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While You’re At It, Pick Up A Board Stretcher

, , , , , | Working | January 3, 2022

I’m pretty hands-on. I spent a lot of my childhood taking things apart to see how they worked and putting them back together. So, when I had the opportunity to do some work experience in my uncle’s factory, I was excited.

The first few days were great, but they clearly ran out of things for me to do, so they put me with [Employee]. He was a guy in his fifties who didn’t seem to want me there and wouldn’t let me help with anything!

After a day or two of following him around, I asked if I could actually “do” anything.

Employee: “When I was your age, I would have killed to have this opportunity.”

Me: “I’m not complaining. I was just hoping to help. Anything, at all. I’ve swept up twice already.”

Employee: “Why don’t you go over the road and see if they have any tartan paint?”

Finally having someone useful to do, I headed over the road to the paint shop, looking for a paint pot. After looking for something like “tartan red,” I realised that he was wasting my time. There was no tartan paint; he wanted me to ask for a paint that dried in a tartan pattern.

Shop Worker: “Can I help?”

Me: “Oh, no, thanks.”

Shop Worker: “Was there anything you were looking for in particular?”

Me: “Oh, yes. But it doesn’t matter.”

Shop Worker: “There is another paint shop down the road.”

Me: “Hmm? Oh, yes. Thank you.”

Still annoyed, I went out and grabbed a drink and took a long lunch. I mean, he wasn’t expecting me back from his fool’s errand anytime soon, right? I took my time and got back to the factory right as my lunch ended.

My uncle was there, furious.

Uncle: “Oh, thank God! There you are. I thought I was going to have to ring your parents.”

Me: “I got some lunch.”

Uncle: “Oh, that’s fine, really. But when I heard what [Employee] did, I called the paint shop; they told me you’d left for the next one and that we couldn’t find you there. I was worried that you got lost. Or worse.”

Me: “Sorry.”

Uncle: “Don’t apologize. [Employee] is an idiot and shouldn’t have done that. I’ve already had strong words with him.”

Me: “Oh, okay. Well, what should I do now?”

He sent me to the shops to buy some doughnuts for everyone. Then, I spent the rest of my time with him. It was great and he gave me a load of cash as “pay” on the last day for all the team help. Apparently, [Employee] felt so bad he put most of it in himself.

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