My first job was working the register at a restaurant called Cliff's Old Fashion Hamburgers. Customers ordered and paid with me and I handed them their fountain drinks. When their orders were ready, I called out their ticket numbers and they returned to the counter for their baskets of food. I also swept the floor and refilled the ketchup. Sometimes I even made milkshakes. Even though I went home every day smelling of old grease, it was a good first gig. I got discounted meals, the frings were delish, and my best friend worked there, too. On the weekends, there was table service, and if they were short-staffed, I might be called upon to waitress. Tips!
But the best part of working at Cliff's was the music.
Easy listening tunes were piped into the restaurant from a sound system. Each tape had about 10 songs and I quickly came to memorize the playlist and lyrics to all of them. There were songs that made me want to slit my wrists the minute I heard the first bars (No! I don’t like piña coladas and please don’t ask me again, man!), but most of the songs met with my approval. Since us lowly cashiers weren't allowed to control the music, I had no say over which tapes were in the rotation. Each 4-hour shift was a gamble. But when it paid off, the reward could be The Police, Luther Vandross, Simple Minds, The Isleys, or Spandau Ballet.