my father always told me that you should have a job that you hate for a while to remind you why you got your education.
i thought that that job was my coaching stint that i had for five summers. i've blogged about that numerous times. and sometimes it sucked, but it was mostly like, the greatest thing i could've done with my summer.
after i graduated from college, my parents had a habit of coming home from work and saying, "so, found a job yet?"
i didn't want to get into anything too permanent, because i'm only taking a year off before i go to england for graduate school.
so, with my big bad bachelor's degree, the first place i applied at was starbucks. then target. then debrands, the chocolate factory behind my house. then kroger.
guess who i got a call from?
guess who had an interview at kroger? this girl.
i was super nervous. like, did i really know much about kroger other than the fact that my mom sometimes lets me use her fuel points? nope, i really didn't know that much about kroger.
i went in for the interview with a nice lady named renee. i told her all about being an RA and how i was skilled in working with people and kroger seemed like a Friendly Family Community People Place.
not to be vain or anything, but she was impressed.
i told her i wanted to work in the bakery but i had no baking experience, i just loved it and i wanted to learn everything there was to know about baking and i'd be an enthusiastic and fast-paced learner. we shook hands.
a week later i get a call that says, hey emily we want you to work here but not in the bakery. wanna work in the deli, the produce department, or as a cashier?
1. cashier- WORKING WITH PEOPLE ALL DAY. PEOPLE WITH COUPONS AND SCREAMING CHILDREN. NO.
2. deli- MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT
3. produce- you can't go wrong with spinach, right?
sure, i'll work in the produce department.
i had a four hour orientation where i got my spiffy kroger uniform. (adam never has to worry about men hitting on me in it.) i drank my weight in the kroger provided sweet tea.
then i did six hours of computer training. i thought my eyes were going to fall out of my head.
then i showed up for my first day of work, a six and a half hour shift that was a half hour shy of me getting a half hour lunch break.
you know, i thought that working in the produce department was going to be just like... hanging out with vegetables.
holy shit was i wrong.
on my first day i shadowed drew, a guy that i went to high school with, and i washed so much lettuce that i thought my hands were going to fall off. literally. washing them in ice water. my hands have always been susceptible to cold and it was awful. then we loaded all of the washed vegetables into big tubs and ran them out to the wet rack, which got its name because of the fact that it's all the fresh stuff that gets misted.
does the rack warn you when it's about to mist?
no. of course not. ten minutes in i had soaked arms and wet glasses.
my second day on the job was memorial day. it was crowded and terrifying. people kept asking me where the garlic was and i didn't know. normally everyone has an assignment. drew works the wet rack. brian works the special promotions table. brett works the salad wall. everyone has a duty to watch out for the bananas. laura cuts the fruit.
you know, jobs. assigments.
we didn't have assignments on memorial day. i spent all day running around trying to load things onto my cart and put them out as fast as i could.
oh, let me tell you about the carts.
they're these big blue monsters. they have to have at least twelve items on them or corporate gets angry. besides that, you need to have all kinds of extra things on them, like those little slippery bags you put peppers into. you have a dry erase clipboard to make "lists" of things that you need to go get from the cooler, which is approximately thirty-five degrees, gigantic, and always unorganised and towering with pallets of vegetables and fruits fresh off the truck. then, you haul this huge heavy cart into the middle of the produce section and load things while people shop around you, get in your way, and ask you questions that you can't answer.
i spent an entire day cutting fruit. i mean, cutting strawberries for eight hours doesn't sound like fun, but let me tell you, it was the highlight of my week.
blake taught me how to do the salad wall. the salad wall is like my safe haven because everything is LABELLED. which means i know where everything is. i have a huge salad cart that's full of bagged salads, and the boxes are all labelled. i open them up with my trusty dusty box cutter and fill the slots with salads. the salad slots pull out and there's a little black tab that keeps everything pushed to the front. i slam the tab all the way back, lock it in place, load the salads, pull the tab back forward, and move on.
i do this with bagged salads, organic foods of every kind, mushrooms, and juice.
it sounds boring, but the salad wall is always in need. people are like "hey i want this southwest house ranch" then realise that they don't and put it back in the hearts of romaine section. so i get to move it.
when things get too dreary, i fluff them up. pull all the juices forward. make sure the mushrooms are in the right spot.
you'd be surprised how quickly you learn where things are when you tend a labelled wall every day for eight hours.
my first day i'd open a box of dole lite caesar and i'd stand there and be like, where are you where are you where are you before finally finding it.
now i'm like, dole lite caesar is right by the fresh selections endless summer.
wow, that was kind of sad.
my favourite part about kroger, besides the people (seriously, there are some great characters in the produce department) is the baler.
in the back stock room, employees only, there's this huge green piece of machinery that crushes cardboard. the produce department goes through a lot of cardboard boxes and we load them onto a cardboard cart. when it gets full, someone notices and runs it down to the baler.
how to run the baler:
1. throw the boxes into the opening. try to make it even.
2. when it's full, bring down the door so you don't get your hands cut off.
3. press down the down button.
4. the baler goes CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH
5. when the door opens again, repeat.
it wastes so much time and it's such a destructive little machine. I LOVE IT.
i'm not that happy with the baler at the moment. on thursday a piece of cardboard was stuck on the top. while i was trying to yank it out, i hit my elbow on the lip of it and almost passed out. it still hurts and i should probably make sure it's not hairlined fractured, but my work schedule is too busy for that.
i think the worst thing about working at kroger, besides the fact that it's just menial physical labour that i'm not paid enough to do with my bachelor's degree, is that the schedule only updates once a week on fridays.
like, i want to make plans. i can't do that if i don't know my schedule ahead of time.
there's also not a very fine line between full-time and part-time. full-time is forty hours a week. i'm part-time. so is my friend megan. i'm working thirty-two hours this week. she's working thirty-seven.
when i get home from work, i'm always exhausted and hungry. the other day i was rooting around in the fridge and i found a fresh selections box of 50/50 spring mix. i spent all day loading that into the salad wall and i almost cried.
i love vegetables, but they're starting to infuse terror into my heart.
my first two days at kroger were the worst and i came home crying. i wanted to ask my manager if i could move to being a cashier.
now i've reached that point where as i'm stocking salads, i'm just thinking welp, just another day at work, which i think is a good mentality. i still kind of dread going to work, but it's not horribly anxiety inducing anymore.
plus, it's money.
daddy, congratulations, i've found the job that i hate to remind me why i got my education.