Top 5 Ways to Make My Job Managing a Produce Department Easier
As many of you already know, I recently took a management position in the produce department of my local grocery store. Yep, goodbye are the days of being a mild mannered night manager. I have to admit I went head on into this new, well not really new since I used to manage a produce department, venture with confidence and a new zest for life.
That lasted about a week.
So here’s the third blog entry detailing the sufferings one goes through when working in a grocery store.
5. Why am I Awake and at Work Before the God Damn Sun is Up?!
So here’s how my typical day managing the produce department starts. First I am awakened by my alarm clock. My alarm clock has a very unique sound to it. I’ve spent many years trying to pin point exactly what it is and I think I’ve finally figured it out.
It sounds just like the Angelic shriek of a fallen Angel cast out of Heaven as it decends towards the Earth to conquer the worm. And if not exactly like that sound then it comes pretty damn close.
And do you want to know the worst part about it? I usually set my alarm clock to go off about an hour before I have to get up just so I can go back to bed for another hour. But that extra hour of sleep is restless because I know…I know it’s about to shriek it’s unholy cries again. And here’s another quirk about my alarm clock. If I’m lucky enough to wake up a minute or two before the alarm clock goes off and I manage to switch it off…IT STILL GOES OFF!! And the only way to stop it is to actually hit it. I have to punch my alarm clock quiet almost every morning.
I suppose my mornings wouldn’t be too bad if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m an insomniac. Always have been, and always will be. Combine insomnia with having to get up and be at work for 5am and it’s a recipe for delirious fun. Half the time I’m lucky if I can even dress myself properly. There are many theories on why people have insomnia. I’m still not exactly sure why I have it.
Scientists recently discovered that insomnia might be a genetic mutation. They claim that some people only need about four to six hours of sleep a night. Do you know what that makes me? The LAMEST X-man of all!
I guess when it comes down to it I still don’t understand why I have to be at work at 5am. I understand that I’m working with fruits and vegetables, but I’m not an actual fucking farmer. Let them get up early since they love it so much!
4. Please Understand that Certain Items are Only Available by Season
The following is an actual conversation I had with a random douchebag.
Random Douchebag: “Excuse me, but where are you cortland apples?”
Johnny Red: “I’m sorry sir but they are not in season yet.”
Random Douchebag: “No! They are in season! I know this for a fact!”
Johnny Red: “Well sir according to our supplier they are not.”
Random Douchebag: “I want cortalnd apples!”
Johnny Red: “Ooooooh! Well let me just go out back and harvest some from our God Damn apple orchard! Hey everyone! Have you seen my bushel basket?! Where’s my fucking bushel basket?!”
Ok the conversation didn’t go exactly like that, but you catch my drift.
Granted cortland apples may have just come into season, it doesn’t mean that they have been harvested, packaged, sent to our warehouse downstate, and then shipped to our store. We don’t have a teleporter device, let alone time manipulation technology at your family friendly grocery store.
Here are a few items that my produce department carries only briefly once a year. Cranberries in the fall, cherries in mid-summer, chef potatoes in the fall, fiddleheads in the spring, and my patience for a short time during the holidays.
This entry also reminded me of how an elderly lady recently managed to hit both ends of the ignorant spectrum. She demanded that we get both cherries AND cranberries for her. It was fucking August! Cherries are early to mid summer, and cranberries are only available in the fall.
3. I Didn’t Go to Produce College
When you go to the hospital you understand that the doctor treating you has spent many years being educated in their field. When you hire a lawyer you know that they too have spent many years researching and studying their profession. When you go into a grocery store and stroll through the produce department DO NOT expect me to have a understanding on everything that grows on a fucking tree, or in the ground. The difference between myself and the doctor and lawyer I mentioned is that I didn’t have to take an exam to get hired.
Here’s an example. Star fruit. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked how to cut, prepare and eat a star fruit.
When I look at a star fruit all I want to tell the customer is that from my vast knowledge of Super Mario Bros. games, I know that if you eat one you will become temporarily invincible. Now eat one and run into oncoming traffic.
You see every now and again people will get a wild hair up their ass and want to do or try something new. But rather than go skydiving, take up painting, or spin around a brass pole a few times, they wander into my produce department and decide eating exotic fruit is their answer. Of course they come into the produce department with absolutely no knowledge of what to do with the items they are buying. Instead they expect me to have all the answers.
So time and time again I’m put in a position where I have to cater to the customer’s demands. I end up ordering all kinds of exotic fruits and vegetables to satisfy the wanton lusts of white middle-class curiosity. We order kumquats, rambutans, dragon fruits, and mangosteens. I supply passion fruit, jack fruit, ugli fruit, and lychee. Pomegranates, pomelos, cactus pears, and acai.
And that folks is an excerpt from my upcoming Dr. Suess book.
BUT, every now and again I have to deal with a customer that is on the complete opposite side of this scenario. They can’t seem to grasp the concept of basic fruits or vegetables. Once a lady came into the store asking for frozen diced carrots because she wanted to make a chicken pot pie. Simple right? Wrong! We didn’t carry frozen diced carrots. But I’ll tell you what we did carry. EVERY OTHER TYPE OF CARROT KNOWN TO MAN! I showed her our frozen chopped carrots and baby carrots. Nope didn’t want them. I showed her our fresh carrots. Whole carrots, shredded carrots, diced carrots, baby carrots etc. Do you know what this women told me?
“Well I guess I can’t make my chicken pot pie.”
Do you know what’s great about a carrot? You can do whatever the fuck you want with it. You can actually DICE them too!
2. I Don’t Want to be Associated With the Soy and Tofu Section
I just want to go on record as saying that although the soy, tofu, and veggie meat(?) section is in my produce department, I don’t want anything to do with it. I wash my hands of that abomination of a department. I don’t understand hippy, earthy people food. Frankly, it scares the living shit out of me. For example.
I don’t know what tofu is. All I know is that it’s a grey block of pliable material…and people eat it. It’s colorless, flavorless, and souless. The same goes for all those soy products. I know soy comes from soy nuts right? Then how the fuck do you make soy milk, let alone soy bathroom cleaner? It’s against God and Science.
Here’s another product we carry in our abomination section. It’s called Polenta. It comes vaccum sealed in a tube of terror.
One last thing on this entry, as I want to move on as quickly as possible, but what gives the soy and tofu industry the right to copy our meat products? Hey hippies, you don’t want to eat meat that’s fine, but stop trying to make your piles of mush look and taste like meat. You made a choice in your lives and you should stick with it. Why would you want your food to emulate the very thing you are so against? I think Denis Leary said it best when he said, “Meat tastes like murder, and murder tastes pretty fucking good!” Is that what you really want trust fund hippies?
Oh and let’s not forget the most horrifying creation they have come up with yet. The Tofurky!!!
1. I Shouldn’t Have to Risk My Well Being and Life Itself Everyday
Didn’t expect this to top my top 5 did you? I mean how much danger could I possibly be in while managing and working in the produce department of a grocery store? Well I’ll start off small and then work my way up.
Do you know what an artichoke is?
Artichoke leaves are sharp as fuck. Have you ever stuck your hand into a box of fresh artichokes? I bet you haven’t. Well I have and have the pin point scars to prove it. At least once a week I find myself swearing at a box of artichokes as each one I pull out of that box tears a bit more of my hand flesh away.
Handling artichokes is the equivalent of giving a cactus a hand job.
Alright a few small jabs at my hands aren’t too bad. Well how about almost cutting my fingers off? Several times. When you walk by those nicely wrapped and packaged cut and sliced fruit in our produce section do you ever wonder who cuts that fruit up? I do. Well most of the cut fruit. We do recieve some pre-cut fresh fruit, but the watermelons, honeydew, and cantaloupes are all cut fresh in our department. Do you have any idea how slick the skin of a honeydew is? Well just ask the fingers on my left hand.
Still no sympathy huh? Well I’ll turn it up a notch.
Everyone loves bananas right? They have to be the most popular fruit on the planet. Do you know where all our bananas come from? If you said South America then give yourself a pat on the back, or a shot of hard alcohol, I don’t know what you do at home alone.
Hey do you know what else comes from South America? Giant God Damn tarantulas!
That’s right folks! Every now and again a tarantula decides that a box of bananas is a great place to live. Although it is rare sometimes these furry devil creatures will hop a ride all the way to America stored away in our produce freight. Personally I haven’t seen one yet, but a co-worker of mine did find one in a box of bananas a few years back. Luckily for her the tarantula was dead. Or maybe it was lucky for the tarantula because she can be crabby in the morning.
I did find a small spider in the bananas once. I captured it in a plastic container. It then proceeded to spit a clear liquid, which I’m assuming was a venom, onto the inside of that plastic container. I threw it in the dumpster and went home to quietly cry myself to sleep.
WARNING: If you continue to read this blog entry you may never choose to step foot in the produce department again. This is a warning and I am not to be held responsible for what you are about to see and read.
Grapes are probably one of my favorite fruits. They are a good snack, good for you, and come in many tasty varieties. And they are also used to make wine for when you want to get shitfaced.
In fact grapes are probably the complete opposite of one of the things I don’t like so much. And that is to die a horrible painful death. Oh! Did you think the gut wrenching horror stopped with tarantulas?
At least twice a year we get a e-mail or fax from corporate warning that black widow spiders were found in the grape shipments. Really? Am I paid enough to risk my life for this job? I guess in this economy I am.
Here are some interesting tid bits from the corporate e-mail. They say that if we do see a black widow spider to immediately try and kill it. They don’t say to throw the bag of grapes to the ground and run away screaming like a school girl, which is what I would most likely do. No, they say to douse it with vinegar to kill it. What?? Apparently black widow spiders can only be killed this way. If you try to simply step on them their spider strength will throw you off balance and then they will feast on your life energies.
Probably my favorite part of the black widow warning is that we are told to make sure we inspect every bag of grapes we put out. Yeah, I have to actually look for those horrible little fuckers. Also we are told if we are bit that another co-worker should try to search for said black widow spider because the medical professionals trying to keep your ass from an early grave could use it.
I know the people I work with. And I think I know the result if I ever get bit by a black widow spider while at work.
There’s a lot of down time in my job.
John Michael Gagnon…aka…Johnny Red
Posted on October 8, 2009, in Top 5's, Uncategorized and tagged black widow grapes, black widow spider, cortland apples, dr. suess, fallen angel, grocery store, insomnia, lame x-man, polenta, produce department, star fruit, tarantula bananas, tofu, tofurky, top 5. Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.