We come in contact every day with people who we wrongly suppose are performing inconsequential jobs or who shoulder responsibility that should have been given to someone else.
These people don’t bring home huge paychecks at the end of the month, but the bottom line is they are working. They spent the time to go through the application process and training then end up working in all kinds of professions.
Who came up the term menial tasks, anyway? If we were honest with ourselves, we’d realize how much we need the services they provide.
In my opinion, there are no inconsequential jobs.
What got me thinking about this was the Outstanding Community Partner Award presented to H-E-B in Harker Heights at Monday’s awards banquet sponsored by the Heights Chamber of Commerce.
I’m glad they received the award because it’s where I shop and pick up my prescriptions at the best pharmacy in the state of Texas.
I worked in a grocery store in my hometown of Throckmorton. It was my first real chance to prove that I could handle a job and do all the things that were required. My boss’ name was Max Coalson and his store was Coalson’s Grocery located right on Main Street.
The workday was filled with pushing, pulling, lifting, sorting, stacking, sacking groceries for customers, being friendly and motivated by a spirit of helpfulness. There were no menial jobs there.
Mr. Coalson and his wife passed many years ago, but the name is still alive in that his daughter, Maxie (who was in my class), and her husband, Robert, continue to run the store together. The meat market in his store was the best in that part of Texas.
There’s always a humorous side to every part of my life and working at Coalson’s was no different. The most valuable lesson I learned was how to open and not open a grocery sack before you put in the items.
You have to realize that back in that day, paper sacks were all you had and much more sturdy.
Standing at the checkout counter, I took my first sack and with one hand grabbed it and used the power of wind and the strength in my arm to swing it downward, releasing a loud “pop”!
That noise went straight to the customer’s ears, throughout the store and eventually to Mr. Coalson.
He was a serious yet fair man, and I knew he was walking my direction at the checkout lane.
His words were, “Now, Bob, that’s not the way we open a grocery bag. You place your hand in the bag and gently run it to the bottom and open up the bag from the bottom to the top. This makes room for the items. No more shaking, OK?”
As in life and grocery stores, there are no menial jobs. All of them carry a certain amount of importance.
One thing I’ve been noticing lately are the high school and college-aged kids who work at H-E-B.
It also occurred to me that employees there perform a plethora of tasks as part of the H-E-B training program.
Depending on their job performance, many of them advance to become checkers (I guess that’s what you still call them) and beyond.
What impresses me most is seeing those boy and girl teens in their red shirts gathering up the baskets.
This is a science where they use a belt to connect as many of them as they can handle and off they go.
They steer this long line of baskets directly into the doors, then make another turn to get them in place at the inside entrance.
Some may see this as a menial task, but it takes physical strength and problem-solving skills.
Now, what would we do if we had to return those baskets to the store ourselves? We could not do it without them!
Thanks to all the H-E-B employees who carry out the big and small jobs, and congratulations on your award!
Bob Massey is a Herald correspondent.