Things I Miss About Working in a Deli

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deli service star

You can laugh at my stupid uniform, but I won Service Star of the Month at one point!


  A while back, I wrote an article for LA Family Magazine about my experience working in a deli (you can read that here). I worked there about 4 years during my summers and holidays home from college, and briefly after graduation while I searched for a full-time job with my degree. While there were certainly things I don’t miss- including working weekends, smelling like grease when I got home, and the rude customers- I find myself thinking about the fun times quite often lately. With that being said, I’m taking a trip down memory lane and indulging in the nostalgia of my years slicing meat.

- I miss how fast the days went by. Even my 8 or 9-hour shifts seemed to go by relatively quickly since I was always so busy. We also got plenty of breaks (legally, if you work a certain amount of hours you are entitled to 30-minute lunch breaks and 15-minute rest breaks throughout the day) which also helped the day move quickly. Even when the store seemed “dead”, there was always cleaning and prepping to do. I find that sitting at a computer all day staring at a clock can make the day go by slowly- no matter how challenging or fun your work may be.

- Another thing I miss is the interaction with customers. Sure, there were the smelly people whose stench came all the way across the deli counter and the cranky women who barked orders at me, but for the most part, people were nice. I miss the older man who came in weekly and would ask me updates on my boyfriend, job search and life in general. I miss being told which celebrity I look like (90% of the time it was Julia Roberts, 10% was Sandra Bullock) and even being called “Julia” by the aforementioned man. Heck- I even miss the creepy dudes who used to hit on me and make me uncomfortable serving their meat (don’t even try to lie to me- everyone enjoys being hit on once in a blue moon. It makes us feel pretty!)

- Although I truly enjoy working 9-to-5 and only having a 20-minute commute currently, I sometimes miss the random schedule I had at the deli. Sometimes I would work morning shifts, allowing me to get home in time to watch The Ellen Show and smile for an hour straight. Sometimes I would work the night shift, so I could soak up the summer sun for an hour or two before getting ready for work. I also worked random days, so sometimes I would have a Wednesday off- which was great for running errands or watching re-runs of Boy Meets World during the day. With a 9-to-5, you have weekends off (which is amazing)- but doesn't it always seem that it rains on weekends and is beautiful during the week? What type of work schedule to you have, and do you enjoy it? Or what do you miss most about an old job?

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