Saturday, March 21, 2015
Working at the supermarket
It used to be such a craft and people were really specific about how they wanted their groceries bagged; I personally still am. I'm the one that has to carry the bags to the car, hope they get there without incident, drive home, and then unload them. I like my groceries bagged a certain way! I don't want 10 yogurts thrown into a bag with a carton of milk over on its side. Nor do I want my bread on the side of the bag getting bent by the corner of a box of cereal. Some of these supermarket associates don't even look at they are just throwing things into a bag, leaving me to cringe the entire time.
I remember in high school the kids all wanted to work at the local supermarket and it was sort of a right of passage. Not that working at a supermarket was so special, but it was truly THE THING to do back home. At least it was in the 70's and 80's. "Back in the day" the bag boys and bag girls (as they were then called) could make amazing gratuities bagging groceries and taking them out to peoples' cars. I mean kids in high school nearly fought to get these jobs. Cashiers made a little more money so they weren't so concerned with tips but I remember kids saying they made $50, $60, $70 or more in tips every week just bagging groceries and running them to the customers' cars in addition to their hourly wages. And if it were raining, you'd get even MORE tips.
The right of passage statement was because the kids that DID work at the supermarket also had cars. They were the IT crowd. So the whole idea in high school was to get a job bagging groceries, save your money for the year and come back after summer break with cool wheels. The grocery store workers were the "cool kids on the block." They had the job, they had the coin, they had the car, and they had the babes (him or her). They were usually the kids that smoked, usually the kids hanging out at break by the high school soda machine, or out in the parking lot leaning against their freshly polished chrome.
Though I live in Los Angeles today, I often wonder if the supermarket experience for high school kids is the same anywhere today as what it was nearly 30 years ago for me. Do the kids still make tips for running groceries? Is it still a "cool thing" in high school to get jobs that pay gratuities to buy a car for themselves? We didn't have social media, internet or cel phones so the only way for us to engage was with one another and we did this by buying cars and driving around the town square over and over on a Friday night.
But back to the groceries. I'm truly incredulous that the bagging clerks just don't have what we seemed to have "way back when." Just something I found myself pondering on today as a friend and I were having teenage memory discussions.
Enjoy the day and I hope it's full of wonderful memories.
Posted by Billy Lowe at 1:46 PM