When I was in high school, I worked for Sweet Martha’s at the Minnesota State Fair one summer. I had a few friends who worked there, and I thought it would be fun to join them. Looking back, it was a good experience, but it wasn’t, perhaps, the smartest move.
Sweet Martha’s was different from Pita Gourmet. It was enormously bigger, in so many ways — in terms of volume of food sold, in terms of building space, in terms of customers, in terms of staff. At the ice house (well, Pita Gourmet), everyone knew me, and there were people looking out for me. Don’t get me wrong — it was a business, and I wasn’t being babysat, but if I had needed anything, there were a number of people willing to help. I knew pretty much everyone in my little corner of the world. We had piles of fresh, broken pitas (the pitas that ripped when we opened them) and a big jar of peanut butter for whenever we got hungry. At Sweet Martha’s, I don’t think people knew my name.
Working at Sweet Martha’s was, ultimately, good for me. I actually sold cookies at the window, and that sales experience was a good learning experience. It was nice to feel part of something big, something about which everyone knew. Even now, over six years later, I still have affectionate feelings towards Sweet Martha’s (and those amazing cookies). And it was fun to work with my friends.
But, all in all, Pita Gourmet was better. It was more fun; it was more casual, but I also learned more. I had more responsibility. I wasn’t just one of dozens; I was individually important. Plus, there was always something going on at the ice house — Sweet Martha’s was hectic, but it was pretty much all the same (except, perhaps, for that one day when Dick Cheney stopped by). If I had really thought about it, I think I would’ve made a different decision. I might have stayed with Pita Gourmet. But I was in high school, and I wanted to be with my friends, and that was pretty much all that was on my mind.