My Perfect High School OCD Job

After babysitting for every rug rat in my neighborhood and getting short-changed by a few of their parents (the going rate was 50 cents an hour), I moved into real jobs with time cards and pay stubs.

The first one was as a window clerk at Mc Donald’s. I was fast. I could take and fill an order lickety split, unless the French Fry guy got behind. Once I turned sixteen, the shifts got longer, and I wasn’t as happy there. Plus my hair always smelled like French fries.

I quit and applied for a job at the Super Value grocery store, just three blocks from my house. I didn’t have a car, so I walked to work in my mustard dress that all the female checkers had to wear. This was long before bar codes and scanners. We had to memorize the weekly ad and ring up prices accordingly.

On my very first day, after I counted my cash drawer and turned it into the manager, she showed me how the one-dollar bills needed to be president faces up and all going the same direction. My paper money has stayed that way for 50 years, organized and orderly until I spend it.

Other OCD-worthy things about the job had to do with bagging. I usually had a guy in a bowtie for a bagger, but during the evening shifts, the bagger might’ve been out in the parking lot gathering up shopping carts, or he might have even been asked to push a broom around the store. That left me to do both the ringing and the bagging. I learned right away to put like with like, cold stuff in one bag , eggs on top, produce in another bag, bananas on top. Bread went into the packaged food bag (cereal, mac and cheese), always on top, especially Wonder Bread. You could smash that whiteness down to a hard little ball of dough.

But I digress.

Nowadays baggers are not always well-trained. They put eggs on top of bananas and they put ant posion with milk. It’s ridiculous. I have to say I’ve corrected more than my share of clueless baggers, like the Costco girl who slammed my apples into the cart. When I scolded her, she offered to go get me new apples, to which I said, “Just don’t do it again with the next person.” Sure enough, within a week’s time, every apple had a bruise on its underside. I never saw that girl at Costco again.

Hmmm.

Some OCD people have to clean a lot, wash their hands until they are red and chapped. Others count, and some have to do repetitive things. I like to sort things into categories. I almost have to. Sometimes it’s fun and useful, but often it’s not. At any rate, it worked out with my grocery store job.

Once, while teaching, I asked to borrow a stapler from a new teacher. She sent me to the top drawer of her desk, where I found all of her desk supplies jigsawed into a perfect cube of storage. I was able to extract the stapler (still in its box)  out of the cube equation but was not able to get it back into the cube. Who had time to pull a stapler out of its box before they could use it?   The woman had some serious (a la Sheldon Cooper) issues.

My teacher desk drawer was a random mess, where I threw things in and retireved them by reaching in my hand and feeling around for what I needed.

The OCD patient that likes neatness? I’m not that. But if you need things sorted into categories, I’m your gal.

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