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Bubba's New Gig
A Conversation with a Former Coworker

Bubba is 21, six-feet, nine-inches tall, and working with us in this suburban grocery store had been his first job. We see each other and stop for a greeting.

J: So, how is Price Club treating you?

B: Oh, I'm not there anymore, started a new job tonight.

J: You look good, lost weight.

B: I lost forty pounds working at Price Club—stocking is so much better than standing behind a register. I came in to talk to you a few times but you're never here.

J: Been working less hours, was recovering from a hip injury. What's your new gig?

B: Casino security—we could use you down there—not at the bad one were people get shot downtown, but at the one in Anne Arundel County.

J: How do you like it?

B: I just shadowed a guy tonight. There are a lot of us. They hire security people every week, so there must be a lot of dummies breaking the rules. We come in all sizes, shapes and sexes. It's like a police force without guns. Dude, the cocktail waitresses and the women who stand by the front door with the peacock feathered headdress are so gorgeous, it's ridiculous. I didn't think we had women that pretty in Maryland.

J: You know, a decent amount of your security staff is going to consist of black dudes and you're going to have to help walk some of them out of the building after they fail their impulse control check and feel up a waitress.

B: You must be psychic! It already happened, on my first night. We walked this bartender out who had been grabbing ass behind the bar on the barmaid. My boss told me he had had two warnings—that they had even had a staff meeting just for him—to let everybody know that you can't touch the female staff on duty. How hard is it not to grab ass? Well, in any case, that idiot's out of a job.

J: Just stay alert and follow the rules and you'll do fine. How many hours are you working?

B. They only hire fulltime and it's mandatory overtime.

J: That's when you know you're in a business that's healthy. When I was your age the grocery business was like that—they didn't even want part timers. Now it's a part time thing.

B: The business might be healthy but the customers are a mess. I must have seen a dozen people lose their life savings today. The place is like a magnet for bad decisions.

J: You're a disciplined guy. Just keep paying attention.

We shake hands.

B: Be careful out there—don't let the hoodrats get you.

Thriving in Bad Places

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