Grocery Bagger Grice

News, Spotlight — By on October 1, 2015 3:11 pm

By Casey Noska

Chris Grice

Chris Grice

When you walk into Mount Vernon’s local grocery store, Gary’s Foods, you may see a familiar face in the friendly atmosphere. One reason is because of Gary’s employees like 15-year-old Mount Vernon High School sophomore, Chris Grice. As shoppers maneuver through the store getting their necessities, he is there to assist them in finding what they need. That is just one of the many tasks Grice performs during his shift.

Grice was looking for things to do in his free time, so he decided to get a job at Gary’s. He began working there in late June of 2014, when he was 14 years old, and has now been there for over a year. It is unusual for Gary’s to hire employees under the age of 16, but Grice happens to be a neighbor of the store owner and has known him since he was a young kid, so he was an exception. “I was lucky with that, getting hired at the age of 14 at Gary’s” Grice said. He also said that in order to get hired, he had to sign a lot of paperwork due to his age and Child Labor Laws. The Child Labor Laws restrict Grice to how many hours he can work a week and what days he can work, but all of that will change once he turns 16. From that point on, he will be able to work more hours each week and will not be confined to only working on weekends. Grice said he is looking forward to working more hours during the summer months, which means more of his free time will be spent earning a paycheck.

When Grice started his job, he received training from other employees for a week, where they showed him what his duties were and how to perform them. You may spot him wearing khakis with a red Gary’s polo shirt and a black apron stocking coolers, freezers, shelves, bagging groceries, and helping people find items around the store. When he first started, he said he did not know where any of the food or other products were, but now he knows where most of the items are. “After time, I became comfortable helping, and it feels good to show people where things are and to assist them,” Grice said. Some of the problems he can run into while working his shift are making sure that the food is not expired, as well as making sure he doesn’t damage any items when placing them on the shelves. During times that are busy, Grice mainly focuses on bagging customers’ items and helping them deliver their purchases to their vehicles. When shopping slows down, he spends his time stocking shelves and leveling the aisles to make them look presentable.

Grice works alongside a number of Mount Vernon High School students. He enjoys working with sophomore Christian Tanberg and seniors Marquis Dew, Lily Dahlstrom, and Jenna Reimann because they make him feel comfortable. Any student who has a job has to learn how to balance their time between school, work, and extracurricular activities. Grice knows this since he is a part of the school cross country and track teams.

Grice doesn’t have any negative thoughts regarding his first job, but he has many positive notions. He intends to continue working at Gary’s Foods throughout his high school years. Grice says his boss is flexible, and he recommends this work experience to anyone that is looking for a great starter job. “This job has taught me a lot: how to have a good work ethic, to show up on time, and to just simply say hello and communicate with people,” Grice said. Grice has always been a very respectful and kind person, and now many of the customers at Gary’s Foods are getting to know him and probably think the same.

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