Six Days in Hell

A six-day journey into and out of retail

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price

Across the Pond
May 9, 2024

Live footage of me living the American dream

I recently experienced the worst six days of my life. Why were these six days so terrible, you may ask?


These six days were spent in a red- and beige-colored prison. My own personal hell, if you will: OfficeMax.

This past summer, I was extremely desperate for a job. All I really wanted was to be a barista in a cute little Target-home-section-inspired coffee shop.

Unfortunately, all of the coffee shops I applied to already had a full staff, didn’t want seasonal workers or simply did not respond.

This left me terrified for the state of my wallet, and at this point, I was willing to take any job I could get my hands on.

This led me to my first job of the summer, the strangest restaurant I’d ever stepped foot in.

Now, there was nothing abnormal about the restaurant itself. In fact, it actually appeared fairly normal.

Little did I know, I was in for the strangest interview of my life.

The first thing I was asked when I entered the restaurant was my pronouns, which seemed healthy and progressive, but the owners really just wanted to make sure I didn’t identify myself as a dog.

They had read a–definitely completely factual–story about someone who identified as a dog and peed in a restaurant, and not in the bathroom.


Next, they asked if I was a socialist.

Needless to say, I took the job.

This restaurant job was only once a week, so I took it to tide over my bank account until I found something else.

I have a history of jobs just falling into my lap. I also have a history of jobs blowing up in my face, but that’s an op/ed for another day.

Anyways, it happened again. A job fell straight into my lap. The manager at my local OfficeMax posted on Facebook that she needed interim workers for the rest of the summer.

This was perfect. I needed a job for my three months at home, and here it was.

I applied, went in for an interview and was basically hired on the spot.

I was relatively excited for my first day. I’d never worked retail before and all of my coworkers seemed super nice.

Over the course of my six days with OfficeMax, I learned some very important things.

  1. People will do anything for an ever-so-slightly lower price
  2. Some people should not be parents.
  3. Coupons are very exciting.
  4. Not that many people shop at OfficeMax.

Most of my days were spent standing behind a register, pacing behind a register and trying not to fall asleep behind a register.

Thankfully, I had my 15-30 minute breaks to look forward to each day.

The peaceful existence of sleeping in every day and essentially just enjoying the life I’d once enjoyed, had come to an end.

I’d fully succumbed to capitalism.

Until day six.

I was going about my shift, as usual, scanning people’s items and answering “Living the dream,” to anyone who asked how I was doing, when something really weird happened.

My eyes rolled up in my head.

I wasn’t really sure what to do about this, so I just finished my shift and avoided eye contact at all costs, then called my parents to drive me home.

I went to the doctor the next morning and she said it was an oculogyric crisis, which was a result of a medication I was on mixed with stress.

This was perfect. I had an out.

I would’ve stuck out at least one more shift if that hadn’t happened, I really would’ve, but nevertheless, I contacted my boss that morning and resigned.

I’d never received a text so petty from someone with gray hair, but at that point I just figured I  deserved it, considering I’d just given her an hour’s notice.

That was the end of my journey with OfficeMax, and I loathed every minute of it, but I still have my bright red OfficeMax t-shirt tucked in the back of my closet to commemorate our six days together.


Price can be reached at [email protected].