Pushed in a few stray grocery carts from the far reaches of the parking lot tonight. It took me 2 minutes 39 seconds. But that 2 minutes 39 seconds was all it took to remind me of what it is like to work a lousy job.
I pushed in a few carts tonight at the local grocery store. I was not actually going to the store, but I saw some carts which were loose. As I pushed the carts into the rack, the man who corrals them pushed in a few beside me. I told him that I caught a few carts trying to escape and brought them home. He laughed as the sweat dripped off his brow. Then he headed back to the parking lot.
I walked down the strip mall and into the pizza place to pick up our take-n-bake pizzas. I gave the attendant my name. He could not find the pizzas we ordered. After awhile he came back and said that they had not made them, but they would do so immediately. I said it was ok, we will just have to roll with it. He took my credit card and said, “That’s not what most people say. They just want to get all mad and stuff.” With a smile on my face, I offered to get mad. He laughed and said that he gets enough of that.
When I was young, I worked the can and bottle redemption department at the local grocery store. It was a stinky and dirty job. Every night I would come home smelling of beer, hands sticky with old soda.
I remember one Saturday afternoon when the line of people returning bottles and cans would not let up. This was in the days before automated sorting machines so I had to count and sort every stinking can by hand. The cans piled up. The bags stacked up until my small area became so overloaded you could hardly walk. And the people kept coming.
I called for help. The shift supervisor said she could not spare anyone. I worked hard and fast, the piles kept growing. I called again. Everyone was busy. Eventually, the supervisor came back. She pushed open the thin metal door and stopped cold in her tracks. I will never forget the amazed look on her face. But grocery store employees are trained to smile. So I smiled at her.
Her response was to start shoving carts violently. “How can you even work like this?” “What have you been doing?” I tried to explain that I had asked for help, but she kept yelling. It went downhill from there. I remember going home that night very tired, very dejected, and very late.
Have you ever worked a lousy job? Can you remember being the guy that nobody pays attention to unless there is a problem. It is not much fun, but we have all been there.
When my supervisor was yelling at me all those years ago, I wish a customer would have come up to me and said something nice.
Say ‘hi’ to that guy bagging your groceries, serving you a burger or delivering your pizza. Once, that was us.