By DARREN HANDSCHUH
It was one of the lousiest jobs I have ever had, and I quickly realized it was not something I wanted to do for long.
But as a young man with bills to pay and no other way to pay them, I took a job working at a 24-hour convenience store.
Convenience stores are little supermarkets where you conveniently pay twice as much for a jug of milk as a real supermarket.
They are also a popular place for drunks to stop by for a snack after a hard night of drinking at the local alcohol establishment.
If police want to catch a lot of drunk drivers, they should set up outside of the parking lot after the bars close and they would get more drunks off the road than there are Elvis impersonators in Vegas.
Of course, I had the thrill of interacting with said booze hounds, which always made for an interesting shift.
When I first started at the store, we were instructed on how to do our job and what to do in case of problems.
"If you are being robbed, do not resist," said the manager.
"No, duuuh," was the only thing I could think of.
If someone came in demanding money, I doubt I would jump over the counter and try to take him down to save this massive corporation a few bucks.
Mind you they were paying me a whopping $4.50 an hour, but still, it was not quite enough to risk my life over.
The manager, who at more than 50 years of age still had a job that required he wear a name tag, went on about how to handle other situations, but they were just as obvious as the don't-tackle-the-bad-guy advice.
I worked a lot of night shifts at the store and saw lot of strange things, most of them involving those drunk people doing drunk things.
One particular night stands out.
It was around 3 a.m. and the bar rush crowd had already stumbled through the store, arms laden with items masquerading as food.
It would seem drunk people really don't care what they eat. As long as the plastic wrapping declares there is some sort of food product inside, they will buy it.
Anyway, I was alone in the store when a guy I knew walked in. And by walk, I mean he bounced off the outside window and a garbage bin before reaching the door, the operation of which baffled him.
Three times he pulled on the handle only to have the door hit his foot, bounce back and close. Eventually he mastered the mechanism and came into the store with half a case of adult beverages.
I asked him to leave the wobbly pops at the door, which he did without complaint. He then selected about a dozen bags of chips, several chocolate bars and a bottle of pop as his post party snack.
He brought the items to the till, rummaged through his pockets for cash and then promptly laid down in front of the counter and went to sleep.
That was a first for me actually.
I had seen scuffles, a girl freaking out on acid, more drunks than a family reunion and I even had a guy walk into the store wearing nothing but a very short, denim skirt, but someone going nighty-night in the middle of the aisle was a new one.
I tried to shake him awake, but he would have none of that. Then I put a sale sticker on him hoping someone would want a plump, drunk guy, but had no takers.
Eventually I called the constabulary and they poured him into the back of a police cruiser and took him home.
It was mighty nice of the officer to do that I thought, instead of taking him to the tank.
That shift gave me a rather odd story to tell, and a few free wobbly pops which I put in the cooler until my shift was over.