Friday, January 13, 2012


I was eighteen years old when I took a part time job at Roth's supermarket here in Silverton.

Roth's is known for its service and I was a "bagger". Whatever the weather, we were trained to spring into action at the words, "one to go!"

It was just me and my green bow tie, pushing a cart full of groceries out for every customer.

Rain pelting me in the face, hands frozen red, loading bags into the back of a pick up, listening to stories of sick dogs or lost cats, undercooked holiday turkeys, and lonely TV dinners.

I just listened and learned to "bear the load" in more ways than one.

So, tonight, when the words "one to go!" brought a "bagger" my way, I gave little thought to my customer service past, until the boy of barely eighteen asked,

"How was your day?"

It would have been easy to just say what we all say, "Good. How 'bout yours?"

But I didn't.

"It was awful to be honest." I threw the words over my shoulder, half hoping they didn't hit their target.

"Oh, I'm sorry." the teen replied, sincerely.

And that's when I realized why people used to spill their guts out to me. I was Switzerland. I was completely set apart from their problems. I was a neutral party. Without judgement. No strings attached. I was in their life just long enough to listen, load up their groceries, close the door, and send them on their way a little lighter.

So, I spilled my guts to the poor kid.

"Yep, it was the worst day ever! First of all I go to the DMV to get my Oregon drivers licence only to find out that I had to take a drivers test, seriously!? So, I failed the test, mostly because I was starving and I cannot think on an empty stomach. The questions were so lame 'what do you do to pass a horse on a rural road if the rider is raising her hand ?' ... Anyway, on my way home my stomach started eating itself so I stopped to get a burrito only to have it explode all over my lap. The rest of the day went downhill from there. Did you notice it was Friday the 13th? I don't believe in superstitious stuff like that, but today was pretty bad."

This was where my rant ended, all the while the "bagger" listened and unloaded my "burdens".

And then, he said,

"That is a bad day. I'm really sorry about your burrito." He smiled...

and I laughed at myself.

I watched him run back into Roth's with my empty cart.

And I felt a little lighter too.


  1. lol.. love your honesty Jen! I am sure you were a weight lifter for many other Roths customers back in the day ;-) hope your weekend goes much better!

  2. I loved this. But I'm sorry you failed your test and had a bad day. I too love the people at Roth's. They are so nice.