Work in a Grocery Store

I have been thinking about how grocery stores were when I was younger, and how they are now.  I started in the grocery business when I was eleven years old, but got my first job at a store, not owned by the family, when I was 16.  I worked at Cleve’s Foodland during most of my high school days.  My job included, stocking shelves, bagging groceries and checking out customers (no, not that way!) Of course we didn’t have scanners for the groceries, so we had to manually enter the price for each item.  Some items, such as soup, were priced for multiple items, for example, Campbell’s Tomato Soup was 3 for 39 cents.  Vegetable soups were 4 for 45 cents, and the expensive meat soups were 3 for 55 cents.

Sales tax had to be added at the end of the order, but it was easy in those days.  Utah charged 2% for most everything.  If the order totaled $8.45 I would multiply the dollars by two and then add a penny if it was over 20 cents, or 2 pennies if it was above 70 cents.  Therefore, tax on the above was $0.17.

We had to memorize the price for produce and then weigh it on the scales at the counter.  Bananas were 19 cents/pound.  We would sell watermelon for 3 cents a pound, and sometimes on sale it was 2.5 cents.  And we had a “plugger” so we could “plug” the melon for the customers to make sure it was ripe.

Soda pop, as we called them sold for 6 for 49 cents.  Most sodas came in 10 oz bottles, but Coke was 7 oz.  They introduced the 12 oz bottles when I was a teen.  I liked to drink pop, but they were a pain at the store.  We charged a 3 cent deposit for each bottle.  The empty case, or shell we called it, was 28 cents.  So if a person bought a case of 24 sodas, the deposit was $1.  That part was easy, but getting the dirty bottles back at the store was a pain.  We would get them at the check stand when people were paying for their groceries.  We would have to haul the “empties” to the back room and at some point, sort the bottles based on the distributor. Ugg, touching all of those bottles, knowing that people had put their lips on them.

When I worked at the Island Market, we had two check stands, but only one cash register,  Each check stand had an adding machine, so we would total the order, then use the cash register to input the total, deposit the check or cash, and make change.  Floyd Saltern, the owner was either very trusting or lazy as he would only “balance” the register every week or so.  It would have been so easy to steal money, but he only hired those who he knew really well.

I worked for Floyd through my senior year and my freshman year at USU.  After my mission I again worked there until my senior year at college.  I came in almost every day after school.  I replaced a day time worker. One worker was Meryl Olsen, Merlin’s mom the NFL hall of famer.  After I came in each day she would do her shopping.  Upon checkout, she expected me to carry her groceries to her car.  Heck, Meryl was big enough to carry her groceries in one arm, and carry me with the other.

Cleve’s Foodland

After working two summers in Grace Idaho on a farm, I decided there must be a better way to make a dollar.  As soon as I arrived back in Logan, I applied at Cleve’s on 1st West and 2nd North.  Cleve offered me a job and I started immediately, making the incredible amount of $0.85 per hour.  I typically worked 20-30 hours a week, several days after school and all day Saturday.  Initially I was a shelf stocker and grocery bagger.  Later I did other things such as produce, checking out customers and I even helped in the meat department a few times.

Cleve’s son-in-law, Glenn Covert, was the meat manager and sometimes he asked me to help him.  One day I was slicing lunch meat on the big old slicer, when I noticed my finger was in the wrong place.  The back of my pointer finger had a nice slice and it was bleeding.  I tried to finish the job, wrap the meat for the customer, without showing blood.  I put a big gauze bandage on the finger and kept working.  Later that day I was grinding a big batch of hamburger. We would first cut the meat into cubes, then do the initial grind, then put a smaller die on the grinder for the final cutting.  About 3/4 of the way through the batch, I noticed that my bandage was gone.  I had two choices to make: admit that the bandage was in the 40 pounds of ground beef, or not.

We workers would get bored from time to time, so we pulled pranks on the “new guys”.  Cleve often hired college students, but more often than not, they only worked one day.  I’m sure they were disappointed as many were married.  Didn’t stop us from pulling pranks.  One old favorite was the Twinkie race.  We would doctor up a Twinkie with shaving cream inserted in the bottom.  The race was with a new guy – the last to finish had to pay for the Twinkie.  The new guy would stuff the whole cake into his mouth and about the time he would swallow the taste of the shaving cream hit him and he would spit it out.  New guy,  pay for the Twinkie, you didn’t finish.

In those days, we had bulk vinegar in the back room.  Customers would bring empty gallon jars to the store and we would fill them with either white or amber vinegar.  While working we would get warm, so we would drink a cola and put it in the rear cooler, so sometimes in the freezer, to have a slushy drink.  Unfortunately, the amber vinegar was the same color as the soda.  I was a perpetrator of this prank very often, but I did acquire a taste for vinegar as I drank it so often.

You would think that no one would be gullible enough to fall for this, but we sent many a first day worker to another store to retrieve our “sack stretcher” which we had loaned them.  Some of the guys would go to the first store, only to be sent to another, and perhaps a third before they caught on.  One person never came back at all.  Probably still looking for the stack stretcher.

Cleve and his sons took long lunch breaks, so this was the time to raise the devil.  One day I told a new employee that we were going to put new tile on the floor, so he needed to count the number of tiles.  He wasn’t smart enough to count in one direction and then the other and use multiplication.  He was tapping his foot on each tile.  He was almost to the end of an aisle, when we came around the corner with a large hand truck – making him lose his place and he had to start over.   It is amazing I kept that job for two years.

 

Logan’s Central Park

One block away from our home on Center Street was a large park.  Our family and I in particular, used the park a lot.  There was some really old playground equipment.  I think it was old when I was young.  There were two slides, one higher and longer.  They were not safe by today’s standards since it would have been very easy to fall off.  There was also a swing set and a pole, with chain hand holds attached.  Kids would grab onto the chains, and run around and swing out.  If we had a kid for each of the chains, sometimes it would get going really fast.  It was also extremely dangerous if a kid let go, the chain was flying around, at face level.  I’m sure that many teeth were broken as a result of this equipment.

On the northeast side of the park was a big grass covered area and two baseball fields.  We played a lot of baseball there, and during football season, we played touch football.  Sounds innocent enough, but there was a lot of contact, particularly if you were relatively small compared to the others in the game.  Often there were some really large kids, like future Hall of Fame football player, Merlin Olsen.  He lived just across the street from the park, which has now been named, “Merlin Olsen Central Park.”

That same area was used each summer for a “fish scramble”.  The park was flooded to about a foot deep and hundreds of trout were released.  The area was divided for different age groups, and then as the siren went off, we “scrambled” into the water attempting to catch a fish with our hands.  I only remember catching a fish that way one time.

This area was also used as an ice skating rink in the winter.  The parks people would spray the field with water each night until there was a thick coating of ice and then the rink was opened to ice skating.  Everyone in the area had their own ice skates, usually used and not in the best condition. As soon as elementary school was out each day, we would race home, put on our skates and walk to the rink.  Park staff Joe and Rulon would run the place and would play music as we skated away under the lights.  At 6:00 we would go home for a quick dinner and then we were back until it closed down at 8:00.  Too bad Logan is not cold enough to do that anymore.  We would often have skating from early December through February.

Another lesser known and short lived attraction were some “rides”.  My dad’s company made the rides for some event, but they were moved to Central Park and later to the Drive in.  For a dime you could ride.  One of the motorized rides consisted of an “airplane” suspended by chains and it simply would go in circles.  The planes were old war surplus airplane external fuel tanks that had been cut open to allow two small seats in them.  The other ride was similar, but the airplanes went up and down as they went around the circle somewhat like the old “tilt a whirl” rides did.  When I rode in them I always chose the green plane with the “Abersold Equipment Company” label on the side.  I was very proud of this ride and the fact that my Dad’s company had built them.

Travel day to Copenhagen, 17 May, 2014

It’s sad when your hotel has a good breakfast and you have to leave before you can get a bite. Usually breakfast is not served in hotels until after six a.m. We got up just after four and got ready to go. We ate the food we had gathered the day before and then were on our way to the airport via public transportation, so easy, we thought. First to the bus stop. We thought it rather strange that taxis were all lined up at the bus stop. When we got there we realized why, the first bus to the terminal didn’t come until six-nineteen, too late for us. We started off our day with a brisk walk to the train terminal. It was only fifteen minutes away and since we knew exactly where we had to go there we were okay with a little change of plans. Which all worked according to plan. The most disconcerting thing was it felt later just because the sun rises so early in the north it feels later in the day. Before we knew it we were on our bus to the airport. The airport is a forty minute bus ride from the city. When we got there we tried to spend all of our Swedish money but ended up with ten kroner, about a dollar fifty.

We had to check into the airport at kiosks. We thought we had figured it out until we went to check our luggage and found we needed luggage tags that printed after our boarding passes. We went back to the machine we used and someone had thoughtfully put them on top of the machine for us. We figured out how to put them on our bags and checked them in and headed to our gate. The flight was short. I loved looking down at the beautiful farmland we flew over. All beverages except coffee, tea and water cost money. But since it was a short flight we were okay.

After we landed we headed to baggage claim, found our suitcases, and then went straight out to the central part of the terminal to find the TI. Copenhagen was a very busy airport. I found a place to sit while Dale figured out if we wanted to get a Copenhagen card. We decided that we loved having the tourist card in other places, so he got back in line to procure the card. It was fun for me to just sit and watch people. One of the things I saw was a man on a delivery scooter, yes, I did. A scooter behind and a huge square box in front on wheels that he carefully scooted through the foot traffic. It was a very busy airport, new and lovely.  We wanted to get the Copenhagen card first thing because they become your transportation tickets, as well as tickets to all the tourist sites.

The metro was conveniently located within the airport, just a short walk away. There was some construction on the line so there was a bit where there was a stop, get out, wait for another train and then head on towards the city. When we got to our stop we did what we always do, we got lost, but some friendly Swedish visitors in town for the weekend helped us find our hotel, Cab Inn. We dropped off our bags and found our way into the city. We walked around and found some street food and ate while we listened to the buskers and then we walked around and saw some of the old town. We found a Lego store and went in and looked around. I thought it was unique, but I found out later that we have them in the USA, probably one in Seattle somewhere.  By that time we were close to the University of Copenhagen and the Copenhagen Cathedral.

City Square on a beautiful day
City Square on a beautiful day
Old Town.
Old Town.
Lego Store
Lego Store

Copenhagen, being a harbor city, has a lot of waterways, and this is always a fun way to get to know the city. So we hopped on a boat and took a city tour. It was great, we went under many low bridges, our tour guide reminding us to sit down.

Boat tour - canal
Boat tour – canal
Opera House
Opera House
Little Mermaid
Little Mermaid

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Narrow Canal
Narrow Canal
Mind your head
Mind your head

We tried to find the Danish Resistance Museum, but sadly, it had been torched by arsons. At least we found an ice cream stand close by.

We headed towards Tivoli on very full buses and got there on the exact opposite side of the park from the entrance. We had a very long walk to get to the ticket kiosk.

Tivoli is a large amusement park in the middle of Copenhagen. The piece of land where it is located is quite large, but not as large as an amusement park of this kind would be in the USA. They conserved space by having many of the rides go over other attractions. The only really open areas in the park were where the famous and eponymous fountain and gardens were at the very center. We were not planning on going on any rides so we just walked around looking at the gardens and rides. The park is open until midnight and we think they do fireworks after dark, whenever that is. It is very clean throughout the park, much cleaner than the city streets. One of the interesting things we saw was a cup return. When you buy a beverage you receive it in a returnable cup. They have automats where you can return the cup for the equivalent of a dollar. That would be enough of an incentive for most people I think. Plus if you found cups in the area you might be motivated to pick them up for a dollar, I would!

Tivoli Park
Tivoli Park
Tivoli Fountain
Tivoli Fountain
In Tivoli Park
In Tivoli Park

We left for our hotel, very tired and found our room. Tiny, but clean and it had all we needed to sleep, which is what they advertise.

We noticed that Denmark, above Sweden, Finland and Estonia have the most cyclists on the road. There are huge bike parks close to the metro. Bike parks at businesses are even covered. We also noticed that in Denmark some bikes have a big delivery cart on the front. These carts often had children sitting in them. We also saw them filled with adults and dogs. Due to all the walking and biking we saw very few people who were overweight. You don’t use a car to go places in Copenhagen, you use public transportation which involves a lot of walking. We also noticed a lot of litter in the city, this is different from our last visit to Copenhagen where there was very little litter.

Bilke Path
Bike Path

Our 46th Anniversary, May 16, 2014 Stockholm continued.

We ate breakfast in the hotel, they had a really great breakfast buffet. It was mostly a continental breakfast with rolls and cold meat and cheese but they had a lot of other good things, including fruit.

We wanted to make sure we could figure out how to get to the airport the next day so we went by bus to the train station. We wouldn’t be taking the train, but we found out that there was a bus that left from there to the airport. The airport was not close to the city and the easiest and cheapest way to get there is to take a bus. The dry run helped us figure out where to catch the bus from, how much it would cost and how often the bus left the terminal.

Central Station
Central Station

After .we had it all figured out we got some cash from a machine and went out to do some more touring. Stockholm is a really big city and it takes some time to get around. After asking for help we finally found where we could catch a bus tour of the city. The tour gave us a great overview of the city. We then got on a boat to go out to Drottningholm Palace. The boat ride was great, it was a beautiful day and the boat was not completely full. We toured around the palace grounds and into the gardens. We didn’t tour the theatre and I regret that we didn’t take the time to do that.

Boat Tour - beautiful day
Boat Tour – beautiful day

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Drottingholm
Drottingholm

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SAM_4445We caught the boat back because we wanted plenty of time to see the grandfather of all open-air museums the Skansen.

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SAM_4482The Skansen is set up for the enjoyment of all ages. It would appeal very much to children because they have a lot of farm animals and play areas. Some of the houses and shops had people in costume and some of the shops had food which you could buy. I was getting hungry and kept asking Dale if he were hungry. He said he wasn’t. This is a real role reversal for us usually he is hungry and keeps asking me if I want to eat. I had missed lunch and it was after three p.m.

We left at five and went back to the hotel before venturing out for dinner. We got a recommendation for an Italian place close by. When I told the maitre’d that I wanted something without meat or dairy he put his hands in the air as if to say that was impossible. But then he told me that he could make some pasta that had tomato sauce and vegetables. It was pretty good, but I think that I would have preferred just a salad.

Our Hotel
Our Hotel

Since we had to be on the road early the next day we went home and packed and went to bed early.

Working at a Grocery Store

I have been thinking about how grocery stores were when I was younger, and how they are now.  I started in the grocery business when I was eleven years old, but got my first job at a store, not owned by the family, when I was 16.  I worked at Cleve’s Foodland during most of my high school days.  My job included, stocking shelves, bagging groceries and checking out customers (no, not that way!) Of course we didn’t have scanners for the groceries, so we had to manually enter the price for each item.  Some items, such as soup, were priced for multiple items, for example, Campbell’s Tomato Soup was 3 for 39 cents.  Vegetable soups were 4 for 45 cents, and the expensive meat soups were 3 for 55 cents.

Sales tax had to be added at the end of the order, but it was easy in those days.  Utah charged 2% for most everything.  If the order totaled $8.45 I would multiply the dollars by two and then add a penny if it was over 20 cents, or 2 pennies if it was above 70 cents.  Therefore, tax on the above was $0.17.

We had to memorize the price for produce and then weigh it on the scales at the counter.  Bananas were 19 cents/pound.  We would sell watermelon for 3 cents a pound, and sometimes on sale it was 2.5 cents.  And we had a “plugger” so we could “plug” the melon for the customers to make sure it was ripe.

Soda pop, as we called them sold for 6 for 49 cents.  Most sodas came in 10 oz bottles, but Coke was 7 oz.  They introduced the 12 oz bottles when I was a teen.  I liked to drink pop, but they were a pain at the store.  We charged a 3 cent deposit for each bottle.  The empty case, or shell we called it, was 28 cents.  So if a person bought a case of 24 sodas, the deposit was $1.  That part was easy, but getting the dirty bottles back at the store was a pain.  We would get them at the check stand when people were paying for their groceries.  We would have to haul the “empties” to the back room and at some point, sort the bottles based on the distributor. Ugg, touching all of those bottles, knowing that people had put their lips on them.

When I worked at the Island Market, we had two check stands, but only one cash register,  Each check stand had an adding machine, so we would total the order, then use the cash register to input the total, deposit the check or cash, and make change.  Floyd Saltern, the owner was either very trusting or lazy as he would only “balance” the register every week or so.  It would have been so easy to steal money, but he only hired those who he knew really well.

I worked for Floyd through my senior year and my freshman year at USU.  After my mission I again worked there until my senior year at college.  I came in almost every day after school.  I replaced a day time worker. One worker was Meryl Olsen, Merlin’s mom the NFL hall of famer.  After I came in each day she would do her shopping.  Upon checkout, she expected me to carry her groceries to her car.  Heck, Meryl was big enough to carry her groceries in one arm, and carry me with the other.

Thursday May 15 Stockholm, Sweden

We got up and showered and ate the breakfast foods we brought with us, packed our suitcases and got ready to disembark. We were expecting there to be a TI at the ferry terminal, there was but it was only open on weekends. We wandered around a bit and tried to ask questions of the totally unhelpful employees at the ferry terminal. We left to try to find transportation into the city but we  got lost and couldn’t find what we wanted. We finally found a bus going in our direction but he couldn’t take money and told us we could take our chances and ride without a ticket (no thanks). Dale went back into the terminal to try to find where to buy tickets while I sat with the suitcases at the bus stop. Another bus passed us up while he was searching. He had to walk in the other direction to a Metro Station to buy tickets, but finally came back tickets in hand. Finally we were on the bus, in the right direction, with seats. We got off at our stop and after a false start headed down the street to our hotel. We left our luggage and found out where we could buy a Stockholm card and we were off.

Our first stop had to be the highly acclaimed (and rightly so) Vasa Museum. The Vasa was a Swedish warship that sunk because it was top-heavy an hour after it left the dock. It was on the bottom of the harbor for over three hundred years before it was discovered and brought to the surface. Not only is the ship amazing the story of how it sunk and how it was brought up again was amazing. We spent a lot of time looking at the ship and all the displays. This was one museum where Dale didn’t mind me reading all the displays. He was as enthralled by the story as I was. At lunch we decided to try the museum cafeteria and we struck gold. I had an amazing bowl of carrot ginger soup with a rye roll and salad and Dale had an open faced sandwich with shrimp that was so good he had another one.  After lunch we spent some time looking at the displays and then headed out.

Beautiful Museum adjacent to the Vasa Museum
Beautiful Museum adjacent to the Vasa Museum
The amazing Vasa batle ship
The amazing Vasa battle ship
Details on the Vasa
Details on the Vasa

We got lost again but finally found where the harbor tour boats left from. We had our Stockholm card and were standing in line when we realized we probably needed to get actual tickets so I stood in line and Dale rushed to the ticket kiosk to get the tickets at the last minute. I was almost at the turnstile when he returned.

The tour was the Royal Canal Boat Tour and toured the Djurgarden canal. We passed by many historic buildings and gardens and of course lots of saunas. There was narration via headsets.

On the waters in Stockholm
On the waters in Stockholm
Stockholm by water
Stockholm by water

When we got off we walked towards the palace and went inside to see the fabulous crown jewels. It was close to closing time at this point so we walked back towards the front of the palace and then into the old town.

The Royal Palace - Stiockholm
The Royal Palace – Stockholm
Old Town Stockholm
Old Town Stockholm
Old Town Stockholm
Old Town Stockholm

We were close to our hotel so we went home by foot. We were tired and decided just to eat in the restaurant that was attached to the hotel, which was Asian and was quite good. While we were eating a bus stopped in front of the hotel and about 25 people dressed in flight crew uniforms got out and checked into the hotel. It looked like two different flight crews from some Asian based airlines. They came into a separate room in the restaurant and had their food served to them family style.

We had a really great room in this hotel with high ceilings and a nice bathroom. Our windows opened out onto an inner courtyard so we could have our windows open and it was quiet. Mark and Liz had just started their vacation at this point and we skyped with Mark that evening.