Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Service! It's the New Sacrifice

Last night I did a shift at the cannery. It was my first time on account of my aversion to service. The cannery is just a little weird in that I felt just a little like I was working at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. They don't make candy or have a chocolate river, of course, but the workers wear white aprons and blue rubber gloves and there is a lot of stainless steel.

There's a great deal of excitement in the air when you first get there because you are allowed to place an order. I was working at the "dry pack" operation (as opposed to the "wet-pack"). Neither dry nor wet pack sounds that appetizing to me but apparently it is because while the wet or dry food that is packed into cans is, ostensibly, for needy people, when you sign up for a shift you actually get to buy some of the food. But only 60 cans per shift. These cans are pretty big. So 60 of them is a generous limit. However, I can only imagine how many cans people would buy if there were no limit at all. When you get there you get a big flat-bed cart and an order form to fill out. I kept trying to peek at other people's forms. It was like eating at a new restaurant. "So what's good here? What do you get?" Apparently the potato pearls are the thing. As I loaded up my cart I couldn't help but exclaim, "I feel so. . . so. . ." At the same time my friend who is the Stake President's wife said, "self-reliant?" I said, "Mormon."

When we came to the powdered milk I considered getting some because it seemed like the right thing to do. But I was a little hesitant so I asked my fellow shift-workers to give me the 411. "For drinking you must get Morning Moo which is sold commercially." I started to put my cans back on the shelf--"No, go ahead and get it. You can bake with it!" You guys crack me up.

After we bought our food, I got my assignment. I was picturing a sort of frenetic Laverne and Shirley-scenario and I was ready. My job was to open big boxes of potato pearls for canning. I was to pull down the box flaps, open the big bag inside, and use the bag to hold the box flaps down. I did this to three boxes. I never did it all by myself as the eager full-time cannery worker gave me a hand with the flaps each time. My next assignment was to wash two windows (inside and out) and two doors (inside and out). Then I was instructed to put a stool away after it was washed off. I suspect there are more difficult shifts than the 8-9:30pm, but I was pleased with how easy it was. That said, early in my shift I bit the inside of my lip. It bled and got all swollen causing me to bite it again and again during the night. (You know how that happens.) So it's not like it was some kind of picnic.

In the tradition of posting nothing but incredibly flattering pictures of myself on my blog, here I am shelling peanuts for the implacable Veruca Salt.

19 comments:

  1. There must be something in the air. We didn't can, we bagged. Humanitarian kits, that is. I was assigned as "Quality Control" because I am too scary to work with others. (hee hee)

    I did enjoy myself although I couldn't bear to listen to the Stake Primary President talk in her sing-song voice to the "boys and girls" about the importance of service.

    Maybe I am a cynic after all and I won't get any blessings. RATS.

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  2. There you go Kacy, no doubt starting another fashion trend across the U S of A - but mom, all the kids are wearin' hairnets and rubber gloves this year, really!

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  3. So many wet-pack/dry-pack jokes. (e-high five to Mat6t)

    I'm so sorry.

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  4. I enjoy a good 3-hr shift at the cannery. It speaks to my OCD: repetition, measurable output, hairnets. Just don't ask me to stir the giant-sized vat of salsa or tomato sauce. Blegh.

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  5. I'm so glad you posted this because I have always been scared of the cannery and the responsibility it brings. Now I feel more informed.

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  6. I'm curious, potato pearls? Are those mini-tiny-weeny potatoes grown by the cousins of the Keebler elves?

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  7. P.S. Potato Pearls make me dry heave.

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  8. I actually had a frenetic Laverne and Shirley/I Love Lucy type experience at the cannery with none other than....Mom! Can you imagine it? I'm sure you can.

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  9. mmmmm. Potato pearls. I love em. I even eat them dry. Kinda like popcorn.

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  10. Sweet hairnet. When I go to the cannery, I like to plan ahead and let my beard grow out so I get to wear the hairnet and the accompanying beardnet. They always say good fashion is knowing how to accessorize.

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  11. I went to the cannery also this same day--although I was the 3:30-5:30 shift. I must be living right because all we did was can oatmeal and black beans and glory be they let us out at 4:45! I can't believe they let you buy 60 cans! Our limit was 30! Apparently the night shift gets away with murder. Then again, how much oatmeal could I possibly eat before I go again?

    You received good advice. Stay as far away from the powdered milk as you can. If we ever have to live on our cannery food we will involuntarily become vegans.

    And I was told this same day that they are discontinuing the "soup mix." That stuff is beyond disgusting. They must have received an enormous amount of hate mail about that stuff once guilt set in and people decided they better at least TRY to eat their year supply. Look at me go on and on about the cannery. I feel so....so...Mormon.

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  12. When I went to the cannery I got to wear huge galoshes and big gloves and weild an industrial powered hose. I loved it. Wish I could have been a part of the cannery clique.

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  13. So, if you're shelling peanuts, why does it look like you're cleaning work areas? Or am I not getting some in-joke?

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  14. I love the cannery. I miss the cannery in Lindon. But it seems the old (missionary) ladies were always so rude! Are they still?

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  15. Oh so proud Kacy!

    *grin*

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  16. Kacy,

    I was a peach can filler my first time....oh the memories. Few people are able to look so fashionable in a hairnet and rubber gloves.

    A toast to hairnets and canning!

    Well Done. We applaude your sacrifice. You Go Girl!

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  17. I love the cannery. Please let me know when you go again. I love the cannery so much. But is it snobbish of me to say it's fun to work at a factory for a few hours. Sort of like "slumming it." Because if I worked at a factory all the time, I'd probably hate the cannery so much.
    We have the soup mix. It gives you powerful rotten soup mix smelling gas.
    Your welcome for sharing.

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  18. I've been to the cannery, but it was in the canning peaches time. I was on that line picking out all the bad peaches and ended up with peach crap all over me: my pants, shirt, arm, everywhere. It reminded me of the episode of I Love Lucy where Ethal and Lucy start eating all the chocolates (?) because it goes too fast. I tried that, but I could only fit a few peach halfs in my mouth at a time. It was very tiring, but I liked it a lot. Though, next time I'll try to be in the dry goods area.

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  19. When we went to the cannery, the shift supervisor got upset because we had to leave early. Can I just point out that the sustainability of efficient canning relies on volunteers staying their whole scheduled time slots?

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