Interviews With People Who Have Interesting or Unusual Jobs
We’re always looking for people with interesting or unusual jobs. If you fall into one of these categories, or know someone who does, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I Ran the Scrambler: An Interview with Kim Engler.
Q: How old were you when you worked at the local amusement park?
A: 15 years old.
Q: What made you apply?
A: I don’t remember. I was 15 and I couldn’t drive, so I went with some friends who could drive. You really didn’t apply, you just showed up and you were hired. It was more like a gathering of people. This was 20 years ago and I don’t remember things that happened 20 minutes ago!
Q: Was it far from your house?
A: Pretty far for someone who doesn’t drive.
Q: What was the name of the park?
A: Angela Park.
Q: And you ran the Scrambler?
A: Yes, I ran the Scrambler. I loved running the Scrambler. It was exciting. When you’re 15 and in charge of 20 people on a ride, that’s powerful stuff! I couldn’t drive a car but I could sling people around.
Q: Did you receive any safety training?
A: No. It was very unsafe. Anybody off the street could walk up and run the Scrambler. Somebody just showed me how to turn it on and off.
Q: Was it all controlled by the one long handle?
A: There is nothing interesting or complex about running the Scrambler. You turn it on, get it up to speed, let it run for a while, and then turn it off.
Q: Were you ever tempted to go full throttle right away, just to try it?
A: That would probably break it and I’d lose my job.
Q: How long did you let the ride go? Was there a timer?
A: I just stopped it when I thought it was time to stop. If I didn’t like someone, they got a little ride.
Q: Are you serious?
A: No, but you can say that if you want.
Q: Did you ever give your friends a long ride?
A: No. I just knew how long to let it go, like if the line started getting long.
Q: Were there ever any injuries?
A: No, I didn’t kill anyone.
Q: How much money did you make?
A: Less than $2 per hour. Maybe $1.85 an hour. It was less than minimum wage.
Q: Can they get away with that?
A: They chose to pay the fine for not paying minimum wage. It was cheaper for them to pay the fine than it was to pay minimum wage. I think that you only have to pay the fine if someone turns you in, and they were taking the risk.
Q: Did you get a paycheck?
A: Yes, and they even took taxes out! I remember you had to buy a shirt that said Angela Park on it so you could wear it to work. That really bugged me. I think we had to pay for food, too. No perks.
Q: Did anyone ever throw up on the Scrambler?
A: No, thank God. That would’ve been disgusting. I probably would’ve just left it there if they did.
Q: So you just did the job for the summer?
A: Yes. When I turned 16 I got a good job at McDonald’s making minimum wage. I doubled my salary!
Q: Was your primary job to run the Scrambler?
A: I was a backup operator, actually. I worked the concession stand, too. I wanted to drive the train, but you had to be a certain age. I spent most of my time in the booth with air guns. There were bottles lined up with pingpong balls on top and you had to shoot with a cork gun to get the balls to fall off the bottles.
Q: It sounds easy. Was it?
Q: Did you give away prizes?
Q: Were they good prizes?
Q: Is Angela Park still open?
A: It’s gone. It’s a deserted thing, but the swimming pool remains as a safety hazard. It’s an empty desolate parking lot.
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