Bill: "Madison, that's off of Nicolls?"
Me: "It's off of Jefferson, but right around there."
B: "I only ask because I grew up in Deer Park, off of Grand."
I started the day with the intention of speaking to Bill [Deli Manager] about the possibility of having hours that end around 2 so that I could drive to my second (potential) job at a nearby middle school. However, the opportunity didn't present itself at first, so I decided to save that for later.
After being outfitted in a one-size-fits-all white jacket/smock thing and a black Boars Head hat, I was sent directly into training under Frank, a goatee-ed but otherwise extremely friendly and well mannered 21 year old from Commack/Northport. He debriefed me on the wide selection of hams, turkeys, chickens, bolognies, capricolas, cheeses, cole slaws, mayo-based salads (including, but not limited to shrimp, potato,macaroni, sea food, tuna, chicken) and their respective codes, which need to be punched into the scale after weighing in order to extract the price tag.
After an hour and a half, I went on my first (and last) 15 minute break. Frank comes along, as he is going on his lunch break (I assume this was timed by Bill). We go to the next door pizzeria, where I discover Frank also works at night. As he goes behind the counter to get a drink, and ring me up for a blue powerade, we talk about him. He's aiming to become a cop, two younger siblings, one of which he describes as handicapped, guilt him into staying at home and attending suffolk, although he would have rather attended Buffalo or Penn.
After heading back to work, I discover that most of the day is spent in anticipation of an irate customer, which the appropriate deli worker can then tear into. I learn that nearly everyone there has worked there for a long time, Frank for 3 years, some others for 10 or more, and they don't stay because they like it, but because its not worth quitting. Being fired, on the other hand, is not a punishment that anyone seems too worried about.
From the corner of my ear: "you must be the dumbest person that works here." I turn to see an old, 70 something, guy scolding a bewildered co-worker, Mike. "I'm probably the best worker back here right now." says Mike. Frank walks past the situation and laughs loud enough to let Mike know that 1.He isn't and 2.he should make the most of this opportunity. Instead, Mike walks away and gets Bill to handle it, mentioning (in a voice loud enough to be heard by the old guy) "do me a favor, Bill and tell this guy to go fuck himself." Bill defuses the situation in a slow patient voice, taking neither the customer nor Mike's side. I discover later that the old guy had not only misunderstood the nature of the on-sale ham he was pointing at, which only comes in chunky form, although he wanted it sliced, but also asked mike "How much do you get for a pound of Ham?" to which Mike replied "a pound."
long story short, as soon as I was slicing up meats and cheeses by myself, I'm told by Bill to take a lunch break. I take this time to mention my schedule preferences, that if possible, I'd like a schedule that allows me to get to my other job by 2:45. He says that it wouldn't be worth it to train me the rest of the day if I wasn't able to work the 10-whatever time schedule that he had planned for me. I thought it over a burrito loco from next door. Doing some quick math, i figure that if I could make $300 a week in an after school program (2:45-5:15 m-f $15/hr, 20hrs/week with extra schedule stuff) then why would I take a job that requires me to smell like cole slaw for 7 hours a day (Frank mentioned that with his two combined jobs, 40 hours a week, he makes 500 dollars). So I tell Bill that I'd rather not waste his time, thanked him for his generosity, and wrote this post.