Friday, November 03, 2006

Bad luck, Incompetent Staff and Turmpet Guarding Old Ladies

So this morning, I went out searching for jobs.

I think the term “Absolute unstoppable cluster-fuck” would describe the experience.

The first place I visited was another temp agency, Sunny drove me WAY across town to find it, and I walked in, smile on my face and resume under my arm.

I walked up to the desk…

“Hi!” I said cheerily. “I’d like to put in an application, do you take applications for general office and clerical positions?”

“No.” Said the receptionist. Shit, I thought. “We offer temp services for three industries. Janitorial…”

Wait right there. I need a job, but I’m not that desperate just yet. I’ve got a degree for fuck’s sake…I don’t want to end up mopping the floors in a school where I’m more highly qualified than most of the teachers.

“…security…”

Not something I want to do. Minimum wage with a possibility of getting my ass kicked or shot off.

“…or light industrial.”

A possibility.

“So what’s light industrial?” I asked.

“Production line kind of work, but we’ll only consider you for that if you have at least 6 months recent experience in a similar field.”

“And security?”

“Well, that’s open to anyone as long as you’re an American Citizen.”

Fuck.

“Oh well, thanks anyway.”

Yep, yet another nice long drive that was a complete waste of time. Still…I’m not bitter.

So I get back into the car and Sunny gives me a quizzical look. I explain the situation.

“Next place.” I say.

Now, Sunny had told me that she knew of, and I quote, “A blue zillion” staffing places, but all of them had slipped her mind, and she certainly didn’t know of any others on that side of town. So we decided to drive home, get out the ‘ole phonebook, and look up some other places.

“My blood sugar’s dropping. I’m starting to get the shakes.” Sunny said.

This, while it seems totally superfluous now, does have a bearing later on….stay tuned.

“Isn’t ‘Staples’ on the way home?” I asked.

“Yep.” Replied Sunny.

“Well, let’s stop there on the way home, and I’ll see if I can get an application for there. That’s something I could do, and it’s nice and close to the house.”

And lo’, it was agreed that this was a good idea.

So we pull into the parking lot in front of Staples. I run in.

“Hey!” I say cheerfully to one of the check out girls. “I have a quick question. Who do I need to speak to for…”

“Hey! I like the way you talk, where are you from?”

Fifteen minutes later…

“So in conclusion,” I said, “I have seen ‘Friends’, no I didn’t live in the thatched cottage and we do have cars in England. Now, who do I need to speak to about putting in a job application?”

“Oh, we do those on a computer in the store. It’ll take you about half an hour to 45 minutes. I’ll get someone to set it up for you.”

So she asks someone…someone who doesn’t know and had to ask someone else…who also doesn’t know…

“Excuse me.” I said. “While you’re sorting this out, I’m just gonna run outside for a moment (I need to scream), to tell my wife that she can go run some errands while she’s waiting.”

“Ok.” She responds, brightly.

I run outside and open the car door:

“Sweetie? This is gonna take about half an hour. Why don’t you go grab yourself something to eat (I told you the blood sugar thing had a bearing on the story) while I do this?”

“Ok.” My darling wife replied. “I’ll run to the pharmacy as well, I need to pick up some things.”

So I wave her off, and stride purposefully back into the store. (When looking for a job, always stride purposefully, it shows you mean business.) I see checkout girl again.

“Ok,” she says, “I made a mistake.” (No! Really?) “We don’t do applications in the store any more, you have to do it over the internet from home.”

I sigh. “What’s the address? Just ‘Staples.com’?”

You know that feeling when you ask a question, and instantly regret asking it? Well, that’s what I was feeling. Apparently, absolutely no-one in the store knew the web address…and considering these where the people I wanted a job from, I couldn’t exactly say “Fuck it! I’ll just google it!”

Then I realized something.

Sunny had driven away. She would be gone for at least 45 minutes, while I was stuck here…and worse yet, I’d left my cigarettes in the car.

So I spend the next 15 minutes wandering around the store.

Now it has to be said that Staples isn’t a particularly bad place to get stranded at. You can drool over the laptops, the huge LCD monitors and all other kinds of gadgetry. It really is like a geek’s porn-store.

…Except for the fact that everyone in there knows you as “The guy who wants to put in an application”, and stops you every 2 minutes to ask if you know that they don’t do in-store applications anymore.

Eventually, after being stopped by the same guy three times and told the same thing, I leave the store and just wait out front. After 2 minutes I’m bored.

So I go next door, which is a strange consignment store kind of thing. They sell everything from trumpets to towels, poker chips to pajamas.

Of course, I’m forgetting the number one rule. If you spend more than 10 minutes in any shop, just wandering around and looking at nothing in particular, they automatically assume you’re a shoplifter.

So I find myself locked in an intricate ballet with a Very Suspicious Old Lady™, who is doing everything she can to make sure she can watch my every move without me knowing about it. She fails at this dismally.

So for a while, I find myself walking nonchalantly along an aisle, watching her following me at the other end… then as soon as her view of me is blocked by the shelves, I make a quick about turn and head the other way.

It didn’t fool her for a second. She was old, but very wily. She would require me as a target within seconds.

(I’ve always thought we don’t take enough advantage of the powers of old ladies. I mean, we could fight a war with someone, and just get a bunch of old ladies to stand on the front line, and glare unapprovingly at the opposing army. Maybe occasionally shouting “Does your mum know you’re out this late playing with that gun? Get home you little rascal before I take my slipper to you!”…the opposing army wouldn’t dare attack!)

Anyway, I took a small item off the shelf (a sudoku game) to examine it more closely. I heard a sharp intake of breath from her at the other end of the aisle. She obviously believed she’d caught me “making my move”, and was waiting for my to slip the item into my shirt, so she could blow the whistle and have me swarmed by the other old lady in the store.

(What’s the term for a swarm of old lady? I didn’t know a single person actually could swarm…but that was her plan…I know it.)

I put the game back, and I swear I heard a sigh of disappointment.

I wonded if, by taking and replacing items of various values, I could actually get her to play a tune with her ‘shocked’ and ‘relieved’ sounds.

Well, I had to entertain myself somehow.

Anyway, I realized I was pushing my luck, so I waited outside for Sunny to come back.

Later that day I went with her to the salon, but that’s a story for tomorrow.

2 comments:

rayray said...

I believe the term for a group of old ladies is a "pith"...... ;)

Saffyre said...

Hmm how about a "nightmare of old ladies"?