Jonathan Richie BW.tif

I worked as a produce clerk at a large grocery store for three years and it was horrible. Let me tell you something, some people have no respect for those workers.

My job at the store was to stock the shelves with bananas, potatoes, bagged salads, lettuce and countless other produce items.

There was a time when management wanted us to be able to able to work the cash register. I sat behind a computer for three hours learning how to scan things, punch in codes for different foods and handle money.

Then it became my time to do some training on a Saturday around 10:30 a.m.

I was not very good. I kept bubbling around hitting the wrong keys and they eventually put me back in produce because I was slowing everything down.

Was I doing this on purpose to prove a point about corporate overreaching and overworking the labor class?


So, long story short, the grocery business and I were never going to work out. But I needed the money and they hired me.

This store was in Menomonee Falls, just outside of Milwaukee. Those people are for lack of a better term – spoiled. So, I’m doing my job, making minimum wage and people would yell at me for not having baby button mushrooms.

“I make baby button soup every week. Thanks for ruining this week for my kids.” That is a direct quote.

That’s right they would yell at me, not speak down to me in an angry tone, but full-blown yelling.

“How come you don’t have any green bananas!” Then continue, “I come here every blah, blah, blah and you never have yada, yada, yada.”

I once told a man that “the company doesn’t have the funds to send me down to Guatemala on a regular basis to check the greenness for you. Sorry. These are pretty green, except that one.”

The box I was trying to unpack said PRODUCT OF GUATEMALA printed on it.

He did not take that very kindly, luckily the store manager was within shouting distance.

And that was the day an old man almost took a swing at me.

That was just a regular Saturday and that led to a discussion with the manager – don’t worry, he found it funny too.

I was talking with a woman working at Four Winds on Friday. She said it was like working during the Fourth of July, which sounds about right. Except Fourth of July shopping lasts for a week, and people are mostly buying beer, burgers and brats.

So, remember – be kind. I’ll leave you with a message from ‘High School Musical.’

“We’re all in this together.”