by Adam Zack — April 15, 2020
I’m a member of a charitable community club called the Optimists. It mainly consists of a bunch of funny old retired dudes that raise money through dues and events to help the youth in our community with scholarships and school support. Good guys doing good things. So with everyone staying at home, there are no weekly meetings, the annual fundraiser was cancelled and all these old dudes are just staying home and having cocktails. One had the idea for Optimist members to share the story of your first job. I love storytelling and know that telling the story of your stores is the key to differentiation. It made me think and reflect and I hope it does the same to you.
My first real job was a dishwasher at a family owned Italian restaurant called Sala’s near Lake Arrowhead. The minimum age to work at our grocery store was 15 ½, so I’d have to wait six months to begin my illustrious career as a bagger. I was 15 and it was 1980, so my parents had to drive me to work and pick me up. I was saving for my first car, and they were incredibly supportive. Great parents. I’d work Thursday and Friday nights until about 10:30, and Saturday I had a day shift making pizza dough and forming the crusts for the upcoming week. I made $2.15 per hour. Like most active young men, I was always getting scrapes and cuts. They came with the fun of being a kid. So I had a cut on one of my fingers one Saturday and had a band-aid on it. I went in to work, mixed up my big batch of dough, and formed about 80 pizzas. It was only at the end of my shift when I got home that I realized my band-aid was missing. Lost in the dough somewhere. This was in the time before food handling gloves. I told my mom and she told me that I had to call the owner and tell him. I said I would. In fact, I even pretended to use the phone. I did not, though. I was sure I’d be fired if I did. I sweated through the next week, sure that someone would get a slice of pizza with a used band-aid in it. Pretty much the ultimate gross-out. Through divine intervention, or just blind luck, the band-aid never surfaced and I was able to continue my illustrious career of hand washing every dish, glass, pot and pan and making dough on Saturdays until I landed my next gig as a petroleum transfer engineer (as my friend and I called it – gas station attendant to everyone else). To this day I don’t think my mom knows that I never called and confessed. She reads this, though, so now 40 years later I’m coming clean. Sorry mom.
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