The other day I attended a special meeting at my old place of work. No, it wasn’t a special party put on in my honor, or a reunion of sorts for an old employee who had decided to return to the fold for one last look. Instead, I was there, by invitation of Work Safe BC and management to review a work claim I had made a couple of months back concerning a work-related injury. It was originally diagnosed as an abductor muscle strain in my right forearm, and has not changed much in the interim even with rest and therapy. Complicating the recovery is the depressing reality that I am struggling to find the perfect regimen to make healing happen. As I make progress in one area, something like a shoulder pain intervenes to undo the improvements. What this bureaucrat, named James, wanted was to determine if I even had a case for compensation, small as it would be given the fact that I no longer work for the company. On three different occasions, as he put me through my paces, he mentioned, in no uncertain terms, that the threshold for getting anything was very high, like 100 movements per three minutes. As I explained, the injury stemmed from a lot of repetitive stress experienced as a cashier. He got me to demonstrate what a three minutes might look like on the till during a busy time. Such staging doesn’t begin to describe some of the extended times when lines could be as long as twenty deep, with orders as much as six hundred dollars. Assistant manager Roy could be heard, during all these tests, expressing concern that the company would never tolerate work spaces that compromised a worker’s health. Sure, nice sentiment considering this is a high-volume store with antiquated check-outs that are narrow and small, an impossibly high counter, and technology that is regularly on the blink. I took two months of this arrangement with the hope that I could power through it and find a better job inside the store. Unfortunately, my body couldn’t take it and packed it in, with one little issue remaining to be handled: this claim I made on advice from management. Even if I get no remuneration – in reality I never expected anything anyway – this converse of circumstances actually works in my favor. One, I get a fresh appreciation as to why soft-tissue injuries rarely get a favourable hearing: there just isn’t a uniform standard by which to measure them. What might apply to a sixty-four year old man is not germane to a twenty-year-old college student. And who knows how much of my injury is due to my short stints of blogging. I do now have a better appreciation for why cashiers don’t last long in this business. While there, I recognized only one old-timer who came up to me, while I was doing my demo, with a sheet in hand to inform me of a new price change. Smiling, I had to tell her that I was there for another reason than ringing in another order.