So, I promised to tell you my tale of woe, and so it shall be. I've never been on the dole before, so I had really no idea how it all works, but my Assistant Manager, Jenny, did a little internet research right after we found out the theater was going to close (the owner called me at home on a Monday to tell me that Thursday would be our last day of operations. Nothing like advance warning, right?). Jenny said we could apply for unemployment online, so Friday morning, bright and early, I tracked down the web site and signed up. Then I waited. I checked the site frequently for progress. I read the "handbook"--which was about as helpful as those instruction you get to put together fake wood furniture, those "instructions" that obviously had originally been written in Korean before being translated into Polish and then into French and then into Swahili and then into English--and waited some more.
After about five days, something happened. I had a "status"! Hurray! It was "suspended". Huh.
I read the handbook again. I checked the site FAQ. No place was there any mention of a status of "suspended". In fact, I found a listing of possible statuses and none of the four were "suspended". Huh. I waited some more. Nothing changed. I tried calling their 800 number to ask for an explanation, but the line was always busy. Always. I tried emailing my question--and got an automated reply saying they were two weeks behind on answering their email, and that I should call their 800 number. Wow! These guys were helpful!
Meanwhile, Jenny had passed her mandatory one-week waiting period, was filing her weekly vouchers online, and had one week's benefits applied to her we'll-mail-it-soon-and-you'll-get-it-in-ten-days Visa Debit card. Huh.
Finally, after calling fruitlessly for the thousandth time, there seemed to be no other option. I would have to go to the unemployment office in person.
(Cue dramatic music). Four cubicles. One person calling numbers to help applicants. Eight people drifting around in the background not calling numbers or helping applicants or doing much of anything, apparently, to earn my tax dollars. If this were a business, it would be out of business.
To sum up, the payroll company that reported my wages to the state had entered my social security number incorrectly for 3 of the 4 quarters of 2008, and thus to their computerized knowledge I had only worked for the first quarter of 2008 and was therefore ineligible for benefits. After driving home to get my W-2s for the last 2 years (and getting to wait to be assisted again) the
drone state employee acknowledged that I seemed to have actually worked the whole year, so they would set their "auditors" to "investigating"--which should take about two weeks.
That was two weeks ago. Jenny has gotten her Visa debit card and three(?) payments. I am still "suspended". And they still haven't answered my email.
An English Major riddle that I learned when I was in college:
A Repertory company was doing a series of 7 Shakespearian plays, but didn't have enough room on the marquee to list all the titles. So, they abbreviated them like this:
Which plays were they performing? (The answer is below the fold)
Alls Well That Ends Well/Love's Labor's Lost
A Midsummer's Night's Dream/The Twelfth Night
Much Ado About Nothing/As You Like It/The Taming of the Shrew
It goes to show how bad the economy is when the Dollar Theater can't make it. Yep, my employment has gone the way of many other businesses--closed down. While folks were still coming to see movies, especially on 50¢ ticket day, there weren't enough of them buying popcorn and drinks to pay our bills (or the higher minimum wage for our 16 & 17 year old employees, none of whom were "trying to support a family" and all of whom now have to find another way to pay for their cell phone bills, poor things). It still galls me that no one will admit that the minimum wage increase is even partly responsible for the economic mess we're in, let alone a big contributing factor. If payroll hadn't gone higher than a 70's rock star, I think we could have weathered the higher costs for transportation and corn and other supplies.
Ah, well. Spilled milk.
Meanwhile, I am now gently cradled in the delicate hands of the government, trying to get the unemployment benefits my employer has been paying on my behalf for the last six years. Seems the payroll company reported my income to the state under someone else's Social Security Number for at least the last year. Lovely.
Wait, there's more. But I think I'll continue my tale of woe another day. It's not nice to depress my readers too much...