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The Wages of Longevity

So Monday I’m over at Costco with my friends whom I enjoy driving to various shopping junkets. We’re checking out and chatting with the cashier, who remarks that it’s his fortieth anniversary on the job at Costco!

Wow! Can you imagine? Working as a Costco cashier for forty years! That means he would have started in 1979. He must have started back when it was Price Club, because the first Costco didn’t open until 1983. Price Club opened in 1976, in San Diego.

We know people who work for Costco love working there. Several of them have remarked to that effect to me — in fact, when I happened to say that I’d been laid off, shortly after GDU shut down our shop, one employee recommended that I apply at Costco.

I wonder how a senior cashier’s pay compares with a teacher’s in Arizona?

Hmmm… Costco cashier salaries range from $14 to $25 an hour. That’s $29,120 to $52,000. On the high end, that’s about what I was earning in a 12-month administrative job at GDU, after 15 years in the saddle. When I was teaching there, I made about $45,000 a year.

But believe me: no one at GDU will tell you they love their job. Morale in that place hovers in the sub-basement.

On the other hand, I was able to work at home a lot. Telecommuting was not much of a problem in the particular position I had. This isn’t true of all the jobs there, but faculty positions usually require you to show up only to meet classes, confer with students, and sit through faculty meetings. As a practical matter, most people are generally “around,” and many classes meet at inconvenient hours (such as 7:40 in the morning or 7 to 10 p.m. at night). But…it’s interesting that with a Ph.D., 15 years of teaching and administrative experience, and 15 years of journalism experience, you earn about what a senior cashier at Costco makes.

Yea verily: the median salary for K-12 teachers in Arizona is $47,980; average base pay in Phoenix is $38,441. And believe me, that is not for just 9 months of work: you spend your summers preparing for the next year and whiling away your time in unpaid seminars, conferences, or teacher improvement courses. Or in second jobs, to keep the wolf from the door.

Think of that: At Costco, a cashier earns more than a teacher. With one helluva lot less aggravation.

4 thoughts on “The Wages of Longevity”

  1. Dang! Costco needs to come to Arkansas so I can get decent pay AND decent treatment by management.
    We’ve got a very new, very young asst. manager who’s clearly miserable because she was bullsh@tted about her duties and salary. She’s also driving me up a wall. Argh! She was late to work by over an hour yesterday. Sure hope she’s gone by the time I get back from vacay.
    Arkansas is a “right-to-work” state. Yeah… the right to barely survive.

    • It’s never too late to move to Arizona! 😉

      Seriously, though: I do NOT understand how the local Safeway/Albertson’s stays in business. The staff uniformly look miserable, suggesting they ARE uniformly miserable. Customers are not exactly frolicking in ecstasy, either. Selections on the shelf are now at the convenience-store level…a supermarket, it ain’t. Go into the wine department and you get hustled by the woman in charge over there, who must get paid on some kind of commission basis. For sure…if I worked in that place, I’d be applying at every Costco store in the city.

  2. LOL! I’m sorely tempted to move to AZ, I’ve got family there.
    When I was a lot younger, and working briefly at a department store, I was shocked to learn from our manager that most retail theft was done by employees. I’m not so shocked any more. Retail and restaurant employees are treated so badly by management, it’s a miracle they don’t do more damage!

    • Yes, I’ve heard that, too, about retail theft. Apparently it’s true in grocery stores, too.

      What goes around comes around, eh?

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