Having a part-time job in high school meant taking closing shifts on weeknights. I often spoke to my mom about events at work.
One day, I told her about my closing duties, which included taking inventory, getting boxes ready for the next day, washing trays, wiping down displays, sweeping and mopping. Thomas did not assign these duties. They were to be evenly shared by the closing team.
I had noticed that my closing duties varied vastly, depending on whom I was partnered up with. One girl in particular, whenever I closed with her, I somehow always ended up doing all the cleaning while she "busily" took inventory or folded boxes. She did it so tactfully that most of the time I did not even know how it happened. She must have planned her way out of cleaning many steps ahead. I eventually figured out what she was doing. I was not upset at her. She was always sweet and friendly with me. I was just baffled at how she could do it so smoothly.
My mom laughed and told me, "Well, that's life. Life is never fair. If you know how to manipulate to get your way, then you don't have to do as much. She is just one of the many many examples you will encounter later on in life." My mom ended it at that. She felt that it was not a big deal. If someone could manipulate me to do things without me being upset about it, the person had done me a favor by giving me a free lesson . She saw it as part of life. My parents wanted me to work so I could experience life the way it was. I had to learn to handle it myself. My co-worker's behavior did not bother me, so I just shrugged it off.
Another thing I learned was that little white lies were not always bad. During one of our busy afternoons, I was on the phone with a customer, one girl was stocking bread shelves, while another one took up cashier duties. All of a sudden I heard a little scream, I turned around and faced our cashier girl. She was looking at a bun she apparently dropped on the floor. She looked up at our customer and apologized for her "clumsiness." She quickly asked the girl who was stocking shelves to bring a replacement. I did not think much of it and continued on with my phone call.
It was not until an hour or two later, when we slowed down, our cashier girl took the fallen bun out of a waste basket to show us. The bun was wrapped in a cellophane bag, there was a dead fly inside. The cashier girl said that she saw the fly as she was ringing up our customer, but she did not want to make a scene. She pretended to have dropped it so she could ask for a replacement without alerting all the customers in our store. Thomas was very impressed with how she handled it. He said our cashier girl not only handled the situation correctly, she did it intelligently. It was a lesson I remembered 'til this day.