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What I Learned from Working at a Grocery Store

When I first moved to my apartment I was on a doctor-ordered rest time and wasn’t allowed to work. But after 3 months of that and with seizures under control, she gave me permission to go back to work. Now believe it or not, I had done my homework before I moved to town because I knew that whenever I would need a job, I wouldn’t be able to drive yet so I would need something close by. And it actually play a small part in picking this apartment. It is close to my church and close to a grocery store that was hiring. So I just had to trust God that when I needed the job, one would be available. And it was.

This particular store is pretty unique. It’s not a Walmart, Kroger, or Aldi. It’s an IGA, which are franchise stores actually. So they can have their own personality to some degree. It’s family owned and in a small town. Everybody knows everybody.

A lot of people have asked what my job is. And I laugh. Because my job is made up of all sorts of crazy things! In any given day I can go from being a cashier, to slicing deli meat, to baking bread or cookies, to grinding hamburger, to filling the dairy case, and so many other things. I don’t know how other stores work, but here, you fill in where you are needed and know what to do. You don’t get bored. 🙂

This is my last week working at the store. I’ve been there nine months and I would like to share with you some things I have learned along the way:

  1. Power Outages have a whole new meaning when you work in the food industry. I used to think the power going out was fun and exciting but when you have to pull food quickly into coolers and worry about temperatures it turns into something else. After an outage, cooler temps have to be regulated for quite a while to make sure they are doing okay and nothing dropped too low. Customers have to be checked out quickly so you can shut the registers down. And then you work with flashlights, waiting for it to come back. It makes life interesting, but not the kind of thing you want to do often.
  2. High schoolers are…ummm…fun? to work with. I remember when I was hired as a camp counselor telling my supervisor that I would work with any age group but I REALLY did not like working with teens. Bahahaha! Came back to bite me, didn’t it? Actually, I’ve learned a lot. Just like every other age group, you can’t write off all teens as dramatic and lazy (sorry!), you have to take each one individually. Some are just as hardworking (if not more) as adults I know.
  3. Bologna is still my least favorite meat to slice. While I feel much better about it, I’m still not a huge fan. However, I have learned that it is NOT the grossest meat in the deli like I thought. Souse takes first place there. *Shudder* (just look it up…)
  4. I think there is some misconception in the world as to what constitutes a “Real Job.” Most of the world believes that if your job is not your dream, then what are you doing with your life? And until you have a job with full benefits, a 401K, and life insurance, your aren’t an adult. And the sad thing is, believers have taken on the attitude as well. When I tell people I’m switching jobs, I have been getting several responses similar to, “Oh, it will be so nice to have like a real job and everything.” I’m a little confused. I worked 45 hours last week. Is that not a “real job?” Here is what I fully believe: If you have a job you enjoy and that pays your bills, you can glorify God through that. Your job doesn’t make you, it isn’t who you are. In fact, it may be that your job is something you go to in order to be ABLE to fulfill what you would rather be doing! For instance, you may want to be able to visit shut ins, but God has not given that as your “job.” Your job is what you do during the day to support yourself so that in your free time, you can share God’s Word with those in a nursing home! Does that make sense? So please, no more of this nonsense about real jobs and dream jobs. Because my dream job can be done no matter where I go for work during the day. It doesn’t mean I’m not doing my dream job. 🙂 (Sorry, that probably should have been it’s own post.)
  5. Which leads into my next thing. Evangelism. I have learned SO much about evangelism from working at the store. How to make it practical, how to bring the Lord into everyday conversations with unbelievers. How to be patient and kind when I’m worn down and tired at 9pm and just want to go home. Things I never would have learned in the controlled environment of my last job or at church.

There are so many other things I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for patient co-workers and supervisors when my head clouded up. I’m thankful for the small town that embraced me. Small towns seriously are the best! Most of all, I’m thankful for the Lord leading me to a job that helped grow my faith so much! Everything written here is because of Him!

 

(Except bologna, that’s straight from Satan. 🙂 )

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2018 in work

 

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Recent Thoughts on Bologna

Bologna has got to be one of the most disgusting deli meats around. I just don’t understand why people buy it. Why, with all the other good meat out there, would you stare into a deli case and decide, “Hmmm, well that bologna sure looks good! I think I’ll take a pound of that.”?? It’s kind of slimy and it smells weird and doesn’t taste good. MAYBE…if you have to eat it…you can fry it and make it edible.

You may ask where all these seemingly random thoughts on bologna are coming from? Some of you probably know that right before Christmas my doctor cleared me for work again. Although I’ve still been very tired and have constant headaches, I haven’t had any seizures since December 9th (Praise Jesus!) and so she gave me the ok to work as long as it wasn’t anything dangerous. When I asked for clarification, she told me not to go out and decide to be a lifeguard or anything like that. OH, ok.

However, with the privilege to drive still months off, my options were pretty limited. So I applied at a local, family-owned, IGA grocery store that is a 3 minute walk from my apartment and was hired right away. I’m currently part time because I wanted to start out slowly and see how it goes but he will bump my hours up as soon as I say the word.

At this store, each employee is moved from department to department so you pretty much get to work everywhere. I’ve worked in the meat room on grinding and packing, I’ve been cashier, AND in the deli. Which brings me back to bologna.

Did you know that bologna is actually one of the hardest deli meats to slice?? It is VERY slippery and so when it hits the blade, the whole meat tries to spin and instead of a clean slice of meat you get a shred of bologna. Turns out, no one in the deli really likes to slice bologna because it is hard. I found this out my very first day in the deli and promptly named that horrible meat my nemesis. But I thought to myself that surely not very many people actually order that stuff with all the other great deli meat that we sell.

Well, one day last week, it just so happened that I was in the deli all by myself because we were a little short on staff. It was probably only my third time ever working in there. The first person of the day comes to the counter and I cheerfully ask, “What can I get for you?” What do you think he said? A pound of Eckrich bologna. I had to clamp my mouth shut before something popped out like “Seriously??” or “Are you sure?” I gave a very fake smile as I pulled the meat out of the case and carefully unwrapped it, looking desperately around for someone to help me out of this situation.

It was as I was standing there trying not to drop a huge hunk of slippery bologna on the floor that I prayed what seemed to me the silliest prayer ever: “Lord, please help me slice this bologna. Please don’t let it shred.”

Did you know that slicing deli meat is actually very nerve wracking? Some people are very particular as to the thickness of their meat and they stand there and watch you with every slice. I placed the bologna on the machine, still praying, and turned it on. My first slice came out so perfect that I cried out loud, “Haha! Thank you, Jesus!” like a little girl. I’m not quite sure what my customer thought but I kept praying as I sliced and I only had one that shredded. Whew. I felt like I had run a marathon.

All that to say a couple things: 1. No prayer is silly and prayer does work. 2. Next time you are at the deli, do yourself and the employee a favor and order some salami instead.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2018 in work

 

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