Life Theories: Restaurant vs. Retail

Here’s another one of my completed untested theories: If given a choice between working in either a restaurant or a retail store, most people would have a very strong preference for one or the other. They wouldn’t say that either would be perfectly fine for them.

I myself am a restaurant person. My first real job was as a McDonald’s crew member, and I ended up working at four Mickey D’s in two states over eight years as a teenager and a young adult. For the most part, I loved it. In fact, one summer during college I convinced myself that I needed to earn more money, so I took a job working third shift (10 p.m. – 6:30 a.m.) in the stuffing department at the Johnsonville Sausage Co. After three weeks of long nights hanging and trimming sausage links in a 40-degree refrigerator room, I didn’t care how much money I would make; I went to McDonald’s and begged for my old job back.

(Side note: After working at Johnsonville and experiencing how often we had to tear everything down and clean things up each night for FDA inspections, I am actually more likely to eat sausage today than before I worked there.)

A few years later, I went looking for a part-time job for a little extra money. At that point in my newly married life, I thought I would get a job at the local Eddie Bauer store. I had always loved Eddie Bauer merchandise and people thought that working there would be a perfect fit for me. Turns out, I hated it. I’m not sure why, but it did get me thinking about my previous work experiences, and then about the whole restaurant vs. retail thing. And when I started asking other people, most of them had the same polarization. Hence, my life theory.

What do you think? Are you restaurant or retail? 


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