Childhood occupations

Ok, here’s a good prompt from a few days ago:

What occupation did you want as a child? Given what you know now as an adult (or more of one than you were), would it have been a good choice for you?

Ha ha! When we were little my sister and I both wanted, desperatedly wanted, to be grocery store cashiers. Those buttons! On the cash register! They look so fun! And those ladies punch them so fast! And then they punch that big button and the cash drawer comes out — ding! — and you get to count out the money and give back the change! Yes we had a toy cash register and we played grocery store all the time.

I’ve never worked in a grocery store, and it’s a lucky thing I didn’t choose that for my life’s career because now they all have those swipe things. However, I temped in a piano store for a week once, and I got to work the register. Mostly people just came in to buy sheet music, but one person did actually buy a piano while I was there. I got to punch in $17,000. Woo hoo!

* * *

My sister and I also used to play waitress a lot. That seemed like a fun job too. Because you get a cool pad of paper and a small little pencil that you keep in your apron pocket! And you get to write down the orders! How fun is that?!?

I’ve never worked in food service either. Waitress is actually a way worse match for my personality than grocery store cashier would have been. I could not, could not, make myself smile and be nice for tips. I cannot say the word “sir” unless I am being sarcastic. I know that I am overly quick to perceive others as being patronizing, and I bristle more than I should when I feel I am being condescended to. But there it is. I just couldn’t do it.

I had an interesting conversation with my son about this the other day. He told me that a friend of his said that it is bad form to say please or can I have to the waitstaff when you’re ordering. A simple I’ll have is preferable since it takes away any hint of condescension. You are there to eat and they are there to bring the food, and everyone knows it, so why pretend they are doing you a favor?

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  1. My friend and I played travel agent for a couple of days one summer. We had two play phones and pretended to be on them a lot booking fabulous vacations. We made fake plane tickets, etc. It didn’t last long because there wasn’t much to do. Of course this was well before the internet!

    As soon as school let out every summer we would play – naturally – school! I loved playing teacher, and funny – that’s what I eventually ended up doing!

    Oh, and I always say please and thank you to waitstaff. I hope they don’t think I’m being condescending!

  2. I always appreciated please and thank you as being polite, and not patronizing, when I worked as a waitress/bartender. Also, I have no problem using sir and ma’am; they’re terms of respect, not an indication of ‘position’. Am I old fashioned?

  3. Mo

     /  May 8, 2011

    Ugh, now I feel like a hopeless boor! I’m not advocating not saying please and thank you. I think my son’s friend was talking specifically about ordering: you’re not actually asking for permission to eat; you’re telling the waiter what you want, and, sez the friend, it’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise. I dunno…

    Travel agent sounds like a blast! Though that’s probably not a very fun job in real life, especially when it’s so easy to book your own on the internet. We used to play school too, and also secretary come to think of it.


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