I believe you have my stapler – Milton Waddams
When I was 15 I got my first job working as a life guard at what was then the College of Boca Raton, now known as Lynn University (pretty big deal now, the presidential debates are going to be held there next week). Here’s how that worked out: I sat on a life guard chair next to the pool for X hours a day getting myself so badly sunburned that I guaranteed myself skin cancer and they paid me $6.00 an hour for my trouble. Good deal! I had a small 125cc motor scooter at the time that required only two gallons of gas to operate it for the week and the rest of the money I could blow at Uncle Sams Music store or Denny’s. And the best part; it was only for 2 months!
That was the last job I had that made any form of sense. Next up like so many other of my teenage friends in Florida was the dreaded cashier job at either Publix, Walgreen’s, Eckards, or McDonald’s. I choose Walgreen’s, and the downward spiral began.
Walgreen’s of the early 90’s was in turmoil. They had just realized that point of sale systems were here to stay and that no, they could not sell touristy stuff that far west of the beach. I must have had a buddy get me in there because I have no recollection of actually interviewing. I do however remember that every receipt had to be stapled. Now, lets be clear: it had to be stapled and that was it. Not stapled to the bag. Not stapled to the merchandise. Not stapled to your thumb. Simply take the top of the receipt and put a staple through it. If you failed to staple the receipt the customer was encouraged to come back to the store sometime later and collect $5.00. If you failed to do this regularly there was a re-education tape that you could watch while on your break to “help” you remember your staple duty. If there was continued infractions you were let go.
After a while of working anywhere back then it was generally accepted that you should help your friends also get jobs where you worked. In my case it was my buddy Adam. What I didn’t know at the time was that Adam had been slipping away at an alarming pace from reality at that point. So in order to feed his bizarre needs he promptly began stealing. Stealing from the register, stealing smokes from behind the register, hell anything that wasn’t bolted down he took. The manager confronted me about my friend and as I was certainly not going to rat him out I decided that I’d have to figure out a way to not work there anymore. Which frankly was extremely attractive as I hated the work. The customers were rude, the manager was a martinet, and the hours sucked. But, I couldn’t quit! My Dad had threatened to take my car away if I didn’t have a job. What to do, what to do…..
AH! I know! I’m not going to staple the receipts anymore! That’s it! Its not going to be a fire for cause so I can (at least my 16 year old mind thought so) collect unemployment! So after a week of not stapling and not getting caught a customer finally comes in to collect the fiver. She walked directly to the register and in a firm but yet demanding voice declaimed: “My receipt does not have a staple through it and per your policies I’m owed five dollars!”
YES!!!! I’m outa here!!!
As per policy I had to ask the manager over to first verify the receipt and then open the till for the five. So manager martinet walks over after being called on the intercom 10 minutes previously for the staple infraction and immediately asks “Mam, would you be so kind, if you could, to well, how to put this? um, can you point out who was your cashier?” She looks directly at me….The eyes light up with clear recognition….and then she promptly points at Adam standing at the register way away from mine in the Film department!
Manger martinet’s eyes roll back in their sockets and he makes that awful sound the pod people from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” as he points at me. I’ve only just now realized that I’ve said that out loud.
“Corey, please follow me to the break room immediately” he blubbered out. I looked at him, the customer, Adam (who was putting 110 film cartridges down his pants as this was going on) and back to my register. After the moment of silence passed I realized my mission at Walgreen’s is now completed and I did not have to follow manager martinet to the break room. ever.
Long story short, I’m fired for cause, could not collect un-employment as I wasn’t employed long enough nor was I full time, and Adam continued working there for 6 more months, hell he even got a raise!