When my child got his first job shortly after he turned 16 last year, I received an email from the owner.
At first, I was impressed that the owner reached out to parents until I read the part about “we deal with the employee; not the parent.”
I sat with that sentence for a moment before I decided how irritated I was with it.
Was I angry? A little bit.
My child is still a minor and as long as he’s a minor, anything that has to do with him, has to do with me.
Heck, I’m nearly 49 years old and my mother still feels the same way.
My next thought tried to rationalize my mama instincts.
I could understand wanting to teach a teenager responsibility and how to handle real world situations; I’m all for that.
But when it comes to things like his schedule and the like, that’s definitely an issue that a mama — especially this mama — would get involved with.
“Mom, they are just saying they don’t want mothers up there all the time.”
Oh, I know. And I know a teenager’s worst fear is that their mother would show up somewhere, especially one such as myself who will call someone out on their bovine waste nonsense with lightning speed.
“Cole, I understand that. I’m not going to sit in the parking lot and watch you or even come in. I am just saying I don’t like this because there are some situations that do involve parental involvement.”
I should know.
I had a job when I was a senior in high school that very much needed parental intervention, or in this case, grandparent involvement.
I was working at a restaurant, at perhaps one of the worst jobs I ever had, and for someone who’s sold cemetery plots, that’s saying something.
The manager was not exactly what one would call a stand-up guy, and back in the early ’90s, was able to get away with a lot of stuff he wouldn’t be able to now.
I had been put on the cashier’s station where all I had to do was ring up tickets and take the customer’s money. Back then, it was either cash, check, or credit card.
It was a busy Friday night, which was good because it made the evening go by quicker, especially since I had to be there until 10 p.m.
When it was time to close, I counted down my drawer and found it was short a check that was around $20.
I pulled the money tray out and looked for it, I checked the floor to make sure it hadn’t fallen out and got kicked under the desk. Nothing.
I told the sleazy manager that there was a discrepancy and I wasn’t sure where it was.
I was 17, and just wanted to go home. The manager told me I needed to come with him to his office.
“For what?” I asked. I knew Granny would be outside waiting. She did not like to wait. She always said she was old and had other things she needed to do with her time besides waiting for something.
“You heard me!” he snapped.
I followed him to the broom closet that he called an office with a small metal desk and two chairs squeezed in there. He closed the door and proceeded to tell me I needed to either find the check or come up with another way to “reimburse” the restaurant for their loss.
“I think you stole it,” he said. “And you’re going to need to pay up.”
“You think I’d steal a check that I immediately stamped with a ‘for deposit only’ stamp?”
“Maybe you rang up a ticket as a check and pocketed the cash.”
I was very, very uncomfortable. I was being called a thief, a liar, and stuck in a small, cramped space with a lecherous man.
He started to sneer at me when there was a loud boom of a knock on his door, and then it flung open, filled with all of the fury of my Redhead Prime.
“What the heck is my granddaughter doing in here? It’s 10:30 and she was supposed to be done by now!”
The man looked scared — as he should have been.
“Th-there’s a check missing,” he stammered.
“How’s that her problem?”
“She was on the cash register tonight,” he began. Thinking he could pull one over on Granny, he continued. “And if she can’t find it, it will come out of her pay.”
Granny stepped into the already cramped office. “Let me tell you one thing, you sound dangerously close to calling her a thief. We’re going to go out there and find that dadblamed check if we have to take the cash register apart, piece by piece. You hear me?”
All three of us went back out, and found the check, somehow stuck in the back of the drawer.
“Guess you’re glad that was found, huh?” he said to me.
“Sudie, go ahead and get in the car and wait for me,” Granny said.
I’m not sure what all Granny said to him, but I think he found Jesus or got right with God that night.
A month later, I wanted to play hooky and go to a movie with my friend, Ashley.
I called in to say I wasn’t coming in. That manager said, “If you call out tonight, don’t bother coming back.”
A friend told me later the manager was claiming he was not going to pay me my final check.
When it was time to pick it up, Granny took me, and pulled up right in front of the window where he normally sat in a booth and blew the horn of her Cutlass. He jumped with a start and looked out the window, to see Granny, a smile on her face.
Those that may not know Granny would have mistaken her smile for being friendly; they would be wrong.
“Go get your check and let me know if he gives you any problems.”
Thankfully, he just handed me my check without a word.
Some workplace situations really do need a tiny bit of parental intervention.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.