Here’s one from the good old days!In the last few months, I have achieved a healthy balance in my working environments. In the morning I have an office job, and in the evenings I work at an Italian restaurant. While I am in the office, blearily watching the minutes tick by, I long for the hectic world of foodservice, and while I am at the restaurant, balancing awkward, heavy trays and splashing ice water everywhere, I long for the sweet, merciful release of death. So far, it has been a good system.
I wouldn’t mind the restaurant job as much if I weren’t in constant fear of being screamed at and/or fired. Mine is not a forgiving restaurant owner. There is a high turnover rate here—none of the other employees have worked for longer than a few months; all of us are fairly new. It is not difficult to see why; in this city there is a seemingly inexhaustible supply of bodies willing to bear steaming hot plates of gnocchi and salads buried in pine nuts across a polished wood floor, until the day they either die or drop something.
There is something almost exhilarating about knowing that your job hangs in the balance every time you cross the room. “Could this be it?” you think at every turn. Did I just make my last cup of coffee? Will this steak betray me? Might this soup be my undoing?
I am not good at selling things to people. I should probably not make a career of it, as it would not be a wildly successful career. I’m simply unable to make anything sound appealing that I don’t find personally appealing, which is a large part of selling things…possibly the whole part. I didn’t fully realize this until I began working with people who ARE able to sell things.
“The Tiramisu? Oh, uh, it’s ok. You might like it. I mean, I’ve never had it, but it’s…I mean, it looks pretty good.”
This is not the way to sell a dessert. My boss at the restaurant, the gay French boss, the one who could not be either more French or more gay or he would risk exploding in a blinding flash of gay French light, the one who spanks me when I mess up orders and who made me call his old restaurant on April Fools Day and make a reservation for Joan Rivers; now HE knows how to sell things. He could sell a can of ravioli on a doily on a plate for $23. Oh, you need a can opener? Excellent choice. Of course, there is an additional $7 charge for that.
In his case, the key to selling things appears to lie in mispronouncing words to make them sound more exotic and less intelligible. Somehow, when he says “Beef Onion soup,” it sounds like a magical, tasty elixir. When I say it, I sound like a grouchy, world-weary cafeteria lady.
Actually, my favorite thing to do is to warn people away from certain dishes. If my boss were aware of this, I would doubtless get more than a spanking. But I can’t help myself sometimes. “Don’t bother with the Lemon Delicious cake,” I’ll murmur, leaning in closer as the table falls silent and round-eyed, hanging on my every word. “It’s not that good. People don’t usually finish it.” If I know a certain dish is good (usually only because I’ve slunk behind the ice machine and scarfed up untouched portions when the boss wasn’t looking), I recommend it, but people are never as impressed by my assurances of deliciousness as they are by my candid admissions of mediocrity. Perhaps my real calling lies more in the area of food criticism.
Yesterday I opened an envelope from a school and found an invoice with a dime taped to it. My company had sent an invoice for $0.10 to a school, and this was their response. It seemed fair to me.
Later I got a letter from a customer with a $0.41 cent stamp on it, and a penny taped next to the stamp, in lieu of postage. Apparently you can do that, and it works. Or maybe the postal inspector was feeling generous.
Apparently, Thursday, May 15th was Tape a Coin to a Document Day. No one told me!…With words.
There is never a dull moment when I open the mail at work.
Well, all right. That’s not true. There are mostly dull moments. But I am guaranteed that at least one or two pieces of mail a week will make me laugh. This is partly due to my low amusement threshold, and mostly due to the fact that weird stuff comes in the mail.
Monday we got a flyer from a company that sells urine and saliva drug testing equipment. They had little cups laid out on an attractive background and spoke glowingly of fast and reliable results. Mm!
Today I received a mailing from American Express offering us a business credit card. The mailing was addressed to “Menopause Society” at our company’s street address.
For those of you who are not aware, I do NOT work for the Menopause Society, as disappointing as that might be. In fact, the name of my company could not ever remotely be mistaken for the Menopause Society, which, Google tells me, is actually located in Ohio and is called the North American Menopause Society, or NAMS.
From: ‘Molly Schoemann’
Sent: Friday, December 28, 2007 2:04 PM
Subject: Redwall Books
Below are the titles from the NINETEEN Redwall books, by Brian Jacques. I think I read about 3 of them back in the day. For each title, if it’s possible to also know how many copies were produced, and what we billed for the job, that would be great.
Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to make the search easier? Thank you!
Mariel of Redwall
Martin the Warrior
Outcast of Redwall: A Tale from Redwall
Pearls of Lutra: A Tale from Redwall
The Long Patrol: A Tale from Redwall
Marlfox: A Tale from Redwall
The Legend of Luke
Lord Brocktree: A Tale from Redwall
Loamhedge: A Tale from Redwall
Rakkety Tam: A Tale from Redwall
Brian Jacques Needs a New Condo in Bermuda: A Tale from Redwall
(Ok, I made that last one up.)
Below, in alphabetical order, are exact phrases I have searched for in the last few weeks. What can I say? I have a lot to learn.
…What are some of yours? Come on. I bet they’re weird too.
A & W Root Beer
Beer Can House
Cheap flight Iceland
Dark and Stormy
Dumplings and Wine
Dutty wine dance
Free valentine ecard
Fucking Ben Affleck
Green Acres Lyrics
Health Code Violations Reporting Boston
Kitten in a boot
Naked cowboy M&M
Nico: These Days
Obama’s speech IA
Paula Abdul Video
Personal assistant for hire
Plastic toy food
Straight talk express
Tom brady left girlfriend
Vitamin C prevent pregnancy
Whatever happened to baby jane
Me: I think we’re in too deep if we’re seriously considering this.
Robbins: He’s the only source we have! If we don’t make a deal with him, Couglin’s a dead man. So’s anyone else who gets caught on the inside.
Me: Couglin knew what he was getting into when he started.
Robbins: So you’re willing to leave a man behind?
Me: All I’m saying is, I don’t negotiate with criminals.
Robbins: I know. But you’ve got to look at it my way.
Me: I am, I just—
Me: Is that my stapler?
Robbins: You have to—what? Is that…are you serious?
Me: You heard me.
Robbins: It—no! It’s not…I brought it from home.
Me: It looks an awful lot like one I used to have that went missing.
Robbins: Can we please get back to—
Me: Look, there’s some sticky stuff on the top where I had a label with my name. You even peeled off my label!
Robbins: Would you mind if we did this later?
Me: I’m just saying. That’s not a cheap stapler.
Robbins: He’s the only source we have.
I have decided to plumb the depths of my ancient Livejournal for magical moments from one of my favorite jobs: working behind the counter at the Bird Watcher’s General Store. We sold birdseed, bird feeders, bird stuffed animals, you name it, we sold it. The following incidents occurred during a typical workday in the Birdstore during the summer and fall after I graduated from college. Here they are, in no particular order:
Today at work I hit the boss in the chest with a stuffed chicken and told him it was the only chick who would ever throw herself at him.
I like work. Except when there are fruit flies everywhere. Yesterday they were even in the microwave. Apparently you can microwave fruit flies and nothing happens to them. That should be the message on one of those “The More You Know” spots on TV.
The following exchange should have gotten me fired anywhere else. (Mike is my boss.)
Erin: ‘Don’t you like the sound my sexy plastic pants make when I walk?’ (they’re board shorts)
Mike: My kid made that noise when he walked for the first five years of his life.
Me: And you’re going to make that noise when you walk for the next twenty.
Mike: I’m going to tear your bones out.
Jill asked her sister to buy her a pair of jeans like the ones I was wearing, and asked me to show her my pants. I started dancing around, indicating my pants and posing. Eventually I started doing the running man and singing, “Jill wants to get in my pants.” A customer with a young daughter noticed her staring at me, and ushered her away with a curt “Come along, honey”.
Other than that, it was a pretty typical day. Except for this exchange:
Jill: “What did that woman say she had in her bush?”
Mike: “A woodcock.”
Jobs I have had since then have certainly had their moments. But nothing beats the Birdstore.
Speaking of past jobs, I made this picture back when my job was writing descriptions of cables for sale on a website. By which I mean, my job was “tweaking cable images in photoshop and making them look like faces that said weird things, in order to keep myself from jumping down an elevator shaft”.
At least I have had one job in which I was living up to my full potential.
I rediscovered this from my days as a Customer Service Rep for an internet company.
I do not like making more quotes.
Can you fax it to my mom?
Do you people ship to Guam?
Would you, could you, ship it faster?
Would you, could you, add the casters?
I do not like to ship three day.
I cannot do it anyway.
You refused this damaged-twice box?
Did your brand new table splinter?
Did you order this last winter?
Did you tell us ‘pack it well’?
It’s got a snowball’s chance in Hell.”