I want to start off by giving inspirational credit to a fellow blogger who goes by the name of shops4shoes (ooh, I just felt my wallet twitch in my pocket) over on a blog called “A Little Bit Brave.” I also give her more than a little credit for being brave, as she is currently teaching English in Korea. She posted a story back in March about going to an open restaurant but not being able to enter. Her story reminded me of when my daughter worked at a local grocery store. She started that job before getting her driver’s license, so we had to drop her off and pick her up.
I’ve often said that having to schlep your kids around to jobs, school activities and shopping adventures with their friends is Nature’s way of preparing parents for the day when their children will be driving. You dread that day while they are little, but by the time that day comes, you can’t wait to hand over the keys.
One of the benefits of picking my daughter up was the ability to buy a bit of prepared food to take for lunch the next day. I usually took leftovers for lunch, but if there were no leftovers, this was a great way to avoid having to go out for lunch on a rainy day or a day when it was 90f. I drove to the store early and went to the deli. A huge sign said that the deli was open until 10:00, but at 9:20, there was no food. The guy behind the counter explained that the manager wanted him to be able to punch out at 10:00 and that the deli had to be clean.
I had had a similar experience when I was in college, and it made me wonder if along the way to being a “manager” you lose your ability to do math.
I was the clerk/operator at an indoor golf range when I was in graduate school. This was the kind of place where you smacked a ball into a screen onto a projected image of Doral Country Club or Pebble Beach. The filmstrip would advance in 10-yd increments and your ball would be spotted from left to right depending on the force and angle of your shot. We were open until 2:00 am, but I was told to close at midnight if there were no golfers because it could take up to 2 hours to play. One night, a foursome came in at midnight. From the sound of things, they had come from a bar, but they wanted to rent clubs and play a round. I let them, and I got yelled at by my boss, who resented having to pay me until 2:00 am.
The foursome paid over $25 to play. I was making $1.95 an hour.
I run into things like this all the time. We once tried to hire an electrician to run a small number of network cables through our ceiling at work. The guy’s business card literally said “No job too small” but when I explained the nature of the job, he said: “I try to stay away from small jobs like that.”
You know who says what they mean? The Post Office. At least when it comes to the posted collection times on mailboxes. I learned this the hard way when I worked for the Post Office during summers in college. One of the tasks that I was assigned on a fairly regular basis involved picking up mail from outlying rural Post Offices and various mail boxes scattered around town. One of the boxes was on the corner near the Bridgeville Trust Company. The posted “last pickup” at that box was 5:00 PM. I swung by between 4:55 and 5:00 and I figured “close enough” I mean the full length expression, as I remember, is: “close enough for government work” and this was certainly government work. I emptied the box and took off. When I got to the office, they sent me back to the bank to personally pick-up their outgoing mail and to deliver an apology.
Trains say what they mean too. If you’re on the 6:12 from Windsor Locks to New Haven, that train won’t leave until 6:12. Of course, it might not leave until 6:15, or 6:20 but it will never pull out at 6:11. Airlines used to be like that, but now that they are really paying attention to who should be on the plane and who is actually on the plane, I’ve been on a few flights where the flight attendant has said “everybody is on board so we are going to push back a little early.”
One of my favorite memories of my college roommate Tony was when he and I and two other friends went to an “all you can eat” chicken restaurant outside of Morgantown, WV. You wouldn’t think that anybody would open an all-you-can-eat anything within driving distance of a college campus, but the sign was in the window and the special was listed in the menu. We each ordered the all-you-can-eat special and; as I recall, it began with a healthy serving of chicken and a couple of sides. We finished that and asked for more. The waitress brought over a plate with 4 pieces of chicken on it. Tony looked at her and said:
“Ma’am? You should know that we’re going to eat a powerful lot of chicken. When we’re done here, this place is going to look like the lost chicken graveyard. Maybe you could just bring a tray over here and save yourself a few trips.”