m resigning. Please bear in mind that I did not come to this decision lightly. I am rather proud of the two years I have spent with the Westfair Foods corporation. As I look around at the decidedly female-dominated workplace, I can’t help but think that, maybe, in my two years, I struck a blow for men’s rights. Maybe that’s what ultimately wore me down, too. It’s tough for a man to try and make it in a woman’s world. It’s frustrating when one of the customers wants to speak with “the girl in charge,” only to find that I’m the girl. I was able to hold my head high in such circumstances, but, deep down inside, I couldn’t help but feel a little hurt. I am fully capable of doing any job that a woman can do, and I look forward to the day when men can be grocery store cashiers, nurses, secretaries, and homemakers, completely free of prejudice and scorn. As proud as I was to be opening such doors, it’s time for me to step aside and let others continue what I have begun.
There are aspects of the job that I will miss. No longer will I be wearing that noble apron. No longer will I be wearing the name tag that says “Mark Packer.” No longer will people be thinking that my last name is “Packer.” I think even a part of me will miss the new age Muzak that we are forced to play over the loudspeakers. Many a time I was caught dancing behind me till to the sounds of those psychedelic electronica organs mixed with crashing ocean waves. Yes, whenever I think of my time at Extra Foods, I will always think of the joyous tune that went, “Ni nu ni nu ni nu sploosh.” A lyric for all of us to live by.
But it is time for me to put such memories in the past. It is time for me to move on! It is time for me to seek out new challenges! It is time to explore strange new worlds! It is time to get a job where my education will actually be a benefit, and not some freakish novelty! I’ve always known that my time at Extra Foods would be temporary; that it would be just a stop on this strange and wonderful trip called life. But, little did I know that I would find a home; a family. And even when that home tried to turn me away, I stayed on to do my job. Even when my family shunned me because of my alternative lifestyle, I stayed at my post. It is adversity like this that builds character.
Let it be known that my final day will be Saturday, May 4. I still have quite a few preparations to make before I leave the country, and it would be nice to dedicate a month to it. That, and I have to get in line for the next Star Wars film. Rest assured, that Extra Foods will still be in my thoughts from time to time. I spent two years there, and it is a time I won’t forget soon. As I am lounging in my Japanese apartment, and I have such a moment where I reminisce about my time, I just might even send a postcard. I hope I will be gone, but not forgotten soon.
As I wrap up this letter of resignation, my mind wanders off to yet another song lyric. Ever since I knew that my time with Extra Foods would be coming to an end, this one has been foremost on my mind. I’m sure it has gone through the mind of many a Westfair Foods employee, and I am sure it describes how we are all feeling right now. I know it describes how I feel at this moment.
Take this job and shove it. I ain’t workin’ here no more.(2)
See ya later, Extra Foods. It’s been a slice.
Mark Sladen Cappis, B.SC.