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  • The safe was placed in the store before construction was finished becoming part of the restaurant before there was a kitchen in place or dining room tiled. 30 years in the same place had cemented it into the spot, and into the floor in a way that bolts would never be able to do. These safes were the only bit of commonality in the stores besides the basic menus but have become more and more rare as time passes. I had only been in the store for a week, another new state and store work becoming a revolving set of faces and slightly different offices. Over the years the safe had been used daily, abused and beaten repeatedly before finally falling to the inevitable. The combination was forgotten and the only way to open the safe was a single key, after slightly moving the combination ever so slightly. On the eighth night in New Jersey I received that while cleaning a new employee spun the combination and sealed all the money in the store into the safe. I had to call a locksmith for an emergency visit the next morning so the store could open, but after an uncounted number of calls I learned that very few locksmiths still deal with this type of safe. Finally I found one that claimed he could have it opened in just a few minutes. When he arrived he said give him a few minutes and the safe would be open, "Don't worry this is a simple combination and key set!" Five and a half hours later, four industrial drill bits ruined, and the use of a sledgehammer and chisel the safe door finally swung open before falling to the floor and denting it. The locksmith was unhappy with the time it took and the use of force after telling us how easy it would be, and left without taking the destroyed safe with him. For the next week, while waiting on the new safe to arrive, the old safe laid on its side randomly dropping broken cement from the holes drilled and smashed into its sides and door. That was the last safe from that time period I have seen since, three states and six stores later, and I know that I watched one of the last safes go. Work is once again just faces and names with hardly any similarity between one spot to the next. For me work does not give me any familiarity or sense of home, except for the memory of the old safes.
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