• Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Dodged A Robbery

One of my first jobs was as assistant manager of a Li'l General convenience store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, working the night shift. I did not want to be out at night, especially so late at night, but I was too young to realize that in the dark of night the brightly lit little store was more of a beacon to riffraff than any protection to me. I had noticed that the store location was rundown but again I was too young to realize how that might impact me. Also, I was pleased to have the job title of assistant manager, though I was surprised that as a manager my pay was minimum wage. And I soon realized that I was working alone, I was managing me, myself and I. I was not happy about this but upper management had told me that this was an entry level position and had suggested that if I worked hard I might soar to bright heights in Li'l General. I was desperate to get my toe onto a career ladder so I was determined to stick with this difficult job. There was a steady stream of customers but the cash register was an older version that I had already learned how to work when I was a volunteer at a food coop (and thereby earned a very welcome discount on food. I had been disappointed that Li'l general did not give any discounts to their employees.)Then I was told that in addition to running the register and guarding the stock, the goods in large boxes strewn about on the store floor would not jump onto the shelves by themselves, I was to cut open the boxes with a sharp box cutter (which I had never handled before), stock the goods on the shelves and be sure to face each can, bottle, and carton so that the label faced out to the customers. I was young, healthy, and willing except that I have always had heart problems which makes exertion difficult and I knew in my skittery heart that I could not physically do this job. Oh, but I did not want to quit, I wanted onto that career ladder! Then the next afternoon I got a quick telephone call from a day manager who said, "I'm not supposed to tell you, but a guy just came into Li'l General and robbed me at gunpoint. He was acting crazy and he said he would be back for more. Li'l General told me not to tell you, but I just quit and you should know what happened. I've got to go, good bye." He was really shaken. I knew then that nothing would make it safe for me there, an inexperienced young woman, to work by myself in a little store in the middle of the night. I had to quit, and then I was back to reading the newspaper want ads to see where I might work.

Li'l General convenience store—randomly sourced on internet

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