For about thirty years (mid 70's through early 2001) I used to work what I like to call, "grunt retail". Grunt retail is defined (in my humble opinion) as working in jobs for low pay, requires no brain cells and there's at least a 98% chance of no advancement. Actually, the same definition can be applied to government work, but I digress.
My version of grunt retail basically covered the following industries: Newspapers (paper boy), Groceries (supermarket cashier), Restaurant (pizza delivery) and Retail (gas station/convenience stores, or c-stores for short). Although I have quite a few stories to tell about the first three (most notably, meeting up with a hooker while delivering pizzas), today's post will kick off a new work series entitled 3rd Shift Grunt, which will cover my third stint (1992-94) working the overnight in the gas station/c-store industry. The first two were back in the mid-80's which totaled about six months. They weren't really noteworthy (was in my early 20's), so this will be the only mention those two stints will get.
I originally didn't start out to work the overnight. Being a diabetic (and a very stupid one at that) it would require really screwing up my meds in order to work the shift. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed working 1st and 2nd shift, because it gave me some decent flexibility throughout the week.
But as luck would have it, the one time I brought a book into work to read, it basically cost me my sanity for the next year and a half. I had a customer come in one night and after he'd made his purchase, I returned to my book. I eventually saw him leave about ten minutes later. The next day I was called into work and got reamed out by the owner. Seems that the customer opened an entire box of expensive baseball cards looking for a special insert, thus making the box unsaleable.
Suffice to say, after being reamed and spending the day sweeping up the sand around the parking lot (thing was about a quarter mile circle) I was given the option of either losing my job (fired) or moving over to 3rd shift.
Well, since my wife was pregnant with my son at the time, and that there weren't no other opportunities on the horizon, there really wasn't any other option for me.
I said yes.
Up next: Mentally and physically preparing myself for the overnight.