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Marathon LogoIt has been a month since I started working at Marathon in Philadelphia, MS. I don't want to put anything in writing that would jeopardise my job at the store, but I thought it would be necessary to share my continued experience.

I've known the store operator for some time and had become friends before being offered a job without asking. He was eager to hire someone with prior C-Store experience that would be loyal and honest. I had to finish up with some lose ends and then obliged his offer.

The first couple weeks, I learned as much as I could to get started. I learned how to use the Point of Sale, Gilbarco Passport, pretty quickly. It has it's quirks but it's fitting for this store with high density patronage.

The store has a huge walk-in cooler and even a "beer cave". While some stores, such as this one, has a planogram for product placement, this store lacks anything of the sort. Wherever there is an empty space, the operator wants it filled with whatever is available. Don't get me wrong, there is designated places for Coca-Cola and Pepsi products, but no product placement for high sale items. To add to the chaos, there are soda brands I've never heard of that's more likely to expire before they are sold and consumed. At least the beer cooler has a item placement that doesn't change, much.

The gondola shelves are about as chaotic with product placement. Chips, chocolate, snack crackers, sweets, and automotive items all have their designated areas, but again, no absolute product placement.

Just as most stores that are not owned by operators not native to the United States, items is purchased through an obscene number of miscellaneous wholesalers. Main items are ordered from known wholesalers; Magnolia Beverage Company and Mitchell Distributing for beer, Brown Bottling Group and Meridian Coca-Cola Bottling Company for soda, for the most part, Core Mart for grocery items and cigarettes, again, for the most part. Deli products are purchased from Sysco. Bulk Petroleum is maintained by Petco, which is convenient because their office is across the road from the retail location. There is also a lot of items purchased from independent black van wholesalers as well as Sam's Club. There is a running idea from Eastern store owners to purchase items at the cheapest available price instead of reputable, know dealers. Sure, Sam's Club is well known and reputable, but after handling and transporting anything purchased, you're paying the same in the end when you add your time, fuel, and item cost. Not to mention the unknown factor of independent black van wholesalers when consumers assumes their food and candy are coming from National distribution channels.

Personnel and scheduling is a challenge. Upon starting, the operator explicitly told me that he does not and can not pay overtime and with help from an accountant that previously worked at the store, and apparently is currently still the store's accountant advised the operator to force employees to log overtime on a second time card. The operator has had legal problems with "no overtime" before from a disgruntled employee.

Everyone wants a job on paper but no one wants to be committed to actually working. Since starting at Marathon, I've witnessed employees having repeatedly being late, not showed up at all, or requesting to be off. I've not asked for any time off whatsoever. The operator is always at the store working and I've had to cover other people's shift either entirely or in part because of people not being committed to their job. At retailers and businesses elsewhere, if you're repeatedly late, regardless of calling in, you're placed on probation, your hours are reduced, or fired altogether. If you don't call to give appropriate notice and don't show up for work, you quit.

After getting to know the other employees at the store, the true colors of other employees are actually coming to fruition. From being reacquainted with a past coworker from another business to the deli employees, some act like children that misbehaves when other people are around just for attention. They are adults and should act accordingly. There is a place and time for everything, but on the job, being loud, obnoxious, and rude to coworkers is absolutely not the place!

After being on the job for a month, I became quicker with getting side work completed. I've come to the conclusion that to advance my skills further, I want to increase my value to the store. I've started learning how to prepare food to get a head start on morning breakfast sales. From preparing biscuits to frying hashbrowns. I want to learn how to prepare chicken but haven't gotten that far yet and no one has taken the time to show me the ingredient measurements.

I'll continue give the Marathon my due diligence and continuing learning as much as I can. I eventually want to operate my own store and the operator has told me that he would help me when that time comes.

Thanks Sammy for 1 Month of being a Marathon Employee!