My first job. I was 17. It was the local pharmacy/has the same crap as a supermarket but with slightly higher prices store.
I mean really what else should it have, besides–
Nothing, that’s what.
So depending on when you got in for your shift, you either worked in the back area helping fill Rx’es or running the lottery machine, or worked the front where you rang up everything else. Sometimes it didn’t matter; if you didn’t work the front enough, there were grumbles that you were slacking, since it was the busiest part by far.
Each one was a little slice of Hell.
Well first, co-workers were ok, I went to school with half of them anyway- so that was never really an issue. Plus I’m so friggin loveable.
Prescriptions weren’t too bad a racket, except that you didn’t know if there was something wrong with the script, insurance, dosage or availability until after the customer left (well over half the time), and you had given them a time frame, which according to them makes you legally/honor/duty bound. So then they show up and it ain’t ready, and you get chewed out. Awesome!
Lottery was actually fun in a demented pleasure or sociological/anthropological way. You got to see humans at their most desperate and superstitious. People who played sheets of various numbers every day, carefully added up. The guy who would think his lucky numbers up right there, sometimes changing them halfway through, sometimes right after you entered them, in which case you had to void them out and stop “jinxing [his] good luck by entering numbers too fast.” Yep, actual quote. You don’t forget winning phrases like that. You get them tattooed on your forearm, then pass it off as something in Proverbs to anyone who asks, years later. Anyway, there was the lady who brought in the supermarket sale ads, since winning numbers can be hidden within the codes (Dan Brown would later steal this concept). For instance – hmm creamed corn on sale, 2 cans for 99 cents? Gimme 299, 50 straight 50 box. (if you have never played pick 3/pick 4 games, the choices mean that you can bet that it will come out straight, or in some combination). I never recall any of these people coming in with big wins; maybe a box win which paid a whopping $40, which to the lady who bet $30 a day, mean a free day’s picks (which wouldn’t win).
In the front was candy. All kinds. From chips, candy bars, snack cakes and everything in between. There were fish bowls full of small candies, marked 5 or 10 cents. I couldn’t be bothered to remember which was which, so when I was on shift, all that crap was a nickel. I was a bigger hero than Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder version) himself. Most kids grabbed the small bags of chips for a quarter, or the Honey Buns, which were just cheap versions of cinnamon buns or something. Considering that half the frosting was melted to the plastic, I somehow never desired one. This was also around the time Coca-Cola was promoting their vintage type glass bottles, so kids would have those to wash down the candy with. Trouble was, they always asked to have it opened. The bottle opener we had was a twist type and was worn bald. So they asked what they were supposed to use, and I would just shrug in a matter of not giving a rats assy way.
Cigarettes. Everyone smoked Marlboro. Seriously we restocked those twice a day, but barely ever the others. Except the old ladies, who smoked Chesterfields*. A cute girl I knew and liked tried to get me to sell her smokes. I refused, which didn’t lessen my chances of actually hooking up with her, since it was about 0% anyway. On the flip side – would it have won her over and I could have gotten 15 minutes in the building staircase with her and her ashtray breath? Wondering what could have been still doesn’t keep me up any nights.
*I should mention that the Lucky numbers guy smoked…no not Lucky’s haha, but Kools. Yes he smoked Kools. He would also steal caramel candies. I guess my markdown wasn’t enough.
So I worked there a whopping 4 months, when I turned 18, graduated high school, dumped my girlfriend and eh, just stopped showing up. By that point they were tired of my dismissive shrugs, and were probably losing thousands of dollars from caramel sales.
College would be a month away, and that’s when I learned to grow up a lot.