One of the first jobs I had, while in high school, was working as a “stock boy” for The Fair Store.
The Fair Store located in the heart of the Loop at State and Adams Streets. It is regarded as the cities first department store. The store had 286,000 square feet of floor space.
This was my first “real job”. I went to the employment office (HR Department, today) and was hired that day as a “stock boy” – probably the precursor to the inventory clerk of today. Who want to be called a “boy” these days. But, I’ll tell you I really enjoyed being a stock boy. I had images of Tom Hardy with nickers going to work; making my own money. I was on top of the world.
My first experience was a disaster……
The employment director took me up the top floor, where the inventory was kept to introduce me to the foreman.
As we got off the elevator, I could see him off across the room, behind this counter, about mid chest high. He was a skinny fellow, with a very stern, pointed face and steel blue eyes.
I was introduced and as my father drilled into my head and me into my kids – look them straight in the eye and extend your hand with a firm handshake.
WOW!!!! Mr. Foreman took his had from behind the counter and extended a shriveled, deformed hand an arm for me to clasp in greeting. Well, I’ll tell you, I don’t know how I did it. Didn’t bat an eye; showed no emotion other than a firm hand shake and “Glad to meet you.”
I really don’t have any other memories of Mr. Foreman, but do have many fond and funny memories of my job at The Fair Store, I’ll share with you another time.