Issue 8 Contents


Bad Job

First day of October I show up for work in a good mood for once and what's the news? We can't watch movies anymore. The only allowed programming is some new ScreenPlay trailer tape. They had it custom made so the previews are interlaced with the store jingle. Shit, I didn't even know we had a jingle, much less one this cheezy. I'm going to see if I can get a copy of it online with RealAudio, but here are the lyrics:
"We've got the stars, the best movies,
all the hits you're wait-ing for.
What you want to see, when you want to see it.
There's nothing like our su-per-store.

Get it at the junction, Video Junction.
For the movie lover in you.
We're your enter-tain-ment su-per-store, Video Junction."

Ok, in actuallity we don't have any stars, just a bunch of disgruntled clerks, most of the hits we're out of on the weekends, so you can't quite get what you want to see if you want to see it on the weekend. We've decided that "the junction" sounds an awful lot like the intersection in a town with only two roads. Actually we were spoofing that we should answer the phone, "Thanks for calling The Juction!" but no one would dare mention it to the owner for fear it might become policy. They did get one line right though, there's nothing like our su-per-store, but if you go down the street to All-Star Video, you're sure to find something far superior.

What else has happened since the first installment? Well, I did get a couple of raises and a promotion, which made things suck less, but that also means my biggest responsibility is no longer making sure the counter doesn't float to the ceiling by leaning on it most of the time. Now I get to do fun stuff like paperwork, which is for all intents and purposes our way of spying on the employees' transactions after-the-fact. I spend a lot of my time making excuses for spending even more of my time atop a ladder. It used to be pretty tough until the company's maintenance guy quit, at which time I became the keeper of the florescent bulbs and ballasts. For a few weeks I was also the designated trash man for the big ever-overflowing bin in the parking lot. That was a shit-job, I generally just dragged the bin through the store and flipped it into the dumpster -- it was less painful than having to handle all that trash.

A couple of weeks ago the manager of another store who also used to do all the tape repairs for the company put in his two weeks. Somehow the tales of my voyages into the realm of tape repair drifted to the owners so soon all the company's repairs will be drifting into piles in our store for me to deal with -- wonderful. At least customers don't bug me too much when I've got 20 feet of VHS wrapped around my arm (Hey, you don't question my repair techniques, I won't question yours).

Roughly two months ago a big metal circle showed up at the store. Turns out it's going to hang in the middle of the store and hold seven new TVs. We're getting a surround setup too. Yeah, right. The hanging of the ring was the last thing the maintenance guy did before he walked and it's hanging above the ceiling tiles, so there's no rush for asthetic appeal either. I figure we'll get new sets the week before god decides to take a pleasure tour of the underworld. Not that it's matter much, I doubt the jingle is going to sound any better in ProLogic.

The jingle thing is the worst. It used to be that we had to keep watch for impending doom (ie, visiting owners) only when we had something R-rated in the player, but now we have to keep watch pretty much all the time, because anything that's not the trailer is forbidden. Adds a little to the tension level in the store. Employee morale is at an all-time low.

I mentioned the dress code last time, so let's keep precendent, shall we? They're working on it. The thought is either navy blue polos over khaki pants or maybe they'll get a little more risque and go with black polos. They're having a problem with the shoe issue too. Now, the other stores all have black (as I recall) polos over khakis and that's it. The polos are untucked and shoes aren't an issue, but for some reason they have to be with us. A commonly uttered phrase these days is, "What's it matter what the place looks like if no one wants to come in?" They freaked when that All-Star opened at the beginning of September. They were having their grand opening and we were repricing items to match them... not beat them and save customers, just match them. All the customers got the right message, "Now that we know we've been fucking you for years, we're really scared that you might go elsewhere." Guess what? They went elsewhere. A lot of them came back because that place is really bright and garish and the clerks are really rude (Yeah, I know, you shut the fuck up). But if you drive past both stores on a Wednesday night, I'll be at the counter watching some ancient flick that a friend of a cousin of a customer's wife recommended to one of the other employees, while the guys down at All-Star will be dealing with those fucking annoying customers. Given that there aren't too many decent movies I haven't seen these days sometimes I almost wish we had annoying customers too... almost.

Someone explain the mentality of the average porn-renter. Seriously, if you rent a lot of porn, email me and let me know what's going on in that pea of yours. We've got a small adult section with rentals, previously-viewed, and new stuff for sale. There's this one guy who comes in two or three times a week and buys five or six previously-viewed porn flicks each time. He never rents anything and he never gets anything else, just buys porn. Those reels are like two hours each, which I've never been able to sit through. Somehow watching the same girl get hammered by the same guy in the same way for 20 minutes just bores the shit out of me. Am I weird? Anyway, two hour tapes times five is ten hours times thrice a week is almost enough porn to make watching it his full-time job. Maybe I just don't meet enough people, but I don't know anyone who can beat off for 30 hours a week, then again, if someone beats off 30 hours a week, he probably gets out even less than I.

The customers are either getting worse, or I'm just noticing it more. They're not getting dumber or anything, that isn't really possible, they're just getting more physically offensive. There's a family that smells like piss, a few women who apparently got attacked while taking a stroll past the makeup counter at Macy's, and a bunch of fat people who must produce more sweat than a camel's balls on a day trip through the Sahara. Tell you what, if you ever walk into your house after a day outside and it smells a little like piss, you might want to take a good look at your cleaning habits. If you own any beauty product specifically designed to remove makeup or maybe even a putty knife, it's time to sort out which of those colored bottles you really need. If you can't look down right now and see your pubes, turn off the computer and jog your fat ass around the block a few times! I don't want to see that shit! I don't want to smell that shit! For god's sake, a retail store is not the place you want to be bitching at your spouse or your kids. I don't want to hear that shit either! So get in shape, take a shower, get ready to shut the fuck up, and come on down to the junction!

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The first installment