Over the past four years I’ve blogged about pretty much every meaningful experience in my past (that’s fit for sharing) but I’ve never blogged about my years (yes, plural) at Pretzel Time.
Perhaps, that’s cuz I plan on turning it into a movie one day!
Pretzel Time was my very first job.
I was 18 years old, having lived a simple enough life where $10 a week allowance still amply funded my persuits.
I had just recently acquired a used Toyota and the driver’s license to go with it (yes, I was a late blooming motorist).
Bun Boy needed to rake in some dough.
So, I went and applied for (and failed) my first interview at the ole PT. Maybe I was too nervous to wow them with my sparkling split personality?
Either way, a few months later I tried again and was in! What was this, Harvard??
The woman who hired me had a witchy face and a methy body but was kind and funny. The one memory of her that stands out was her rolling out pretzels with dried, cracked hands and blood would often drip on the counter.
I spent the next three years at this job.
But how do I explain it properly? It wasn’t just a job, it was my entire life. Many of us were there constantly. If we weren’t working, we’d come and hang out during our friend’s shift.
We were the dictionary definition of Mall Rats.
I even got an apartment within walking distance of the mall. (Ha, like I would ever walk!)
I felt like we were all family. Even if we weren’t friends (but most of us were) we still felt connected to each other in this odd yet compelling way.
At least, that’s how I felt.
One gal recently said “You guys are the ones I’d ask to help bury the bodies”.
And she’s totally right.
I don’t know if I actually loved my job at the time, I probably hated it and couldn’t wait to do something else.
I hated being drenched in butter all day. I hated breaking out in the subsequent pimples and being 40 pounds overweight and being forced to eat pretzels every single day of my life.
Yet, we never grew tired of them. Each day was different depending on the toppings we chose.
I hated cleaning the grease trap. I don’t know how to describe this disgusting box filled with Satan’s diarrhea that sat under the sink, but it collected “grease” and cleaning it was a Fear Factor feat!
I hated the rude customers who’d request a “fresh” pretzel or a special order of some sort.
“They’re all fresh, b*tch!” we’d think. They often weren’t. They often had sat in the bin since we opened. There wasn’t a lot of week day traffic at our mall.
I hated the snobby/ stinky fragrance counter ladies from the Bon Marche who only ordered Diet Cokes and dressed in white lab coats like they, themselves, were mixing up the “White Diamonds” recipe in the back. Get over yourselves, Fembots!
I hated the guy who would hand us his money and then take it away and then repeat with his creepy pedofile grin. Pretending to find his antics amusing took great efforts.
But I loved all the people I worked with, even if they were weird or mean or told us constantly “if we had time to lean, we had time to clean.”
I loved trading the leftover pretzels at the end of the night with Sbarros and McDonalds. Yay, free really old cheeseburgers that have sat at danger zone temperatures for the past two hours! Mr. Toilet, here I come!
I loved our ice cube fights and the fun customers and how when we’d drop pretzels, perhaps on rare occasions, we’d maybe just dust them off. Not me. Others.
I love how when little gnats flew into the pretzel dough, we’d try our hardest to get most of them out.
I love how most of us washed our hands (Jason).
I love how eventually I became the manager and got to boss all my friends around except nobody listened to me.
Especially when they took $20 from the register to buy a pizza or had sex in the backroom.
While the details are fuzzy, a large cash deposit went missing on the night I was working.
Everyone made jokes that I took it to fund my trip to Iceland that very same month.
Let me state here and now, that it was not me.
One day, I recall seeing an amateur movie contest ad in the papers so I borrowed my friend’s camcorder and shot about 15 hours of footage.
I later read the fine print to find out the movie had to be under 10 minutes.
It’s not like I had any real editing equipment. I had two VCR’s that I hooked up together and was able to sorta “edit” that way.
I gave up on the contest but kept filming. I have countless hours of priceless memories that are still sitting next to my bed. “I promise guys, I’ll transfer those on DVD and make a greatest hits CD for everyone” I say at every reunion.
No one believes me anymore.
In retrospect, I think my years at Pretzel Time were some of my very favorite.
Look at it this way. I’ve had only ONE high school reunion since I graduated 18 years ago. But we have Pretzel Time reunions EVERY year. That’s saying something.
Not sure what it’s saying, but it’s something.
BTW, It took over ten years before I could eat a soft pretzel again. I still have never purchased one, only had bites of others. After consuming over 1000 free pretzels over 3 years, there’s no way I’m paying for one!