Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 43

"we have a lot to do, we are probably...two weeks behind in this store" -The Loris.

Today the Loris made a point to show me stills of a store that was closed and what it looked like. I understand why she was doing it, she was attempting to illustrate to me what we needed to do to get to the point that the store looked that way. I'll admit to it working, in general, i'm a pretty easily managed person. It's pretty easy to light a fire under my ass, to get me to see where you going and try to help you get there, unless of course i think what you're aiming for is stupid or I don't understand why you're having me do thing a. when thing b. would be infinitely more efficient. I'll admit to being difficult to manage under those circumstance. Today the Loris was on a tear to get us to some point in her mind that she has never bothered to communicate with anyone. And if she has communicated that to anyone they've kept it to themselves.

So you can color me surprised when she says that we are so far behind. I can't imagine what we are behind on. Our store is still fairly full of product, although it is slowly moving toward the front of the store. And of course when she says anything she has this tone that leads you to believe that she thinks its your fault. She also spends a lot of time telling me that i'm working too hard and i should get my bonus. I don't care about the bonus, i made that clear at the beginning. I mean, if money were a massive motivator for me i wouldn't be working at Borders, now would I? But I do care about mixed signals because they usually indicate lying and i am sick to my teeth of getting them.

Listen, I fully understand what they are here to do, and how they need to get it done. I understand that when they close up they need to make every penny count. They need optimize every moment of sales because they are only here for 2 months. Oh, guess what though...I don't give a fuck! I really don't care. I know it's unclear because i still try to do what i'm asked and i still try to do it professionally and politely, but thats because i care about professionalism and politeness, not about making this a success. This also makes it entirely impossible for you to try manipulate me into doing a better job by trying to make me feel like I'm doing my job poorly, equally impossible is you trying to get me to do a better job by encouraging me and saying I'm doing a great job. Like a small child who just wants one more Yo Gabba Gabba dance number (which by the way, for a moment, have you watched that show...it's oddly brilliant. One of the characters appears to be a marital aid, and the main guy is pretty much an African American version of the Asian dude from Deee-Lite. If that doesn't make you want to watch it no amount of toddler centric marketing will) I've gone boneless. You cant pick me up because I'm all slippery dead weight. You can't move me left or right. Herding cats, holding water. These are things that are similarly difficult. So, why the hell won't you stop.

Why can't they just be honest with us. Why can't it go like this: "Listen, I'm here because your company completely screwed you. I am not the bad guy, but ... I work for the bad guy. I clean up his messes. You, unfortunately for you, are his messes. This will not be fun for you. I expect you to show up, do your jobs as I define them, and be polite to the customers. All I have to offer you is more hours at this store, and in the end, perhaps an opportunity to be on unemployment and have a second to catch your breath before you move on to the next thing. I have a job to do, you can help me do it, or you can go home right now." I would respect that approach so much more. But they can't do that. They can't take the chance that we might all say "okay, peace out." and head out the door. They have to manipulate us because they need us there. For now. As time passes they will need us less and they'll begin to tolerate our shenanigans less and less velvet glove and more iron fist will the the lay of the land.

A man came in tonight, and his height isn't relevant to anything but the visuals, but he was tall. Not just the kind of tall thats tall to me because I'm profoundly and precisely average heighted for a man, but the kind of tall that makes you wonder...what is it like to see from that vantage point. He was also very Cool. He had tattoos and longish hair and he was very handsome and he was opening a food truck and he had a baby, and later when he came back without the baby he drove his chopper. Normally I'd hate this guy I find the overly and overtly cool tiresome. But my defences were down. So I decided to chat with the guy about the fixtures he wanted and I found him a plain dealer and completely lacking in bullshit. He looked up prices for things on his I phone (of course) and said "this is only going for this much newly refurbished, these ones are just used". He wasn't trying to low ball me on prices, he just wanted to know what stuff was worth. He went around came up with some numbers that he liked and I took those number to the Fighting Eagle. The Fighting Eagle didn't like those numbers (he did however like the misfits song playing on the overhead, see...he's a pretty neat guy just...wholly unfocused) so he came back with more. I introduced them as, frankly, i didn't want to wheel and deal with this guy. Eventually they came to a reasonable arrangement and the guy got a good deal and we sold some fixtures.

No bull shit. No hurt feelings. No one got screwed. Why can't this whole experience be like that one transaction.

So many little lies. Its like my whole day is little lies. Some days it's like walking into a whirlwind with razor blades sprinkled in for good measure. Lies to customers, lies from customers. Lies to staff, lies from staff. Lies to myself. Small fictions to help us get by. Stories to assuage a customers righteous indignation at the thought of a "buyers premium". Smiles and curiosity at lorises when I really just want to drop what I'm doing and walk away. Contentment at finishing a project. Lies of Omission when selling to customers. So much untruth that it's becoming cumbersome. Lies from Lorises.

An honest days pay from an honest days work...


  1. I have found that, when dealing with the Loris, I simply smile and nod my head, as if I am taking in everything she says in great detail. Then after she leaves I go ahead and do the "thing" in question the way I think it will be A)best and B)fastest accomplished.

    After 7 years at Borders, I think I have a decent handle on how long it takes to move X number of books X distance, and how many shelves those books will need when shelved either all face-out or spine-out. In the middle of me doing this, the Loris returned, criticized how I was doing it, and repeatedly told me the incorrect way to do it (incorrect so much as it would not accomplish what she wanted, if I did the way she told me to do it).

    I simply ran the "Go to 10" command in my head: I smiled, nodded, said nothing, and went right back to doing it the way it needed to be done.

    Then I went home.

  2. The lies that get you through the day sap your inner strength. Hang tough, Cory, and stay strong. Good luck with the job search.