August 25, 2014


We have all worked in some unusual situations with some unusual people, right?
Well I have every one of you beat.
Until I become a bazillionaire from my writing(and hoping that there is a deity listening now who happens to give a crap), I must have…fade in ominous chord…the day job.
In my not inconsiderable time on this planet, I’ve done all manner of non-creative day jobs to support my writing, from scooping ice cream to hotel maintenance to selling jewelry and back again. The jobs are easy and not mentally taxing, so that when I get home, I’m good to switch over from physical to mental activities without feeling drained.
That being said, I came home from my latest day job, shelf-stocking at a company that will not be named, since I prefer to keep this job until my books sell well enough to enable me to write full-time or I throw myself under a semi—whichever comes first.
I was innocently stocking my employer’s dairy section when I felt a tap on the shoulder.
A tap on the shoulder is never a good thing.
I turned to find one of the department managers standing behind me with another employee in tow.
“Debbie (name is changed to protect me from lawsuits) is here to help you.”
Now, understand, I really don’t like to work closely with other folks.  I like to be given an area of responsibility and then go away and handle it.  I am good at this.
Now I have “help.” 
Department manager walks away.
“Okay, Debbie.  There are just a few things to keep in mind over here.  Please don’t break up cases.  The whole case goes up, or none of it does.  And please remember to rotate the stock so the closest to expiration is at the front of the shelf.”
“I know, I know.”
“That’s good.  But I don’t know what you know.  I just met you.”
“I know what I am doing, and if I do something wrong, management will correct me, not you.”
“Ohhhhhhkaaaaaay.  Then let’s get to work,” I said, making a mental note the size of Ohio to discuss this little chin wag with the big cheeses later.
She goes to get some stock out of the cooler, I return to my work.
Another tap on the shoulder.
Help me, Jesus.
It was the same department manager.  “You’ll need to keep an eye on Debbie,” he said.  “She stocks by matching up the pictures on the labels.”
“What--she can’t read?  Mother Mary shits a bunny!”
“Just do the best you can.”
“I’d love for you to tell me how.  She won’t take direction.  As a matter of fact, she told me off.”
“Yeah, well, she’s a thorn in everybody’s side.”
“Why does she even still have a job?”
“We didn’t hire her.  She’s a transfer.”
I failed to understand what this had to do with the price of a hooker in Las Vegas when it came to this kind of gross incompetence, but I didn’t ask.  I was afraid he’d explain.
I went back to work, finished stocking the items on my cart, and returned to the cooler to get more.
I passed Debbie on the way.
She had broken at least a dozen cases, and put all the coffee creamers (and we have 143 different kinds) in the wrong places because the labels had been changed. She had rotated nothing.
I went up front to speak to the Assistant Store Manager, and once I told him of my troubles, he said, “We didn’t hire her.  She’s a transfer.”
By the end of the day, there would not be a hair left in my head.
He then excused himself to go deal with a dust-up on register five.
The cashier is blind, and was cussing out a customer.
“Do we have the Braille system in this store?”
“Nope.  Too expensive to install for just one person.”
“Let me hazard a guess here—she’s a transfer?”
I subsequently discovered that the person fielding store phone calls is deaf, the fellow who unloads the trucks is a quadriplegic, and the store greeter is a nasty little guy with no legs who gets around on an extra-wide skateboard. He spreads his strange brand of sunshine beneath the sign over the front of the store which reads, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
And now, we have a vacancy in the deli department.  Evidently, the fellow who used to work over there got his prosthesis caught in the slicer. All vegans who refuse to even look at meat are encouraged to transfer.


  1. Great story, Carson. A funny rant is a wonderful thing.