Welcome to the Hospitality Industry

This week, I had my first training shift at the Brown Jug liquor store. Now that I had the certification to not sell alcohol to underage kids, it was time to learn how this specific store operates. I’ll break what I learned down in a list for convenience!

Friday nights are kind of a madhouse
It isn’t really a surprise, of course, but having not been in a liquor store on a Friday, I wasn’t quite prepared for the rush of people after work, loading up for the weekend. Long lines of people, a strange new register, and the hardest-to-separate plastic bags in the history of mankind made for a hectic first shift. There were a bunch of employees there, of course, but with all the customers, it did make it a challenge for them to find the time to show me the ropes.

Smoking is a confusing, scary habit
The trickiest part of the job is handling the tobacco buyers. Like any store that sells such things, our cigarettes and chew are behind the counter, so customers always have to make requests. And it seemed like most of them were somewhat sheepish about it, too. They’d come up with their other purchases and mutter about “Marlboro lights” or something, barely audibly. Then I would turn around to view the intimidating Wall o’ Cancer-Causing Products, which would be half taken up by different boxes that said “Marlboro” on them.

Obviously, I’m not a smoker, and I don’t know what menthol is or what “long cut” means, but only a few of my customers were particularly understanding. Mostly, they just got impatient and mildly irritated, and I kept apologizing about my “first day”. Smokers are mean.

It’s pretty clear this is a “job”, not a “career”
I kind of knew this going in; it’s just something to pay the bills and keep a roof over my head and food on the table until I find something in the “career” category. I’m going to continue to apply around, with the help of the local employment office, who seem much happier to help an “underemployed” fellow like myself than some sad sack who’s been out of work for months.

Once I got this job, there was some confusion from my California-based friends, as to why Evan, of all people, would want to work at a liquor store. I don’t, particularly. But I’m lucky if GameStop gives me eight hours a week these days, and Katrina has to go to electrician school for a couple months, so somebody has to be making some money, and right now I’ll take what I can get.

I would be honestly surprised if I was still working here six months from now. But until I leave for greener pastures, I will perform my duties with professionalism, and try not to let the angry smokers make me cry.

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2 responses to “Welcome to the Hospitality Industry

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