Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

No, not those kinds of tricks. Get your mind out of the gutter. Wait, maybe I should reconsider.
At the Candy Factory, I was hired to work in the office three days a week for about six hours a day. They needed someone to help with their website using Photoshop. I love computers and really looked forward to it.
The job entailed a lot more than office work. When you work in a mama/papa business, it's important to help out. Just hope I can do all the other stuff they have asked me to do. I love bagging caramel corn, hard candy and boxing chocolates. When I leave work, I bring all those great smells home with me. Ah, it's a heavenly aroma that surrounds me and stays on my clothes for hours.
They know I'm not physically strong, so thank heavens I don't have to help lift the very large, heavy brass pot full of scalding hot boiling sugar and dump it onto a sugared table. Scooping ice cream is not for me either. Even some of the really young employees tell me how their back and arms start to hurt when its busy.
Every thing was just great until the bosses asked me to man the cash register during the 4th of July celebrations when they just get slammed. No problem. Glad to help. After a quick 15 minute instruction one day and a quick recap just before we opened, I'm on my own.
Now for the new tricks. Doors open and people are streaming in, line goes out the door and down the sidewalk. Great for business. The Candy Shop does have an excellent reputation and a lot of repeat customers that come back every time they are in town. Some even do a regular mail order after visiting.
Okay, okay, on with the story. Feeling very useful, helpful and smart to pick up this cash register thing so fast, (never ever ran a cash register before) I'm getting the line through, weighing taffy, bagging stuff like coffee cups and tea pots, stuffed animals, boxes of chocolate, punching in prices for ice cream cones, punching in related codes, doing credit cards, giving change. I'm on a roll. Until....
One group changed things up. Oops. I saw a cancel button and hit it, thinking that would cancel the transaction and I could start over. I was getting muddled, these people were taking things back, adding more stuff. Eeks. Okay, I hit the total button. What!!! $4,256.00. Something is really wrong and the customer is not amused. There is a young teenager working there who comes to bail me out. But she pushes me aside like stale bread and delves into the tape on the cash register. I try to thank her for helping, she shoos* me away like I was irritating her to the max. So I step back.
She says problem fixed. I try to cash out another customer. Oh, no. It's still saying an ice cream cone and box of candy is in the thousands of dollars. This time another employee tried to help. Even then after a successful couple of customers, it starts again with the big dollar totals. Now the owner comes over because the computer is frozen. Quietly I tell him, I'm not doing the cash register, but I'll be happy to help bag candy.
As I leave, I hear that snotty little teenager, telling everyone how stupid I am. That's it, I'm going to be her worst enemy now.
Bagging candy and caramel corn goes on the rest of the day and I know that I've contributed —just not at the cash register. This old dog knows now that she can't be taught new tricks.
Page two: Once after my retirement, I was offered a job in the bakery of a food market in Mercer, Wisconsin. I'm a foodie and thought it would be a blast to work there part-time. It was early morning work, but hey, I'm an early morning person. Got there on time, punched in my time card, filled out all the tax stuff. Then went to work.
Heavy pans, heavy flour, heavy sugar. No time to have a break. Sweep the floors, bag the bread. No bathroom breaks. Stock the floor, push the heavy tray holders, wash the dishes in a huge machine. Quick break for lunch. Did go outside in sunshine for 10 minutes and ate my sandwich. Back to work. Eight hours of hell. Had a headache, arm ache, feet ache.
Back again the next day. NOPE! Called in when I got home and told the boss the work was too hard for this old lady. QUIT. And for all that work, he never paid me. I called a number of times, he always said he would mail it. Guess what, he never did.

This old dog is enjoying sleeping in the sun, dreaming of old times, eating great meals, doing just what she wants, having fun working a couple of days at the Candy Store... knowing that at this time of her life, she has limitations. No more new tricks for her.

*Shoo, shoos - definition: used to get animal to leave; wave away

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