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Local cashier still checking out at 78



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October 13, 2010 - Groveland Twp.- For many working adults, punching the time clock for the last time prior to retirement can't come fast enough.

Not the case for Clara Switzenburg, who at 78-years-old still rings up customers at Bueche's Food World.

The Metamora resident didn't plan on slowing down after working for 25 years in an office. Instead, she decided to get a third shift job as a night cashier at Bueche's. For Switzenburg, working isn't about making a living, it's about creating and maintaining relationships within the community and enjoying the company of friendly and familiar faces.

"Some customers are regulars and they are just like friends and family," said Switzenburg. "It's a close-knit community."

Many would believe that a pet peeve of a senior worker like Switzenburg would be having to deal with the younger, and less experienced workers, but that is not the case.

"(The younger generation) isn't too hard to work with, they are like my kids and grandkids," she said. "I really enjoy working with them."

Of course, Switzenburg enjoys working with her co-workers, young and old, but she, along with all senior workers, must face challenges that their younger counterparts do not have to face, including becoming fatigued faster and discrimination from employers.

Switzenburg said she is treated no differently than her younger co-workers. "They expect an honest day's work out of you, no matter your age. The older and younger workers are treated just the same here."

Unfortunately, the friendliness and acceptance Clara Switzenburg has received from her employers and co-workers at Bueche's cannot be found all over the U.S.

In fact, many older workers, people 55 and older, are discrminated against based soley on their age, especially when the younger workers are struggling to find jobs in the poor economy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 2.2 million people, aged 55 and older, were unemployed in August. Switzenburg said that if older people get an opportunity to work they should take it.

"It forces you to still make an effort to meet new people, instead of just staying at home doing the same things you always do," said Switzenburg.

Staff Writer Senior at Goodrich High, part of the marching band color guard, and excited to be a part of the Citizen Newspaper.
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