1.16.2007

Counting cardboard and diner food


I used to count cardboard for a living, which was every bit as tedious and mind-numbingly boring as it sounds. I also had issues with my employer, which I will not go into here, except to say, that what I was told I would be paid, and what I actually was paid, differed quite significantly, and not in my favor. This, along with the low level of job satisfaction, eventually precipitated my leaving the firm quite abruptly to take another position.

[Actually, what I did was perform 'VMI' (vendor managed inventory) at customers all over Vermont. The job taught me a lot about manufacturing as I worked out on the shop floor at a wide range of companies in diverse industries... some of these places had new, state of the art facilities and some were like museums from the heyday of manufacturing in New England. The work was dirty and sometimes dangerous -- I worked at one manufacturing site, that was basically one big OSHA violation -- and the 'primary job function' was counting cardboard. Lots of cardboard. I did, however, gain a lot of respect for firms (and their employees) that can survive in this environment because it is really hard to stay afloat making things in the USA these days...]

My route consisted of northern Vermont, from Rutland to St. Johnsbury which I covered in a company minivan (which I once got very sideways on I89 in a snowstorm, I thought I was dead). The relative freedom of the road was the main side benefit of the job... driving around Vermont, listening to VPR and stopping for lunch at diners and snack bars in little Vermont towns. I remember stopping to eat at places like the "Bluebird" in Castleton and the "Miss Lyndonville"; it was a definite perk of the job.

Anyway I read that the Parkway Diner in South Burlington might be closing and I had my camera with me on Saturday (see previous post) so I stopped and grabbed a few non-descript photos. Truth be told the food wasn't that great and since when did an omelet and a cup of coffee get to cost $10 w/ tip but the place was an authentic old school diner so it was still fun to visit sometimes and watch the cook work the grill. And the Parkway is infinitely preferable to the place across the street which does a good brisk business:

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