Saturday, January 9, 2010


part 2

So....after I got my body acclimated to living the life between the hours of 9p and 6a, it was time for me to be trained to in fact, work during the hours of 9p and 6a. It wasn't so much running a cash register, the gas console and the lottery machine, it was all the schtuff that needed to be done on a nightly basis.

Thus it came to pass that I found myself being trained by a jerk who was about a decade younger than me. I shouldn't say trained, because to me, training denotes learning an entire job from scratch. Instead, I would call it "babysitting" (hence the title of this post), because really, this is what this little pea brain did, he babysat.

Note: If it sounds like I'm being harsh on this individual, I am. This "adult" was/is the type of person that after talking to him for ten seconds, you just want beat the absolute snot out of him.

I should explain about where I worked and the person who babysat me at the time, because having a basic overview of my working world back then will give you a better understanding of this and subsequent posts.

The c-store I worked in was one (and still is) of the busiest 24 hour stores in the Hartford area, simply because it was directly off the interstate and centrally located for that area. what surrounded the area was a UPS hub, a regional farmer's market (where most of the major Connecticut produce companies have operations and where you can buy locally grown produce too), a few restaurants (including a dinner theater), a couple of motels, a small airport and a large industrial park. It was also surrounded by the poorer and eclectic part of the city, thus the store had more than its fair share of pimps, hookers, drug dealers and other assorted zanies. So it was always, repeat, always busy there (which really surprised me). As for the jerk who was training me, he had a tendency to shoot his mouth off at the wrong people and get into all kinds of trouble.

Example: On one of the nights he was training me, he happened to say something to an obviously upset and greatly agitated man. The man responded in a way that left no doubt in my mind that if this jerk didn't keep his mouth shut, that this man would shut it for him. Fortunately, he didn't say anything else and the customer eventually left the store.

Anyways, this is what I was suppose to do every night:

1} Get all the various credit slips separated and organized.
2} stock the cigarettes.
3}Spray and clean the counters.
4} Dust the front candy rack and all of the aisles.
5} Empty all 10 outside trash cans (prior to starting my shift).
6} Sweep and mop the floor.
7} Stay on top of the coffee, especially during the morning rush hour.
8} Stay awake.
9} Stay out of trouble.
10} Make up the cash drawer for the morning.
11} Stay awake.
12} Play nice.
13} Close up the car wash.
14} Did I mention that I was supposed to play nice?
15} Did I mention that I was supposed to pay attention?

And I did all of this for a big fat whopping $280 a week.

Up next: what I really did on a typical night.


  1. That sounds like a thankless, exhausting job. I can't imagine being responsible for cleaning the place on top of all your other duties. I used to have to dust product when I worked in a retail store located next to a busy street. Every bottle on the shelves got covered in grime at such a rate that by the time we'd dusted everything in the store we had to start back at the beginning again. *shudder*

  2. It's no easy feat working that shift, but hey, look at what you got from the job! Your writing must have character quirks down pat. Great inspiration going on there. Sounds like you could use this in a book similar to Stewart O'Nan's Last Night at the Lobster, based in New Britain, no less!

  3. I remember one of my first jobs the minimum wage was 3.35 but they said b/c I was under 18 they could pay me 2.85 an hour. I paid my way through school making crap like that.

  4. S.R.: It was at times. And at other times, it was a really fascinating job.

    Cleaning though, was not high on my list of things I liked to do at the time. It meant that I had to come out of my little bullet proof cage and mingle with the people for a couple of hours every night.

    Joanne: Character quirks...hmm, never thought of it like that. I did run across some quirky characters for the time I spent working there.

    It does give me some good ideas to use when I need to flesh out a character or two.

    Bearman: $3.35 an hour? Woah. With this job, I was actually making about 75 cents above minimum (was $5.25 I believe back in '92) at the time.

    At least we were making more than delivering newspapers, eh?

  5. Why is it that the most difficult jobs pay the least? Glad you don't have to work there anymore. Really curious about part 2!

  6. Convenience stores are probably one of the hardest jobs to work...I don't think I could do it in this day & age. Worked in a small book/magazine store for 5 years p/t. Hated dealing with lottery, and cleaning out all the plastic wrappers that acumulated in the *ahem* adult mag area..yeah. fun.

  7. Wow that sounds like a great job. NOT!

    Still I bet you met some really interesting people, when you weren't cleaning the worktops and moping the floor?

  8. R.K.: you got that right. But by the same token sometimes the lowest paying jobs can be the best jobs have.

    I put the part two link in because the length of time in between posts for so long that I thought people would have forgotten what I was talking about.

    Kim: I actually continued working in convenience stores on and off from 1992 through 2001.

    I think I was fortunate enough not to run into that problem that you had yours. We really didn't carry magazines right worked, because we had the real thing nearby.

    Joe: Not by any stretch of anybody's imagination was it a good job. Basically it was for a paycheck, because at the time my wife and I and newborn son were still living at home with my parents.

    As a matter of fact I did meet some interesting people during the year and a half I was there. I got to be friends with a local record producer for little while; met quite a few dancers who worked at the adult clubs clubs; and was introduced to a well-known local boxer.

    But the more interesting zanies are for future posts. :D

  9. I like that number 9 - Stay out of trouble. :)

  10. I managed for the most part, to execute #9. It was #14 & #15 that I had trouble with. :D

  11. I can't wait to read what happened when the babysitting was over!

  12. Oh I got some goodies lined up for everyone in the coming weeks/months.

    As I've been answering the various comments to this post, it's been jogging my memory to the point where I'm remembering a lot of different stuff that I experienced some 17 years ago.

    I even got a few more stories lined up featuring my babysitter.

  13. i think he wuz mebbee teeching you tolerance of iddits??

  14. I think so....more likely though, he was trying to teach me tolerance of him...


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