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30 Things I’ve Learned as a Deli Clerk

by Mr. Deli

Rule #1: Don’t eat the “Deli Ham.”

Rule #2: Stop looking down.

Rule #3: Stop looking down.

Rule #4: Old people in a state of indecision tend to move towards the Black Forest Ham.

Rule #5: Old people who can make a damn decision still tend to move towards the Black Forest Ham.

Rule #5.5: Always cut extra black forest ham.

Rule #6: Squirt Bottles work better than fly swatters.

Rule #7: Health inspectors wear white baseball caps.

Rule #8: If your boss has a boss, you -must- go behind their back to run an honest business.

Rule #9: Half of your pay is for being the customer’s bitch. If you’re not getting paid/are off the clock, even if they want you to, you are not obligated to be the customer’s bitch.

Rule #10: A manager who tells you what to do is your boss. A manager who helps you do these things is your friend.

Rule #11: Paper towels for stuff, real towels for things.

Rule #12: “Party Time” ham isn’t that exciting.

Rule #13: If you are working on refilling something in plain sight, a customer will always ask if you have any left. If you deliberately leave the space empty for a lack of said thing, the customer will simply ask for it.

Rule #14: If someone asks for you to cut something just a “little bit” thicker or thinner, and accompanies the request with a hand gesture similar to the one shown below, they just want it cut fresh, but lack the social confidence to simply ask you to. Don’t be angry. Just feel sorry for them and do it.

Rule #15: Customers will group up (usually near the apples in the produce department) to strategize and coordinate a mass attack on the deli. This usually happens either immediately after one of the two deli clerks goes on break, or after a sandwich is ordered, thus tying up one of the clerks. Often times, both of these criteria are met at the time of the attack with devastating effect.

Rule #16: The medium roast beef will occasionally be redder than the rare. This often results in confusion and infuriation of the customers.

Rule #17: If you’re having a good day, someone is about to call in sick.

Rule #18: The Kitchen has your knives.

Rule #19: The Kitchen has your papers towels.

Rule #20: The Kitchen has your egg slicer.

Rule #21: Label everything with “Deli.”

Rule #22: The Chinese department used your towels to soak up the water leaking from their stove.

Rule #23: The Bakery took your last apron.

Rule #24: Hide your towels and aprons. Be creative!

Rule #25: You will never get your box knife back.

Rule #26: You do not sell fried chicken, bacon, canadian bacon, summer sausage, bratwurst, lamb chops, steaks, or any other freshly-cooked or yet-to-be-cooked meat. The customers believe otherwise.

Rule #27: You do not make fruit trays. You do not make salads. You are not responsible for the upkeep of the salad bar. The customers believe otherwise.

Rule #28: You are not the catering manager. The customers believe otherwise.

Rule #29: You are not the all knowing, all seeing grocery-god, keeper of the Grocerynomicon which lists the exact location of every product, person, and piece of miscellaneous information in the store. The customers believe otherwise.

Rule #30: Relax. They still only own you while you’re on the clock.

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