The other day I had my normal salad for lunch but went with the French vinaigrette for a change in dressing (I'm mainly a bleu cheese man). Which jogged a funny memory.
I spent a year or two working in a Raley's supermarket mostly as a grocery-bagger / loader-into-your-car-er (I think the term was "Courtesy Clerk"). It was a weird point in my life for a lot of reasons, which is why a weird work environment like that probably suited me as well as it did. Had some psychotic management in the time I was there, ranging from derranged-but-pretty-funny to completely-control-freak-and-probably-has-human-heads-in-the-basement-at-home. This memory, however, focuses on the former.
He liked to play tricks on the new kids. Well, we all liked to play tricks on the new kids, but he just happened to be the first to play one on me. It was my first closing shift, so about ten til 11, he asks me to head out front and take down the flag. I'm new on the job and still responding with "yeah sure right away" and running off doggedly, so next thing I know, I'm outside looking for a flagpole. Which didn't exist. Come back inside and everyone's waiting for me to walk in with a huge grin on their face. Har.
Well this practice of jokery sounded like a fine thing to me, provided I wasn't the object of it, and so when the next kid got hired a couple weeks later and I was no longer the rookie, I promptly asked Steve, the shift manager, what the plan was. Steve said he saved this ones for the kids he thought were particularly naive, so I took it as somewhat of a complement that he hadn't pulled it on me. He called the new kid over, asked him to go get him a can of the dehydrated water on aisle 10, right next to the dehydrated milk. Poor girl.
Also fun was the supremely important shopping cart count. This one was usually doled out in a very urgent fashion, and key to its employ was doing so at an at least somewhat busy time, to make it more difficult. We probably had 200 of them or so, and the manager would instruct the rookie that district management was visiting later today and needed a detail report on store assets, including an accurate cart count. Picture this exasperated kid trying to walk through the store, counting all the moving ones, while trying to keep an eye on the door for ones leaving / coming out, then running outside to count all the ones in the parking lot...etc.. Good times.
My personal favorite, however, was the salad dressing shake. This was another one saved for those leaning towards the more gullible side of the scale. All you did was ask them to go make sure all the oil-based salad dressings were well-shaken. Don't worry about the cream-based ones. Thanks.
I can't tell you the endless hours of joy we had at some people's expense, as they stood there with a bottle in each hand, diligently shaking. Customers walking by, staring oddly but apprehensive to say anything to the kid they were assuming was a little "slow."
And that's what I think of when I have French vinaigrette.
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