See, Store. Ep1: Hot Doggin’

After college I worked in a gas station convenience store.  Being a night owl, I eventually volunteered for the graveyard shift.  Believe me, there were a lot of strange people, but the strangest and most interesting were my coworkers, hands down.

I had just become the lead at this point.  That didn’t mean a lot.  I could tell people what to do.  There were only 15 of us, so my influence didn’t reach very far.  It was iffy whether people would pay much attention to what I would say anyway.  However, I was able to contribute a bit when new people needed training.  That’s exactly what happened when Jolene started working.

She had been working there for just under a week, working the day shift to learn the registers and whatnot.  There was a lot to learn just being up at the counter, so she ended up waiting a bit before getting transferred to the night shift, when I was working.

That night she came in and I had the first proper interaction with her.  She was pretty and petite and I was perfectly distracted.  Her hair was red and her skin was fair.  I was told she had worked plenty of customer service before, and I knew that her service on my eyes was going to be just as pleasant.  I mean this in the most respectful way, of course.

I helped her get signed on to the register and follow the ever complicated trail of paperwork to verify and ready her till for the night.  It takes everyone a few times to get it down, but I could tell she was doing fine.  I just stuck around because her very presence was pleasant.  However, the night crew can’t just stand around; we have stuff to do before the morning shift comes in 8 hours from now.

I had her go take care of the self service bar.  People come in all night to get our coffee from there.  I don’t know why, it tastes mostly like dirt.  It’s probably burnt, much like our hotdogs.  They aren’t as bad as the coffee, but aren’t really special either.  They just end up rolling around on one of those rollers for hours on end and turn into charcoal after a while.  Our kitchen isn’t open at night, so the drunks who come in looking for munchies have only overly crispy wieners and dry hard buns to devour.  They’re not so bad actually, even when they’re crispy, but I had to make sure they were changed out at this time of night anyways.

I smelt the aroma and saw the steam of hot water dripping over coffee filters from beyond the shelves, so I guessed she was back grabbing hotdogs from the back.  There was nobody in the store at the time, so I locked my register, and headed to the back to make sure that she was able to find the proper boxes in our big fridge.

That’s when I saw her, head in the fridge, making munching sounds.  I swung the door open, revealing her with a pale cold frank dangling from her mouth.  Upon making eye contact, she went agape, causing the half-eaten sausage to fall to the floor with a weak bounce reminiscent of a deflated volleyball.

Before I could speak, she grabbed a couple handfuls from the packages and ran out to the roller and placed them haphazardly, slamming down the flimsy plastic cover back down.  She then went to put the coffee pots back on their stands and put the pumps back together.  I heard the sound of the automatic doors open, and I walked back up to the registers, dumbfounded.

After doing her rounds of emptying the trash around the store, she came back up to the registers to allow me to go on my break.  I glanced at her, but she seemed to dodge any sort of eye contact.  Before I left, I spoke out to her.


She let out a ‘meep.’  “I just like hot dogs cold like that.  I’ll pay for it if you want me to.”  She punched in her numbers to log into her register as she responded meekly.

“That’s okay.”  I stepped out from behind the counter and went to the break room for my 15, wondering how a cold hotdog might taste.

She eventually went back to days when there were people who would notice such activity taking place, so I don’t think it ever happened again.  It was too bad too, weiner girl was too good of a nickname.

This series is based on real events, all of which happened at my last job, or based on people I knew at the time.  Names have been changed to protect them from embarrassment and me from their wrath.

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