Rant & Rave

By Liane Kaneko

Tuesday, July 29, 1997

Entering the
workaday world

I realized after getting my hair and nails done for last season's prom and going to several graduation parties, that I was going broke fast. The only way to solve my dilemma was to get ... a job.

My parents didn't force me to find work, but they did start to make me feel guilty, telling me that I would have to start earning my keep and yada, yada, yada.

I figured in May that it was the right time to start looking. Boy, was I too late. I tried at several places close to my home in Kaneohe: Sears, Pizza Hut, Payless Shoes, Wildflower, Domino's and Kay-Bee Toy Stores.

At some of the stores, managers cut me off with a "NO," before I even finished asking if they were hiring. At other places, the managers said that they had just hired someone, but that they would keep my name on file.

When I had almost given up hope, I got a call from Little Caesar's in Kailua. I was so happy I didn't even think to ask about how many hours I would be working or how much I'd get paid. I didn't even know what time the store closed. People I talked to thought I was crazy for not asking those basic questions.

I guess I was afraid to ask because in school we're taught that we shouldn't ask about money right away during job interviews. Not that I even got a real interview. The manager just called me on the phone and told me to start at 5 p.m. on a Monday.

It wasn't until my second week that I found out how much I was getting paid; I assumed it would be minimum wage, and it was.

When I started at Little Caesar's, I realized I was the only girl in the shop and it made me feel a little uncomfortable. But during my second week I started having fun. I enjoyed making pizzas, taking orders and talking to my co-workers, Aaron, Akio and Sean.

Then I got a call from Star Market. There was an opening there.

I wanted to work both jobs, but it would have been hard to work around two similar schedules. I chose Star because it's closer to home, pays more and guarantees more hours.

The hard part was telling my manager at Little Caesar's. He didn't really have an expression on his face; it was just like, "OK."

AT Star, I became a courtesy clerk. I'm required to do the bagging and other tasks such as emptying trash cans, stocking the liquor shelves and collecting stray carts in the parking lot.

During our orientation at the Moiliili store, I learned a great deal about customer service and how important it is because of Star's promotion of a "five-star experience." This program includes offering carry-out service to every customer, whether they purchase three carts of groceries or one magazine.

Sometimes I asked and customers laughed. One person told me I was stupid to ask because he had just bought one loaf of bread. I was just doing my job the way I was told to, OK!

My first day working at the Kaneohe store was pretty stressful. I was completely nervous and afraid of disappointing everyone. My fear was about to come true.

There were several check-out lines open and although I was trained to float around, helping each cashier, I stationed myself at one line only. My co-worker friend Rona told me that other workers were complaining about me because I wasn't helping enough. I started to tear and wanted to cry.

Rona made me feel better. We gathered carts together and she told me not to worry about anything and that soon I'd get the hang of things.

As weeks went by, I made more friends who were all supportive and nice. A lot of them went to Castle or had siblings who were my classmates.

My first paychecks from both Little Caesar's and Star arrived just in time for the start of Liberty House's Zooper Sale. I thought I had made a lot of money, but it sure does run out fast, even though I try to stick to a budget.

Liane Kaneko will be a senior
at Castle High School in the fall.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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