Sunday, February 21, 2010

It Takes All Kinds...

Several years ago, I worked at a shady Gas Station in Minneapolis for three months before moving to Chicago. In that time, I encountered a lot of whacked out shit that I've yet to forget:

On my first day, a short black man in wind breakers wearing an over sized "Jesus Kicks Butt" hat entered the store. Immediately, he points to me.

"Jesus! I see Jesus in yo eyes, son!" he shouts, walking over to the donut stand.

With his eyes still on me, he continued showering my ego with comparisons to the Holy Trinity while filling a plastic bag with crispy cremes and bismarks.

"The Father, the Son, the HOLY spirit! THAT'S...what I see in YOU!"

Though I'm not at all religious, I couldn't help but crack a smile, flattered by this mans charisma. And as soon as his bag was completely stuffed, he walked up to my register, he and I now face to face. For a moment, the bullet proof glass in between us felt like it temporarily dissolved as he had my complete attention.

"...You keep up that smile, KEEP up that Jesus!"

I nodded back to him with a laugh as he speedily exited the store with his donuts, then realizing he never paid for them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


A New Year has come...

Posts and submissions have been dried up for too long, but they're soon to come back!

Don't worry, Larry is here to give you the thumbs up on this.

"Good things," Larry says. "Good things."

Stay tuned for the next Odd Job!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Video Store Blues

Many of us have worked at a video store (myself included), and it's safe to say that after a while, getting free movies doesn't escape the fact you have to deal with smelly kids getting yelled at by their zebra-leotard wearing mothers who want to know if Terminator 2 is safe for their 5 year old to watch on a Saturday night. However annoying this can be, however, there's a great way to deal with this line of work, and anyone whose worked at a movie store knows exactly what it is.

Name: Long Dong

Job: Blockbuster

...I made it up to assistant manager and quit/got fired/mutually agreed to quit and get fired because I was trading goods. We had a place we were getting food from for giving one of their cooks free rentals. Everyone knew of it from part timer to district manager. I was just the one who took it a step further and gave free rentals to friends and swindled free rentals from the other Blockbuster down the road because they got a Playstation game in before we did and I wanted to play it AND AND AND I was having a bad day. I hated myself for months over that one. Once I was promoted I spent most of my time sitting in the manager's office watching movies while I fixed bad movies. These were the VHS days, so if the tape got messed up I just cut out the bad part and taped it back together.

The worst part of my day? Customers. I remember having a 20 minute argument on the phone with a lady over a $4 late charge. You don't argue with people over their late fees or their early return $1 credits. I'm hard headed as hell, so it took me a while to learn that lesson.

It got worse. A friend of mine forgot to bring movies back in that I had manually checked in off of her mom's account, so when they did inventory it had my name and her name written all over it. They thought I was stealing and even came to my job at the time and threatened to sue me. They honestly have no idea how much I got away with there and I was probably the most honest. I might have taken a movie or two off the shelves, but I never touched the money unlike some people and the movies usually went back unless something happened that I couldn't control (destruction, getting fired before I could sneak something back on the shelf, etc...)

Its amazing how many friends you can make when they realize you can hook them up with a free rental.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cinderella's Investment Project

So last week I got one of those scam emails by a damsel in distress and I finally have an update. Instead of recapping myself, I'll just give you the original email again:

My dear I am writing this mail with tears and sadness and pains. I know it will come to you as a suprise since we haven't known or come across each other before, but kindly bear with me at this moment. I have a special reason why I decided to contact you. My situation at hand is miserable but I trust in God and hope you will be of my help. My name is Amani Ibrahim Bare 25years old girl and I held from Republic of Niger the daughter of Late General Ibrahim Bare Ma?nassara the former President of the Republic of Niger who was ambushed and killed by dissident soldiers at the military airport in the capital, Niamey with his driver and a former Prefect. You can see more detail about my late father here

I am constrained to contact you because of the maltreatment which I am receiving from my step mother. She planned to take away all my late father's treasury and properties from me since the unexpected death of my beloved Father. Meanwhile I wanted to travel to Europe, but she hide away my international passport and other valuable documents. Luckily she did not discover where I kept my father's File which contained important documents. I am presently staying in the Mission camp in Burkina Faso.

I am seeking for longterm relationship and investment assistance. My father of blessed memory deposited the sum of US$11.7 Million in one bank in Burkina Faso with my name as the next of kin. I had contacted the Bank to clear the deposit but the Branch Manager told me that being a refugee, my status according to the local law does not authorize me to carry out the operation. However, he advised me to provide a trustee who will stand on my behalf. I had wanted to inform my stepmother about this deposit but I am affraid that she will not offer me anything after the release of the money. Therefore, I decide to seek for your help in transferring the money into your bank account while I will relocate to your country and settle down with you. I have my fathers death certificate and the account number which I will give you as soon as you indicated your interest to help me.

It is my intention to compensate you with 20% of the total money for your assitance and the balance shall be my investment in any profitable venture which you will recommend to me as have no any idea about foreign investment. Please all communications should be through this email address only for confidential purposes. Thanking you alot in anticipation of your quick response. I will send you my photos in my next email.'

Yours Sincerely
Amani Ibrahim Bare

Here's my reply:

Amani, That really sucks and I'd love to help. Step parents can be real jerks.
So what do you need from me? And can you send me a pic of you?

Here's The Response:

Dear Noah,
I am very excited to receive your quick answer to my plead. I need your help to stand as my trustee for transferring the money to your account for investment project. As I told you, I am staying in the mission and I haven't a personal telephone to be reached but if you wish to hear my sweet voice, you can reach me through the office telephone number of the co-ordinator of Christ De King Mission. His name is Rev. Fr. Dennis Mongolo and his office telephone number is +22678445168. If you call tell him that you want to speak with Aminata Ibrahim Bare Mainassara am staying in Block G14 female hostel.

The reason why I ask you to assist me as my trustee is because after my arrival in Burkina Faso I contacted the bank to clear the money. The bank told me that being a refugee that the law does not authorize my status to clear or transfer money. The bank manager whom I met in person told me that the only way out is that I should provide a trustee who will stand on my behalf to transfer the money into his/her bank account.

Now all I want is that I will give you the contact of the Bank and the account number and you will contact them as my appointed trustee/representative and ask them to transfer the money into your bank account for investment project. After you receive the money in your bank account you will send some amount for me to process my traveling documents to come and complete my academic studies in your country. Therefore I want you to send me Your full contact information which include:

Your name full Name
Telephone number
Contact addressNationality
Your photo to see you.

As soon as I receive the information, I will give you the contact of the Bank so that you will the bank as my trustee and ask them to transfer the money into your bank account for investment. Attached are my photos.

Yours truly,
Amani Ibrahim

I didn't think 13 Year Old Girls Could Be So Bold To Start Investment Project.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The 5 Worst Shitty Job Co-Workers

The more shitty jobs you work, the more you end up working with the same kind of people. It's as annoying as it is funny. Which is why I broke it down to 5 different co-worker archetypes:

Smoke Break Guy:

It is known that smoking = gradual death. But smoking also equals infinitely more work breaks for smokers than non-smokers at a shitty job. While it's fine that they want to kill themselves, their breaks can come at the worst times. Here's an example:

Him: Hey dude, I'm gonna go have a smoke.

You: Umm, could you hold off till this line dies down?

Him: ....

You: ....

Him: I would if I could, dude, but I gotta have a smoke, you know how it is. [leaves]

10 Minutes later [he returns]

Him: Damn dude! You really killed that line, huh?

You: ....

The Wigger:

Yeah, we know you made a deal with your mom that you can't drive her Escalade unless you pay for the gas, thus why you're working here. And we also know your favorite movie is Scarface; rehashing every fucking line from 'Friday' doesn't make you cool with black people, dude.

You: Hey Dwayne.

Him: Sup. Yo check awt ma new boost phone.

You: How much do you pay per month?

Him: ..........Like.......Shit I don't know man, I'm on the family plan, yo.

The Struggling Actor:

With the coming end of the renaissance festival, this guy needs to find another job to sustain his annoying presence of speaking loud, occasionally singing, and overreacting to EVERYTHING. And unfortunately, you have to be his audience for the next 6-8 months, that is if the renaissance festival wants him back.

Him: Hazzaaaaahh!

You: Hey Jerry

Him: Watcha dooooooin!

You: I'm gonna go on my break now.

Him: I studied theater at the University of Idaho!

Depressed 30 Year Old Guy:

He's had waaayyyy too many shitty jobs. Better yet, he has the answer to everything, namely that life sucks and sometimes it'll kick you in the ass. He particularly loves college kids so he can crush their dreams when he asks them what they're major is.

Him: Yeah? You go to college?

You: Yep.

Him: I went to college.

You: Cool, for what?

Him: Never mind that...enjoy college while it lasts. The real world sucks.

The Overachiever:

This fucker does everything in his power to make you look bad. Ever since he won the 8th grade spelling bee he thinks whatever job you have you should give it 100%. Not only is he gunning for that lucrative shift leader position, he also calls you out on every little detail.

(These Guys Disgust Me So Much I'm Not Even Going To Add An Example)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Name: Long Dong Silver

Job: Wal-Mart Cart Pusher

I HATED that place. First I helped grand open the store, then they tried to get me to go to 3rd shift receiving/stocking. I told the manager no thanks and he said that I didn't have a job any more once the store opened. You should have seen this guy. He was a light skinned black guy who over compensated by wearing enough gold jewelry to give Mr. T back problems. His name is Reggie. Later on I heard he got fired for stealing. I always hoped I'd run into him again so I could rob his ass and have melt him for cash, just like in the commercials! Sorry, I was sidetracked by my revenge fantasy. I didn't like not having a job so I went to another manager who wasn't him and he told me I could stay on as a cart pusher. Fucking geniuses. Brand new Wal-Mart and they had 2 cart pushers to open the damn store. Also, over the first month or two of the store opening we had to unload two trucks filled with shopping carts because they order enough to begin with. Sorry, another distraction. So they moved me and another guy to cart pushing to bring the total up to 4 cart pushers. Sounded great at the time. It ended up being slave labor.

There was a mysterious guy posted on our schedule, so we always had to let them know that whenever that guy was scheduled he wasn't actually with us. We thought he had quit. Come to find out later that they were just doing that so that they could put him wherever they wanted to. Never mind the fact that we were always short handed. Also, I feel that I should mention that we didn't have those cart motor thingies that help the people push carts at Wal-Mart now. We were pushing 20-30 30+ lbs. buggies at a time.

Reggie saw me on grand opening day and told me I wasn't supposed to be there. He was furious when he found out I went over his head. From then on he had it out for me. I remember him once storming into the break room as I sat there eating my Wendy's, demanding a receipt. He accused me of walking to Wendy's on the clock and buying my food then coming back into the store and clocking out. I was 18 and hadn't learned to work the system, so I hadn't even thought of that. We had to clear the lot before we went home at night and he was usually the one to give us the thumbs up. Of course he always gave me hell. I wouldn't have been surprised to have seen him get in his car and drive a shopping cart out onto the highway just so he could tell me to go get it out of traffic.

My last night there it was pouring down rain and all we had were these shitty ponchos to keep us 20% dry and 120% soaking wet. I couldn't keep my pants on my waist because they were so drenched. I was scheduled to come in the next day at 7am and it was already 11pm at night and I was working by myself. I couldn't have cleared the lot if I wanted to, so I organized what shopping carts I could at the back of the parking lot and had planned on finishing it up in the morning when I had another guy working with me. When I came to work that morning I heard Reggie's ass on the radio trying to find out where I was. He pulled me in the office and wrote me up. At Wal-Mart at that time on your 3rd write up you were given a D-day, which was a decision making day. They sent you home with a full day's pay and you were supposed to come back the next day and tell them why you want to keep your job. It was my 3rd write up.

I never saw those fuckers again. My fondest memory was picking up my last pay check.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Featured Odd Job: Stand-In Bridesmaid

When a bride doesn't have enough girlfriends (or 'girlfriends' who bail on them), they can count on a Stand-In Bridesmaid. So far it's more gestational than anything, but more and more Bridal companies have strongly considered making this an actual on-call business, one that could certainly make some money. In February, for example, I came across this craigslist ad:

So, my fiancee and I are getting married in June. He has 8 groomsmen lined up and I only have one bridesmaid. So, I need some girls who are attractive and around my age to stand up in my wedding. You can be single or taken. It doesn't just have to be hot. But, not hotter then me. Email me for more information. The wedding will be in Madison and you won't have to pay for a thing.

Hope to hear from you!

One would assume being a Stand-In Bridesmaid requires a) you being attractive, b) you being personable, and c) you being an decent actor. But beggars can't be chosers; Personally, I think this job would be a great fit for a) a con artist going legit, b) a struggling thespian, or c) anyone reading this blog.