Monday, September 24, 2012


"I have rewards points but I don't have them with me."
"Why do I have like 4 different rewards cards, can you combine them?"
"I just recycled those ink cartridges though, why didn't the $2 come off my purchase?"
"Wheres my 10% off?"
"What do you mean my Back to School Savings Pass won't work on ink?"
"But the sign said it was an EASY rebate, I didn't know that meant I have to mail something."
"Can I return this ink? I don't have the receipt but only bought it a few weeks ago." (ink expired in 2004)
"Isn't there anyone on the floor to help me?"
"Why can't you just answer this (random technology/furniture related) question for me?"
"The sign really did say $3, I can show it to you?" (Sure! Let me just walk away from this drawer full of money, great idea!"
"It HAS TO be under that phone number."
"Why am I only getting $7.24 back on this return when the product costs $10?" ... "Because you used a coupon, therefore you did not pay the whole price." ... dumbfucks.
"Why do you need to see my card?"
"No, I don't have the receipt?"
"Can I use this rewards checks to buy gift cards?"
"Can I use my Staples gift card to buy other gift cards?"
"I need help finding an ink cartridge. Its a number 20. A brand? I don't know what brand it is, maybe Epson, Cannon, how should I know?"
"Do you sell this thing, that like... has a little thing on top of it, that clips into this other thing with wheels on the bottom of the... thing?"
"Rebate? Whats that? I have to mail something"... "Well you can go online, its very eas--", "Actually can I return it then?"
"What time do you close?" (at 8:58 on a Tuesday night).
"Theres no one else in computers that can help me?" 
"I can't find my debit card... I must have left it at the mall." (Well then get out of my fucking line and stop holding up all the other customers asshole). 
"Can you see if another store has it? It HAS to be a red folder, it can't be any other color." 
"Why can't I just get the $2 off my purchase now?"
"This coupon is perfectly fine, I bought it on ebay."
"Do you sell ink here?"
"Do you sell paper here?"
"Do you work here?"
"Is this register open?"
"Can I speak to one of those Geek Squad guys?"
"Rewards card? Oh I have one of those, but its not worth it, it doesn't do anything." (while spending $60 on ink and paper). 
"$129 for a calculator? Are you kidding me?" 

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I was hired onto the Pencils crew in 2003 when the choice for me in jobs was between a restaurant cook and pencils tech "guru". This was back before the EasyWreck and CSL and many other areas were added. The job was easy and I quite enjoyed going in and talking to managers and being a part of the team... I will say that the bonuses were a lot bigger when I first started, "Think 3-400 dollars a month extra". This all changed about a year in when bonuses became non existent.

In the first few years there was a thing called mystery shop where someone would come into the store and check to see how long it takes you to say hi to the person, if you hit each question you were supposed to ask, and whether or not you were certain heights or had your name badge on. Multiple times we got our "test results" back and they were completely off. It really isn't hard to figure out who this person is. When someone walks into the store and asks questions in the copy center but don't get copies and go directly into OS and BM asking all kinds of questions while not buying anything and also watching their stop watch like a hawk. Being 6'4 and not a small guy it was amusing when these tests came back showing me as under 5'9 and having glasses and no name tag.

As to managers, I've had different experiences. My second store was absolutely nuts. The general manager was never around and when they were it was in the office doing nothing of real meaning. The "sales" manager decided that her button down shirt should be unbuttoned a few buttons to many in order to "entice" male customers to buy service plans from her. The operations manager could not stop flirting with a CC employee and even went as far as to take the same lunch breaks and normal breaks with her while hanging out almost exclusively in CC and asking her to help him do planograms. Somewhat discouraging, but thankfully she refused all of his advances. I just wish HR would have listened.

Customers weren't even my biggest frustration I suppose but here are a few stories.

During the time allotted for 'blocking'/pull lists/cleaning the store/tech work/whatever else managers dumped on you, I found a 9 mm bullet behind a ream of paper. I've walked into the bathroom after a customer to see poo all over the toilet and on the walls... THE WALLS!!! Come on now..

There was a customer that came in saying he wanted to use his grandmas credit card to buy a laptop and "She said it was OK!!!!"  so we refused his offer of purchasing a computer. He and his sister promptly started swearing up one side and down the other of me and telling me where I should shove my copy project I was working on. My manager came over, looked at the customer, said, "We can't take it" and he started swearing at her. She told him in no uncertain terms to get out of the store or police will be called and he ran away like a little child... Man I liked that manager.

I can't comprehend why a customer would call you on the phone and then ask you to walk them through fixing their computer.. As if we had enough time during the day to spend an hour and a half telling you how to insert disks into the computer and install your printer for you because you are too stupid to know how to plug a USB cable into the computer and let the disk run. I'm sorry sir, I did not know you were disabled...

Customer interactions were generally,

Me: "Hey can I help you today?"
Customer: "Yeah I want to buy a new modem for myself, which do you think would work best?" While pointing at a new desktop sitting on the shelf with a tag that says "HP PAVILLION DESKTOP PC"
Me: "You mean desktop, sure this one would work well for you!"
Customer: "Ohh, no I wanted a new modem because my old one isn't working with my monitor anymore!"

If a customer came in spouting all sorts of useless knowledge about certain products in the store, generally my brain shut down. I do not care the repeating process of a wireless g router and that you need one that will work at a 500 repeat rate blah blah blah blah.

No sir, I did not know that this "ubs" stick that is 2 gigaHERTZ would run at 5 teraflops a second in your linux... And frankly..... Please show me this new technology!

When Windows Vista came out there was a general outcry about how terrible it was. Almost every person that came in for a new pc walked out very disgruntled that there was no longer support for windows xp and that they would be charged for us to put windows xp on for them and some drivers may not work well. The same is true when Win 7 came out. I'm sorry... I didn't know you were so attached to an outdated operating system that is a complete piece of junk.

Back to managers.

The first store I was at was simply incredible. I really enjoyed it and they were fun to work with. My managers trusted me with their passwords and such to get things done and not have to do as much "grunt" work during the day. When I transferred, I had built rapport and been doing things for long enough that certain tasks such as looking up an item under my managers password were second nature. Well, one day at my second store I was looking up something under my new managers password without thinking and she was standing there watching me. Lo and behold I got in a fair amount of trouble for using it, rightly so, and I felt bad for not asking and thinking about it. What I DIDN'T realize at the time was that later in the day I would ask her to find something out for me on the POS400. I stood by and watched her put the DM numbers into the computer... I asked her, "Didn't you just get mad at me for using your password... And you're now using the DM password? Does he know that you do that?" To which she replied "editted for the younger readers", "No, I just watched and learned his password. Don't tell him. And I'm a manager so its different that I use his password." Of course this meant, "You ignorant little *@!$ why would you question my !@#$ing motives and you better sit there and take my berating otherwise you're fired."

Man that grinded my gears.. That and seeing her stand around talking to the "mobile tech" while her tits were flopping out of her t-shirt like nasty sandbags on her large "not big boned" frame.... 'sigh'.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


The chasm between what is often uttered on a corporate level and what is actually meant is as cavernous as the stale air which has moved in and taken up permanent residence between the ears of most District Managers. The words you actually hear pursing your employer’s chapped lips are little more than the white noise acting as a Klingon cloaking device camouflaging the between-the-lines code you’re assumed to be too daft to crack. But not unlike most mediocrity masquerading as authenticity, what isn’t said is usually louder than most of the syllabic muck through which you’re required to wade during any given eight hour shift.
Here are a few of my favorites.
We Want To Know What You Think
Translation: We want you to tell us what we want to hear. If you want to be classified as a troublemaker and instantaneously rise to the top of the corporate shitlist, tell your bosses your actual opinion of your workplace environment when asked. Though the average employer will try to convince you that your opinion carries as much weight as Kim Kardashian’s panties, your boss wants to know what you really think about as much as you want to walk in on your parents having wild, greased-up animal sex. Being asked your opinion by your employer is mostly little more than an obligatory yardstick used by many mediocre middle managers to measure the degree to which you’re buying into the company crapline. The workplace minefield is littered with the corpses of unsuspecting minimum wage warriors who self-destructed on their own honesty, mistaking we value your opinion with we value your opinion. So if eating and paying your bills have any sort of priority in your life, the next time you’re asked what you think of your job tell your boss that the mere thought of going to work makes you fire orgasms out of your eye sockets. Then quietly go back to imagining yourself introducing a taser to his shriveled gonads. Or her wrinkled labia.
Our Employees Are Our Greatest Asset
Translation: We appreciate your letting us use you to make ourselves wealthier. Though you often treat me otherwise, I’m not another one of your commodities, you lice-encrusted odorburglar. We both know that your most valuable asset in the store is the overpriced drivel gathering dust on the shelves and that my value to you is contingent on how good I am at conning the suckers you refer to as customers into buying it. Without the merchandise to define us, I seriously doubt that you’d one day wake up with a sudden case of philanthropic fervor and decide the one thing missing in your life is paying me to stand around and jack myself off in the middle of an empty shopping mall cubicle. And if I’m such an invaluable piece in your lifestyle puzzle, why am I barely able to afford a steady diet of cardboard and paste on the pittance you call a wage? Shit, your dog eats better than I do, and probably more often. And you better hope this treasured asset of yours doesn’t get seriously sick any time soon, because that porous bandaid you call health insurance covers about as much as the missing g-strings on Larry Flynt’s latest centerfold skank parade.
Service Is Our Number One Priority
Translation: We’re paying you to sell shit. Period. Service is a necessary evil in the retail world, because the greedy fucks haven’t yet figured out a way to persuade customers to automatically choose the stuff with the best built-in profit margins on their own. Without the not-so-gentle nudging of their mostly underpaid army of coercion specialists, most retailers would wither and die on the vine of I didn’t screw you enough to stay in business. Your boss has the same kind of relationship with you that the unlucky slob who contracted crabs has with his pharmacist…They both need to pay someone they’d rather not for fucking someone they probably shouldn’t have. The corporate tit is seemingly swollen with just enough excess profit to allow you the luxury of a suck every couple of weeks to keep you nourished, but the taste it leaves in your mouth is pretty damn close to the unexpected olfactory greeting you get when walking into an unflushed public crapper. It may taste like you’re eating shit, but for some reason you keep reaching for the ketchup to convince yourself it ain’t so bad after all.
You Have Unlimited Opportunity For Advancement
Translation: Your success will be proportionate to your willingness and ability to kiss ass. The service industry in general is one big asskissapalooza, with a lot of unlucky ticket holders competing for the chance to smooch the mosh pit of corporate butt for the dubious opportunity to climb another rung on the way to the front row of subservience. There is never a shortage of ass that is craving the purse of career-climbing lips in the retail world. Customers want it. Bosses need it. Coworkers are appreciative of it. There’s always a line for a surgically-enhanced derriere collagen pucker, and you perpetually seem to be at the tail end of it. So reach for the stars. Be all you can be. Don’t settle for less. Climb the highest mountain. On your winning drive to the end zone, though, don’t forget to periodically high-five the poverty-wage warriors whose shoulders you’re riding on as you circle the corporate arena on your I’m just doing what I have to do to survive and don’t hold it against me victory lap.
Our Letting You Go Is Just Business, It Isn’t Personal
Translation: We’re transitioning you from a full-time employee to a full-time customer. Several years ago, I actually had some semi-significant snot-bloated cockface use this line on me as he was kicking me to the curb. What used to be his conscience had been replaced by a vibrating strap-on he used to fuck everyone else and eventually himself with after his rechargeable batteries wore out their overused welcome. But what he unintentionally taught me on my – and his – way out the door is this…If you ever think that you matter to your corporate employer as being more than a statistic to maintain profit margins, then you probably deserve the fucking you may not see coming. Your worth to your employer is relative to your ability to generate revenue. Your kid has a learning disability? Fuck you. Your wife has some kind of unidentifiable tumor? Blow me. You have the audacity to request two days off in a row to be with your family? Tickle my taint. Look here, boss – Your “letting me go” is nothing but personal, you genetically-challenged jizz machine. I happen to be in possession of this silly thing called a life, and it actually requires my attention outside of your periodic kindergarten-laden tantrums. So every now and then I may need a day off other than the one you required me to request six weeks in advance, and I apologize for any workplace disruption the unscheduled part of my existence may contribute. After all, my kid may get unexpectedly sick every now and then. My wife may get a breast tumor we hadn’t scheduled for. And my grandmother may die. For the third time this year.