For four years I worked in a grocery store in Saint Paul. It is located in an immigrant neighborhood and most people living there are categorized as poor. When I started working there in 2003 the employees were mostly Asian and white. As the East African wave of immigration came to Minnesota the employees reflected that (the employees were predominantly East African.) In my experience at that particular grocery store there has been fairness in regard to race, ethnicity, age and disability. The store is part of a union, so there are periodical increases in rates of pay and there is a benefits plan. In the time I worked there two senior citizens were hired. The first still does a wonderful job to this day. However, the second suffered from severe physical pain and left on his own accord. Over those four years three women were pregnant and each kept their job. There is a guy who has worked there for over seven years and he seems to have some sort of mental retardation. No matter the differences in people, everybody is treated fairly.
Although for the most part there was fairness and equality, there was one instance that wasn't in that category. A couple of years into working at the store I had been promoted from bagging to the position as a cashier and then to the floral department. When I had time during my cashiering shifts I would help stock the shelves which was heavily encouraged by management. However, the one job I always wanted to do was produce. This involved a lot of heavy lifting. One day I decided to approach the produce manager and ask him about openings in his department. I was sitting on the ground with him, helping rotate potatoes and asked him if I could work some days in his department. He laughed and said, "You cant work in produce. You're a girl. These things are to heavy for you." He then asked me if I was comfortable rotating the potatoes. Anyone who has to be on the ground rotating any sort of item will be uncomfortable, so I answered truthfully, "No, but I don't mind. I like this work." He then smiled and said, "It doesn't matter if you like it. You have to be able to do it." I went to the store manager and asked him to consider placing me in produce. He informed me that I was needed in cashiering, but if there was any availability in the schedule he would consider me. A year later (with a different produce manager) I was trained into produce and rocking the department.