Working with the Cocoa Bean

Did I ever blog about the job I had as an assembly line worker at Malley’s Chocolates? I think I mentioned it briefly. Okay well here goes the detailed version.

I was in college and, according to my family, I needed a job. It’s not like I was a princess at home, lying around having people feed me grapes, I had my chores to do and stuff. Sometimes my dad would pay me to help him collate paperwork from work, sometimes my mom would pay me to help her around the house. Actually she didn’t really have to pay me, I loved cleaning the house. To her horror, and while I was in my first year of college, I vowed that I would become a maid. Sounded like a good plan to me, but not her. Knowing now that not every house (or hotel room) was as clean as ours, I finally saw her point.

Not sure who’s idea it was, but a job showed up as a factory worker. My mom drove me to the temp agency and the woman set me up for a job as an assembly line worker….at Malley’s Chocolates. I would finally be working with one of my favorite things in life. My family started to call me Lucy from “I Love Lucy”.

Speed it up!

"Speed it up!"

I started soon after, and on the first day, early in the morning in the staff lounge at the Malley’s factory, I stood with some other temp workers looking confused. I remember seeing a woman who said she was pregnant, and I noticed she wore tight jeans. She didn’t stay long, the heat of the factory and the constant smell of chocolate made her feel faint and sick. That left just about three or four of us. Two of us realized why we looked familiar to each other, we both went to the same college and were in the same woman’s chorus!

Next step…we were assigned to a station. I started in the section that made boxes to put the chocolates in, so that’s what I did. Eventually they moved me to the actual assembly line. That’s when I felt like Lucy, because I started off fine, but it felt like the conveyor belt sped up and I lost my place a few times. They stopped it and sent me back to making boxes. I was completely embarrassed by this demotion and it got to me. So there I stood, folding boxes with my nose all red because I was ready to cry. A worker nearby said, “You’re back already?” I think someone else nearby tried to comfort me.

There was an older lady there who acted like, since she appeared to have been there forever, she felt it was necessary to be bossy. She nicknamed me “Little One”. Perfect. I’m a somewhat mature college student and my nickname was “Little One”. Fine. Whatevah.

I eventually went back to the assembly line, and one day someone tapped me on the shoulder while I was concentrating on putting the correct damned chocolate into the right freakin slot. I turned and there was this lady in a suit with a hair net and a headset and cheerful smile. “Some people are here to see you!” She said. I looked up in the direction she was pointing. Apparently people can go on tours and see the workers of Wonka’s factory making the candy. One whole section has a wall of windows.  There was my family – my mom, one of my brothers and his family waving like crazy! I waved back, genuinely happy to see them. After they left, I lost track of what I was doing on the assembly line, but soon caught up.

The next day I was put into a totally different station. I won’t tell you what the permanent workers called it, because it might taint you from eating chocolates. But it was the best part of my temporary job as a Malley’s factory worker. Four of us stood around a plastic box filled with crushed almonds. English toffee would travel down the confeyor belt, get drenched with melted, milk chocolate and then drop into the box of almonds. We, wearing gloves of course, would pick out the freshly covered toffees and put it on a clean conveyor belt. Hence, Malley’s “Bordeauxs” were created. Oh freakin yum. I tried them, they are my favorite candy from Malley’s.

They had the radio on my favorite station, too, while we worked. I sang along softly to the songs, and nobody seemed annoyed by that. One day while at “the box” I got a tension headache. Those make me feel lazy and sleepy, and a manager mistook that as….well…laziness, although I was working, just not as fast. She shouted sternly, “Wake up!” It worked…kind of. Eventually the headache did go away. Amazing what little stupid things I remember about that job.

Oh! Then the next job I got was to stand around a table and wrap up the boxes of candy in Christmas gift wrap. That’s when I met a son of the Malley’s family. He was a manager, I guess, but he wasn’t intimidating. He was cute, actually. He kidded me about being called “Little One” and also about the fact that we had to share the scissors. Dang it…if everything went according to fantasy…er…plan, I could’ve been an in-law of the Malley’s family. Like marrying Willy Wonka! Oh well.

Eventually the seasonal job ended. People have asked me if I became sick of chocolate while working there. Nope! Not at all, actually! Just like I can still eat McDonald’s after working there for three years. But that’s another story.

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8 thoughts on “Working with the Cocoa Bean

  1. That sounds like a perfect job to have as a temp job. Like, you wouldn’t want to do it forever, but what an interesting experience!
    I would completely prefer the nickname Lucy to Little One :-)

  2. We used to go to the Malley’s off 480 every year for Easter candy (and to meet the Easter bunny). Great place. And I think Trivasanno used to have his radio show there every year too. If you’re going to work in a factory, that’s about the coolest one there is…

  3. What an awesome post! It’s like we’re right there, working along side you! The maid plan is funny! One of my temp jobs included being a janitor/handyman. Some temp jobs can be fun! It’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it. That’s so cool you got work with chocolate and you’ve got inside info! Your family probably had a blast watching you work, making that chocolate.

  4. I know someone who used to work for Campbell’s Soup. He said he used to see people spit, throw stuff, etc into it all the time. Very gross.

    I worked at Carl’s Jr. and I too can eat there all the time. I understand what you mean about McDs.

  5. Laura B.: And it was seasonal, too, perfect for some extra cash for Christmas! Yeah I like the name Lucy better too.

    Nicotine: I think that was the one I worked at…Not sure. The one on Brookpark road, I think. I remember listening to the commercials where the Malley’s lady would describe the featured item.

    Eros: Thank you! Yes, some temp jobs can be very fun.

    K_sra: They called it the litter box. Only because it was a plastic tub filled with crushed almonds. Nothing more! I’m just glad they didn’t call it that too often.

    Furtive Wangler: Oh I know! It would’ve been nice to have been sent home with some parting gifts. Like a lifetime supply of their best chocolate.

    Churlita: Thanks, yeah it was definitely a memorable job.

    Manuel: Ew, I like Campbell’s soup I’m gonna try not to think about what that guy did to it when he was working there. As for McDonald’s, I’m really surprised I didn’t get sick of that food. Even after opening the store and smelling stuff in the fryer usually made my stomach turn. Not anymore!

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