Plays Well With Others

SOLD… Again…

My first job was working as a bagger at a local grocery chain called Lucky Stores. I think they were mainly in California, owned by American Stores. I’d met a lot of good people, as well as nasty ones and spent five years working that job, going from bagger to checker to bookkeeper. Although, at the time, the bookkeeper did have some management responsibiities, we were really just glorified clerks. They tried numerous times to get me into management and each time I declined. The extra buck an hour just wasn’t worth it.

After five years, things had begun to change, I’d been bounced from store to store and just wasn’t satisfied anymore with the work. Life in a grocery store is really, well, life in a grocery store. It takes over your life, they ask you to come in on your days off, and eventually all of your friends end up being coworkers. Not my cup of tea. The final straw came when they decided that they were going to hire bookkeepers for a lesser salary, rather than having checkers do the bookkeeping. My choice was to take the lesser salary and stay on as a bookkeeper or to become a checker. I chose to leave the job altogether.

A couple of years later, the chain was sold to Albertsons. From what I understand, under Albertsons management things didn’t get much better and so today I read that the chain has been sold again to a chain called SuperValu, and the drugstores sold to CVS. It makes me wonder how my former coworkers are doing and how many of them will stay on.

The grocery business is a funny one. You make good friends, but it takes over your life. They work you hard—very hard and often, there’s very little they do in terms of patting you on the back. It’s pretty thankless and I respect those that can stick with it. It’s a constant battle between getting the unions to stand up for you and the stores to give you what you deserve. Personally, I didn’t think it was worth it.

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