Friday, December 30, 2011

Pencils: The Buck Stops Here

Here is a  great story.  I have worked for Pencils for a long time.  Of course, I work in office supplies, which means I also work in furniture, office equipment, cashier, copy center and every thing else because I have to.  Too bad the other departments don't have to do the same.  So on Wednesday Dec 27th, an old man comes into the store and says that the chair he is looking at right now was on sale last week for 99.99, original price is 149.99 and that he wants the chair for the sale price even though it isn't on sale anymore.  I explained that our sales run from Sunday to Saturday and that if it isn't on sale anymore, he wouldn't get it for the sale price since we don't backdate sale prices.  I asked why he didn't buy it when it was on sale last week and his response was that he didn't feel like buying it then because his son was out of town and it was for him for Christmas.  But now his son is in town and he wants THAT CHAIR AND THE SALE PRICE FOR LAST WEEK.  Again I reminded him that the sale was over and it was back to full price.  So the arrogant ass tells me that he has been a long time customer of Staples and that he wants to see my manager RIGHT NOW BECAUSE HE DOESN'T WANT TO PAY FULL PRICE and he doesn't want to talk to me anymore.  So of course, I responded that I'll get the manager for him but the sale is over, for the third time.  I go tell my Ops Manager about the situation and he tells me to handle it.  I told him how the customer demanded he talk to a manager and didn't want to deal with me anymore.  The manager again pawns the guy off on me and I responded that the customer demands he talk to a manager.  so the manager finally leaves the office and I'm walking him to the customer.  He tells me to go check for the chair so I do and we have 3.  I get one down and bring it out and the manager says " I'll take it from here" and wheels it away saying that he is sorry for the inconvenience.  Not 2 weeks ago, the company screwed up and released a coupon for $90 off of a massage chair, which was already on sale for 99.99.  This bitch blew a gasket telling me that we have to honor the coupon because we issued it and she wants the chair for 9.99 after the coupon.  I told this situation to my GM and he did the same thing...   YOU handle her.  These are managers making a minimum of 50k per year and are afraid to talk to customers unless they have great curves and slinky dresses on.  My advise to anyone looking to get a great deal.  Next time something WAS ON SALE AND YOU WANT IT FOR THE SALE PRICE WHEN THE SALE IS OVER, just bust the manager's balls until you get your way and if they still don't give it to you, remind them that you are a long time customer, threaten to take your business elsewhere and then ask for the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT'S NUMBER.  Guaranteed you will get your way.

Monday, December 26, 2011


So to start, I "was" a Pencils employee for about 5.5 years, and just recently quit only a few months ago due to well, there is not much need for explanation there. Anyways, I have been reading this blog for some time and absolutely love it, and I can agree with every single post written. I passed along the link to fellow workers some time ago and everyone loved it too. So I'm writing this today not to give you a special story about one of my experiences as they have pretty much already been posted and I don't have anything remarkable to say. I took this picture a couple of years ago (he hasn't been with the company for a while), and thought it would be perfect to post on your site without any commentary - I don't think any is necessary. This was not a staged picture at all, I merely snapped a quick pic. The surroundings are clear to anyone who has or does work at Pencils and I thought they would get a kick out of it. Again, he hasn't worked with the company for a while now so there really is no harm in this. Looking forward to seeing it on a post. 

Thanks from a long time reader and fan- 


Let me preface this posting by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed my job as Mobile Tech for more than 7 years. For those of you who don't know, Mobile Technicians were the Pencils employees who were doing the "on-site" tech work for the company. In order to be even considered, you have to have AT LEAST your A+ cert. if not more. Basically our part time job was to perform the on-site tech work...our full time was job was answering questions and solving problems that the in-store techs couldn't do or didn't know how to do. We also had the joy of getting into customer's homes/businesses and having the entirely wrong services rung up. My last ever job was hooking up a wireless printer to a laptop, when the customer didn't even have internet service. The customer was obviously pissed that the store sold her something she had no way of using just to get Tech Sales. This happened to every mobile tech at least one time a week, if not more. Thankfully we still got paid for "doing" the job as well as mileage.
                The stuff I saw when I went to other stores was mind boggling..... In my area (10+ stores), I could  probably only recommend only 2 stores to drop stuff off too. The rest had "technician's" - in the loosest sense" that shouldn't be allowed within 50 feet of a computer. I will not go into details, but thank god Staples has good a good legal team.
                January 2011 rolls around...We have our annual East Coast Mobile Tech meeting. There are roughly 25 people doing the work for the entire Northeast. The same core group of us have been together for years; however I saw a couple of new faces. They seemed eager, which was good to see. One of the questions during the meeting was "Are we training our replacements?" This was referring to the COT Program (In-Store employees doing tech work.)We were assured that we weren't, but we all knew something was up.
                July 30 - I got a call from my boss saying that Pencils was disbanding the Mobile Tech position in favor of having the in-store techs perform the work. Obviously this was a cost cutting measure as we actually made semi-decent money, which is rare at Staples, unless you are high up on the corporate ladder...See previous posts. There is now absolutely ZERO support system for the tech department. Associates must call either I/S Support or for help. They are wondering why Tech Sales are down? The good mobile techs would bring in at least a $10,000 worth of upsells to stores every month.  You would think that each of one us had at least 2-3 years with Staples they could at least call us in to tell us they were firing us. No, I heard about it on the phone. (Which in fact I had to turn in since it was a corporate Blackberry)
                Aug 1 - Pencils Techs have free reign! All hail Pencils! Software piracy can continue 100 percent. You would think a tech would be smart enough to not do it, but when they are encouraged by management to do it, you can't really say no. You would think that every time I come to your store, I find pirated Windows/Office/Antivirus discs and throw them out, you would stop. (EVERY STORE DOES IT...if you say that you don't you are lying.) I got call that day from a store that I used to like going to...Their tech was at an onsite and was having trouble putting in new computer RAM at a pretty large area business. "Does customer have xxxxx speed RAM?" "No, there's a difference?" "Well I no longer work for Pencils, it's your problem. Click." Stuff like that pisses me off. Pencils saved what, 5 million dollars by letting us go? Yet, they have associates doing in-home work now who can't even  tell the difference between  RAM??! After years of telling them that they would be able to do my job, they are now able. Go ahead and celebrate your independence. Seventy Five great men and women are out of jobs!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Another Pencils' EasyTech Bites The Dust...

So we had 4 Easy Techs in my store and 3 of them left in the same 2 week period. I am the only Easy Tech left and not to mention I'm also A+ certified and I'm not a dumb ass.

So my manager says "Hey do you want to work full time as the Easy Tech expert?" Of course I said yes because $8.65 an hour is fucking balls and I could use the pay raise + full time hours.

So after I said yes he said, "Okay show me this week you can sell and it's yours!"  Our store is doing shitty because of our location and no one gives a shit. But anyways I end up selling about 20 ESP plans that week,12 of them computer ESP's.  Sold bunch of cameras and other shit.  Anyways at the end of the week I ask him "Alright week is over and I sold a lot of shit so can I get the position now?" And then he fucking tells me, "I can't hire a Easy Tech expert right now, don't have the store hours for it." So I told him to fuck off and walked out that day. Way to piss off your only tech during Christmas season... we have about 15 computers that need to be worked on and I'm gonna call out for the next entire week while going on some job interviews. Fuck Pencils.

To see your rants and raves published on this blog, email your stories to:

Friday, December 23, 2011


I am a former Easy Tech employee at Pencils. I was previously employed for the atrocious retailer for six years and I worked and assisted in over fourteen stores. I was a former "Office Equipment Specialist" (what a joke for a title). So, like many other disgruntled Pencil employees, I would like to share some of my experiences.

I started working for the company on June 17, 2005 (scary I still know the day I started working there.) I was a 17 year old High School Kid making $7.80 per hour selling computers, printers, GPS's and other overpriced, low quality products Pencils has to offer.

1. Pay Scale: 

      During my time at Pencils raises were absolutely nice: after my first year I got a raise from $7.80 to $9.00 an hour in the Easy Tech Department. Nine months later I was promoted as an Equipment Specialist at another store making  $11.00 an hour and then 3 months later received a $1.00 raise, ultimately making $12.00 an hour. After 6 months of being a lead I stepped down to focus on my schooling and my college work as working 40 hours a week and school full time took its toll on me. They let me keep my hourly salary and I moved back closer to home. In 2 years with the company, I was "maxed out" at what I made at my position. For three years, I did not receive a raise at my job, I was rated #4 in the entire company selling TSP's, PRP's and FPP's. With my salary being "maxed out," I didn't see the point of putting my effort into selling these god awful technical support plans, training people, giving my knowledge and experience to customers, if I was not being properly compensated. In addition, hearing employees getting "seven cent raises," Managers receiving 1% raises, and jobs being threatened because of unable to sell these expensive Protection Plans, and lets not forget those amazing EasyWay selling Bonuses! Pencils says they create a "positive working environment" and offers "competitive wages" but for the hourly wages us pencils employees receive, it is nowhere near the frustration and mental heartache we go through on a day to day basis. On a side note, I am working for a Home Improvement Retailer and thinking I would have to take a pay cut leaving Pencils, but I was hired for more money! Making $14 an Hour just emptying a truck out! Wearing jeans, and whatever damn shoes I want!

2. TSP's / PRP's / FPP's / Easy Tech Services:

Assurant, the third party that supports these Service Plans, makes the plans very deceptive... the Pencils plans brochures states "Date of Purchasing Coverage." However, if you read the brochure intently it states: for the first year "whatever the manufactures does not cover, we will cover." So for the first year you own the product you have to go through the manufacturer. While I was working for the company, I was ultimately telling customers who bought our service to bring the product back to the store, because dealing with the 1-800 number provided in the brochure was absolutely a hassle and speaking to a person who speaks very little English is absolutely unbearable. We have the capability at the store level to call the associate number and deal with an English speaking human being, However, numerous Managers of mine over the years frowned upon me for doing this. I am sorry isn't this a company that prides itself on "taking care of the customer?" Aren't we here to make it Easy? If the product can't be repaired, Assurant is supposed to issue a full refund in the form of a Pencils cash card. However, over the years I have seen times where repaired machines aren't fully repaired and replaced with refurbished parts, I even have seen computers comeback turned on and caught on fire! In addition, times where Assurant has only offered customers a fraction of what they originally paid for the machine. Also, what person in their right mind, would pay 60 dollars for a 3 year plan on a $79 dollar printer? or 25% of the price of a $300 laptop? or 300 dollars for one year free tech work on their old PC? and charge $200 for a virus removal when downloading malwarebytes and run it in safe mode 90% of the time solves the problem? The bottom line is when as a salesperson, sells a service plan or a service they put their name on that product and they believe in that product and ultimately I could not put my name or faith in any product or service Pencils sells anymore. Ultimately, if your company you work for can not support or backup your word in what you sell and what you believe in, It only deteriorates your image as a Salesman.

3. Operations:

My Old District Manager, whom in another blog about Staples is called Lord Farqua, had a motto that states "12 Great Stores Equals One Great District." On my last day working for this company, he showed up at my store. I have such a profound hatred for this man that I stated "Hey Farqua, How does 12 Great Stores Equals One Great District when you don't even have one?" The look on his face was absolutely priceless and I will never forget it... But Any-who, operations at Pencils, which the company absolutely prides itself in is absolutely atrocious. Stores are allotted a certain amount of hours of payroll each week for its employees. For example, if I am open 97 Hours a week, and I am allotted 250 hours in payroll, How is a store supposed to function? If you have 4 full timers (Easy Tech Lead, CSL, CPC Expert, and Inventory Specialist) how is a manager supposed to run a store with 90 hours left in payroll to spread out to stay open for the rest of the week, meet company goals, and do the day-to-day operations throughout the week. In addition, having other employees who are not familiar with other roles in store cover others for breaks and lunches...either taking a CPC order completely wrong and then having the CPC employee call the customer to verify the order placed, is very unprofessional and speaks volumes to how Pencils trains their employees. Communication is absolutely atrocious! When Managers / HR / DM ask employees how to improve the store and what needs to change, they simply dismiss these issues and state "that's not the problem." Pencils is simply a company that keeps wanting their employees to do more with less and ultimately, you cant keep cutting back and still expecting to achieve these results. The results are also showing based on Pencils stock, which has dropped 45% compared to last year December. Ultimately, Pencils El Presidento "El Sargento" is making 15 Million Dollars a year, and states "our employees are our most valuable asset." Well your most valuable asset is being lost as many people are looking to get off the sinking ship. Maybe Unions are the Answer for Pencils.....

Overall, I have never worked in such a company that has such drama and turmoil from top to bottom in the company dealing with incidents in such a non-chalant manner. Dealing with numerous people with little to no professionalism that think they have the slightest clue of how to run a business, I guess this company simply hires anyone off the streets, throws them a gray shirt and hands them keys and says "your a manager" manage. My life has been so much better since I left this company, and the piece of advice I can give for current Pencil employees who are sick and tired of the constant day in and day out abuse (which is everyone reading this blog.) There is opportunity out there: Go out and Get It.

Thank You

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Hey there, I'm lucky enough (sarcasm) to be a cashier at Pencils... I don't really have one particular awesome post-worthy story, but I can tell you some tidbits about my wonderful (sarcasm again) three years with the company.

Well first of all I work in two different stores. So yes, the company as a whole is a mess, but the store you're working in can make all the difference. If I were to drop out of school now and need a full time job I would have no problem being a full time cashier in one of the stores. Though every hour I work at the other store makes me die a little bit inside. Since this blog is all about venting and how much Pencils sucks, I'll tell you about the worse store.

Its the first one I worked at, and my first job while I was still in high school. My training/orientation/whatever they're calling it these days, was accompanied by a Spanish associate handbook, because they were out of English ones of course. Things weren't so bad when I was hired, 2 out of the 3 managers were great, and our CSL was awesome. I quickly learned that in this store anyways though, cashiers are basically at the bottom of the Pencils ladder. I know easy techs have it rough (I'm dating an ex-easy tech) but believe me us cashiers have a real shitty time too. 

Well anyways, here are my rants:

1. The uniform. We just got women's shirts this past year. Well correction, my store as a whole got them this past year, I had to wait until I went back to my other store because the one I worked at in the first place wouldn't order me one. Now I'm by no means a crazy feminist, if anything I'm more of the opposite, but the shirts women had to wear prior to the new less disgusting looking polos we have now were absolutely atrocious. Any woman, with the slightest amount of hips and boobs looked horrible in those "unisex" (mens) shirts, with the awful, unflattering stripe right across the chest region. Tucking them in just created more problems. I know this rant may seem irrelevant now, but as a curvier woman I seriously used to feel uncomfortable in my work uniform. Tucking a men's shirt (which is meant to fit into men's pants) is just horrible and stupid looking. I swear I would gain 20 lbs just by putting on those God-awful shirts. Oh and the shoes! We have to wear BLACK shoes, why I don't know but in high school when I used to go from school to work this was sometimes a problem. I mean, it was my own fault for not bringing my work shoes to school, but seriously I'm a cashier. I stand behind the counter all day, no one can see my feet. 

2. The CSL position in my first store has become a complete joke. When I was first hired, our CSL was great. Well, now he's gone and we had a different CSL, a previous OS and OE associate. He wasn't bad, though he was never really even around the front end. Then he left. Our next CSL was a cashier that was hired like a year after me, and I trained. She was younger than me, and had only been with the company (and worked as a cashier) for about 8 or 9 months when she was made CSL. I'm not trying to trash her, she's a great person, but she was thrown into the CSL position because she was the only one who could work full time. Instead of finding someone who would have great potential for the position, they looked at who they had for cashiers, eliminated the students and offered the job to the one that was left. Well now she's gone and we have yet again, another CSL. I don't really know whats going on with her. She's nice and everything, but she can't really do much and basically seems like a glorified cashier. Now, every store is not like this. The CSL at the other store is GREAT at her job, and is completely deserving of that position, but unfortunately in some stores this has been made into a glorified cashier. 

3. PRPs and ESPs. I would just like to point out that yesterday I worked from 9 to 5. And in the first two hours, I got 2 service plans. Then my manager came up to me and said that we needed to get more plans. I averaged one an hour when he told me this, and considering it was Christmas shopping season, the store wasn't that busy, really??

4. The Rewards program. The program really is a joke. First of all, anyone without an email address is now unable to get their rewards. I know this is a small percentage of customers, but it sucks to be the one to tell them that. If the program would suck less more people would sign up for cards. This is a regular conversation I have with customers:
me: Would you like to sign up for a Staples rewards card?
customer: What does that do?
me: You would get 10% back on ink, paper and copy center purchases and $2 for every empty ink cartridge you recycle with us.
customer: So it doesn't do anything for envelopes or pens?
me: No.

So yea, customers who don't care about ink and paper have no use for a rewards card. Someone could spend thousands of dollars in this store, and get no reward, while someone who buys $50 worth of ink would at least have $5 in rewards. Stupid.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I need all you honest, hard-working Pencils' employees to send me your stories! To keep this blog going, I need some fresh material to help entertain the masses (the 99%). E-mail your submissions to:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Customer Code Brown

As I was taking out my garbage this morning my neighbor Clark drove up and shouted out the window of his Lincoln SUV, "Mitch, I took a giant dump in your old store yesterday!" I knew there had to be more to the story, and one question was: Since we only live five minutes away from Pencils, why didn't he just come home instead of taking a crap in the hazardous waste site otherwise known as the Men's Bathroom at Pencils?
I got Clark to pull over and fill me in...
"I was out shopping with my wife for office supplies and we had just eaten a huge lunch. There was no way I could make it home! Well, I ran into the men's room and of course that fat, lazy manager of yours, Matt, was in the only stall grunting away while playing games on his smartphone. I waited a minute and there was no sign he'd be wiping-up anytime soon, so I ran out and was faced with my only option, using the ladies bathroom. Just then the cute assistant manager came out of the ladies room and asked me if there was a problem. I told her the toilet in the men's room was inoperable. She then told me to go ahead into the ladies bathroom and she'd stand by the door to make sure nobody came in. Well, now I'm ready to take a steaming dump and have to think about the girl standing outside the door waiting for me. With great gusto I finish up and coincidentally as I'm walking out of the ladies bathroom, Matt comes waddling out of the men's room. The cute manager then asks Matt if there is something wrong with the toilet in the men's room. He gives her a strange look and says, "NO! why are you asking?" Clark then tells me he walks away, gets in his car (where his wife has been waiting for him), goes home and takes a shower. End of story.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Today I was chewed out by my manager and assistant manager (who hired me) because of my "attitude". Apparently, she didn't like the fact that on the radio in front of the customer I said, "Is their a manager who can speak to a customer?" She didn't like my tone and thought that it sent a bad message to the customer that the manager was lazy or whatever.

Seriously lady, WTF should I have said? If that wasn't enough, she also didn't like the fact that I walked into her off office and asked her to get a laptop for a customer. The only reason I did that was because I had done the same with the old manager and the assistant manager was nowhere to be found.

She told me she is allotted one day for pure office time (which she spends on the phone or surfing the web) and didn't like to be distributed. Really, what is so damn important you couldn't do something for a customer? And then you want to complain about why are sales are down?

To make things worse, she let out a huge tsunamis-size spit while she was talking to me to the point that I wanted to bust out a poncho and an umbrella in order to prevent myself from getting wet.

Anyways, you see anything wrong with what I did Mitch? I swear, getting paid $12 an hour to put ads on people's cars sounds so much more exciting (and rewarding) than working for an office supply retailer.

I won't let "I WORK AT PENCILS" die!!!!

A message to all the faithful readers of this blog:
I will continue to administrate and post your submissions as long as you send me your stories. Keep your anecdotes short and sweet... of course the more bizarre, the better- here is my e-mail address:

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery

It seems I have inspired other down-trodden Pencils' employees to share their misery. I was hoping to use "I Work At Pencils" as a forum for continuing my legacy, but... oh well. Here is the link, read it and weep.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just When We Thought It Couldn't Get Any Worse...

I have a great CSL. He's just fantastic at standing around doing nothing. He is a professional at talking about the good ole days when he owned his business. He is just super awesome at flirting with all the older ladies (example: during BTS, when we had one giant line for all four registers, and his job was to make sure customers got to the right line, what he would do was stand there and chat up some heavily made up lady and did not realize that ALL four registers were open. lets just say the other customers in line were not very pleased) One other side note, his wife likes to call him every single fucking day. It can be super busy in the store, and he is hiding away in the office chatting with his wife for about 5-10 minutes! Then when he is nearby, he likes to pretend he runs the show, makes stupid suggestions of how I should attach those damn batteries to every transaction. Talk about your ESP number reports or whatever, we have these dandy rewards penetration reports. Which great man CSL, likes to flaunt how his are always over 90%, and why we are not meeting that. Which is is bullshit, because isn't 75% the goal? Funny thing is, he is never on register. So when there is only one cashier and and he's the only one to cover, he doesn't. So sucks to be that cashier (ahem, me) He is a jerk. You would not believe how rude he was to this one lady on Black Friday. She had bought a picture frame and realized that the box was kinda dented, and since it was a gift, she wanted a pretty box. Normally that kind of thing would piss me off but she was really nice about it, but dickhead CSL was like we need to run this through the register even though she was exchanging it for the same exact thing!!! (She got really angry at how rude CSL man was being that she just returned it and stormed out)  Now i don't know what the official policy on that sort of exchange is, but later on that day GM exchanged a laptop for a customer without ringing it through the register. 

Mitch, that sucks that you got fired. But to be honest, you kinda hated working there, so no loss right? 

Quick about me. I worked at Pencils since before BTS '10 and I recently (2 months) have been cross training for EasyWreck. Any advice?

Mitch: Start looking for another job! I was just offered a job putting advertising fliers on car windshields at the mall for $12 an hour-

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Occupy Pencils... People Need Jobs That Don't Suck!

Stumbled upon your blog a few weeks back after Googling "Fuck you, Pencils," and I'd like to give you a hearty thanks. 
I'm a night shift supervisor of 5 years-- I'm in Western Canada. I dodged a lot of the bullshit you and the others speak of for years (evidently), but it was inevitable that it would creep up on me eventually, and now I'm looking for the nearest exit. I hope to Raptor Jesus that I'm out of this shit hole before the new year, or I'll probably end up getting fired for telling a Blue Shirt that they're a fucking idiot, and after being here for 5 years, I sure as fuck don't need that on my record. I may be making my own "Pencils" blog soon, and if I do, I'll make sure to throw it your way so I can appropriately join in on the "liaising." Stay strong, fellow Pencils slaves. 

Thanks Mitch, and I hope you find a job soon. Would love to have you as my manager over the moron I currently have at OfficeMax. Thanks for keeping your blog alive for all to post and read! 

Thanks Mitch, for all the stories from the dark side of retail. Many peoPle just don't have the balls to come forward like you did. I don't miss working there, best of luck to you.

Keep those submissions coming! e-mail to:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

TERMINATED... Help Keep The "I Work At Pencils" Blog Alive!

Of course Matt would wait until after "Black & Blue Friday" to call me into his office to say, "Mitch, we're letting you go. You just didn't meet enough numbers. Hope there are no hard feelings."
Sure Matt, no hard feelings. "Fuck you and your extended service plans." Truth be told, I was wondering how long it would take the corporate morons to figure out where this blog was originating from.
To continue the Pencils dialogue, I am willing to offer "I Work At Pencils" to all the Pencils' employees who would like to post their stories. E-mail me your submissions to: and I will see that your voice is heard. I also would like to thank all those who expressed their support over the past 9 months. Life goes on.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

At Least Pencils Isn't Flipping Us The Bird

Unlike other retailers, Pencils will be closed all day for Thanksgiving. Naturally, we have to be at work at 5:30 AM the next day for "Black Friday" and all the insanity that will present. In jest, I asked William, who happens to be African-American, if he was offended by the expression, "Black Friday". "Black Friday, brown Friday, yellow Friday.... I don't give a shit what they call it," was his thoughtful response. I tried to continue the conversation by injecting that the term "Black Friday" seems to target a certain ethnic group and a marketing ploy to entice them to spend money." "If a bunch of homey's want to come into Pencils and buy some piece of shit HP Laptop and get a bunch of other shit they don't need rammed down their throat, what do I care?" he then replied. He seemed to be in a bad mood, probably because Matt told him to be at work Friday at 5AM instead of 5:30.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From A Land Down Under

Last night three mates from Australia, who were in town for a business convention, ran into Pencils to scoop up 3 Toshiba laptops. They primarily wanted to watch movies on the 24 hour plane journey home, but the sale price didn't hurt either... until Matt started to ring them out. Of course they weren't going to buy any bullshit extended warranty or Microsoft Office, so Matt was looking to take a big hit (loss). The one guy who most resembled Crocodile Dundee slapped down his American Express card and told Matt to put all 3 computers on his tab. Because the sale is over $1000 (or some predetermined bullshit amount) Matt that tells him, "I need to see 2 forms of ID." The customer whips out his passport and tells Matt his driver's license is back at the hotel. "Sorry, Matt says, "I can't authorize this without seeing 2 forms of ID." Now I'm hoping these guys are smart enough to each pay for their own computers separately, which will circumvent Matt's little deception. Thankfully, I see Matt's shit-eating grin disappear when the other 2 guys whip out credit cards and say to Matt, "We'll each pay for our own then." If only Matt had pissed them off enough to get a "Bloomin' Onion" rammed up his ass.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Porn Starz

My manager Matt prides himself in diagnosing customer's computer problems even before they reach the tech bench at Pencils. "See that guy walking in with his laptop? It's filled with porn and loaded with viruses," he proudly professed to me. Even though I have my CompTia A+ Certification (and Matt doesn't), he rarely lets me work on computers when we're both working the same shift. He usually parks his fat ass behind the bench and mindlessly watches the anti-virus software run while I'm either stacking toner cartridges or trying to keep customers from being ripped-off. On slow evenings when Matt is off, I usually cruise through the customer's hard drives looking for embarrassing photos they forgot to delete before they left off their computer for repair. Thankfully, nothing too bizarre has popped up. I requested a box of latex gloves and Lysol spray from the Kenn, the store manager, explaining that Matt told me there could be "fluids" all over the computers we get in for repair. He looked at me as if to say, "are you serious?" when I added, "You know what I'm talking about Kenn... I heard that you downloaded "Sorest Rump" last week and loved it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Like Father Like Son

As a joke, my biological son Danny put on my Pencils shirt and said, "Look dad, I'm a Easy Wrecknician too!" His mother and her husband think Danny is bright kid, but I'm not so sure. Granted, he has a sense of humor and is a little ADDHD, but he seems not be firing on all 4 cylinders if you ask me. "Look Danny," I told him, "Go ahead and fool around and don't take school seriously and YOU WILL end up working at Pencils for minimum wage and no benefits. For a second, something seemed to sink into his thick skull, because he replied, "I'd rather work at McDonald's flippin' burgers."

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Scary At Pencils

Leave to some genius in management to come up with the idea we should come to work dressed in Halloween costumes this weekend. As though some of the associates didn't look frightening enough (hung-over, withdrawals, etc.), now we have to come up with some half-assed attempt of pretending we're celebrating a satanic ritual to amuse our customers. I was looking around for an Adolph Hitler costume, but couldn't find one. I asked my manager Matt if he would object if I came to work tomorrow dressed as an Islamic cleric. "Please don't," he replied. So now I'm out looking for a Michael Jackson mask, or a Hannah Montana costume to wear tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pencils' Employees: A Revolving Door

Since I began my incarceration at Pencils over 7 months ago, over 2/3 of the original employees I worked with have either quit or been fired. The only consistency has been the assistant and general managers. I guess this shouldn't come as any surprise with management's reverse Robin Hood philosophy: steal from the poor (employees) and give to the rich (managers). This may seem like an exaggeration, but only the management is rewarded with benefits and bonuses, and a full-time job. The cost of training new associates, added to the cost of pilfered goods, only makes one wonder why would corporate not want to seek and retain honest, hard-working employees, and compensate them accordingly. Personally, I feel a bit reassured when I see the same employees year after year, mixing my paint or slicing 1/4 of hard salami at the local chain stores. That tells me something... unlike Pencils, where the faces constantly change.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stand and Deliver: Take A Page From The Domino's Playbook

Since I was recently addressing the subject of the lackluster performance of Pencils' stock on a recent posting, I thought I'd point out a company whose shares have risen 233% over the past 3 years: Domino's Pizza. In 2009 Domino's management publicly admitted their pizza tasted like shit and set about doing something about it. Granted, Pencils doesn't sell pizza (and if they did, it would taste like shit), but acknowledging problems, listening to employees and customers, and being honest can go a long way with consumers, and company performance.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy Pencils: A Thoughtful Comment

This is a comment left by a "I Work At Pencils" blog reader that I thought deserved to be highlighted.

It amazes me that this company is still around, or the doors haven't been beat down by the unions for the way we are treated. I have an idea that corporate might have some kind of idea how fucked it is to work for these retards that are our managers but they obviously don't give a flying fuck. Only the most cunning fuck sticks meet the grade to be a manager, and anyone with any common sense is pushed to the curb. Just last week I notified an assistant manager that corporate requires a background check for GM's. He just about shit because he has two felonies on his record. Really? WTF? I'm a college student being managed by a fuckin' crooked felon... and to top it off my my GM has been allowing and pushing people to work off the clock. Don't worry, the shit storm is coming soon for the bottom dwellers, and it going to be a big one. Ive counted over 124 hours of free labor for pencils so far, and its climbing fast. 

Signed, Anonymous

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pencils' Executive ComPISSation

During the fiscal year of 2010, Pencils rewarded its CEO with over $15,000,000 in compensation, despite the fact the share price of Pencils stock was down 16% from the previous year. The 15 mil doesn't include the perks like life and health insurance, entertainment and travel expenses. If you have the good fortune of being a Pencils' associate, you can see where I'm going with all this. If not, bear with me and you'll find out. The CEO answers to the Board of Directors, and secondly to all the investors who have stupidly invested in a company that doesn't give a rat's ass about their employees. All these people care about is the "bottom line" and seeing the stock price rise. The stock price is based on several factors including sales and growth, projected earnings, etc. which doesn't happen without employees doing their job. Treat the employees like crap, and see where it all goes. I guess I should be happy with my $1.75 bonus this month.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Break Room Leaves A Bad Taste In My Mouth

There is a vending machine in the Pencils break room, and I've never seen anyone use it... that should have been my first clue. The room itself is a dark, dingy and dirty hole-in-the-wall and that should have been my second clue. Well, I found myself entering a hypoglycemic funk and made the mistake of plugging my spare change into the machine for a package of those radioactive peanut butter crackers. One bite and I had to spit the stale, nasty tasting manufactured food-like product into the trash bin. I didn't think it was possible for that sort of crap to go bad, but it had. Now, as a matter of principle I wanted to get my sixty-five cents back. I noticed Matt, my manager, pacing towards the Copy Center and I immediately got his attention by shouting, "Matt, I think I just got poisoned in the break room!" I then told him I wanted my money refunded from the vending machine because of those shitty-ass, date-expired crackers. He looked at me and said, "Why the hell did you buy anything from that machine? Tom saw a rat crawl out of it 3 months ago and we never eat anything that comes out of it." Well, I guess I should of known better.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kracked Kindle

Three months ago I purchased a hydraulic  door closer for my back porch door at the local Ace Hardware store. The instructions were so convoluted I had to ask a friend of mine who is a general contractor to help me install it. When all was said and done, the contraption didn't really work as well as I expected, primarily because I mistakenly bought the "hold open" model which doesn't allow the door to automatically shut behind you once it is open past 80 degrees. Eventually I said to hell with it, disconnected the attachment arm, and moved on. Yesterday I was thinking that maybe I could write or call the manufacturer and explain my problem. Possibly they would swap me out for a model that doesn't have the "hold" feature. So I drove over to Ace Hardware and asked them if I could see the packaging for the door closer I purchased as I wanted to write to the company. The manager of the store came over to speak with me, and I again explained my situation, making sure he knew I didn't expect anything from him as it had been three months since my purchase, that I installed and used the product, and I didn't have a receipt. "No problem, I'll order you the model you want and I'll swap it out, no charge," was his response. I relate this experience because of a encounter at Pencils.

A very dapper, well-dressed older man comes up to the tech counter and tells me he purchased the Kindle in his hand late yesterday, got home, opened the box, and noticed the screen was cracked. He explained it was too late for him to return that same night, so here he was back the next morning. He asked, "Can you exchange this one for another?" The packaging was all intact, he never turned the Kindle on, and he obviously wasn't one of our usual meth-head rip-off customers. I couldn't see why giving him another Kindle would be an issue until my douche-bag manager Matt comes over and tells the gentleman, "You shoulda' bought the extended service protection. Pencils can't take this back now since you already opened the box." I knew damn well that Matt could of accepted the Kindle back as a "broken in shipment" product and was just being a dick. The man asked to speak with the manager, which he unfortunately he didn't realize he already had. I wrote down Matt's name and the store number on a piece of paper and told him he should contact corporate immediately and complain. I said, "The way you were treated was total bullshit." He looked at me, obviously disgusted, and said, "That manager of yours is a fuckin' asshole and I'll never buy anything in Pencils again." Too bad he had to learn the hard way...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"High" Tech

Catchin' a buzz in the Pencils' Break Room
Marty, one of the new hires in office supplies, seemed to be extremely irritable and I had to ask him what his problem was. "I didn't get any sleep last night. Pete called me at 2 AM and woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep." The Pete he was referring to is Pete, "The Crack-Head Tech" who is so amped up its a miracle he can hold a job, even at Pencils. I then asked Marty why the hell he gave Pete his cell number in the first place. "I guess it was a lapse of judgement," he replied. I then informed him he can block Pete's number, which everyone else at Pencils has already done. Pete's employment longevity is a testament to Pencils policy to help those less fortunate, even if they don't have any means of transportation, a previous criminal record, and a voracious drug habit. I'm not sure where someone with so many strikes against them can find meaningful employment these days. I've discussed Pete's "situation" with some of the other associates and the consensus ranges from pills and meth to alcohol and crack, or a combination thereof. The reason Pete has retained his employment was evident when I came into work today and Matt, my manager immediately confronted me. "Mitch, Pete had a $1700. basket last night! He sold the top end Toshiba, 3 year-extended, Microsoft Office Suite, HP 6500A printer, extra ink and some other shit." He was so excited he was starting to drool. Like I could give a rat's ass about any of this. Matt would obviously earn some extra bonus incentives from corporate and Pete still gets his $7.80 an hour. Forget "Undercover Boss," now I'm thinking we can get Pete on "Intervention" and get some positive publicity for Pencils.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When Good Jobs Go Bad

Johnny Depp and Celebrity Stalker/Make-up Artist Angie in NYC
My friend Angie, who is a makeup artist and celebrity stalker of some renown, recently contacted me after reading this blog for the past several weeks. Our phone conversation started, "Mitch, I know you have a suck-ass job at Pencils, but wait until you hear about my latest job." In the past, Angie had worked with all the big stars in Hollywood and was even pursued by O.J. before he married and killed his wife, Nicole. Over the past few years Angie's workload has seen a dramatic decrease and she, like many of us, has resorted to taking jobs she never would of considered doing in the past. "Mitch, I was hired by a photographer to do the hair and makeup on a local female athlete. Once I was there, I discovered she was to be photographed nude, which for me isn't usually an issue. Unfortunately, the young lady decided to vigorously shave her pubic region the night before and now she wanted me to apply makeup to hide the inflamed hair stubble." Once I stopped laughing, Angie proceeded to tell me there are "places she just won't go," and being a compassionate friend, I supported her decision. At least my manager Matt hasn't asked me to clean the restrooms or mop up the urine in the aisles left by incontinent customers. I guess we all have our limits.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pencils' Telephone Customer of The Week

The following phone conversation I had with a customer last week has been transcribed verbatim.

Mitch: Hello, this is Mitch, may I help you?
Customer: Yes, my HP Printer stopped working.
Mitch: When did you purchase it?
Customer: I don't know.
Mitch: Do you have a receipt?
Customer: I don't know.
Mitch: Did you pay for it with a credit card?
Customer: I don't know
Mitch: What Pencils location did you buy it at?
Customer: I don't know
Mitch: I don't think I can help you.
Customer: Why?
Mitch: I don't know.

I then hung the phone up hoping the customer wouldn't remember the number she dialed. Sure enough, the phone immediately rang and it was her again. She asked if she could speak to someone about an HP Printer that doesn't work.

Customer: My HP Printer doesn't work.
Mitch: That's a shame.
Customer: What can I do?
Mitch: Throw it in the garbage or try to contact HP.
Customer: I'd like to speak with a manager.
Mitch: The manager is the can at the moment and probably won't be available anytime soon.
Customer: OK then, do you have a telephone number for HP that I can call?

By this time I had all I could take, but I didn't want to let an opportunity pass by. I put the customer on hold, and "Googled" the phone number for our local strip club on my iPhone.

Mitch: Hello. Here is the number for HP. They have a local repair drop-off, so ask whoever answers the phone for their address.
Customer: Thank you so much.
Mitch: The pleasure is all mine.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The First Annual Reader's Contest Winner

I'd like to thank all those who submitted their stories to "The First Annual iWorkAtPencils Readers Contest."  I received 35 entries, and deciding the winner was a daunting task. Many of my "associates" who took the time and energy to participate deserve recognition for their efforts... literally, mentally and physically. In the near future I hope to expand this blog, and with their permission, include their stories as well. The winning story was submitted by Cara, who works at a national office supply retailer in Southern California. Since she articulated her plight so well, her story doesn't need an introduction. Enjoy!


I am a single mother who is trying to support myself and teenage son. The problem is, I work at Orifice Depot and the store manager, whom I'll call Jose, is a real prick. He is constantly making sexual innuendos at me and several other female employees, but he knows how to fall short of it being considered sexual harassment. For instance, he'll say, "The A/C is really pumping cold today," while obviously staring at our nipples. We put up with it because we need our jobs. Last week he pretended to brush by me, rubbing his fat, disgusting groin against my leg, when there was obviously plenty of room in the aisle to get by. I decided he needed to be taught a lesson once and for all.
Some of the ass-lickers at Orifice Depot bring in baked goods, especially on payday, and leave a plate of cupcakes or chocolate chip cookies on Jose's desk in the office. I'm not much of a baker, but a few weeks ago I bought a box of Duncan Hines Brownie mix along with a box of chocolate flavored Ex-Lax at my neighborhood Albertsons. I slowly melted the entire box of laxatives into the frosting mix, and put six of the freshly baked brownies on a plate and covered them with a piece of Glad Wrap. The next morning I left the plate on Jose's desk. Around noon I noticed Jose making a beeline to the bathrooms, and when I peeked into his office I saw that the entire plate of brownie's was gone.
While baking the brownies, I kept one aside that didn't have the toxic ex-lax frosting and carefully packed it away in my pocketbook to bring to work. When Jose, looking a bit pale, was back on the floor later that afternoon, I whipped out the brownie and walked up to him, slowly taking bites of it. He stared at me probably wondering if I too was about to crap my pants, but I just smiled at him and let him see the enjoyment on my face. Later, I think he got the message, because the harassment has finally stopped, and Jose hasn't touched any goodies left on his desk since that fateful morning.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Working At Pencils Can Really Suck (*Toes)

Tom is one of the hardest working associates at Pencils. He is also obviously underpaid, because he is constantly bumming a dollar from me "For a soda". During his last monetary request, he added, "Mitch, I'm in trouble, and if my wife finds out, I'll be fucked for sure." I  asked him to elaborate, and his story continued. "One of the customers has been stalking me, and I arranged to meet her last week in the parking lot of Chili's. Things got way out of hand." I asked him what he meant "by way out of hand" and he continued. "Basically we ended up in the back seat of her car and I sucked her toes." First off, let me state although Tom is a decent guy, he's no Brad Pitt in the looks department. And why he would agree to suck a stranger's toes is also puzzling (unless it was Heidi Klum asking for the oral interaction). He also informed me his paramour was a 55 year-old divorcee, almost twice his age. I immediately suggested he break things off before he finds himself sucking more than toes. "She's crazy and won't leave me alone, no matter what I tell her. She's been sexting me non-stop!" he exclaimed. Tom looked like he was ready to break-down and cry right there in art supplies. "Here's what you do," I told him. "Tell her you haven't been honest with her. Say you are gay (*not that there is anything wrong with being gay) and you recently had a homosexual encounter with Matt, the tech manager, and you'd like to pursue a relationship with him." A big grin came across Tom's face, he reached out like he wanted to hug me, and said, "Mitch, you're a genius! By the way, would you have a dollar I can borrow for a soda?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Keep Those Entries Coming

A quick reminder to all those "associates" out there that the deadline for the First Annual iWorkatPencils Reader Contest is September 3, 2011. (See the August 19th posting for details)-
One need not work at "Pencils" to enter. Any experience as a low-paying, under appreciated and badly treated employee in retail will suffice. Keep in mind when relating your story, less is more...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Indecent Exposure at Pencils

No doubt there has been a steady supply of MILFs coming into Pencils the past few weeks, but what has been mystifying, or even disturbing, is what the young girls have been wearing while out shopping with mommy. I could only wish my female classmates dressed similarly back in the day, but I should be grateful that brassieres were considered optional during my high school years. And unlike current female grooming standards, body hair was considered "natural," and one never knew what to expect in the southern hemisphere. TImes change. Thankfully I'm not a 11th grade science teacher, but a low paid, under-appreciated and poorly treated EasyWreck Technician. Thank you Pencils!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No Shit Sherlock

My neighbor Clark, a publishing industry executive and a fan of this blog, stopped by my house today and offered some professional advise. "Mitch," he said, "When the next person comes up to you at Pencils with a look on their face that says "I'm about to shit my pants" and asks you where the bathrooms are, tell them there aren't any."
I stood there and wondered, "Why the hell didn't I think of that?"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Worth The Wait

I was scheduled to work the evening shift last night, but Charlie, the new assistant manager, called me earlier in the day and said I didn't need to come in.
I wanted to pickup my so-called paycheck, so I stopped by Pencils at 7PM and it looked like a Category 5 Shit-Storm had hit the place. All 3 checkout lines were backed up, at least 10 customers in each line. Scores of screaming brats and their Jerry Springer guest mothers were ripping the place apart, scrounging for the "Buy One, Get One Free" package of erasers.
It was then I spotted Matt, my tech manager, with his shirt soaked with perspiration and sweat dripping down his face, and offered to come in and help out for a few hours. "No, we got it covered," he answered.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pencils' Madness

I've come to the conclusion that the best way for me to do my job at Pencils is to be thoroughly stoned. Corporate obviously acknowledges this because Pencils is one of the few companies that does not have a drug testing policy. My problem is: I haven't smoked reefer in over 30 years, but if there was something to drive me back to the "wacky weed", it would be my esteemed position as an EasyWreck Technician. Rarely am I allowed to actually "fix" a customer's computer, but regulated to stacking toner cartridges or helping out at the check-out counter. How many times can I ask, "Do you have a rewards card?" before I need to have a toke of some sensimilla to put my mind right?
One of the new office product associates has been running around the store like a bat out of hell, and I can only assume she is being aided by a "stimulant" of some sort. Personally, I'd prefer something to take the edge off. Worse case scenario, I can always take a whiff of something from the glue aisle.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Misery Loves Company: The First Annual iWorkAtPencils Reader Contest

I've been overwhelmed by the amount of visitors to this blog over the past few weeks and want to show my appreciation by holding a reader contest. Send me your best "On The Job" story.
The winner will be announced and their story published in this blog on September 5, 2011. The winning author will receive a $25 gift certificate to Applebee's (my manager Matt's favorite restaurant), no strings attached. The rules are simple: Keep your story concise. Less is more. The more bizarre, the better, but please be truthful. Life is stranger than fiction. You can be an employee of any retailer, not just Pencils. E-mail your submission to: (put the word "contest" in subject line). The deadline is September 3, 2011. Myself, along with Stephen King, will judge the entries.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

BTS (Back To School)... WTF?

This coming week is one of the busiest shopping periods at Pencils, so I informed my manager I'd be taking a sabbatical for 10 days. There wasn't much, if any reaction from management. Considering my little "run-in" with a customer and her two little asshole daughters a few nights back, it may be a relief for them that I won't be around for the shit-storm referred to by corporate branding as "Back To School" week.

To add insult to injury, on my way out of the store I overheard my manager, Matt, threatening to fire Kathy, one of the new cashiers, if she didn't sign-up 6 new reward card customers, take in 10-$1 donations to the Un-united Way and sell some other dumb-ass promotional gimmicks during her shift. When Matt left, Karen told me they had her on the schedule for 12 days in a row. "I'm working as a fuckin' cashier and now they expect me to squeeze an extra dollar or two from every customer?" I suggested she call their bluff and walk-out. They obviously don't have anyone else to replace her or she wouldn't have so many hours. Somebody in corporate needs their head examined before it explodes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

One Flew Over The Pencils Nest

I finally snapped. It may have been the 20th person to ask me, "Whur da baphrooms at?" or the hordes of screaming asshole kids buying school supplies. No matter, one mother took special offense to my "attitude" and accused me of accusing her whiny-ass daughter of stealing a pen from the check-out counter. I told her, "I'm not accusing your daughter of stealing... I'm accusing her of being an obnoxious, annoying brat." The mother had the potential of being a featured guest on the Jerry Springer show, and her comeback was, "You can take back all the shit in this cart and I'll go to Walmart!" What could I say? "Go ahead," I told her. Kenn, the MOD (manager on duty) had an earful by now and calmly informed me I could take-off early, which wasn't a big deal as it was five minutes past closing anyway.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jobs In Jeopardy?

I've heard through the grapevine that my buddy Daniel in upstate New York has a wager going with some of his friends. Apparently they are betting when Pencils will fire me. Well, I'm happy to report that I'm still being recognized as a valued employee. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for the dreadlocked inventory manager, James, last week. The official word is he was shit-canned for boosting Sprites from the warehouse. The unofficial word is a lot more shit was disappearing than 1 liter bottles of soda. One of the feistier cashiers, Karen, was also let go (fired). When I asked Steve, a longtime Pencils associate, what the hell was going on, he replied, "We have people lined up for jobs here." I then reminded him 5 of the new 6 hires failed to show up for work this past week and one cashier never came back after taking her 15 minute break. All this goes back to my original theory: If you show up for work and don't steal, you have job security at Pencils... and that's saying something in today's economy. "Alex, I'll take shitty jobs for $200."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Urinal Redux

I first addressed the issue of "The Bathroom" at Pencils back on April 9th (see archived post). Unfortunately, I'm still constantly reminded of management's disregard for employee hygiene. As indicated by the red arrow in the accompanying photograph, the washers/fittings of the flush handle have either worn or disintegrated, causing the user's hand to get a thorough soaking each time the fixture is flushed. Initially this can come as a shock, but after careful consideration, I'm thinking this is corporate's initiative to save water. No need to wash your hands at the sink after taking a leak, the urinal will do it for you. Luckily I've been able to refrain  from using the commode, but I can only image what surprises may lurk there. Advise to management: Post a sign at the entrance of the bathrooms: USE AT YOUR OWN RISK-EMPLOYEES NEED NOT WASH THEIR HANDS.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chicken Feed

Our local newspaper recently ran an article about the proliferation of people wearing stupid costumes and holding signs to help promote businesses. The business owners swore by it... they all saw increased traffic and sales in their stores. But here's the kicker, some (but not all) of the costumed hawkers were being paid $12 per hour for their service. Granted, it can get warm inside those polyester getups, and standing on your feet for 8 hours isn't for someone with deep-veined thrombosis, but at $12, that's almost $5 more per hour than a tech with computer certification makes at Pencils. I read a comment on this blog from another Pencils associate who posed the question, "If employees were paid a decent wage, would they do a better job?" My answer is emphatically YES! $7.50 an hour, I couldn't give a shit. $12 per hour, I'll show some interest. Next time your computer crashes, ask a guy in a chicken suit to fix it, you may be better off.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Feel Your Pain

"Pain is what drives the customer to start the buying process."

The above quote was paramount in a recent memorandum given to Pencils' sales associates to help them better understand, and then rip-off customers. It's been over 2 days since I read  that crock of shit, and still can't believe it! What I find even more ludicrous is that corporate most likely spent tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to some ass-wipe to come up with this marketing theory. How about this instead? "Running out of printer ink, paper or #10 envelopes is what drives the customer to start the buying process." The only time I see customers in pain is when they are harassed relentlessly into buying extended service plans. It appears the inmates are continuing to run the asylum. Attention Pencils' shareholders... SELL before the whole place goes down the shitter!!!!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Music To My Ears

Last year when I was working in the IT department at a local GM dealership, I couldn't help to notice the odd choice of music piped into the showroom. While an 80 year-old couple would be looking over a new Buick LaCrosse, The Grateful Dead would be singing, "Ridin' that train, high on cocaine....". I asked Sarah, my supervisor, who decided what music channel was played, and she replied, "The owner, Bill... he likes the 70's format." Hey, I'll take Frank Zappa over Frank Sinatra whenever I'm car shopping!
On any given day, the music playing in Pencils can be downright atrocious to mildly tolerable. Occasionally I'll catch Tom, the office supply associate, singing along to a Sheryl Crow tune or Mary humming along to Beyonce. Personally, I'd like to hear Snagglepuss' Minnow blaring down the aisles. I can anticipate a customer complaining about the "loud music" to which I could respond, "Sir, if you don't like it, get the hell out and buy your fuckin' loose leaf binders and stupid Sharpies somewhere else... and by the way, do you have a Pencils Reward Card?"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Entrepreneur Of The Year Award

I haven't been contacted by Human Resources at Pencils, but somehow I don't think I'm cut-out for advancing to management. Too many sales quotas, conference calls, employee and customer issues and "Memo's about the TPS Reports." There also may be a notation in my file that says, "Nut Job, but shows up for work and doesn't steal merchandise."
Yesterday I spotted an SUV in the Pencils' parking with a large decal advertising "Crime Site Restoration." At first I thought Pencils hired this company to clean the human feces off the carpet in the foyer, but then I remembered Matt had  contacted corporate and had the carpet replaced last month. So now I'm thinking, here's an entrepreneur who has determined there is a niche market that is being underserved. A few years ago my neighbor, Henry, sent his wife to one of the dozen apartments he owned to "clean up" after a tenant was discovered dead. Amy (Henry's wife) had told me, "Mitch, it was disgusting. She had been decomposing on the mattress for several days and it was quite a mess." Why her husband asked her to do this and why she actually did it, I can't imagine. Henry and Amy are coming over for dinner next week and I'll mention Crime Site Restoration to them. And if they need a virus removed from their computer, that's another story.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Taking It Like A Man

My rectum was still tingling from a prostate exam earlier in the day when I showed up for the late shift at Pencils. The first thing Matt, my manager, said to me was, "Don't forget what I told you about selling ESP's the other day." I took that as an ominous sign, but to my relief, nobody from management bothered me the entire night. My big sale was a pencil sharpener for $1.50. I spent over 30 minutes with that customer explaining the pros and cons of the various electric, manual and "old school" devices. The "Biggest Asshole Customer Award" went to a young lady who insisted on buying a box of 12 Crayola Crayons. Pencils had boxes of 10 and 16 crayons, but not a box of 12. Sick of listening to her whining, I told her, "Buy the box of 16, and take 4 crayons out, then you'll have a box of 12." She didn't find that amusing, because, she stated, "Why should I pay for 4 crayons that won't be used?" I wanted to say, "They won't go to waste because I'm just about ready to shove those crayons up your ass," but instead said, "Look, I go on break in one minute and have to hit the head, so make up your mind."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

No sooner than my boss, Matt, finished royally reaming me out for not selling an ESP (extended service plan), a customer walked up to me and asked if Pencils carried replacement chargers for a laptop. He was quite dapper in appearance, and I pegged him for either an educator or a psychologist. Feeling a bit revengeful for that little "talking to" I had just endured, I informed him that he could get ripped-off for $100 at Pencils, or buy the same charger online at Amazon or at FompUSA down the road for $39. He said he wasn't familiar with the area, and could I give him directions to FompUSA. Since he obviously wasn't a local yokel, I continued the conversation by asking him where he was from. "I'm the Administrator for the Division of Mental Health for the state prison system and work out of state capital," he replied. Now, I couldn't resist. I then said, "Let me ask you a hypothetical question... if I was to come to work one day with an AK-47 and start blowing people away, would you feel my actions would be justified considering the mental stress inflicted on employees here to sell extended service plans?" I detected a slight expression of "are you serious", but the gentleman offered this advise: "You seem like an honest fellow, and you may benefit from counseling. Otherwise I might suggest speaking with your boss to resolve your issues before they get out of hand." I thanked him for his advise and later told Matt that maybe one reason I can't sell Extended Service Plans is because I'm just too stupid. I then asked Matt if he knew where I could buy ammo for my AK-47.