It's actually really ridiculously expensive to be poor - an unfortunate truth that a lot of people are learning firsthand this year. There are even some among us who are too poor to be able to afford to work.
We know, it sounds like a complete contradiction; but it's a reality for a shockingly large number of people.
One Reddit user asked:
and yeah ... poverty is complicated.
Fees On Fees On Fees
Overdraft fees. Oh, you ran out of money? We'll just charge you more then!
My bank just switched our free checking to an account with a monthly fee. $7.00 a month if your account goes under $10. So if it goes under $10 they basically just help themselves to your remaining balance? It really chaps my behind.
While charging overdraft fees they also want to charge you fees for your debit payments failing - each one. But they failed cause the bank processed them started with the biggest payment instead of the order you spent and each fee lowers your balance till the last one also fails.
NSF fees too. Juggling bills becomes hazardous. If you guess wrong, or lose track, or have a sudden emergency, or someone cashes a check you thought they'd already done, or an automatic withdrawal (which got me the most frequently). The payment gets refused, which, sure, if the money's not there of course the bill isn't paid. But then the company charges you an NSF fee, and so does the bank, and the bill you already weren't able to pay just got 50-100$ more expensive.
In the past 10 years, I've gone from borderline poverty to being upper middle class. Here are some of the differences:
- An overdraft/late fee could be as much as 10% of my savings account. Now it's a drop in a bucket, and having white collar job, means I know how to effectively negotiate to have fees waived.
- When you're broke you can only afford cheap products that break easily, Now I buy quality products that are built to last for years.
- Expensive dinners are completely out of the question when you're broke. Now I frequently eat great (And healthy!) meals because my job pays for lunches and dinners.
- When I was broke I had to purchase expensive equipment to learn my craft so that I could get a job. Now I my job pays me to use my equipment.
- Broke people have to pay for an expensive education to get a good job. Many people with good jobs are encouraged to take classes at the expense of the employer.
- People with good paying jobs can be 10 minutes late for work without fear that they will lose their job. If I have a good excuse, like my car breaks down, I can literally not show up for work for the day, get paid, and receive a heartfelt message from colleges offering support.
- Things like expensive booze and other luxury items are something you want when you are poor. When you work a high paying job, these sort of things are frequently gifted to you from bosses/co-workers and sometimes it becomes a hassle of trying to get rid of nice things you don't need (I end up giving away, re-gifting or donating a lot of stuff).
- When you are broke, it's hard to find a good paying job. When you have a good paying job, you are seen as a valuable and you will receive multiple job offers.
A few things that are new to me that I find weird about having money:
- Expensive clothes fall apart so fast, like the fabric will start to dull after a 3rd wash. I had an Old Navy shirt that easily lasted 20 years and never faded.
- Expensive things take up so much time and can be such a hassle to care for. Like fountain pens, nice wooden kitchen utensils, Linen place settings, etc.
Better shoes last longer before they need to be replaced. But they cost to much for me to afford them, leaving me with sub-par shoes that need to be replaced more often.
It's not easy staying healthy on a tiny budget. I stay fat. Shoes wear out. It's expensive for my body.
Definitely true irl. I wear duty boots every shift I work. When I was new I couldn't afford anything other than a cheap pair of $80 boots. My feet froze in the winter, sweated in the summer, and they weren't really waterproof. That first pair lasted me about 10 months, and that was a stretch.
I managed to scrimp and save for a $300 pair of Danners and that pair lasted me nearly a decade, kept my feet warm in the winter, didn't make them sweat much in the summer, and kept my feet dry in standing water up to about 6" deep. When they wore out, I sent them back to Danner to be refurbished about about $120 and have gotten another 7 years and counting out of them.
Housing. The longer you commit to stay, the lower your monthly price. But poor people don't always know where they'll be in a few months time, especially these days.
Oh man, got a really good look at that recently. Me and my fiancee wanted to move to a new house, and we didn't know how long it would take to sell the old one and find one we liked, so we rented an apartment in the meantime.
They had really flexible leases, with durations from 6-15 months, different prices for the same apartment.
We calculated the cost of breaking the lease at different times together with the cost of each lease, and found that even if we moved at exactly 6 months, it would be cheaper to sign a 15 month lease and pay the penalty than to sign a 6 month lease.
Moving at pretty much any point would be cheapest to sign the 15 month lease and break it (I think at 10 months, it would be very slightly cheaper to have signed a 10 month lease). Funnily enough, we ended up moving after 6 months, but we still made the cheaper choice with the 15 month lease.
The Breakdowncar trouble vintage GIFGiphy
Not being able to afford routine car maintenance and then having to shell out thousands when it breaks down
Nothing like having to push your car off an intersection because it suddenly died and won't restart, never mind if you were on your way to school, work or similar. It's a great way to lose your job.
This. THIS! THIS THIS THIS. And having a flat tire every other week because you can't afford new ones. Spending ten bucks a pop to have your old tires patched when a new one (for your cheap little clunker car) costs $85 but you can't afford that because you've spent ten bucks a week for the last six months getting patches.
Coin laundry :(
I'm feeling this one.
My washing machine went kerplooey two weeks ago. I finally broke down and went to the only laundromat in my rural county.
$4.25 to wash each load, $1.75 to dry each load. I spent twenty bucks doing three loads of laundry.
That's $480 a year to load up my stuff and take it to a communal laundromat, during a pandemic. Holy f*ck I miss my washing machine.
And that's not counting the time spent there. At home you can multitask while the laundry's going.
Can't Afford Health
So I'm in the US and it's "Open Enrollment" I've been looking at health insurance plans for a few weeks now. Here's my best option, as a 36-year-old single white woman with no health problems.
$235 per month (discount because I'm low-income) premium. $85 co-pay for normal doctor's visit. $145 if the doctor treats something in-office. I pay any in-office supplies that were used out of pocket. $13,000 deductible. Insurance pays 40% of hospital visits and overnight stays. Separate $7000 deductible for prescriptions. Zero dental or vision care.
Guys, I make between $800 and $900 per month. That's a quarter of my income as a premium alone. Which would be great, except if I pay the premium, I don't have any money left over for the co-pay, so I literally can't afford to both buy the policy and use it.
When I absolutely have to see a doctor I drive a couple hours to a clinic that offers huge discounts for people who self-pay. They are actually a god-send for things like sinus infections and strep throat. I had pneumonia a couple of years ago and not only did they give me the "self pay discount," making my office visit just $35, but they also found "office samples" of an albuterol inhaler and steroids, meaning all I had to buy was an antibiotic from the walmart $4 list.
I also drive an hour and a half to a Planned Parenthood clinic for my annual exam and things like that. They charge on a "pay what you can" scale. I figure out how to get by, mostly. But if anything big ever goes wrong or I develop a chronic health problem in the future, I'm gonna be so screwed it's not even funny.
I really need an eye exam as my glasses are giving me headaches, which means my prescription has changed again. And forget getting my teeth fixed, which is actually my biggest problem right now. There's no help for things like that. The healthcare situation just sucks.
Freebies For The Rich?
An inverse example is all the things rich/well-paid people get for free:
paid vacation days, gym/pool in your building, company cell phone allowance, commute reimbursement, retirement match and investing advice, paid lunches and travel, education opportunities, ability to participate in investment opportunities, references to even more highly paid jobs, etc etc.
It is definitely frustrating when I hear about rich celebrities getting giftbags with tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise in them. That is just silly.
Everyone always argues "it's cheaper to eat healthy! Buy X, Y, Z in bulk, check A, B, and C specialty grocery stores, meal prep and freeze for the week, grow your own produce!" But these sorts of solutions really require a base level of wealth to begin with. Not a ton of wealth. If you're lower-middle class but still ending up in the red because you eat out too much, you can probably (probably) use these tips to cut your food budget enough to make a difference. But to do these things you need:
to live in a place with easy access to many different places to buy food (conventional groceries, discount groceries, big box stores, farmers markets, ethnic groceries, and bulk retailers)
When you live in a food desert, like many inner cities and rural areas, pick-and-choose grocery shopping is not an option. When you don't have a car or live a very short distance from the store, buying more than an armful of groceries is not an option. When you work multiple jobs to pay rent, spending many hours per week on shipping or food prep isn't an option. When you live in an efficiency apartment, complex cooking and infinite food storage isn't an option. When you don't have a surplus of money this very minute, buying in bulk isn't an option. When you live in an apartment, or a desert, or an urban house with a concrete backyard, or a place that is a snowy tundra 6 months out of the year, growing a garden isn't an option.
Plus, everyone gives this advice assuming a single adult or a two-adult, no kids household. But not everyone eating dollar menu and ramen noodles is a broke single college kid in a dorm blowing their allowance on beer then crying poverty. Children complicate all of this even further. So people end up buying dollar menu because it's Tuesday, payday is Friday, and they quite literally have $10 to their names to feed themselves and their kids. They could buy apples, but apples won't keep the the hunger pains away.
I used to think that Costco was good for bulk sales
My son founded a food charity and we started applying for business licenses. Guy mentioned a wholesaler to me.
My son and I went to the wholesaler and he had 200lb pallets of pork shoulder for pulled pork- which my son needs- for $140! 200 lbs of food, which my son uses to feed like 500 homeless people- for $140.
Or like 1000 chicken legs in cases for $0.29 per lb. something like $80 for 1000 chicken legs.
Can you imagine if you were dead broke and spent $80 on 1000 chicken legs- you could eat for 6 months. Working with real food wholesalers is so much crazier than anything I expected.
It's the set up for all of that - the ability to move pallets, have a huge deep freezer that all has to be there first. You're not going to have that if you're poor.
I remember there were these cabbages, like $20 for 40 cabbages. A guy was buying like 80 cabbages to make cole slaw for his restaurant. He could spin that into profit and make money.
I just felt like buying them and giving them to poor families. People have no idea how much more they're really paying than what food actually costs.
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Fast food restaurants attract a wide and varied clientele.
Owing, of course, to the fact that they are speedy, relatively inexpensive, and often delicious, if seldom nutritious.
With so many fast food restaurants to choose from, often situated right next to one another on major highways, it's easy to become confused as to which items are on what menus.
Or if we're really in a hurry, we might find ourselves driving up to a drive through window and ordering a cheeseburger and fries, only to realize we're at a bank.
Ludicrous as the idea might sound, such encounters have definitely happened.
One simply needs to ask an employee at any of these fast service establishments for proof, and they will likely share their stories with glee.
"Fast food workers, what is your 'Sir, this is a Wendy's' moment?"
Always Look For The Golden Arches
"This is really weird that this became a meme, because I swear this is true."
"In about 95 I was driving from New England to Florida for a college spring break trip."
"Somewhere in South Carolina we stopped at a Wendy's."
"Near the hallway to the bathrooms they had a big map of South Carolina and I said to a person 'can you tell me where we are?'"
" I was pretty clearly indicating the map."
"The lady said, 'Honey, you in the Wendy's!'"
"I was like.... thanks ok."
"So no big Macs."- Wobblebut
Sorry, We Don't Accept That Here...
"One time this older dude rushes up to order and slams a coupon on the counter saying 'I want this!'"
"I pick it up It has menu items for KFC."
"I ask him 'What exactly would you like to order?'"
"He instantly gets disgruntled with me for not reading his G*d damn mind and shakes his finger at the coupon and said 'Well Whatever is on the coupon, obviously!?' in a condescending tone."
"I just look at him for a minute and say word for word 'Sir, this is McDonald’s'."
"I don’t know what you want me to do with this KFC coupon."
”He looks at me dumbfounded."
"Then looks behind me at the menu and around the store, yells 'Awh, Sh*t', like this isn’t his first time walking into the wrong establishment, grabs the coupon and storms off."- BALD-HEADED_HOEpizza hut GIF by FunimationGiphy
Seriously, Is It That Hard To Read the Menu?
'"You don't have tables?'"
"'I'll just have the general chicken'"
"'This is a Pizza Hut'."
"'Fine, just a few egg rolls'."
"'How about a pizza?'"
"'Why would I order pizza at a Chinese restaurant?'"
"'You're right, that would be stupid'."- mochablendedfun
People Still Use Checks?
"Dude came to drive thru."
"I open the window, 'sir, how can I help you'."
"'I'm outa checks', "he replies calmly."
"'Not sure I follow you', I say."
"'I'm outa checks', he says again more impatiently."
"'Right, I heard you but I don't know what you want me to do about it'."
"You can pay with cash or card too'."
"Dude gives me a weird look then says, 'Oh this ain't the bank'."
"And peels out away from the window."
"I'm a pharmacist."- avatarlevellisa simpson check GIFGiphy
Make The Most Of It...
"I used to work at Target and they hired a new girl, who had previously worked at Walmart, to work the fitting rooms, and by default the intercom system."
"A few days after she started she was about to make an announcement over the intercom and I guess habit took over because she started the announcement with 'Attention Walmart shoppers'."
" She realized her mistake and made a good recovery with 'you are in the wrong store'."- Yodajrp
"Another One Bites The Dust..."
"I was working at Braum's and this guy went on a whole rant about how Queen and all the bands from the 70's-80's are working with government to erase memories."
"All because he heard a lyric wrong."- InfiniousBeatz·
Level Your Expectations
"Y’all wouldn’t believe the amount of disappointed rich people who come to Panda Express and find out we aren’t serving authentic Chinese food."
"Once a well traveled rich woman came into Panda Express and stood at the buffet line for about ten minutes, critiquing our 'mistakes' and explaining how Chinese cuisine doesn’t actually have fried wontons with cream cheese filling."
"Ma’am, we just fry what came in the bag from a warehouse in California."- Upstairs_CowGiphy
Working in the service industry can be extremely stressful and tiring.
But when you get to share stories like these, it almost makes it all worth it.
Who wouldn't want to see just one humiliated reaction after someone ordering a 10pc McNuggets at a Popeye's is corrected?
All of us more than likely broke at least one rule while in school.
There were, of course, the class clowns and bullies who made an effort to break school rules, just for the sake of it.
But then there were those whose absolute worst nightmare was getting in trouble, who still found themselves breaking one or more rules.
However, they more than likely broke these rules without even realizing it, as many schools have a long list or rules that students, and more than likely several teachers, might not even have been aware of.
For aside from the obvious rules, no running in the hall, no cheating, some school administrators might have gone above and beyond to ensure discipline in their schools.
Thus instituting rules ranging from understandable to utterly ludicrous.
"What's the dumbest rule your school ever enforced?"
"Not being allowed to wear hoodies/jackets or sweaters that lacked the official school logo."
"I was a high school teacher for several years, both buildings I worked in were FREEZING, and having admin pull students out of my classroom during a 50 minute period & giving them detention instead of letting them LEARN is cruel and completely unnessesary, in my opinion."- Master_Catch_9089
"My school had 3 staircases along a very long corridor."
"We were banned from using the middle staircase because it got overcrowded."
"The ban was lifted once they realized it only made the other two staircases just as crowded."- bignastty·
Show Everyone How Happy You Are!
"At my kids' elementary school students had to smile while walking in the hall."- HitchhikingCatsAwkward Smile GIFGiphy
"If you throw snowballs, you get a one day suspension."
"The first long weekend after a snowfall everyone would throw snowballs to get an additional day added to the long weekend."- MrFake_Name
Sound In Theory, Lethal In Practice...
"You had to wear your ID around your neck on a rope thing."
"Then the chokings started."- the-zoidberg
"Candy canes were outlawed because you could sharpen them to a point and use them as a shiv."
"I went to school in rural Washington."
"We definitely weren’t somewhere that shankings were to be expected."- MisterComradeSanta Claus Christmas GIF by Emo DíazGiphy
Flaws With Bureaucracy...
"I got Saturday school for missing a day of classes when I was 16."
"Seems reasonable, except I missed to go complete my US citizenship and officially become a citizen alongside my mom, it took us 12 years to go through the legal process, btw."
"Whole other issue."
"I had a note from my mother as well as a signed official Federal form they give you to explain to school/employers why you were absent."
"Apparently the only acceptable absence excuse was illness."
"I got punished for becoming a citizen."- Lumpy_Constellation
Silence Is Golden
"Elementary school principal banned talking at lunch."
"If you were caught talking or even signing to someone, you had to go sit by yourself on a folding chair with no table."
"There was once my mom came to eat lunch with my older sister and I."
"The principal was like 'Oh you should go eat out in the hallway with your daughters' and she was like 'nah, I'm gonna sit here with my daughter and her friends and talk to them and enjoy their presence'."
"Usually if a parent came for lunch the student could invite one friend to join, unless you had siblings."
"Then it was too many people so you couldn't invite a friend."
"Anyway, one of my older sister's friends whispered to my mom that she was going to move so she wouldn't get in trouble for talking."
"THIS WAS A NINE YEAR OLD."- passatcarno talking total physical response GIF by ALO7.comGiphy
So Much For Standing Up For Yourself...
"That if you say/do anything back to your bully it becomes a mutual conflict and isn't bullying."
"So if they start calling you slurs and making you feel bad every day and you call them stupid once or twice the school probably won't help."
"Also dress code required school branded hoodies.'
"They were 50 dollars."
"If you wore a non school hoodie you got in school suspension."- wowthatfood
Many would say "the rules are not meant to be broken".
However, one should stop and reflect when certain rules were implemented, and what exactly they were intended to prevent.
As these rules might actually be impossible for many to follow.
Then too, one can't help but wonder if people might be better off breaking these outdated rules?
It takes people no time at all to realize how much their life changes when adopting a pet.
First and foremost, of course, is the joy they bring, be it snuggling on the sofa, or going for a walk in the park.
Overtime, however, we might begin to notice how our own day to day routine might have changed since bringing home our puppy, kitten or guppy.
Indeed, sharing your home with a pet might result in you making changes to your diet, exercise regime or cleaning habits without even realizing it.
"What has your pet accidentally conditioned you to do?"
They Know When Their Water Isn't Fresh
"Change the water in her bowl."
"It can be all the way to the top and she’ll stand there staring at it until I take the bowl, dump it, and refill it with fresh water."- bippityboppityhyeem
No More Chance Of The Mailbox Getting Full.
"Check the mail every day."
"He's so excited to walk to the mailbox with me it reminds me to actually do it."- cap_blueberry
Can' t Squash Them!
"Sleep with my legs a cat-length apart."
"She likes to sleep in between them."- zool714cat sleeps GIFGiphy
Always Leave Some For A Doggy Bag
"Before I run in the morning I usually scarf down a banana."
"Ever since we got my sweet dog, I scarf down about two thirds of my banana and he gets the last part."
"It’s become our little thing, an unspoken agreement."- oksandwiches
Just Can't Get Them Out Of Their Heads...
"Weaving his name into any song I can for no reason whatsoever."- jasonwilczak
No Need For An Alarm Clock
"To press on my bladder to wake me up early so they could eat early."
"Living lots of food by night didn't solve it."- IseultDarcyWake Up Cat GIFGiphy
"My dog Rusty always puts his front paws on me and I always hugged him so now when he’s anxious he’ll give me a hug and I’ll hug him back."
"The other one is when I get ice he always begs for one so now without thinking I always toss him an ice cube."- Kenivider
Always There For You
"Calm down when I start to lose my temper or get frustrated."
"Whenever he hears me sigh or swear, he runs to me, rests his chin on my arm or leg and looks up at me with concern."
"This has made me so aware of how my energy can impact those around me and I have really gotten my anger under control since he started doing this."
"He's one of the goodest boys and I am grateful for him every day."- The_Atlas_Moth
"I have a cat that plays fetch, very insistently."
"She brings me her toy mouse, and if I don't throw it for her, she sits on my laptop keyboard."
"Of course this all started when I would throw the mouse to keep her from sitting on my laptop."- Mortambulistfetch guru studio GIF by True and the Rainbow KingdomGiphy
Unplanned Eating Schedule
"My mother's dog tells her when it's time for her evening meal."
"As in my mother's evening meal."
"The dog knows she eats after my mother, so when she starts to get peckish she goes and bugs her to start cooking."
"When I go back to visit, we'll be sitting chatting and the dog will sidle in and become a presence in the room for maybe 30 seconds until my mother casually looks at her watch and says 'I suppose we better think about eating'."
"She's completely unaware of what triggers her decision."- prolixia
The benefits of owning a pet are too many to name.
As you might find your diet, fitness and cleanliness drastically improve without any real effort on your part.
And the evening cuddles don't hurt either.
Ever wonder how often people have dropped their personal items through the gap between the elevator and the floor?
Ever wonder the kind of items that could be strewn at the bottom of an elevator shaft?
Wonder no more!
Elevator technicians share with us the things they've seen. Some of the things that forever became detached from their owners are unique, others are of the usual suspects, and others are just plain bonkers.
These are the things that were found when Redditor diegomkt asked:
"Elevator-maintenance folks, what is the weirdest thing you have found at the bottom of the elevator chamber?"
These are the shocking items.
"Worked at a hotel. Guest dropped their phone down the shaft. After a few failed retrieval efforts, we called the elevator guys. They went down got the phone and also found a carton of eggs. Rotten, but not cracked. I don't even understand how that could happen accidentally."
"Did home repair to help put myself through college. Get a call that there's a non-waste water leak in an apartment in a second floor bathroom from a landlord, so me and my coworker go over. The water line on the toilet has a leak, enough has come out that we need to remove some of the ceiling in the living room to replace it. So we cut out a 4' x 4' area that meets a ceiling joist and we find an egg. One single egg balanced on the ceiling joist. We gingerly removed it and tossed it out. The ceiling had been closed up for at least the last 40 years. It was lathe and plaster, that old. That egg still haunts me."
"My dad was an elevator mechanic for about 15 years."
"He had a very dark sense of humour and would come home with some of the craziest stories. (For example, any time he was in an elevator, he would shake it a little or tap on the displays or buttons and go 'Yep. Total piece of crap. Inferior piece of crap.' and I think he mostly did it to freak people out.) One of my favourites:"
"He got a call that someone was hearing weird noises from the elevator. He got inside, rode the elevator up and sure enough, he could hear it too. For half a second he thought it was a baby crying and realized it was a cat. When he got to a certain floor, he could hear this sad meowing. It obviously wasn't in the elevator car, so he got into the shaft and found this little orange kitty! It had somehow (and I don't think he figured out or told us how) got into the elevator shaft and was sitting in a spot between the floors where it wouldn't get crushed by the elevator, but it couldn't get out."
"My dad saved it and gave it to the building manager to see if it belonged to anyone in the building."
"It was the one time he ever told us a story that involved him saving an animal instead of finding dead ones."
You might have expected these.
"I once accidently lost my drivers license down the little gap in the elevator doors, just dropped it and was super unlucky as it slipped through. It turned up in my mail 10 years later! Obviously long expired, but still crazy some maintenance guy found it and bothered retuning it."
"Well over 1500 tax returns at the bottom of the ATO's north brisbane office elevator shaft."
"My dad has a great story about this. He supervised the mechanics, and one of them called him from a mental hospital and said 'you've got to see this'. The maintenance guy was called because the elevator wasn't quite sitting level on the ground floor; it was about half an inch too high and both patients and staff had been tripping on it. But all other floors were no problem."
"My dad arrived to find the maintenance guy cackling, looking into the bottom of the shaft. There were probably tens of thousands of magazines down there. They had to get a bunch of shovels, a small crew, and a rolling dumpster to clear it out. When it was all done, my dad decided to stay behind and pretend to read a newspaper while he sat in the lobby. After about half an hour, he sees an elderly patient holding a magazine, shuffling slowly toward the elevator. He stops in front of the doors, glances left, glances right, and quickly stoops down, slides the magazine into the gap, and shuffles away as fast as he can with a huge grin on his face. My dad could not help but laugh hysterically. This guy had probably been sliding magazines in there multiple times per day, every day, for decades. I should ask him whether he reported it or let the guy have his fun. Wouldn't surprise me if my dad went with the latter."
The Hotel Employee
"Not a technician, but do work at a large hotel. A few years ago one of our elevators stopped working. Turned out when they opened it up they found a 3-ft pile of guest folios that were never delivered to the rooms. Later when we looked on the camera we found it was a security guard that got tired of delivering them to the rooms and instead dropped them down the elevator shaft. He did this for months until he was caught."
These are the absolutely "nope" items.
"Pest control tech here, Snakes had gotten into the pit and were climbing up and dropping down on people as they rode the elevator. Good times.
"Out team dropped a steel anal dialator down the dumbwaiter shaft by mistake. When the technician came down and grabbed it off the floor ill never forget the look on his face when I told him 'we need that up here it's got to go in someone's a** soon'... it was priceless (I am a technician for a hospital dealing with rectal surgical tools is very normal)"
So there you have it.
No reports of a missing body or anything gruesome involving a serial killer were recovered at the scene of these elevator shafts.
Still, you never know what lurks beneath your elevator. And if something alive is down there, hopefully it won't slither its way up to unsuspecting riders on their way to the work floor.