A Bright Smile and Incredible Ear
"The bright good morning voice who's heard but never seen..." Harry Chapin might have been singing about a radio disc Jockey but his words could just as easily describe Barb Galasso. On the phone and at the front counter Bausha is everyone's portal to Consumers Produce.
"I'm third generation produce," she declares proudly. "My Grandfather started down here in the Strip District in the early 1900's driving a horse and wagon delivering produce. My dad, everybody called him Baby Joe, started when he was 13 and worked for several companies mostly driving a truck, but always hauling produce. I started down here three weeks after I turned 18, right out of high school."
Barb says her dad didn't want her to get into the produce business because he felt it was too hard a life, but she was looking for a job and the position was open at Descalzi's. Until the company closed sixteen years later, she learned the produce business first hand answering phones and doing office work. When the Descalzi's hung it up Barb found herself looking for work. She was off a total of one day before coming to Consumers Produce.
It wasn't a simple switch to The Freshness Professionals. There were computers to learn and another Barb in the office, which created some confusion. As for the computer, "it took two or three weeks but I learned it," she says but the name was a little trickier. Finally she was tagged as Bausha and it stuck.
It only takes a couple of calls to Consumers Produce before you realize Bausha's uncanny ability to recognize voices which she says is ironic, "This is the ear I answer the phone with and I'm actually hard of hearing in this ear." Well not completely she concedes but perhaps that makes her listen closer. Whatever the secret it works. "I know a lot of people because I've been talking to them for thirty years." While she may recognize her callers 99% of the time she says at least once a day she finds herself baffled. "If I'm not sure I ask who's calling, and they'll go, it's me!"
It is that familiarity that Bausha loves about her job. Her coworkers are like family and she says, "I get to meet so many interesting people. A lot of the people I work with or talk to, our fathers worked together. You never know who's going to walk through the front door. Gee it may be the Mayor, or one of the Councilmen, or a Senator coming in to meet with Alan. I meet practically everyone that comes in here because they have to come through me."
A Bloomfield native from full Italian parents, Barb now lives on the North Side with her mother, Lena, who is 82 years young. Bausha's affection for her mom glimmers in her eyes as she proudly talks about how Lena still does laundry, cooks, and cleans, and is a joy to be around.
In fact it's clear that Barb Galasso is firmly centered on her family. While one of her brothers has passed away, the other is what she describes as "a typical Pittsburgh steel worker." "My nieces and nephews are grown but I have five of the most adorable great nieces and nephews that consume a lot of my time. I just adore them and I take them everywhere. When they want anything they call Aunt Barb."
While her family may hold her heart, her passion is painted black and gold. Get Bausha talking about the Steelers and you will be amazed. This is no passing interest, she can talk X's and O's contracts and prospects with the best of them. This fall if you're looking for a good post game analysis, give her a call. She'll be right there at the front desk waiting with her "bright good morning voice."
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