By Adam Wheeler When one hears that a business is called the “Milk House” the first thing that comes to mind is probably not a gas station. But, Piedmont is home to just that.
The Piedmont Milk House is on Piedmont Avenue near Morris Thomas Road. And, according to some of the business’ employees, the obscurity of its name is only outdone by the ease of working there.
“You may have found the easiest job in America,” said Peter Thorstad, a Milk House employee for the last year and a Duluth Denfeld High School student.
Walking into the building, a customer will notice that the people working behind the desk may be texting on their cell phones or even watching a movie on their laptop.
Brendan Lawler is also a Denfeld student that has been working at the gas station for nearly three years.
A middle-aged woman walks into the store with her young son who appears to have been with his Boy Scout troop as he is wearing the navy blue uniform. The woman asks Lawler how school has been going as she pays for her skim milk.
“Most of the people that come through here are regulars,” Lawler said.
Lawler is a senior that plans on attending the University of Minnesota Duluth next fall and is considering getting a new job to make more money.
When Thorstad heard about his possible departure, he responded by saying, “What other job can you watch X-Men?” referring to the movie playing on Lawler’s MacBook computer.
In the span of about an hour, four people walked in that knew one of the two young men by first name.
And in that same span more than a handful of friends from their high school walked in. A conversation with a girl varied from an argument about whose iPhone case was better to who they were taking to the upcoming prom.
A conversation with two of their male friends who were just getting done playing baseball consisted primarily of mocking the fact that one of them was wearing black socks with white Nike tennis shoes.
Shortly after, another group of friends stop in and a middle-aged man walks in to buy cigarettes and a Maxim Magazine.
“Oh nice, there ya go,” Lawler said in reaction to the scantily clad woman on the cover.
The store empties for a short period after a few straggling friends exit. The movie starts back up and they begin to dispute over the type of metal that is grafted onto Wolverine’s bones (which is Adamantium, by the way).
The break doesn’t last long as a high school buddy walks back into the store with someone that looks to be his little brother.
The younger one asks, “Can I buy cigarettes from you guys?”
Lawler’s response is an immediate “No,” knowing he is not old enough to make such a purchase.
The underage customer pleads with them briefly until he is told that they could be fired for selling tobacco to a minor.
Yet another familiar face walks in the door and empties a Crown Royale cloth bag of 41 silver dollars and requests to get them traded in for dollar bills. After pouring out the entire sack, the man jokes that this is “better than going to the bank.”
Once Lawler and Thorstad are done joking about the use of silver dollars in gentleman’s clubs they return to the movie.
The store closes at 10:30 at night on weekdays and employees finish the evening in pairs, while most gas stations of this size have only one person at the end of the night.
Both of them say that their favorite part of the job is that you are not required to punch in to get the hours on the paycheck.
The consistent ease of their work may lead one to assume they would be willing to put in some effort the one day it is necessary.
“We take inventory once a year, and we usually try to take that day off,” Thorstad said.