Monday, May 12, 2008

Grocery Workers Rock!

I was watching My Name is Earl and in last week's episode Earl trained to be a competitive grocery bagger. This reminded me of my old grocery store days. Plus, after three days of really bummer posts, I figured I needed something to lighten the mood around these here parts. Plus, the guy from Napolean Dynamite was in this episode. That's cool.

If you haven't read Friday-Sunday yet, I suggest you scroll on down and work your way back up. You'll thank yourself in the end. Seriously. You may need this for a palate cleanser.

When I was in high school, I spent two or three years working in Food Lion, which was, at the time, the highest-class grocery store in town. Since Wal-Mart moved crosstown and opened up the bigger building with the grocery store inside, Food Lion shut down and turned into a Harvey's where you can find chitterlings, rabbit, and a multitude of salt pork products, but it's not worth squat for anything else. But back when Food Lion was king, I was the king of Food Lion. I was the best bagger those sonsabitches had and they knew it. They knew it so hard that they even let me run the cash register. As cashier, I was even the second fastest clerk in the building after the assistant manager who'd worked there for years. Sure, I'd occassionally get complaints from the losers who shopped there and thought I was going too fast for safe handling of the food, but those pansies didn't know what they were talking about. No one ever returned groceries that I bagged or rang up. Cold stuff always went in the same bags, inedibles only went with inedibles and, bread always went on top. Nothing crushed. Nothing bruised. You doubt the skills, you can eat it old lady!

Here's a few tips for those of you thinking about going into the grocery store business:

1. Old alcoholics are the biggest babies about universal ID checks. We had to check all IDs for tobacco sales and anyone who looked younger than 40 for alcohol (strange, but it was true). The grizzled old guys who'd stock up with several cases of Natty Light each Friday evening were downright babies about me having to ask for their IDs to sell them beer. The bastards even had their IDs most of the time. If you get asked this by a cashier in the future, don't be a little bitch about it. Pull out your ID and show it to them. They don't have any reason to risk their job to cut you any slack, you big loser.

2. The poorer the woman, the more convinced she was that you were personally trying to screw her out of 25 cents. I once had a woman with three teeth (who was probably only 35) cuss me out in the front of the store because she grabbed a pack of bologna that had been put in the wrong spot by another customer. The bologna was at least six feet from the nearest lunch meat on sale and it had have been the only pack of bologna in the area, but she was convinced that I was trying to screw her out of 25 cents. I'm sorry, grocery stores don't pay their employees enough to inspire enough corporate loyalty to screw over the customers for the store.

3. Anyone who worked in a grocery store has learned to hate the average person. Most of my friends became cynical and calloused people from their tenures as journalists. I was cynical and calloused long before I got to college. People suck. Especially people who shop in grocery stores.

That's right. This entire post was just to tell you that all of you people suck.


JustinS said...

My first real job was at a grocery store, cleaning up the meat department and deli. Amazing that I'm not a vegetarian now.

After several months, I was promoted out of that area and got to mingle among the real people, stocking shelves and bagging groceries. Oh, and cleaning up after the homeless drunks making 1:58am-last-call beer runs, dropping 2 or 3 40s of OE before finally staggering to the check stand with one still intact.

Occasionally, I got to climb into the garbage shoot when it got backed up. Just me, an old broom stick, and several weeks of nasty trash tucked into a space only about 3 feet tall. Sadly, that was one of the best jobs I ever had...

sid said...

I found it interesting that you had to ask people for their ID. I wonder if they do this in Pick 'n Pay. This is a large grocery store that sells wine. Not sure if P'nP sells beer though (I don't drink). I'll check though.

Jacob said...

I was always a little jealous of the stockers. They got paid a little more because they had to work the graveyard shift and they had absolutely no dealings with the customer.

Of course all of the good looking girls were cashiers, so I had better scenery up front than the stockers. You can only stare at boxes of cereal and loaf of foam rubber bread for so long.

Courtney said...

I learned to hate people when I worked in a restaurant in high school. Food apparently makes people bitchy.

I wonder how our household ban on grocery bags is affecting the bagboy trade. I guess they still help us put the stuff in the cart, so it's probably not doing anything.

Mickey said...

Haven't read this yet. Just wanted you to know that I will, but I've got to spread the love to the rest of my blog roll first. You take a lot of time.

Chris said...

Oh yeah? Well your mom sucks!

Seriously, you said everyone who shops at a grocery store sucks, and I feel confident your mom shops at a grocery store.

I second Courtney's motion on the waiting tables thing. Hungry people are bastards.

Well, actually only a small percentage of them were bastards to me, but it was still a high number relatively to the bastard ratio in other everyday situations.

Julie said...

I decided that I want to open a Trader Joe's in my area but they do not franchise. They are all owned by corporate. Those jerks. I would have been a great grocery store owner.

Mickey said...

Now I've read it and of course I agree that people suck. All of us.

Jacob said...

Chris: You're wrong. My mom only eats what she herself produces. I am perfectly willing that I myself suck, so I won't make any qualifications on my part. Besides, this is one of those things where you can insult people and not fear backlash. It's like saying everyone who poops is a complete f'ing moron. No one can take you seriously even if you are.

Julie: I'm sorry you were unable to franchise. I like the store, but was a bit disappointed. The only overwhelmingly cool section was the frozen section. That was some of the baddest-assed frozen foods I ever did see. Can't beat the prices for quality and variety though.