General Mess Cleaner




Senor 23 is a General Maintenance Clerk (GMC) at the store. He prefers to call it “General Mess Cleaner” due to all the shit that’s happened in recent years in the store. Most of the messes he’s been cleaning up were from me screwing around. Union grocery stores are heavily structured around job classification. The butchers are in their own separate union while the rest of us fall into a different union. The lowest job in the store is the bagger. Baggers have a senority list though and if you’ve worked there long enough to get to the top of the bagger list you can become a GMC. GMC is a slight step above bagger in the union because you are allowed to do things like clean the butcher department’s meat cutting equipment and do some limited stocking of grocery items. It’s very specific though. Baggers by contrast are not allowed to stock anything in the store at any time. That’s the job of store clerks. Store clerks are classified in the union as Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master clerk. It’s all based on how many hours you’ve worked, senority, and total years of service. Plus some other shit I think but I never go to union meetings about how all this stuff works.

Since Senor 23 has to clean the meat department he’s frequently scheduled to work a few hours before the store opens in the morning so he can clean up all the butcher’s equipment, pressure wash the floors behind the meat cases, and shovel flaked ice into all the display cases. If everything works out by the time the butchers start rolling in to set up the display cases with animal gore, having the GMC guy there really saves them alot of time. Senor 23 is a goofball. He knows that if he gets everything done the butchers require of him then he can just hang out for the rest of his shift somewheres and then go home.

The other morning I had to come in for a dayshift, which isn’t often anymore. After I let myself in through the front double doors on the booth side of the lobby I headed back to the bathrooms by the milk box. As I pushed through the double doors leading off the sales floor I thought I heard snoring coming out of the ceiling. I wasn’t really awake yet so I didn’t think about it and proceeded into the bathroom to put on my apron and tie. While I was in there though I got to thinking about it and wasn’t sure that was what I really heard. Upon finishing straightening my tie I walked back out into the hallway quietly and stood where I thought I heard snoring and waited. Sure enough I heard it again. Someone was up in the roof sleeping on the job.

Around the corner from the bathrooms and to the left is our break room. We have a big ladder chained up against the wall. I unhooked it and put it up against one of the big metal meat freezers and made my best attempt at stealth climbing up to the top of the meat freezer. When I got up to the top I had to crouch real low or suffer knocking my noggin against a rafter or a support beam. It was dark and really filthy. Lots of dust and dead flies everywhere. Carefully I made my way back towards where I thought the hallway and the bathrooms were. My eyes were beginning to adjust to the low light level and I had to climb over some of the roof’s support beams to continue on. I got to a small walled up area just above the lower hallway and peeked around some sheetrock. There was Senor 23 kickin back on a lawn lounge he must have dragged up in there. He was comfortably sleeping in his jacket. I bet he was there for a few hours. He’s my pal and I wasn’t gonna fink on him for sleeping on the job. I didn’t want anyone else to bust him either so I woke him up. He was confused and startled to see me there. I told him I heard him snoring and he better knock it the fuck off ’cause we were gonna open up the store shortly. Senor 23 nodded and tried to pick himself up. I did an about face and got back down out of the ceiling before anyone else showed up. I left the ladder there for him to make a quick escape. I don’t know how the hell he got up there since the ladder was still chained up against the wall when I got in. Hmmmm.

Senor 23 has showed me some clever cleaning tricks. We used to have a graffiti problem in the men’s bathroom. Some assholes were using permanent markers to write dumb shit on the bathroom stalls and on the walls. I guess at some point Senor 23 spent some of his time dilligently trying to find an easier way to remove the graffiti with the least possible amount of work. He’s into that and I have to subscribe to the same policy. Trying to scrub dumb stuff off the walls is annoying and tiresome. He stumbled across a secret weapon in the anti-graffiti war. It’s a hair spray that’s been around since the 1950’s called Aqua-Net. It comes in old style metal spray cans and eats shit off the walls like nobody’s business. Some fool write shit with a Sharpie marker on your walls? Give it the Aqua-Net treatment. Comes off in seconds like magic. Sure makes our lives easier but you have to stop and wonder what that shit is doing to women’s noggins. I mean, if it eats permanent markers and paint off of walls what must it be doing to the female brain? I’m certain it’s making some women even more crazy than they already are. Nevertheless Aqua-Net is a powerful tool in our anti-graffiti arsenal.


~ by factorypeasant on August 29, 2004.

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