The employee lunch break policy at Paragon is as follows:
A) If working less than 6 hours, you are NOT (not!) entitled to a break. No sir! Should one politely approach a floor manager, however, odds are on the fat side of the scale that he’ll (she’ll? Let’s don't be sexist…) find someone to cover your department for 15 minutes, which is more than enough time to retrieve a tissue from your pants pocket, blow your nose, and return tissue to pocket. The ambitious might even dare a sip of water from the fountain (located in right rear of store, one hundred and twelve paces from the golf department).
B) If working 6-8 hours, you are awarded a 30 minute break. Well, most of the time. In truth, break length varies depending on whether you’re scheduled as a full- or part-time employee. The managers mentioned something about this at the last morning meeting, but I wasn’t really listening all too good. Seeing as I’m part-time and whatnot, perhaps I’m only allotted 15 minutes (is this conceivable/humane?!), even during a 7 hour shift. Maybe I've been at it all wrong, taking these mastodonian breaks. But I'm a renegade, baby. The drummer in my head plays half-hour sets. So it goes.
C) If working over 8 hours, you are entitled to a full hour. Not sure how the whole full- vs. part-time thing plays into this. Perhaps the managers oughta put these directives into writing?
“You know how you can tell you got a real bad job? (Pause.) When you get that half-hour lunch break. By the time you put on your jacket, walk around the corner, go to the sandwich spot, order a sandwich, wait for them to make it, then get in another line to pay for it, TWENTY EIGHT MINUTES have passed! Now you’re rushing back to work, you’re eating your sandwich, you’re spilling beer down your shirt, and when you get in your boss has the nerve to say, ‘Hey man, you’re eight minutes late.’ ‘Fuck you!’”
I know the half-hour break all too well; it’s been part of my routine for more than a few months. But I’ve got a system (which, admittedly, looks and sounds a lot like the scenario Chris described above). Let's break it down:
1) One, first: Decide on a restaurant. My options, of course, are limited to those eateries--Chipotle, GoodBurger, Chop't (salad joint), Dogmatic (gourmet sausage place)--within a two-block radius. Should I, like a reckless fool, choose to venture deeper into the East Village, I perform a routine check of the ol' laces to assure their tautness, so as to avoid a mid-jog wardrobe malfunction.
2) Remove nametag (required flair) and Save 15% Of The Difference button (more flair, and please don't ask), put in left pants pocket. Fold morning daily to crossword page. Place pen in right pants pocket, tip down, so as to make for a faster, more efficient de-holstering when I turn my attentions to the crossword.
3) Proceed to punch clock. Wait until digital time thingy turns from one minute to the next before swiping out, so as to maximize my 30 mins.
5) Haul ass up the stairs (time clock is located in the lower level, twenty seconds from the front door), bowling over/elbowing slow-moving tourists.
6) Jaywalk across street, traffic be damned.
7) Order salad/chicken sandwich/burger/taco/turkey club, breathlessly.
8) Pay, frantically.
10) Wait a bit more.
11) Receive salad/chicken sandwich/burger/taco/turkey club, jog to nearest available table.
12) Eat/graze. (No time to chew, or for proper utensils.)
13) Complete two items in crossword puzzle. (Clues: Giants slugger (answer: Ott) and fencing weapon (answer: epee).)
14) Check time on cell phone. (Twenty-three minutes have passed.)
15) Dab lips with napkin.
16) Deposit contents of tray into garbage can.
18) Bust into front door of store with elbow. Half-run/half-walk to stairs, half-run/half-walk down stairs, turn corner, elbow through another door, remove time card from wallet (hands shaking all the while), slide time card through machine. Report to golf department.
19) Affix flair. Sell stuff.
5 days ago