Amanda: Well, no, not right now, but I can take you to a computer where you can put your application in. When we're hiring, we'll start going through the applications then.
The computer is, coincidentally, two feet away from where they had been standing and still within range. Amanda opens the application program and sets it all up for the girl. She explains how to use the mouse to click in the little boxes and the keyboard to type out the information.
Before this job, most of us would assume that it is perfectly obvious how to use a computer but experience has taught us that even college age people may have absolutely zero computer experience (they may not have had the money to afford a PC etc). The girl seems to understand the concept okay, but she drops this bomb on your heads.
Custy: Can you...stay here and help me fill it out?
My eyebrows shoot so high that they disappear behind my bangs, and I lean back to give them both a dubious stare. Amanda has very carefully hidden her expression behind a professionally polite mask.
Amanda: It's not difficult, you just put your first name where it says "first name" and last name where it says "last name." You don't need a calculator and none of the questions are really that difficult.
Custy: But... I need someone to help me fill it out. I can't fill it out by myself!
Amanda: Unfortunately, the application can take half an hour to fill out and I can't leave my post for that long. You might have to ask your mom for help.
Later Amanda and I are just shaking our heads over it. The girl had whined to any passerby she could get in hearing range that she couldn't spell her name, needed help inputting her phone number because she couldn't remember it, didn't know her address, couldn't figure out her birth date etc.
From what we learned through listening, the girl was unable to do ANYTHING without constant supervision and direction. Previously, she had begged a total stranger to pull a book off the shelf, open it for her and read it to her, turning the pages while she looked at the pictures like a two year old.
She pouted and sulked when the total stranger declined to do so. She literally needed someone to tell her "Okay, so your name is Jane. In that box, type in J...A...N...E... and your last name is Doe, so type in D...O...E... And you live at 12345 13th Street so type in 1...2...3...4...5..space...1...3...T...H... space... S...t...r...e...e...t..."
I had two suspicions.
The first was that mommy dearest is a psychopathic micromanaging bitch who controls her kid with an iron fist and thus ground out every last drop of free thinking and independence her kid had long before she reached this stage.
Which really isn't out of the realm of possibility. I've seen mothers from hell doing this very sort of thing, and then they wonder why their grown kid isn't a successful, independent (but obedient to their mothers who are goddess in their own personal opinion), and creative CEO of Google or something. (Hint: probably because you ground those traits out of the kid when they were young, you dumb fuck!)
The second suspicion was that the kid had a mental disorder. Now I know they're out there, and I understand that. But if she truly had a disorder it just astounded me that her parent/guardian HAD to be fully aware of this complication and yet had left her unattended in our store for two full hours to apply for a job.
So her parents either assumed that she could do it herself (which if they were aware of her existence at all should have been obvious that she couldn't) or had simply assumed that her prospective employers would hold her hand the entire application process, forgoing all other duties they were assigned to for the day.
She whined at everyone for two hours before her mother came in and walked her through the process of spelling her name. Then she complained to a manager that no one had helped her daughter fill out the application. The manager had a spine though, and coolly informed mommy dearest that the employees were expected to do their jobs and could not be spared to hold the hand of prospective applicants. The employees were in the right to stick to their assigned tasks, he informed her.
We could not hire anyone younger than 18 he told the woman. We told everyone who applied for a job this rule. Hell, I had been told this when I hired on. Even with the paperwork giving permission to work (labor laws anyone?), someone higher up simply made it policy to require all applicants to be 18. Which does sort of make sense, considering the books we were lugging around or hauling up and down rolling stairs with no handrail to the overstock. Not to mention the headache of complying with labor laws regarding underage employees on top of fully adult employees.
If she could not do her assigned tasks without constant supervision, and she had already demonstrated that she could not, then the company would not hire her.
Sorry sunshine, but big bad meanie stupidhead corporations crack the whip like the big bad meanie stupidhead corporations that they are and actually require you to be capable of doing the job you were hired to do. I know right? So horrible of them! Yes, they will make accommodations to give people with disabilities the opportunity to live meaningful, independent lives. But there is a line that you must be capable of meeting. Meet them halfway.
I am not trying to sound insensitive, because I'm really not. I have worked with people with disabilities (mental and physical) and they were all great workers. One lady I worked with at the time of this incident was totally deaf in one ear and 75% deaf in the other. She had arthritis and couldn't carry more than five pounds at a time. She also had a mild case of OCD, counting out bills individually, out loud, and carefully every time the money crossed her register. She was retirement age but did what she could with a will and the company welcomed her. She was a great cashier; her till was never off. She would supply pennies our of her own pocket to even it up if a customer was a penny short. But our bookstore was not for someone who cannot live without micromanagement.
Finally he cut the woman off by asking her why she hadn't been helping her own daughter instead of leaving her unattended in a store, relying on the whims of complete strangers? Mommy dearest puffed something about not being able to do it at the time and retreated, daughter in tow.
May all your customers be nice,