Opinion: The college student and the job

Michael Crissman

Mike Crissman

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When HH Gregg fired me from my job as a cashier for being $1,000 short on Black Friday, I had mixed feelings. Like most people my age, I need some type of income to sustain my living, eating and social habits. Though, I really don’t mind doing nothing. It sure beats doing something.

No one likes working. As they used to say on the Nickelodeon cartoon “Rocket Power” back in the day, “It stinks on ice.” However, trying to make it as a successful, thriving member of society does require maintaining employment.

The incident in question for which my HH Gregg superiors let me go involved a $2,800 cash transaction at about 4:30 a.m. on the busiest shopping day of the year. I was pretty much dealing with a quick-change scam artist couple that was throwing big bills at me then changing their minds as to how exactly they wanted to pay. There was a momentary lapse in judgment on my part when they told me I had $1,000 more than they actually gave me, and I, tired and groggy, confirmed their assumption.

In the end, my mistake cost me my job. However, I haven’t missed it for a second. It wasn’t a good place to work, and it’s not even a good place to shop. HH Gregg is Best Buy without all the movies, music and video games — basically the good stuff. Unless you’re looking to buy a monster TV or a stove, it’s not worth your time.

It was a stressful occupation, not so much because of the cashier aspect (I’ve always been good with numbers, except for that time I lost a grand) but because of the customer service. I was entrusted with answering calls from disgruntled customers, and there were many who were upset about a product they purchased or a delivery gone wrong.

There’s nothing rewarding about a job that involves someone threatening over the phone to “come down to the store and start strangling people” because the warranty for their stereo speakers is expired. Lucky for me, I’m a cool, calm and collected guy who doesn’t get easily flustered.

“I understand, sir, and I’m sorry about that . . . There’s no reason to scream, sir . . . My manager? Yeah, I’ll put him on the phone. One second.”

It didn’t help that I had almost no knowledge of what I was doing and taking such a wide variety of inquiring calls. Any job is stressful when you’re just winging it.

Living the unemployed life has allowed me more time for my two college specialties: working hard and playing hard. I’ve been able to focus more time on school, while getting the opportunity to have some fun once in a while — sometimes a little too much fun.

At the end of the day, college students have to question how worth it all the extra downtime really is when there’s rent to pay and student loans and bills waiting after graduation. Who cares that I’m on the Dean’s List? I don’t even own a car.