Memoirs of an Osco clerk

One of my dearest readers, Ari, recently asked me to write about my experience as an Osco clerk. A capital idea! I vowed to do it someday. Thanks, Ari, for the nudge. Now that I'm thinking about it, Osco makes for a great blog subject. My experiences at Osco exacted tremendous gravity on my formative psyche. Osco forged me into the adult I am today. Within its discounted, merchandised walls, I learned much about people and the world. Osco imparted many lessons on me: the value of a buck, the sanctity of a day off, the fruitlessness of labor, the vicissitudes of ambition, the contest among males for alpha supremacy. Osco wasn't just a job. It was a lesson on the human condition. Some people claim that all they ever needed to know, they learned in kindergarten. Everything I need to know, I learned at Osco. I hope I can do this seminal interlude of my life justice. And I hope I don't bore you to apoplexy. Let me begin with the events that led me to my job at Osco.

Most kids look forward to turning 16. They anticipate the privileges that milestone age brings. You can drive. You can work. You can socialize with people who live outside walking distance. And you can jerk off 5 times in a row and still have enough energy to play a game of basketball afterward, but that's neither here nor there.

I'm not most kids. I dreaded turning 16. I didn't want to drive. Even then, I saw cars for what they are: responsibility and expense. Neither of those appealed to me. My parents and friends reminded me that cars were also freedom. Freedom to do what, exactly? Drive to work? No thanks. I don't need a job unless I have a car! I've got food, lodging and clothing covered; by law, my parents owe me "three hots and a cot" until I'm 18. That means I have two precious years of slackerhood left, and I plan on milking them like a 3-handed dairy farmer. Keep the car. I'll keep my childhood innocence and complete lack of responsibility.

In addition to a driver's license, turning 16 made you eligible for employment -- a real job, not cutting grass or tossing newspapers, a real job with a real boss and real responsibilities. My parents insisted I find a job. I explained to my parents that I already have a job: I go to school. I have to show up daily, be on time, do homework, meet deadlines, etc. They didn't buy that. Admittedly, my argument suffered the fact that my report cards were lackluster, my work ethic sucked, and I didn't do a shred of homework. I had cartoons and What's Happening reruns to watch!

Actually, my parents didn't insist that I get a job, per se. They insisted, rather, that I get a license, drive and maintain an automobile. By extension, this necessitated a job. I gathered my parents were trying to jump-start a sense of responsibility in me by whetting my appetite for driving, a privilege requiring one to work. Parenting 101. They wouldn't stop pushing the car thingy. Bless their hearts, they had an old clunker they wanted to give me. All I had to do was maintain it, insure it and earn the gas money.

With time, I resigned to the reality of working. But I had two rules I would enforce -- to the death, if need be: 1) I don't flip burgers, and 2) I don't wait tables. Entry level work is humiliating enough. I'm not working a grill in a paper hat and I'm not singing cutesy versions of Happy Birthday to little bastards at TGI Friday's. I ruled out the food service industry. That left retailers. I'd be a clerk or a cashier or a stocker or something involving a mechanized floor buffer. Whatever I did, it would be within the walls of a retail shop. We had plenty of shops, grocers, drugstores nearby. One of the closest was Osco Drug. It was perfect. I could walk or bike to it. It was in a safe neighborhood. It wasn't burger-flipping. And they were hiring. So, I applied. They called back. I interviewed. You're hired! Ah, crap!

And so with a handshake and the completion of W-2 and I-9 forms went my last day of freedom. Heretofore I was a working-class schmuck.

I remember my dad driving me to my first day at work. We motored down the street on the most beautiful Saturday morning. I donned slacks, a button-up shirt, dress shoes and a necktie. I felt absurd. What the hell was I, a banker? Why the hell did I need to dress in a fucking tie? Was there a funeral at the end of my shift?

As we drove, I wondered what might be in store for me. I didn't know what my new job would be like. I didn't know what they'd expect of me. I didn't know if it would be more like a concentration camp or summer camp or boot camp. All I knew for certain was, I didn't want to be there. And good Lord, how right I was! My first job, an Osco clerk, was so many things, not the least of which was blog fodder.

I won't belabor the reader with the details of my first day at work. Let me instead enumerate the tasks and responsibilities of an Osco clerk, and then elaborate on each anecdotally:

  • Cashiering
  • Stocking
  • Sweeping/trash/custodial duties
  • Setting the ad and pulling the ad
  • Pricing merchandise
  • Organizing the warehouse
  • Catering to customers' every whim
  • Exchanging personal dignity for peanuts
  • Horseplay when lack of supervision allowed

Our orientation instilled two primary directives:

1) Exemplary customer service
2) Don't steal our shit

I have so many Osco anecdotes. Even as I write, old memories wash over me. I don't know how to begin organizing them. Rather than try to wrap them up in neat little essay, I'm going to let them rip, bullet style. I hope you get a taste of the Osco Experience as you read. Stay tuned for installments all next week, each of which featuring Osco anecdotes.


honest john said...

Let's get this straight. Your life is so empty of interesting topics to share, you must take a week of inane "bullets" to tell about a job you had when you were 16? You can't come up with ANYTHING better than this? And to top that off, you are proud of your poor work ethic and refusal to become a responsible teen ager? As I read this so far, I am enlightened as to why society is in the miserable shape it is in today. Loser lazy leeches like you who think it's funny to strive to spend an eternity with no responsibility, living off elderly parents or just plain not working to contribute to the support of your worthless existence. I understand you are speaking from the perspective of a 16 year old, but when I recall my teenage years, I remember vividly wanting to be a productive member of society. I wanted to be on my own. Not soaking off my parents up to the very last second. You call it stupid, I call it lazy. Your attitude as a teenager I am sure is blatantly present in your adult life as well. I'm sure you are the asshole who spends more time avoiding work than actually doing any. You represent the downfall of American quality. You are why all my crap is made better in China and Japan. You have explained a lot here with this post. Any single reader who finds it humorous needs to realize just how serious you obviously are about your lack of initiative to do ANYTHING worthwhile. You are a disgrace LBB. You should be ashamed of this post, this attitude and yourself in general. Disgusting.

Paul said...

I can hardly wait. First jobs ... heck, all jobs ... are fodder for survival.

Hammer said...

My Aunt was a cashier at Osco for 32 years. I don't know how she managed to hang on that long.

Lawrence Buford Buchanan said...

Johnnycakes, don't be too quick to indict LBB's indolence. You've been scavenging his work for months. Ask yourself this: without him, do you still exist? What would you do if he no longer welcomed your envy-fueled comments? What would you write? Who would bother reading it? Who would care? Do not overlook that whatever LBB is, you are merely his two-bit, half-wit heckler. Pray you stay in his good grace.

He is the sun to your moon, the Mozart to your Salieri, the Michael Jackson to your Tito. Rather than reams of jealous rants -- rife with grammatical filth -- you might leave him a thank-you letter.

...which is not to suggest LBB isn't a douche bag, which he is. LBB, if you insist on regaling us with childhood memoirs, spare us that of your first job. Your latest post mimicked the effects of sleeping pills and alcohol, only without the pleasant buzz moments before you slip into unconsciousness and puke.

Surely, LBB, a queen bee like you can conjure something more befitting the belle of the ball. How about when your boyfriend asked you to the prom and you wore the perfect dress? Oh, I do hope you include an afterward in which you detail how, later that evening, he "made you a woman."

*~*Cece*~* said...

Your job as an Osco clerk sounds like my first job as a K-Mart cashier. Is bad enough I worked at K-fucken-Mart, but it was in a side of Long Beach, CA that was very ghetto. Not only for the black welfare mama's who would smack their kids in public w/o a second thought but what was worse, I thought, was the old Mexican men who'd try to talk to me in Spanish and then get mad b/c I don't speak Spanish! I got lectured SO MANY TIMES for my parents depriving me of Spanish. Oy. Retail sucks.

Heather said...

I had the same two rules about my first job -- so I was a lifeguard. That was the funnest job EVER.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the tales of our childhood for each and everyone of us would include the misgivings of a first job and the responsibilities thereof.

I for one think this shall be quite an interesting sojourn into the makings of a lovely man and his journey into manhood.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts LBB, keep it up!

Peter said...

Do the squabbling faries who insist on using your band width contribute to your ISP costs by any chance??? I thought not!!!

Lyvvie said...

My first job was as an usher at the Wang Center (Don't laugh! It's posh!) in Boston during Christmas when they showed The Nutcracker Suite. Every few months when the big shows came round I'd get to work a few weekends and see the shows for free. Was a brilliant job.

BottleBlonde said...

What is Osco? The poor man's version of Costco? Can't afford the 'C'?

BottleBlonde said...

P.S. I'm quite jealous that I don't get groupies like you do.

Enemy of the Republic said...

I wanted to ask the same question as bottle blonde--I look forward to more revelations.

Palm Springs Savant said...

My first *real* job was in college, working at Macy's, and I thought I was something special. I never even asked what the pay was, I just showed up in shorts and a t-shirt to fill out an application. The next week I was an "expert" on the sales floor, acting as if I was Mr RH Macy jr. I thwarted shoplifters, repelled customers with false returns and stolen credit cards and was oh-so-idealistic about life. ::sigh::

random moments said...

Hahaha I love Peter's comment about the squabbling fairies.

What? Oh sorry LBB, back to you. ;) You must be the shiznit if you have two non-linked commenters fighting over you. I'm jealous. (Not really.)

I can't wait for the next installment cuz I can totally relate. I worked for 4 years at a local grocery. *bleh* If you happened to have any cashier on cashier romances, please elaborate (or make that shit up). Thanks. :)

A Girl, A Boy, and Me said...

Holy Crap! Did we go to high school together?

Franki said...

Squabbling Faeries is a great name for a ghey boy band.

honest john said...

I maintain several blogs having nothing to do with your insignificant contribution to the garbage heap, bug. Each one has an elite band of readers, and each has more taste than all of these numb skulls combined. You offer nothing but worthless drivel. Your thoughts are less interesting than a leaking faucet, but every bit as annoying. You suck. Again, it all comes down to those two little words. If it makes you feel superior to think I am motivated by jealousy, that's fine. I'd rather you call me names and imagine you are better than me than have you or any of your foul debris polluting my quality blogs with any of this filthy lameness. I provide this link to silence your whining cry baby cool-ade drinking ass suckers who insist I offer nothing to back up my indifference to your existence. I can slap together a crappy blog just as fast and easy as you and still offer more to see than this pathetic waste of bandwidth. You suck. Your alter ego LBB sucks. You are a helpless failure, no matter what these brainless idiots might tell you. I do thank you for the opportunity to share my affection for bashing you. This lets off a lot of steam.

Ashley said...

My first job was at a convent...rather known as the Habit Gang. Oh goodness, the stories...it was not all innocent as you would expect. We just had to be a tad bit more sneaky.

R.E.H. said...

Sweeping/trash/custodial duties
Setting the ad and pulling the ad
Pricing merchandise
Organizing the warehouse
Catering to customers' every whim
Exchanging personal dignity for peanuts
Horseplay when lack of supervision allowed

That sounds like my current job.

Did I say I needed out?

Superstar said...

I hated working retail. That was my least favorite of all the job's that I have had in my life.

I am a tad dissapointed in your "work ethic". I was out shoveling sidewalks for cash when I was 9 and took a babysiting class to earn money for my 3 hot's and a cot at my house. My parents taught me the value of EARNING my keep and the pride of a job well done.

I have to agree with Honest John's assessment of our youth and the possibility of the "work ethic" in today's youth.

So, where are my funny andedotes about working at Osco now??? *giggles*
I am sure you were held at gun point or stupid kids asking you dumber questions?!?!?!

Call me Maniac. said...

Interesting that you bring up your first employment. I just happen to have here one of my first pay stubs (Mom gave it to me when I visited the folks for Christmas.) The year was 1977 and the net pay was $9.09. The FICA was .57; local tax .07. Not even enough to trigger fed or state taxes!

Call me Maniac. said...

By the way, your two little groupies are cute. I commend you for letting their remarks stay. That they apparently don't realize that they're the ones appearing stupid, and nobody else, is sad yet funny in a way. Kind of like the little yapping dog in the mini van next to you at a stop light; they think they're actually intimidating you! LOL!

Loving Annie said...

Looking forward to Osco installments, Rich ! In the meantime, hope that you have a good weekend.

Anonymous said...

Man, I love your Osco story. It harkens back to when I worked at the K-Mart as a cashier over the x-mas holidays.

i truly had to don some gay ass apparell-a red vest, bow tie, and santa hat and a nametag that read HI! I'm a TOOL!

anyways, i got fired from this job for 3 reasons-1. i gave away alot of free merchandise when i got lazy and didn't want to do a price check.
2. i got on the intercom and lied about Blue Light specials only to cause stampedes of crazy people running to and fro for these so called fake deals. and
3. i told a lady to get her "9 mother freaking items outtah my 8 items or less lane!". good times.
thanks for the story. :)

Shoshana said...

I don't have a 'real' first job...unless you count tutoring chem to freshmen in college. It was on a grant and they paid me a thousand dollars for the whole semester. But, hardly anyone shows up, and I end up making like over 50 an hour. I didn't have a boss either. I am the most jobless person ever.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to your other installments LBB.

I was a preschool teacher for my first job.Oh the stories I could tell...

honest john said...

It would figure an idiot such as the maniac behind the wheel would be so protective of the inspiration to his own pathetic mirror/copy of a blog. His blogroll is his obsessions main characters and his inane style copies almost exactly the lack luster style here. It's difficult to tell the two apart. Talk about envy. Such a sad group of imbeciles.

Raggedy said...

Happy New Year!

Jack K. said...

Reminiscing about first jobs, or first anythings, can be quite cathartic and amusing. My efforts are being chronicled and can be accessed through the war stories links at this site.

My first job had me working at a gas station. My step-dad got it for me. There is a great story that goes with it, but that is to be told at another time and place.

An interesting thought just crossed my mind. It was further reinforced by an additional comment from HJ. Are you ready for this?

LBB and HJ are one and the same. Your other regular readers will do the research to confirm this supposition. lol

Fantastagirl said...

I worked in a grocery store in college - I could share some interesting stories.

Sassy Blondie said...

Ah..I love stories from childhood! Somehow I feel that you may not have fulfilled one or both of the primary directives?

Can't wait to read the next installment...

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.

Damsel Underdressed said...

Ha! Bloggers beware! Blog at your own risk!

Tequila Mockingbird said...

wow, honest john is honestly a dick. i wonder if his 'elite band of readers are all dbags too'.

i was the same way. i didnt get job until i was 17. it was at an old folks home, in the cafeteria. it lasted exactly three days. i'm like fuck this, old people smell funny and the food isnt good enough to steal. it's imperative i can steal from wherever i work.

honest john said...

First off Jack K...LBB is LBB, not me. Hilarious you should insult your obsession by accusing his writing style of imitating me! Someone who is so enamored with LBB should be able to tell they are one in the same. He obviously isn't trying to hide it, but you missed it completely.

TM: Some of my elite readers are readers here too, dot dot dot Their comments usually separate them from the pathetic suck asses like you who think insulting me back will make LBB any better of a blogger.

honest john said...

And as for stealing from your employer TM-you are a scum bag. An admitted SCUM BAG, calling me a dbag. You should be ashamed of yourself. Scum bag.

Jack K. said...

HJ, thanks for your vote of confidence.

Ari said...


You know what's SO weird?? I was listening to Pandora just now, that Cake song "Alpha Beta Parking Lot" came on, and I thought, "Say, I'll go see if LBB made that Osco post yet" and I zipped over here and you DID!!! Now I shall happily read.

Ari said...

Apparently there's a Huge Retailer Rulebook, because I did exactly the same things at Target and the two prime directives were exactly the same. A lesser corollary was, "Oh yeah, and don't get hurt and sue us." By contrast, I wanted the money and car because my BF lived across town and I was quite sick of riding the bus to engage in any of a number of illicit/illegal activities. Thus began a sordid string of tickets and accidents (among other things).

I look forward to reading the rest!

Lawrence Buford Buchanan said...

JohnnyCakes: I think it's cute how you use the word "inane" a lot when you get angry.

And also how you lash out at other bloggers when you get frustrated by my superior heckling skills. It's so easy showing you up. You get so mean and cranky. Great fun. And my readers enjoy your cute little tantrums.

You're like a little girl who acts up to get attention from the boy she has a crush on.

Again: Girlfriend, he's not that into you!

honest john said...

Ahh yes, inane. Probably because it best describes you and your minions without sounding so harsh. I'll be sure to take your lead and have a thesaurus handy to better diversify my constant depiction of your retardation.

But since we're nitpicking words, let's mention you (and once again, your loyal morons)always ending your tirade of insults with an analogy of me to a little girl, or a barking dog, or some other annoying insignificant disturbance, as if it has anything to do with how badly you suck. Let us not forget who calls himself a bug.

Did I mention that when all the smoke clears, my insults roll off your shaved back, your fans all send you warm tender angel kisses and liken me to a nagging pain, you still SUCK? Your pretend self heckler sucks. Your fans, for the most part suck (you do have some readers who can put together a blog with far better writing skills than you- which isn't any miraculous feat) and this continuous flow of trash only gets worse each passing post.

I do believe your replying to me comment for comment suggests I am touching nerves and bringing on tears. It's just too much for your delicate ego to endure. I've slammed some of your readers blogs with nasty comments and their responses have all caused me to go elsewhere; most often right back here. If you were to simply master their techniques, I would be nothing but a bad memory and you could go on fooling these lifeless souls into thinking you were entertaining them. Just a thought from a limited vocabularily challenged twit with more sense than you'll ever have. Did I mention YOU SUCK?

someoneswife said...

WOW.. did no one catch this but me?

And also how you lash out at other bloggers when you get frustrated by my superior heckling skills. It's so easy showing you up. You get so mean and cranky. Great fun. And my readers enjoy your cute little tantrums.

Let's play that again shall we....

And my readers enjoy your cute little tantrums.


Lawrence Buford Buchanan said...

You frequent this this blog because what you find here impresses you. It captivates you. It arouses envy, and this in turn arouses the instinct to attack. Every clumsy insult, every verbal-turd you post here, affirms your admiration for the writing -- and your envy of it. LBB sees that (although he's too busy applying hair gel and dancing to George Michael albums to respond). I see it. The other readers, all astute observers of the human condition, identify your envy at once. That's why you attack THEM from time to time.

You could prove me wrong. Disregard this blog. Don't visit 5 times per day, devour every word, comment multiple times per post, and then have the gall to claim you dislike it. That doesn't pass the smell test. You couldn't quit reading if you tried. You're hooked.

You're still stinging from that Mexican backhand that LBB slapped on you a long, long time ago. You came out on the ass-end, and you've been fighting to get one-up ever since. There's one problem. You're not clever enough.

What really breaks your heart is, I've exposed you for a second-rate heckler. What you do, I do better, and that kills you. I'm in your head, pyscho. I know what makes you tick. You derive a perverted sense of pride from your cheap-shot, drive-by comments because you can piss somebody off once in a while. That's not talent. It's hostility. And that, you half-wit no-talent jag-off, is anything but rare. Anybody can be hostile.

LBB: I'm a bit short here, having given JohnnyCakes more than her share of my first-rate heckling. So I'll be brief. Your writing has the same effect on the intellect as a naked Rosie O'Donnell has on an erection -- annihilation!

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I've done everything from drive forklifts to sling donuts to construct water meter to being a tour guide.

I just want to be rich so I don't have to do anything but eat the grapes my cabana boys peel for me. :)

NWJR said...

"honest john" and "lawrence"...there's no need to fight, girls! You're BOTH pretty!

(Note the use of the ellipsis, which "hj" incorrectly refers to as a "dot dot dot".)

MsPuddin said...

“you can jerk off 5 times in a row and still have enough energy to play a game of basketball afterward” is that seriously what guys look forward to? So sad.

I hated retail. It was like we never knew what our schedules were going to be like, we had to be perky all the time and it felt like cleaning my room over and over again…

PS- Yes what is Osco?

honest john said...

Outed as the fraud that you are LBB, yet in the next comment continue to lie. YOU are the psychopath here my disturbed little friend. Read up on your dysfunction. See how you present yourself as the twisted loser who needs to create a pretend heckler so you can answer me without showing your fans how you ignore their comments. You can't ignore me because I attack your ego. I barely read your garbage but to criticize it. And even then it's tedious. YOU SUCK. It's not a heckling competition. It's me showing how lame you are, and you trying desperately to cry like a little girl, "...am not" You are a complete loser LBB. Both of you.

Effortlessly Average said...

My first job was as an insemination assistant for a fertility clinic. I had to quit after a few months, though, because a guy can only come so many times in a day ya know?