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When Your Job Sucks
Brant, Biff and Beyond
Twenty years ago I got bumped. The chain I had hired on with lost the lease on a store, so I was bumped by a senior union employee. This man could not do my job, but was entitled to my hours. It was bad enough that I had taken a 10k pay cut to get out of management and just work. But now I was losing 5k more and would have to freight this 60,000k a week dairy case just the same, as the guy that bumped me ate doughnuts and stared at the ceiling. The chain would be opening another store within six months. I just had to tough it out.
The wife was not happy.
Working the dairy aisle made life complicated. Every employee used this aisle to access the stockroom, the break room, the entrance. The store was laid out to force the customer through the entire thing like a maze, and it worked. We had almost hit a million dollars grand opening week, and I had gained survival points—and had saved my job—by actually refilling the case in one night. When the cuts and bumps came, the manager asked HR for permission to "hide" me as he would need two men to replace me. After years in lower management and all of that stress, stocking freight was like a sport to me, therapeutic. So for me, the price of job security—mere high production—was low.
The L-shaped dairy aisle was also used by the vendors: the bread, snack, soda, frozen pizza and ice cream suppliers that sent in their own people to deliver and stock their goods. All of these guys were now struggling to keep up with their route once being handed this monster store, only the fourth of its kind at the time. Venders typically top out in retail on the hourly scale, and after declining to get into management buy a route, and kind of work for themselves. These guys would compliment me on my work. Then, one day, two vendors were walking down the aisle arguing over who would get received first. They come in first with their ordering machine, then go back to the truck, pack their order, and then line up to get checked in by the receiver.
This was Brant, the PepsiCo Vendor, and Biff, the Imperial Ice Cream vender. Brant, a 40 year old former high school sports hero with an arrogant personality and mafia style voice, was denigrating Biff's route, his working ability, that he sucked, that ice cream sucked, that his regional company sucked, etc. Biff was a smooth talking 24 year old pretty boy, far less aggressive, but smarter than, Brant.
Biff stopped behind me and pointed to the wall of decked freight I was working through, about 4 feet high and 72 feet long, all going in the case before it got warm. Biff was inspired, "Well Mister Tough Guy PepsiCo, I will be getting salesman of the year, because I'm hiring my man here as a merchandizer, fifty dollars a day and all the ice cream you can carry for your rug rats. How about it pal."
I shook his hand on that and he said, "I know you can get all this shit done by eight—not like these grocery retards in aisle eleven [as he looked at a man who owed him money on a football bet]."
"I'll be ready," I said.
Biff slicked back his hair and sneered at Brant as he taunted, "Yeah, Tough Guy. You're looking at salesman of the year. They'll be dicing your route up and I'll be partying with the honchos!"
Brant went right for me, "Look Mo, you're a man, not a sissy like this here fast talker. Work with me and I'll pay you forty for only two hours work, rather than get stuck on this slow-ass motherfucker's truck until seven at night while he's chasing skirts on the front end [register chicks]. You wanna work with me!" he said, as he punched himself in the chest.
I said, "Hey guys, I'm a whore and there's enough to go around."
I worked out a schedule that had me getting off at eight, working with Brant for two hours, and then hopping onto Biff's truck at ten and working with him all day. I also picked up a job with Pizza John, and a job at two independent markets that were on Biff's and Brant's routes. I was only home from 7 to 9 p.m. for the next year as I worked these six jobs. In many ways I lived a lifetime in that year. During this year I was a fixture in 34 stores, dealing with thieves and bums on the back dock, rival vendors, the nuts working inside the stores, and my crazy employers who were both paying me cash and taking me along on their trucks against company policy. Brant was in numerous altercations over dock access and Biff needed help because he spent 2 hours a day on pay phones placing bets with his bookie and had a girlfriend in half the stores he served. The best looking female store employees typically date and marry vendors.
When Your Job Sucks will tell the stories of on the job craziness with Biff and Brant, and also other fellows who I have worked with in supermarkets. The stories are all about working thankless jobs, and in many cases are the job loss stories told to me by coworkers, such as truck drivers, when they told me why they suddenly found themselves working in a food store in the middle of the night at age 40.
The stories will include:
I Wanna Happy Meal!
The Pitcher's Mound
Tony O
Mole The Man
Smoking Mike's VCR
Diamond Jim
Mama San
Brant's Jacket
Our Fag and Your Fag
Falling in Love with Sheep
Messing with Mister Glass
The Leg Breakers
Trash Man Sam
Big Tom
Sex on Wheels
In the Headlights
Get On In Rambo
Bowling for Bums
Wrecking Biff's Truck
Chaos and Control Mo!
Getting Mugged in Your Truck
Sanka en Buttafingas
Twenty Cars Gone
Nasty Nick
prev:  The Copper Eaters     ‹  harm city  ›     next:  ‘Shorty, Short’
the lesser angels of our nature
taboo you
menthol rampage
when you're food
logic of steel
the greatest boxer
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