Law Offices of Seymour Wasserstrum - June 2020

The Law Offices of Seymour Wasserstrum

205 West Landis Ave., Vineland, NJ 08360 • 1040 Kings Highway North, Ste. 304, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034 June 2020 856-696-8300 ANote From a Grocery StoreWorker Turned Lawyer Remembering My Time at the Register

My parents emigrated from Germany when I was 1 year old, and after spending three years in NewYork, my father (believe it or not, without consulting my mother) bought a chicken farm in Vineland because my aunt’s family had moved to Vineland a year earlier. My father believed that my mother greatly missed her only sister. Had he consulted with my mother, though, my life would have turned out very differently — she and I would have preferred to stay in NewYork. I believe the Bible says something like “all things work together for good to them that love God,” and I must admit that I’m certainly happy with the way my life worked out. Despite the fact that we worked very hard on the chicken farm, in 1961 a dreaded chicken disease killed almost all of our chickens. My father had no real option other than to file for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy really helped our family get a fresh financial start. We received debt relief and stress relief. Now, about 55 years later, I’ve helped well over 30,000 people get their debts forgiven. My father never gave up, and eventually he purchased a small mom-and-pop grocery in South Vineland called Sam’s Market. I never liked working on the farm, but I really loved working the cash register in my parents’ store. I’ve always liked sales and math. Back in those days, there were no computers. Instead there were adding machines and cash registers. I loved using my mathematical prowess to add

up a customer’s purchases in my head. I used the adding machine to verify the total amount due, and about 99% of the time, I was right! Our customers loved it, and most of them became our friends. In fact, when my parents retired in 1983, a group of customers threw them a surprise retirement party. We had never heard of anything like that before, and it brought my parents to tears. Our store and our customers were very good to us. It was amazing how hard my parents worked, and they really did it for me, their only child. My father opened that store at 7:30 a.m. and closed it at 10:30 p.m., seven days a week. When my parents retired, the Vineland Newspaper ran a front-page article entitled“Grocers Retire From Their Labor of Love.” I still miss that store. My father made the greatest hoagies there, and I wish to God that I had asked him for his recipes. If I had, I’d have opened a hoagie shop right next to my law office! For many years, my father, my mother, and I were the only ones who worked at Sam’s, and that didn’t leave very much time for fun during my teenage years. Still, I loved every minute of it and continued to work at the store in the summers through college and beyond. In total, I’d say I worked at that register for about 20 years. I have no doubt that my work ethic came frommy parents, and it’s served me well. As a lawyer, I work just as hard to help my clients as I once did to help our customers at Sam’s. In the last fewmonths, as the pandemic has taken over the news and put essential workers front and center, I’ve foundmyself thinking back a lot on my days working at Sam’s. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to help and serve people in our current circumstances. Honestly, I’d probably be scared to death to go into work every morning and worried every second I was there.

With that experience inmind, I want to say thanks from the bottomof my heart to any essential workers reading this, particularly grocery store workers in the position I used to be in. I really appreciate everything you’re doing and the bravery, courage, and dedication it must take to wake up every day and do it all over again. Unlike police officers, firefighters, doctors, and nurses, you didn’t sign up to risk your life—but you’re in it now, and you’re doing it with heart. If I could talk your managers into paying you substantially more money, I most certainly would! I hope and pray this pandemic passes quickly and that God blesses you and keeps you safe. From one grocery store worker to another, thank you for all that you do! You are the best. Thanks to great technology, our team is working remotely and is continuing to serve our clients with convenient alternatives to in-person office visits. Clients can consult with us, drop off or review documents, and attend trustee meetings all at a safe social distance. So if you, your friends, or family need any legal advice to get you through this tough time, I’m here to help.

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