Thursday, October 22, 2009

Workers: Sit Down

Years ago when I worked in a department store in downtown Passaic, New Jersey, the clerks were not allowed to sit down, except during short breaks. We were on our feet for most of the eight-hour shift.

Clerks and cashiers are still on their feet. They were lined up at their registers yesterday when I went to TJ Maxx; they were on their feet--most of them middle-aged and older--at the supermarket. The workers stand in toll booths; they stand in banks; they stand at cosmetic counters. They stand, their faces tense, and tell us to "have a nice day."

Things are different in France. I was amazed to see cashiers in the Casino supermarket in Aix ringing up our groceries and wine as they sat in comfortable swiveling seats. They smiled. Not one of them told me to have a nice day.

It might take a revolution before clerks can sit on the job in the United States. Think of how difficult it has been to insure that we all have health care.


  1. I've noticed the same thing in Ireland. Smart idea!

  2. It may happen some day. Didn't Ben Franklin say that Americans on the job must always look busy?