Monday, October 31, 2005

I don't know why the urge to do this overcame me, but I am going to share with you the high- and lowlights of my long, varied and sometimes tawdry work history.

OSCO. This is a drugstore, like CVS. The branch of Osco where I worked is now closed. Most of the time we were there, we were asked to "face" lotion (e.g., make sure all the bottles were facing the same way). I worked there with my friend G (we were both in high school) and we liked to eat many things that would make me cringe now, such as brightly colored gummy Life Savers and black-and-white cookies from a nearby bakery. We called them ying-yangs (as in, "Can you get me a ying-yang?") G had a crush on our boss, who was 23, which seemed ancient to us then. She considered asking him to the prom, but she didn't.

BABYSITTING. One of the families I babysat for included a husband with a huge stack of Playboys in plain view. My mom sent me a newspaper clipping last year. It was the police blotter of my hometown, and said that the daughter of that family threatened her parents with a knife! Connection? I think so. Bear in mind I grew up in a neighborhood that makes the Waltons look dangerous.

RE-JAYS. This was a tailory where my main job was to rip zippers. There is a little tool for this. Then a new zipper is sewn in (I didn't do that part; I still can't sew). The woman I worked with, who was much older (I was 14) warned me to "stay away from boys."

TACO BELL. Yes, I worked at the Bell. It was the summer after senior year of high school, and Taco Bell was in the food court of my local mall. My boss was a lesbian, and once took me aside to say she thought I "was one of the most attractive people who worked there". I was like, "Uh, thanks." She also had a habit of taking the spray hose from the sink and using it to wash the floor, which was quick and efficient.

THE MOVIE THEATER. To this day, for better or worse, this is probably my favorite job. We got a commission on our concession sales; free candy if the box was "voided" (many supervisors would simply dent the box of candy and then share it with everyone); free movies for ourselves, family and friends; and a fun environment surrounded by other college kids who all ended up dating each other. Highlights of this job included: Once I was in the box office with another girl, J. A guy bought tickets, and I recognized him.

Me: Didn't you buy tickets for ID4? [Independence Day] You look like Jeff Goldblum.
Him: You don't remember me. A lot of people went to see that.
Me: Oh yes I do, you had your cell phone and you called your friend Steve to see if he was coming.
Him: Wow. Wanna go out to dinner sometime?
Me: [laughing in shock]

After he was gone:
Me: Did it seem like I was interested in him? ['Cause I wasn't, I just have a good memory for certain things.]
J: Well, you did remember a lot.

We also found a dead mouse or rat in the popcorn room. Also, when you make theater popcorn, you add a glistening orange powder that is not natural in any way, plus fake butter. The moral of this story: don't eat popcorn at the movies.

All my post-college jobs were pretty boring so I'll skip 'em.

Happy Halloween, and feel free to share your own work stories!



Carolyn said...

My hubby LOVES movie popcorn. Re: Taco Bell - were you a vegetarian then? Also, if not too nosy, are you vegetarian for moral or health reasons or maybe both? It that's too personal feel free not to answer. I worked at the Bell once too. I gained ten pounds in three months. It was the free soda all day. Yikes.

Lisa said...


I had a similar babysitting experience. The father would leave Hustlers and Penthouses out on the coffee table, and the mother would have highly inappropriate conversations with me, like telling me about how she and her friends had recently played sexual pictionary and someone didn't know what the missionary position was (I was about 14---I had no idea what she was talking about but I laughed along anyway).

At another of my babysitting jobs, the mother had several shelfs of Harlequinns and some Erica Jong novels. I got quite the education from that job!

kitkat said...

One of my favorite jobs was working at Baskin Robbins. It was my first job. Imagine a bunch of 16 and 17 year old girls giggling all night and eating ice cream. It didn't get any better than that.

Bearette24 said...

Carolyn - Hehe...we won't tell him about the rat. I wasn't veg back then, no. In college I stopped eating red meat just b/c the red meat in the dining hall looked disgusting. Then when I was living at home after college, my mom suggested that I do some cooking. At the deli, confronted with the raw meat, I thought, "I can't cook with this," and that was the beginning. I'm kind of a natural vegetarian anyway because the only meat I liked was chicken (not into steak, beef, pork, fish, etc.) I do get chicken cravings sometimes but I get fake chicken parm at this place nearby. I do like animals a lot too. But I don't judge people who eat meat. A lot of people in my yoga program are vegans and get all upset with people who eat dairy. I love cheese and yogurt. I think it's a really personal choice for everyone.

Lisa - That mother sounds VERY inappropriate (and also good story fodder)! I read "the good parts" of Lady Chatterley's Lover while babysitting - found it in their bookcase. It was a different family ;)

Kitkat - That does sound good!

Fortunately I wasn't too tempted by the Taco Bell food. I think I had an occasional "chicken soft taco" and that was it. Also those fried cinnamon sticks every once in a while. Churros, i think they're called.

Carolyn said...

I learned about the birds and the bees by reading all the "Modern Romance" and "True Story" magazines my Grandma had laying around. I remember asking her what a dildo was. hee hee

Bearette24 said...

;) ;) did she tell you??

Apparently when I was 8, I saw some dogs, um, having fun, and I explained to my aunt in detail what they were doing. I don't remember this, but she does! :)

Liz said...

I once worked at a retail store where our first "break" of the day was the fifteen minutes before the store opened. After we had just gotten there. I guess that's why I only lasted a few months!

Liz said...

I learned most secrets from reading books. Sex, getting your period ('Are You There God?'), and the fact that there is no Santa Claus. Then I had to look surprised when my parents told me. ;-)

Bearette24 said...

That's how I found out about periods too! :) Also, I found out about "guy stuff" from "Then Again, Maybe I Won't." What would we do without Judy Blume ;)? I also liked "Wifey," although I read that about a year ago.

Liz said...

Oh God, my mom and I read Wifey at the same time a few years ago. Was that the one where the weird husband would keep a daily tally of his dog's "sticks" and "wees"? I think it was that book. My mom and I were laughing hysterically and we still make jokes about it today.

Summer Sisters was good.

And "Then Again, Maybe I Won't"... remember the part where he gets drunk? I remember thinking, "Ugh! I'll never do that!"


Bearette24 said...

I liked Summer Sisters too ;) Can't remember if he kept track of the dog's sticks and wees in Wifey. That was the one where she cheated on her husband and became obsessed with this other guy. It was really good in a fun, trashy way!

I can't remember him getting drunk in Then Again, Maybe I Won't. Good memory! I do remember him holding the raincoat in front of him when he went up to the blackboard.

Lish said...

I have only worked two places. All through college I worked at TCBY. It was a great job for college. I worked my way up to manager, and then I could make my own schedule. After college, I started at CPL as a lab assistant, then they paid for my cyto school, and now I'm back there as a cytotech.