Saturday, October 11, 2008

At the request of my friend Marty, I'm going to write a new post. Though I don't know whether it'll be worth reading. I don't have any great stories to tell tonight.

Okay, here goes:

One of my very first jobs, besides a newspaper route, was at Burger King. I worked there for about seven hours. I was assigned to put patties on the grill. I'd take them out of a freezer, stick them on a conveyor, and watch them get "flame broiled" in a greasy machine, then catch them on a bun at the other side and store them in a steamer. That was my station on the burger assembly line. (This process may also have involved picking up the occasional dropped patty from the floor, and broiling it anyway, but I'm not saying.)

At the end of my shift, at closing time, my boss told me to clean the grill. This part involved scraping tar-like sludge off the stainless steel hood of the machine. I was directed to the janitors closet where there was a hose and a floor drain, and given a box of powdered laundry detergent and a scouring pad. While working at this task with the hopelessly inadequate tools provided, I developed my very first migraine headache.

I drove home that night greasy and wet, nauseated and dizzy. And I thought to myself that any job in the world would be better than the bitter hell I had just endured.

Luckily the next morning I got a call from another place where I had applied, offering me a job. I immediately called the BK and told them not to bother scheduling me for any more shifts. . . ever. And I began my career as a warehouse worker at Best Products Co. A job I loved for the next couple of years.

Best was a department store where you could buy a variety of items. Some smaller items were stocked on the shelves, but larger items were only displayed up front. If you saw something you wanted to buy, you'd take a ticket to the cashier. Then while you were paying for the item, warehouse guys like me would send it up to you.

It was pretty mindless work. Whenever an order came through a loud buzzer would go off, followed by the sound of the dot-matrix printer crunching out a ticket. I would tear the ticket off the printer, and using the information printed thereon I'd find the item, pull the item off the shelf and send it up the conveyor belt. (I've just noticed strange parallels to my work at Burger King.) If the item was too large, I'd take it up front with a dolly or a cart. Often I was also called upon to help the customer load the item in their car as well. Besides those duties, I brought in the shopping carts as needed.

It was the perfect job for me at the time. I was going through some tough stuff in my life and at every idle moment my mind would become consumed by such despondent feelings that I became paralysed by depression. At work I was able to cope because I was constantly on my feet, running up and down aisles, lifting heavy objects. I was too engaged in repetitive tasks to think of anything else.

Best is gone now. The entire chain went under in '96. Sometimes I miss that place.

4 comments:

The Calders said...

Thanks Dave. I hope you days are going better. You are great, and people are better when they are around you. I think that is why you are still a SS teacher.

Your story reminds me why I don't wash dishes. It was my worst job ever.

Marty

Kaerlig said...

I visit that place every time I go shopping except now it is Maceys.

Maybe you should get a conveyer belt at the shop to take your mind off everything.

John said...

Hey, I worked at Best for a few months after I graduated from High School or before my mission. I bounced around in Sporting Goods, Customer Service Desk, and the registers.

Amanda said...

'member when Best was LaBelles?