formerly fone

Dec 08

back to business

today was my first day back at work since i wrote “response”. i was late because i had to wait for the guy who has been working on my floor to finish. he came at 9 left claiming he had to pick up supplies and tools and didn’t come back until after one. when i told him my mother was coming down he rushed to start working. i called the whole time and texted and did everything in my power to make sure that i kept in communication with my boss that i was on my way but was delayed. i think my problem is that there is this schedule made that doesn’t make any sense and i try to do everything that i have to outside of it…but it makes having a routine impossible. why not schedule people with regular hours and regular days? i think some where along the line is about keeping people just going in circles. work late…work early…work late…and then early some more. 

so today when i was at work a partner from another store came in. i asked him what what he does. he seemed offended as if he needed to defend himself. i listened to his answer which is pretty similar to any other partner. to create inspired moments and make people feel better and give his best customer service. i smiled, i think he thought i was going to say something smart. instead, i asked him, “how much is all of that worth? what is the value of what you do?” he said, “a lot more than i’m making now”. 

i think if you asked any partner those two questions, you’d have the same answer. lately i’ve been thinking about poverty and economic slavery. my mind spins in circles trying to connect the dots. or maybe i’m trying to disconnect. i’ve only recently come to realize that i am a poor person. even among the 99 percent i am one of the bottom feeders. my saving grace is my job, but even with that…its just not enough. 

please don’t get me wrong…i like job. i like the people i work with. even when they are d-bags, we still talk it over and we still work as a team. i love doing what i do, i feel a sense of purpose and belonging. but at the same time i feel humiliated every time i deposit my check. think about it….a partner makes 9 dollars an hour and ever managed to make it to 40 hours a week in a year they will make only 18,720 dollars. the poverty line is around 22,000 dollars. what does that say? and the average partner is lucky to make 30 to 35 hours a week which means they will make maybe 15,000 in one year. what does that say?

it says that something is wrong. the disparity is so great that its sickening. and once you realize it you too become sick. but what can you do? you’re a trouble maker if you say something. i should probably keep my mouth shut but i can’t. i just want to ask questions. its not so much about making statements as it is about people coming to their own understanding. and if i say anything or write anything its not directed at individual people. its directed at the corporation which in itself is not a living breathing thing. its what i work for. but it controls me. i cannot tell the ceo to raise wages. better yet, if i did ask him to, would he? it is not in his personal interest to pay more. it would come in between him making more. but does he really need more? he’s bought a 4 million dollar condo recently and i can’t even make rent. 

we devote not only our physically energy but also our mental. and even with that we are expected to forget about everything we are going through and focus on creating inspired moments. but just how much are these moments worth? they are free…as they should be. but giving parts of yourself to random people. purposefully trying to evoke a reaction. a smile. by any means possible. i think after awhile some people don’t care any more. they mellow out. i think when i first started, i annoyed everyone because i was so bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to work. over time i’ve lost some of my hope. have i already burned out after only six months? 

i think the reality has kicked in. not only about my job but my life in general. i’m not going anywhere…i haven’t really managed to do much. and before i digress i will remind myself that this isn’t about me. it is…but it isn’t. partners deserve more dignity and better wages. point blank. 


I would post my response to your piece on my page, but I don’t think I’m ready to handle the backlash of it. First off I think its great that you found the strength to stand up and (re)claim your life. I’ve never met you, but reading this gave me insight as to who you are and why you stand for what you do…if that makes any sense. I too was in an abusive relationship…unlike your situation…it wasn’t sexual. It was with my brother. For years we fought…physically. At times he would choke me out…and I took it. It wasn’t until I had to get an order of protection against him that I finally got him out my life. From the age of twelve, this man would tell me things like no one would ever like me, I would never have friends. I mean, how insignificant was his life that he had to trample over the esteem of a twelve year old? 

I started working for the company in June of this year. I’m still a rookie compared to you, but I’ve always thought the same things you brought up. It made an analogy from the “matrix” connect for me. We are just cells of energy that power them on so many levels. They need physical bodies to make drinks and sell beans. They can have all the products and supplies in the world but if there is no one to put it into operation, there is no operation. The people who we make drinks for feel a sense of entitlement. Afterall they are putting out five to eight dollars on their drink alone. They want it quick and extra hot or not too hot or exactly 132.70 degrees. And they’ve been promised exceptional service, so they expect it. 

I’ve never been called a slut or yelled at. Although there is one customer who is a douchebag intent on complaining about me being too friendly…and not even in a sexual way. I do find myself dumbing down for people only because it makes it easier for me. I speak in a unrecognizable accent sometimes just so they feel bad or slightly awkward. This usually leads to larger tips or shorter experience times/less demands. I think some people think I’m touched in the head…which again makes my job easier. On one hand its messed up, but I’d like to think that subconsciously they are reminded that I am slave. I feel like I’m treated like one, so why not act like one? I’ve never admitted this to anyone, and I’m not sure why I’m doing it here. I am not a card carrying member of IWW….and to be honest, I’m afraid to become one. Maybe they have me conditioned because when I think about the crazy twisted hours….the abuse my feet take from standing all day…the lack of sleep I get…the resentment that grows when I think about how much they are getting away with. Why should I have to find a job elsewhere because fourty hours a week is just too much capital to invest into a partner. Yes, there are things I want to change…but I’m scared that rocking the boat will make it that much harder. Hell, I’m taking a huge risk just responding to your note. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, which in turn inspired me to share as well. As much as I thought I was appreciated, I see now that I’m not. Its all fake…the pins and the cards. Just little trinkets to distract us with. I’m one of our store’s top coffee sales person. Some of it is luck…I suppose the rest is “charm”. I think these past six months I’ve must have sold at least 2,000 dollars with of coffee. And that’s lowballing it seeing that I average more than a hundred dollars worth of coffee a week. I see nothing of that, but I’m pretty sure someone is getting a bonus everytime a bag is sold. I can assure you its not me. And yet the pressure for at home coffee is there…customers get annoyed at you everytime you try to suggestive sell, as if you’re selling encyclopedias or something. But once again I realize that I am nothing but a living breathing medium between consumer’s wallets and their bank accounts. 

Right now, I’m on final warning for time and attendance. But when I think back about it….if I’ve overslept its because my body is exhausted. To work erratic schedules where you close one night and open the next day could never allow your body to have a normal clock. There is no circadian rhythm because you try to spend what time and energy you do have trying to play catch up. You become estranged from your friends because you work every friday saturday and sunday. And when you are off no one else is. Or you’re tired as fuck. And its not like its heavy lifting….but it wears you out in a different way…obviously there is the physical, but what I’m trying to deal with is the mental. Is this what I’m really worth? Nine dollars for an hour worth my time? I guess I should be thankful, after all its a dollar seventy five above minimum wage. But then again, being poor means you have to settle. You have to comply. You do not question, you follow orders because you want to keep having income. Its called economic slavery. Hell you replace the word partner with slave and there you have it. 

I would like to apologize if I digressed quite a bit or wrote out of turn. I just really felt what you wrote. I think writing and my outlets of creativity have been my saving grace. I understand your need to document and release yourself. I think to some degree I am too. I would like to think that my future doesn’t end as a barista. I like what I do for the most part the people I work with and for to some degree…I just wish there was dignity to back it up. There is no dignity behind a 30 year old woman being scheduled for 23 hours and then having to take on three extra shifts because she needs the hours. And even then between taxes and student loan garnishments its never enough. I know I’m getting really personal, but I feel like I’m struggling when people I’ve never met nor have met me are profiting off what feels like exploitation. I am a drone, replaceable….disposable.

…which should give me even more reason to join IWW…I’m just not sure if there will be repercussions…such as being labeled a troublemaker. People change their tones when you bring up the union…so I don’t anymore. I’m starting to think that partners are trained to be that way. I think that joining implies you will never advance with the company. Hell I may never advance just for writing this. But do I even want to? For the promise of more money? For a carrotstick that has been dangled in front of my face? I remember when my manager interviewed me he asked me where I saw myself in a year and a half. I said managing my own store. Looking back it was silly to think that could even be possible. I doubt it, I don’t have the composure to keep up a facade of being unfazed by other people’s words. I’ve broken down and cried in front of my manager at least three times. Work is the last place that should happen. I’ve also realized that certain managers are selective about the rules they want to enforce and who they want to enforce them on. I should keep my mouth shut because I can be fired at anytime because of lateness. If it weren’t for my strong coffee sales and being a favorite of regulars and the fact that I’m so welcoming and I make people feel comfortable, I would have been fired by now. Although I think its also because I’ve been on time more and more. I know my job isn’t secure…no one’s is. This response has gone into so many different directions…but I just wanted to say thank you for the inspiration. I’m not sure where things will go from here. I really hope the occupy movement can help us…not even as baristas but as people who deserve dignity and respect and most importantly higher wages. If any of the top executives or management had to live on 9 dollars an hour and less than 35 hours a week, they would probably be inspired to change things. But lack of empathy makes businesses thrive and succeed. Money over people needs to change…the only question is how?

Dec 02



Nov 24

my reaction to police intimidation at OWS

i watched a video on youtube…i’m going to post it…it was from this marine sgt that was asking the police why they were beating unarmed people…if the police had not led the people onto the roadway and arrested them, there wouldn’t have been an outrage…but it woke something up in people all over the nation…a revolution could never die down…it might have taken that to speed up awareness of the movement…and thus the gain of more supporters…but the cause is worth it for every single person that got arrested on that bridge…well almost every person…i think how the police intimidates unarmed people is disgusting…they probably look at us all as potential terrorists…and i’m sure some of them wish they could be part of the movement…but chances are it would mean their job…and their future…i doubt they’d jepordize that kind of security for a movement…i think putting so many cops out there…especially those who feel they have something to prove. it makes you feel tough to show you beat an unarmed man…or pepper sprayed a female…do you get a bonus for every can of teargas or can of pepperspray you use up? or is it bonuses for bruises and cracked skulls…are you proud of yourself? do you tell your children about your day? or did they see you on the news?….or maybe youtube? how to you justify your actions? oh wait, you don’t have to…i don’t hate the NYPD..they’re the ones who are sworn to protect me…i just think they should be protecting my right to free speech and to assemble…i get that you take orders from the top…but why the scorn? why the readiness to attack and imprison?…but wait…i get it…the people ae just cattle…they do get bonuses for every arrest…so they become greedy wolves…they look at us and see dinner on the table…i wonder how much an arrest is worth during OWS…probably more than just your typical neighborhood collar…and i’m sure you get more at rallies and other events…but i’ve more than digressed…i’m going to post the video…i hope they see it and it makes them think…


tonight was the first night i didn’t go to OWS after work…i feel at a loss…unsure of how to regroup. now the people need food and supplies more than ever. they threw out clothes and food and shelters…the basic needs of any human being. i use they because i did not camp out there. i did not live and occupy space. i did come by with food and whatever else i could. even my own VIA markouts….when i wrote “revolution” i meant it…fight however you can…and there are people out there who are doing their part even in the smallest way. tomorrow is the day. N17. i don’t know what is going to happen….but i have faith that the people will all come together in solidarity. peacefully and unified. REAL ideas can NEVER be evicted.

another repost

it has been brought to my attention by more than one person that i’m very one sided when it comes to social networking…its true. i am. i admit…but please don’t hate me…i do look at some of your pages on the low…i just don’t comment or hit the like button very often…but i’m in the cut…and the amount of time i spend involved with OWS makes my internet time limited…and even then i’m writing or watching youtube. its no excuse, but i do want to clear the air…i feel terrible…well not really ‘cause its not like i’m losing sleep…but i do need to be mindful of balance between me and the world around me…its hard to take things in when you’re always pushing it out..but then again…there is a comfort level to blinders…it keeps you from being distracted…and i know i come off obnoxious at times…but i’m just out to make the world a freer place, one thought expression at a time. if that even makes any sense…so…back to the beginning i go…how many of you remember this picture? when i was always hiding…the very beginning of formerly fone…i’ve taken way better pictures (way worse one’s too) since then…but i had to remind myself of my original purpose…which was to network and connect with REAL minds…i’ve found many along the way….and i know there will be many more.

status repost…

stopped by Liberty Square tonight. it was my first time since the raid. it was cold and empty without all the body heat of hundreds of people. i know what i want to do now. i just need help. i need baristas to unite and i know its possible. i love my job and the people i interact with…i just hate that its not enough, so i work harder. we all work harder. but we should be worth more. minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, i think that a human being is worth more than that for an hour of their time. we are nothing but prostitutes to corporations. i’d like to think that i’m worth more than that. i’d like to think that my brothers and sisters are worth more than that. i think that we can all agree that one thing we all want are more jobs and higher wages. if companies actually invested into their people and not worry about profiting for themselves then they could stand to make even more profits because the people would in turn spend it in the economy. the 99% has a much different mind frame than the 1%. we don’t want to hold on to money….we want to spend it so that we could have a better quality of life. i want my loans forgiven. i want a better future and i don’t see it happening when i have more having to go out than i do have coming in….i think instead of trying fo find ways to fight and intimidate the people they could better spend that money figuring out ways to help them. it would lower arrests and tension if the city spent the same money on police presence on supplying food or water or even shelter space. i know that is really out there granola thinking, but the money they are spending could be used to help the people of the city. its a waste of our taxpayers money because even though there weren’t any people in the park/square tonight, there were still about a hundred cops all over wall st…something to think about….


writing…i’ve realized that when i write my thoughts instead of saying them aloud…it somewhat softens the blow…but also makes my thoughts concrete. its the least aggressive thing i can do…and in the long run…the most theraputic.

Nov 23

trying something new…#occupywriting

okay…so i was told i should write on tumbler more. i’ve been told its easier to read…because of the formatting…so here goes…my name is formerly fone. i’m from brooklyn. i live alone part time. my mom is about to move in. she moved ten years ago. but because of my student loans…she cannot afford to pay the loans plus her mortgage….plus my rent because i don’t make enough to pay it…its kind of messed up because the loans were taken out for me to get educated so that i could get a job and pay back the money that i borrowed…but after ten years, interest keeps on accumalating and it keeps going up and up and up….and the orignal loan, would have been paid off by now, but instead its just adding up and all this interest is due…where it stop? because its something that i’ll have to pay off, and it never happen. my credit has been destroyed. i can’t do anything. i can’t even get a decent paying job because they check your credit now and days. before it was you had to have a degree…now you have to have good credit too. i don’t have any shot at getting a house or even an apartment. much less an income to afford an apartment. the prices of everything are going up….and minimum wage isn’t. so you have to work twice as hard…or figure out how to work smart…either way you think about it doesn’t really change anything. what am i supposed to do? is it really my fault? am i just supposed to live with it? i know i’m not the only one….so what do you say to a nation who was thrown off of a cliff? left there to fend for themselves…broken necked and disallusioned….to just suck it up and keep on going…i make nine dollars an hour. i work about twenty five to thirty hours a week…my paycheck gets garnished by the state and leaves me with maybe 180 a week…keep in mind all the other taxes…so even when i work more hours it doesn’t matter…because they get a bigger cut. that’s my metrocard money…my rent money…that i can’t pay and need my mother’s help with. my apartment is about 850 dollars a month…i don’t make enough to afford to live…and yet i make it happen…but at a very costly expense. i’m killing my mother’s dream. she can’t retire because everyday that she goes to work…its to take care of the both of us. i’ve become dead weight at this point. i’m not sure of what to do because i know that i have a talent. i know that i’m a writer. if there is anything on this earth that i was meant to do its write. the problem is that most of my writing is about me…and my thoughts…i try to take the world in around me…and write…because i know inspiration is everywhere…or maybe it takes events to trigger a retaliation…so to speak…for me its writing…its my passion…its what i want to do with my life. but i don’t fit into anything conventional…i write what i think…i have my own form…no respect of the capitilization…i would like to say that i was inspired by audre lorde at a very young age…and awed by her lack of capitilization…reading “zami” just totally made me realize that with writing you don’t have to stick within any norms if you don’t want  to. or maybe its just in homage to her, but when i write…i don’t usually use capitalization….if you were wondering…but as i was saying…i want to be a writer and i’m going to do it. i’m going to prove to myself that i have what it takes. its going to be long journey…but i will make that effort and the time to dedicate myself to this tumbler page. i’m not sure who will end up following me…but i think its an excellent first step. insead of it just being about videos or audio…i need  proper equipment…and i think within the occupy movement i can figure a way to network so that can happen…i need to use equipment…not so much keep it…start editing real videos and not just audio recordings…i do have the skills to edit….i learned both in and outside of school….so i do have an #occupyfilm idea in mind. the problem is that i do so much thinking that i want to do a million different things…and i can’t settle on one…but i know there is a way to interconnect them all…and that this is the way to do it. so for the past couple of days…i HAD been walking around with a sign that said #occupypoetry and it also had a poem i was working on the other side of it. along with with my testimony my mother’s testimony. i don’t know if she read or not. or if she thought i was using it to get money…because i’m not…i don’t think many people even understand my sign…i just sit there on the train and spit poems to myselfl….no one reacts….there’s not clapping…which is cool because i care about a reaction…i just want people to think and not judge. i think maybe if i had a camera…it might not be so bad…or if someone was with me…but i think when they look at me they just see a girl…that’s quite possibly crazy…dressed in thermals and shorts…who does that? i do…i’m not even going to go into what led me into only owning one pair of long pants…but i will say that i’m living the consequences of saying things in anger…i cut my nose to spite my face…and now i look a mess…but fuck it…its about survival…i’m poor..i never knew it or realized or thought i could admit…but thats what i am…that’s who i am…and i try to keep up with other people but it just makes me and my mother even more poor. so…i’m not even sure of what to say. i just want an even shot. i’m thirty and my life can’t even begin. i want to prove to myself….and my mom…and maybe the whole entire world that not only am i someone who has words worth reading…and thoughts worth sharing….but that i can be a writer…that being a barista is just about the experience…and possible opportunity to meet just the right person. i could possibly finish the script that i started in college…but i wouldn’t even know where to find the original…i remember the basics of writing a treatment…so i could start there…but i kind of like the idea of being a blogger…but i don’t even know where to start with that…could i possibly make my own genre? internet writer/poet/emcee…and i think even that is pushing it….could i #occupywriting…#occupypoetry…and #occupymusic all at the same time? do i have that skillset as yet? could i ever find balance? i hope so…because if i’m ever going to go anwhere i life i need to. i’m not sure what my job has in terms of future…but i know at this rate…its not enough…i don’t think i really have the energy for another job…and i don’t have any time to write or for myself because i’m always occupying other places…not even my own apartment…today when i came home…i was reminded of liberty square…my mother went through ALL of my belongings…threw out what shew wanted and “cleaned up”…i know that sounds dramatic…but i feel violated..i don’t even want to be here anymore…but i need to work..i need to prove that i can do it…that i am worth putting the right hours into…that i can be a workhorse that is worth investing into…but what kind of thinking is that? why should i want to be a workhorse? i don’t want to make a million dollars…i just want to figure out a way to get my student loans forgiven…or make just enough money to pay them off and get caught up on my rent…if i had a decent job with decent healthcare…i’d be good right now. but i don’t. what i make would have been perfect when i was in school and i would have the time and experience invested by now…but that’s not the case…i have had no say in my future. the time to change it is now. i am formerly fone…aka…ConsciousNess and these are my “stories”…