Not My Job
By Cait Collins
I’ve always believed one should be open to all career options. No job should be considered too small or insignificant to tackle. But there is one job that will never be on my career bucket list. I cannot imagine becoming a concession stand worker.
Every Friday my company allows us to snack on fresh popped popcorn. This means we have to pop the corn. I don’t eat the stuff, but that does not mean I get a pass when it is my team’s turn for popcorn duty. It’s not that I mind taking a turn; it’s just that people can be really nasty to those of us making and serving the treat. I’ve been hassled with lines like, “It’s too salty.”
Or “You should have started earlier. There’s too long a line.”
“I’ve been waiting for thirty minutes for one bag of pop corn.”
“You made it too dry.”
“Needs more butter.”
Not only do you have to deal with complaints, there’s the actual work. You see there’s a recipe for making popcorn in one of those movie-theater style machines. Do not, under penalty of a riot, vary the recipe. And don’t forget the routine. Pour oil in first, add popcorn, listen for the three-second lag between pops, dump the popper, and serve. The gallon jugs of oil are heavy. Sore muscles are a guarantee. But the best part is smelling like pop corn all day. After two hours, I was ready for a Dr. Pepper break, but we must clean up the mess. If I really had this job, I’d walk out the first day.
So what does this have to do with writing? What if your character is a shy, bullied teenager? What if on his first night on the job, a group of jocks walk up to the concession stand and begin hassling the teen? The kid smiles as he draws a coke for the football captain. The big man on campus accepts the drink and walks off without paying. The bullied teen…
Now finish the scene.