WINNER of Poor Mojo's $33-and-a-third Meritorious Boon for finest "Bad Job, Good Times; Good Job, Bad Times" Rant, Fall 2008
I came home from work a few weeks ago and surprised myself. My routine is to fix a pot of coffee, jump into the shower and change into something comfortable before plopping down in front of my computer with a cup of joe and a cigarette. Instead I collapsed in my chair, started bawling and couldn't seem to stop.
I had to face facts. In less than eight hours I had become a whore. What happened to my dignity, morals and ethics? No street hooker giving a blow job to a cop in the backseat of his cruiser could have felt dirtier.
My decline from a book department manager to a sleazy purveyor of filth began with a decree from a higher power—the owner of the corporation decided to remodel the store. A crew came in and rebuilt shelves, shifted books and added kid-friendly fixtures. Dozens of boxes in receiving weren't packed with books full of magic and wonder, but instead crap made in China.
I sat on a stool for hours, unwrapping plastic animals and dinosaurs ranging from toddler-choking-meerkats to put-your-little-sister's-eye-out velociraptors. Each one had to be carefully placed on one of five metal shelves belonging to an ugly fixture advertising the name of the company which manufactures these child killers. I wondered if I would be personally named in a class-action lawsuit for wrongful death, and took comfort in the knowledge that in today's litigious climate I probably wouldn't live long enough to see one come to trial.
Hundreds of brightly colored plastic mugs seemed designed to lure the kiddies to their doom from licking lead-based paint. The parents probably couldn't wait to fill them with whatever shit they deemed suitable to make their little darlings as hyperactive and destructive as possible.
The Texas regional section of books had been moved to make way for the Tween fixture, complete with a life-size cardboard cutout of Hannah Montana for $29.95. A huge topper displayed the fifteen-year old superstar fellating a bulbous microphone. It won't be long before the first lonely middle-aged loser asks me if I know where he can get one of them laminated.
In disbelief I watched a huge box containing a Carmen Electra Stripper Pole being wheeled down the main aisle as it headed for the Lifestyles department. It didn't take long for a customer to return hers, complaining that it wouldn't stick to the ceiling. She became extremely agitated when the guest service manager couldn't take it back because some parts were missing. A toddler clutched the bottom of her skirt as she bitched about being out $129.99. Plus tax.
We now sell finger strobe lights. That's right, for only $1.99 per digit, you too can do whatever one does with strobe lights on your fingers. It occurred to me as I studied these mysterious devices, that the Chinese should consider raising their sights a bit. They probably have silver mines in China worked by minors instead of miners. These Communist capitalists could make even more money off crap-loving Americans if they incorporated strobe lights into those stupid silver finger thingies worn by Goths. The official name is something like Goth finger armor ring spike, but who gives a shit? Just install the damn strobe lights and let anyone asinine enough to wear those things get off on shining them in the eyes of trolls and goblins.
There's more Hello Kitty products than classics in my book department. I might not have ever read Dostoevsky, but at least I can pronounce his name. Which is more than I can say for Hannah Montana.
I finally stopped sobbing and accepted the reality of becoming a corporate whore. Now, may I interest you in a pair of orange plastic shoes?
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