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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Andy Foley, May 18, 1994. Interview K-0095. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Uniquely comfortable atmosphere at a furniture factory

Foley's job at General Electric is no fun, he gripes. First, there is no camaraderie, perhaps because workers there are concerned that goofing off will cost them their jobs. Second, the General Electric job does not offer Foley the rewards of working with wood. When the White Furniture Factory closed, Foley lost a sense of comfort he doubts he will experience again.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Andy Foley, May 18, 1994. Interview K-0095. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

No matter how long I will work there I don't think I'll feel comfortable as I did at White's.
JEFF COWIE:
Is it just more impersonal?
ANDY FOLEY:
Yeah, it's more personal, I mean, more people there I had things in common with. At G.E. everybody's like, I don't know, boy, zombies or something except for the ones I play on a ball team for. The ones on the ball team ain't none of them in my department. The ones in my department are [makes noise with mouth] . They don't really associate with each other or nothing. They just go there and do their little job and they're gone. Where at White's you go there and do a little bit of your job. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
Maybe that's what closed the place. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter] That's an interesting comparison. Okay, so you've compared the work life, what about the pay and benefits? Is all that better at G.E.?
ANDY FOLEY:
Yep, they are.
JEFF COWIE:
Do you think it is worth it? Is better pay worth the environment you don't like as much?
ANDY FOLEY:
Sometimes when you go shopping or something, but I feel like after work or something I felt more comfortable at White's because I knew that even though I live in Roxboro I hung out down here more than I did in Roxboro because all my friends and everything lived in Mebane or Swepsonville or Saxapahaw or something so I spent a lot of my time down here. Whereas where I'm working with G.E., unless I'm playing ball or going to school at ACC, I'm back in Roxboro. I don't know I just along with everybody more. They were more relaxed where I think G.E. they are more uptight over… They know if they don't fulfill their job that they're gone.
JEFF COWIE:
Right.
ANDY FOLEY:
Where at White's you could goof-off one day and get by with it. [laughter] I did not say that. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter] What about the whole, I mean, having not worked in either type of job, I'm wondering whether just the whole idea of building something out of wood is more rewarding than …
ANDY FOLEY:
Yeah, it is because you know that's something that nature's given you, and you've taken, you know, like my drawers I've built it with my hands. Whereas G.E. is like here's a little piece of plastic, stick it in the thing, and it does itself. Plus you get more satisfaction out of, you know, like nowadays when I go in a furniture store or something I look at their furniture to see if they done it the way we done it. I notice things like on tables or at my cousin's house we are always talking junk about her tables. They're made different and we say cheap and everything. I believe at White's you notice or I personally notice more now on other furniture and how it stands up to, you know, what White's had and everything. At G.E. I don't know what half the stuff I make goes on. Plus it gives you satisfaction when you're out somewhere and you see somebody that has a piece of White's furniture because you never know you might have had a hand in making that.