Once upon a time, not that very long ago, I had a job that I absolutely loved.
Well, I’ve had lots of jobs that I loved. My motto has always been “I will work for no one, but I can work -with- anyone.” This one was special, in its own particular way.
I had the pleasure of being a convenience store clerk for about a year and a half. It’s funny how that job works. You get your “regulars.” I knew what they wanted as soon as they stepped in the door. I shared the bottom section of a newspaper between three customers. I knew that bottom paper was going to be a return (the bottom paper almost never gets sold; sports, puzzles and comics were shared). But I also got to -know- them and our neighborhood. Cops got free coffee and soda fountain drinks. I know they weren’t supposed to accept them, but we did it anyway. Anything else for them was $1, except for bad habits. It’s the most secure feeling job I’ve ever had. Working in a law office scared me. Working in the convenience store did not. I had the 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. shift. “The morning chick.” I never requested officer assistance opening the store, but there was always one close by when I opened. (Note: I was at Mamie’s Kitchen at 5:30 to the get the biscuits, and hid my regulars’ favorites in the back of the tray with their names on the back of the bags after getting the coffee going, so I usually opened pushing 6 a.m. eating my Mamie’s grits. My boss was fine with that)
One of the major perks of my job was that I got to spoil my children.
My boys’ were all in high school by then. I had a rule, and you’ve got to remember when I say “boys’” or “kids’” I use those terms loosely. I’ve lost count of the “rent-a-kids” on my list. Come by on your way to school for breakfast. They could pick out a drink and a biscuit, a piece of candy and a fountain drink… They had a wide selection, within reason. The price was always a kiss and a hug over the counter, and it was all worth its weight in gold. There’s -nothing- that can replace that little connection with a teenage animal, and I never got bit!
My till (register) never reconciled. Each time I got a hug and kiss from one of my kids’ I threw cash in the register drawer after they left. I knew pretty much what everything cost and added to it when I paid in. I also knew (after about a year) that the whole store was wired to the gills and my boss knew every move I made from the cameras. Obviously, he approved.
New management and new rules ended up taking over and I ended up moving on, but I value our friendship (him and his family) to this day.
I also still wonder why he didn’t let his boys’ play with mine. Things that make you go “Hhhhmmmm…”