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First jobs are learning experiences

by Minden Press-Herald

How many of you remember the full service department stores where one could go in and instantly someone was at your elbow to show you what you needed?

Well, I remember it well because that was my first job in the public sector.

It is interesting to find out what the first jobs were for your friends.

A group of us were discussing first jobs and it was quite enlightening. Among the group were retired nurses, teachers, office workers, jewelry sales clerks, a business owner, stay at home moms, and others. To look back to the time we were 17 or 18 years of age and recall and share what we were doing was quite interesting.

   The full service department store was my first job. Hubby had been invited by Uncle Sam to join him for a couple of years, so I decided I might as well find some kind of part time job to fill my time.

I applied at the department store and as they were familiar with my family as customers, they took a chance on me. I think their intent was to cut down on wages by hiring high school girls or those who were just out of school and had not yet gone into further education .We were part time employees.

I was introduced to the other staff, one of which was a friend from high school. She had worked a while so was promoted to cashier. The rest of us were not allowed to use the cash register till later. Our job was to show the customers around and help them find the item or items they were looking for. If they made a purchase, we filled out a sales slip and took it to the cashier who took the money, rang it up and made change as needed. At the end of the day, the tickets were totaled by the cashier, and the sales had to tally with the money in the register.

Some customers were easy to serve while some were so “picky” you might never find an item they were pleased with. There was one who would be just looking and rarely bought anything. She was well known around town, was always dressed properly with her high heels and hose, with a bit too much makeup.

She came in one day and I was to wait on her. Her goal that day was not to make a purchase, but to try on shoes that did not have high heels. As she tried and groaned with each shoe, she said she never wore anything but high heels. Even her bedroom slippers were high heels and she slipped them on as soon as she got out of bed.

Needless to say, we young girls got a kick out of her, but always hoped someone else was the one to wait on her.

After I had been there a while, my friend left to go to business school in Shreveport and I was moved up to part time cashier.

There was one disadvantage to working in the department store. I had an eye on all the new merchandise and was not hesitant to make a purchase. We were given a discount on everything and shoes, with a matching purse, were my weaknesses.

I probably spent as much or more money than I earned, so I decided this was probably not such a good place for me to work.

I soon learned of a full time job opening at a drugstore, so I applied and was hired. Thankfully there wasn’t much in the drugstore to tempt me, except jewelry which I carefully scrutinized and made a few select purchases, again with employee discounts.

My job there was mainly as a waitress in the food bar which served plate lunches as well as sandwiches, snacks, etc. This was truly a learning experience. If the order I turned in came out differently, then guess who got the chewing out. Yes, the customer would let us have it if the orders were not strictly as they placed it.

I worked there until just before Hubby returned from his tour with his uncle, then left to get our little house ready for his homecoming.

After those two learning experiences, I was a stay at home wife and mother until our youngest child started first grade. Then I embarked on a four-year college education and went into the teaching field.

A lot of years and a lot of experiences later, I am now at home, a great grandmother, columnist and satisfied homebody.

A long way from that young seventeen year old  trying to sell items to sometime reluctant buyers.

Fannie Moore lives in Shongaloo and writes on a variety of subjects.

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