One of my favorite stories that my Daddy used to tell me involved his inability to make a $25 car payment. He went to the bank with the car keys in hand and apologized to the banker, noting he couldn’t make the payment. It had a good ending, with the banker telling him that he didn’t want the car back and he knew he was good for the money. The banker told him to pay it as soon as he could.
Times have changed.
I’m not talking about the banker’s attitude toward not getting paid, but rather folks thinking that it’s no big deal not to work or have to pay for things. I understand that there are a lot of folks who can’t work for various reasons and I think we should be able to help them out to the best extent we can.
This was very evident to me the other morning I was sitting in a nice little mom and pop pancake house eating my Flat Tire Corn Beef Hash and Eggs. There were two pretty over easy eggs on the generous portion on corn beef hash. I call them “Flat Tire” because a flat tire was the only reason I was eating at this nice little place, being that it was directly across from the tire place where my vehicle was.
The décor was beautiful; it looked to be from the seventies. My server was a girl who had recently graduated college and was trying to establish residency in order to attend an in-state graduate school for physical therapy. I think I got “one of the good ones.”
Waiting on folks and serving them can be a tough job and it can be even tougher on restaurants and cafes to find good folks to work for them.
My table was close to the door, the cash register and the telephone, which looked like it was from the sixties and sounded like it was from the fifties. You know that nifty “da da da ring” sound? I wish I could have heard it ring a couple of more times.
The owner (I assume) dealt with three different folks while I was sitting there appreciating my corn beef hash and eggs. The first was a fellow who was working for them. They called to the cash register area to discuss his schedule and availability to work.
The fellow was telling the owner about when he was available and when he was not. The owner was telling her employee that he needed to work when she needed to him to work and not just when he was “available.” I tended to side with the owner on this one. She was a bit rough, but she was right.
Folks seem to have a hard time with that these days. If you work for someone or for a company, you kind of need to show up to work when they need you to work.
The next discussion took place over the telephone, so I only heard the owner of the restaurant’s side of the conversation. She answered the phone, after it rang so pretty like it did in Andy Griffith’s Mayberry or on “Leave it to Beaver.”
She told the person on the other end of the line, “Don’t bother with coming in now, your shift is half over. I expect you to work whole shifts, not just come in when you feel like it.”
It seemed very similar to the conversation she had just had with the employee who was there at work. I didn’t know what the other person/her employee was saying over the phone, but I still had to side with the owner.
I’ll quote myself again, “Folks seem to have a hard time with that these days. If you work for someone or for a company, you kind of need to show up to work when they need you to work.”
The third and final person was a young woman, maybe early twenties. She sounded to have a Russian-like accent, but I am not very good at identifying country accents (not talking rural here). Where I live, a lot of foreigners come in and out to work with the tourist and theme park industry. This young woman was definitely one of those folks who come here to work for three or four months and get as many jobs as they can keep their eyes open for.
From what I have seen, they do a good job, work hard and go back home with a pocket full of money.
The young woman asked the restaurant owner if she was hiring or needed help. The owner said, “No, we are good right now.” I have never owned a restaurant, but my over easy eggs kind of lost their glimmer when I heard her say that she didn’t need any help.
Somewhere in the middle of my flat tire and my corn beef hash, there is something to be learned. Maybe it’s something like this – “We need to appreciate this country and the opportunities we have with the fervor of a foreigner who is experiencing our freedom and opportunity for the first time.”
I’m not preaching, I’m just trying to find a little bit of my Daddy down deep inside of me.
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