Widgets Magazine

Apr 16, 2012

A Pair of Jeans - part 2

It was Saturday morning in the fall of 1979, my first day at my new job. If you missed the beginning of this story, click here. I was very nervous, but excited and proud to be an actual employee. I arrived a few minutes early and was escorted downstairs to the tiny office. It took me a while to fill out all the paperwork and agree to hard manual labor for the grand sum of $1.50/hour. Even then it was only about half of minimum wage, but it was small-town Utah and I was only 14 so I don't think any of it was legal.
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I signed on the dotted line anyway because if you remember, we were raised to believe that anything was better than nothing and I was handed my first hideous uniform. It was multicolored polyester so the stains wouldn't show. Saturday morning was prep time and typically slow, the perfect time for training.

The boss's wife, Janice, worked the day shift and to say she didn't like me was putting it mildly...but I don't think she really liked anyone...Her partner in crime was their daughter, Lisa, and she didn't like me either. Thankfully, since I was in school, I only had to work with them on Saturdays.

I survived that first day (barely) and I even planned to come back the next week. I gradually got used to the craziness of fast food. Even when it was slow, the Bossman demanded that we work, cleaning and scrubbing and prepping. I was not even allowed to bring my books with me, let alone open them.

After I had been working there for almost two weeks, I got really sick. Like fever, stomachache, throwing up sick. It was a Friday night and I hated to leave them short-handed, but my mother called in for me anyway and I spent the evening in bed.

Did I mention yesterday that one of the reasons I wanted one of those expensive pairs of jeans was to impress my boyfriend? You remember the guy with the awesome blue car that I was only weeks away from nearly crashing for him?

Little did I know that he had picked that particular Friday night to make the 15-minute drive from his hometown (which also happened to be the Bossman's hometown) to mine. He spent the evening cruising main with his guy-friends and at some point they stopped to see me, only they didn't see me, they saw the Bossman. And worse yet, he saw them.

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On Saturday I was feeling much better and I showed up at 5:00 to work my shift. I hung up my jacket, clocked in and got right to work. There was only one table of customers in the front and when they left, I grabbed my rag to clean up their table. That's when the Bossman decided to pounce.

He yelled at me and accused me of calling in sick so I could hang out with my boyfriend. He told me if I didn't want to work I could leave now and never come back. It was one of the worst tongue-lashings I have ever had and that's saying something.

I tried to tell him that I didn't even know my boyfriend was in town, that I was home sick in bed and he was welcome to call my mother, but he wouldn't listen. After about 10 minutes, he went downstairs to his office and left me alone to dry my tears and decide what to do. So far I hadn't earned a single paycheck and in our small town, jobs weren't easy to get. Besides, I hadn't even done anything wong! I guess it was the injustice of it all that made me stay.

Or maybe I'm really just a masochist...

2 comments:

laurie said...

I wonder if the fellow felt at all bad about that after. What ijustice was done to this man to make him so jaded, makes him look like a bit of a jerk, at least you stcuk it out.Brave girl,

Crystal Pistol said...

I have never worked in fast food. I don't know that I could handle it. You are a brave girl. Jeans make any pains it took to get them worth it though. Especially if they are flattering. :)

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