Coming to America - Robbed

My first job in the US was being a cashier at a local KMART. Being a young immigrant with a lot of dreams, I was excited at the prospect of getting paid every two weeks. 

I soon discovered some of the harsh realities of a minimum wage job. Your output is all that mattered down to the minute. You clock in and clock out. There were meticulous records of everything you did in a report that is generated.
How many burgers did you flip?
How many calls did you make?
How many customers did you help?
Everything was monitored and examined for a performance appraisal. 

I was a bit surprised at the intensity of it all. Even more at the inhumanity of the supervisors and managers when it came to bathroom breaks. The customers over employees norm was a cultural shock to me. I distinctly remember one supervisor telling me that I couldn't take another bathroom break since there were customers there. I had to adjust my fluid intake to make sure the customers aren't inconvenienced.   

It was clear that a minimum wage worker taking a bathroom break translated to a loss in the balance sheet. Apparently the federal government had to enforce a law stating that people working for 4 straight hours had to get a 15 minute break. So the only reason I was allowed to take a break was because it would have been illegal otherwise. 

I was one of the youngest people working there. But there I was feeling the pain of manual labor - both physically and emotionally - for the first time in my life. I was surrounded by people in their 60s and 70s who had worked there all their life. Smiling and never complaining while working on their feet for hours. I just couldn't match their positivity. 

After my first two weeks at work, my body was still adjusting. I was looking forward to my first paycheck. When I finally got it, I looked at the top portion... It was a nice big number of two weeks of minimum wage. I smiled. I had already done the math.

Then I looked at the rest and there was a lot of information I didn't understand. Looking further down, at the bottom was the check with about 30% less than the total.

Why? Are these people trying to scam me?
I was puzzled and angry at the same time.
I will show them that I am not a fool.

My first instinct was that someone was trying to steal from me. I lost my trust of people and institutions shortly after arriving in the US. 

I walked straight to my manager and asked  - Where is the rest of my pay? 

With a blank expression he said -  Taxes

All those hours of standing on my feet. All those hours of not being able to take bathroom breaks. And I had to give over 30% to taxes? I felt robbed. 
I remember that same feeling when I got my first official check. Nowadays, I don't see paystubs unless I go look for them, nevertheless, I still have the robbed feeling.
2021-05-15 18:20:26
Lol what rate of taxes would you two be willing to pay for all the services the government renders?

I like this piece but I think it has less comedy than the last one. Is that on purpose?
2021-05-16 14:02:22
There are funny bits and stuff, but the last one had an overall tone of comedy whereas this I think is more a non-comedic piece with some comedy injected in.
2021-05-16 14:02:55
It wouldn't be so bad if so much tax money weren't wasted. FIrst, there are all the different amounts taken out of paychecks for various reasons. Then, you have all sorts of extra taxes like sales tax and extra fees on utility bills. Then you have the insidious tax known as inflation. No one seems to want to acknowledge that inflation is a real thing. Just look at 4 for $10 Coke used to be the deal and now we're supposed to believe 3 for $13 is a deal. Good thing I don't buy bloke anymore.
2021-05-16 19:02:00
Sir Abe - for someone that was counting pennies, 30% seemed like a lot. And I didn't really know anything about taxes before my first check so it felt brutal then. 

2021-05-17 03:13:52
Yes this piece was more about descriptions and details of Week 4 assignment. I worked on those things more than on the humor part. I tried to add humor but the more I added details, the less humorous it became. 
2021-05-17 03:15:19