Your first job: Working in the Meat Department

The manager at Thriftimart is thinking maybe Produce would be a good starting job for you instead.

It’s 1978 – You’re A Teenager – You Live In L.A. – You Got Your First Job – Look Out World.

Working in the Meat Department
The manager at Thriftimart is thinking maybe Produce would be a good starting job for you instead.

KMET – Bob Coburn – November 18, 1978 – Mike Devich Collection –

The ritual of getting your first job – whether you were heading into your first semester of Junior High (or Middle School, if you’re so inclined) or your first semester of high school, there was something about joining the ranks of the employed that was just naturally a rite of passage. Unless you were a trust-fund baby or were born to well-heeled people, getting a job in order to sustain your life was essential. If you got an allowance, chances are it was considered a princely sum around the turn of the century, but not in 1978. Everything cost – and if you had vices, they cost even more – if you had eyes on taking Drivers Ed, getting a learners permit and heading into the hallowed halls of car ownership, you couldn’t do it on 50 cents a week. In 1978 gas prices alone were going up and just filling the tank alone would set you back several months of parent-controlled wages alone.

Nope – you had places to go, things to do, people to impress. You were starting to look twice at yourself in the mirror and you were beginning to realize the 60s had been over for a while and Disco was fading fast.

You needed threads, you needed tunes, you needed gas, you needed supplements – and let’s get honest; you bought a lid every now and then and the occasional gram of Philadelphia Marching Powder was pricey. And even though it was non-habit forming you found out it was the rat’s drug of choice – but you only did it on special occasions like date night or a Kiss concert.

So you and half the underage worker-wannabes in the city of Los Angeles were all clamoring for almost the same jobs – something with short hours, lots of pay and lots of benefits. In short, working at either The May Company or McDonald’s or a place like The Gap or London Britches. But under the circumstances, the best you got was working at a supermarket – stocking shelves, wrangling baskets, bagging groceries. It was a job, after all.

Yep – that was you. And face it, you were just a little proud of that – and at least they had the radio on in the employees lunchroom and you all liked KMET.

Life wasn’t so bad after all.

And to remind you, here’s an hour’s worth of Bob Coburn from KMET, exactly as he was heard on November 18, 1978.

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