Monday, 7 August 2017

Corie // Grocery Bagger

One of my many jobs when I was a teenager was bagging groceries at the local grocery store. It was a small place, only four aisles and a deli counter at the back. At the time it was a small business independently run by the same family for generations (not the case any more since they sold it to a major corporation).

The owners lived very nice lives in our rural town. Big homes, lots of land, and jetting off to the holiday destinations of Myrtle Beach and Orlando. Dream vacations for many of the families in our town.

Yet, staff was paid minimum wage ($5.15 in those days) and received no benefits. This being America meant no health insurance or dental. There was staff in their forties and fifties that had been there for decades just trying to survive, and a turnover of teenagers looking for some cash.

The owners left us alone a lot and we were only busy on Thursdays when government issued food stamps arrived in the mailboxes of the locals.

We used to help each other out. Drop a box on the floor and label it damaged goods. Can't sell it then so free for the taking.

Sometimes we were just plain bored. That led to competitions...who could drink the most milk in one minute, who could swallow a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, or who was the fastest down the aisle when pushed on a wheelie chair.

It wasn't much but when you live in a small town where people are living pay cheque to pay cheque for a crappy life, it felt good to take from those who seemed to live like kings by our standards.