Rebel Upgrade

I got fired for refusing to serve brown lettuce to a customer. The manager, or maybe it was his pizza making girlfriend, told on me to the owner because I refused to serve the speckled brown romaine lettuce to psycho salad lady. I was the lowly floor mopper and counter girl. I doubt that the manager or his girlfriend wanted to be the ones to lift those iron chairs up and double mop the floor with the nasty string mop. But there was authority bucking going on and I was a threat.

string mop from Shalavee.comAnd so went my short-term job at the Tugboat Annie’s on 33rd Street in Baltimore right next to the Waverly Farmer’s Market and a block down from my childhood home. I was maybe 14 years old and I did need the money. I worked sometimes until 3 am lifting those chairs and swabbing that deck. And I got fired because I refused to sell a customer brown lettuce.

lettuce from

Ten years later would find me working as a customer service representative up the block at the Blockbuster video where I got “written up” by Eric the manager for wearing red high-tops at Christmas. Later I granted a membership to a local drug dealer without proper ID and then rented all the top movies to him. He never brought them back. Bad judgement kept haunting me.

pizza from

photo by joeb

I was the rebel again at the Cafe Hon in Hampden when I refused to be a mean manager to the same people who I was supposed to work alongside as a waitress on the shifts that made up for my being underpaid. I was paid $300 a week and needed the $100 in tips to pay my bills which included an unemployed husband. You will take what you believe you are worth until you believe you’re worth more but you don’t have to like it.

I am a true believer in fairness and justice and the right thing. Until now, I just never thought it applied to the worth of my soul. Finally at the ripe and wondrous age of 48, I find life is as rich and fair as you create your vessel to contain it. I am at a place where I expect people to respect me but I won’t be offended if they don’t because it’s not always about me. And this feels like a well-earned upgrade.

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4 Responses to “Rebel Upgrade”

  1. adamjasonp says:

    To be fair to everyone, you’d have to be fair to yourself too. It’s great that you’ve come to a place where you see you deserve respect. (Or something like that.)

    And then I wonder how non-returned videos played into the collapse of BlockBuster… we used to have a few stores. All gone.

    • Shalagh says:

      Interesting to note that when I started working there, it was an Erol’s, the most employee friendly company ever. Blockbuster came in and smashed this sweet little company. They pulled and edited movies that were unChristian and frankly, Blockbuster was a megalomaniac Adam so good riddance to them.
      And the fair comment is something to ponder.

  2. Andrea says:

    I like this post. At least you got fired doing the right thing…I got fired doing the wrong thing once (long story, where my boss thought I stole, when actually I borrowed…but it was poor judgement on my part( I was young)), and doing nothing wrong (except being a bit overconfident) the second time. And then the third time…I actually resigned, but then they tried to fire me afterwards!!

    I have done lots of suss things in my life…but I think fundamentally I’m a good person. I think my morals got a bit mixed up because of time my parents and I have spent in countries where morals are different…. I think rules are for bending, and can be abitrary…other people don’t. heheheh

    • Shalagh says:

      You have a good egg heart like me Andrea. We just had some low self esteem anchors weighing us down and some poor judgement like you said. Would I take back any and all of these lessons. Nope. This is the sort od writing I’d like to do more of. Becasue it’s the now me able to look back at the teenage me and feel compassionate. If you missed it, look at the “First Time” post. That’s a good one too.
      Thanks !

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