Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 6

You take certain liberties on your last day of a job. Well, I do. Was I there at 11 a.m. in a tie ready to work? Or, was I there at 12:15 p.m., sans tie, feeling like a champ after a relaxing morning goofing around online and catching up on sleep after staying up till 3:30 a.m. writing this the last two nights? You already know.

My ankles were bugging me as soon as I walked in. Usually, I walk in fresh and ready to fly. The first hour and a half usually flies by. The batteries are fresh in my copters, there's a nice energy in the mall before noon and I'm just on autopilot until I get hungry around 1:3o. Today, I was dragging ass. I go to the counter to check in and that girl cashier, Shantell (who I thought might have been a guy and turned out to be a lesbian) decides to say, "someone's late" and follows it up with "that's nice that they let you come in so late today" in front of the manager. Thanks. Bitch, I got you a large Powerade two days ago and was late coming back from lunch and got chewed out for it and you never even paid me back or got me one in return. That was necessary. Please never be that guy who gets a kick out of calling out their co-workers in front of the boss. No one likes that guy. Or girl.

As I mentioned in Day 1, when I thought gifts might be a regular thing, I had a 4-free meal at McDonalds coupon to use and for whatever reason, I couldn't get co-workers to have free lunch. Mostly it was just that they all had different lunch breaks. Maybe it's because I'm helicopter guy and I get paid way more than them and only have to work 6 days a year. Maybe I've just seen this episode of "Friends***" too many times:


Cloud Force: 28 ($2 per)
Silver Bullet: 56 ($1 per)

Down slightly from yesterday, but I came in an hour later and lost a bit of my swagger towards the end. All week when someone asked me if it took me a while to get that good at flying helicopters*, I said "nah, it's pretty easy. It just took me a day or two." By 8:30 Wednesday night, I honestly said, "I've been flying them non-stop from 11-9 six days in a row."

Fact that may only interest me**:

I find it odd that I sold exactly half as many big ones as small ones. It makes sense since I pitch the small ones as two for one, but the exact ratio is still odd. A lot of people buy just one small one or 4 small ones or one of each.

Quote of the day:

As the first person you see when you come into Brookstone, I get asked where something is in the mall. A lot. Usually, I shrug. I have no idea where JC Penny or Build a Bear or Dillards are. Sorry. I know where the Food Court and Abercrombie & Fitch and Hot Topic are. That's it.(I only know Hot Topic because it's my landmark to exit to find my car.) Today, a 50 something year-old man needed help and I could finally be of assistance.

He pointed to the Abercrombie & Fitch logo on his sweatpants and asked "Do you know where this store is?" I do! But...

1) Why is a 50 something year-old man wearing A&F sweats?
2) Why couldn't he just say "Where Is Abercrombie? instead of the awkward pointing?

My co-worker and I decided he couldn't pronounce Abercrombie and wearing his son's sweat pants was the only way he could find the store without embarrassing himself and that plan was backfiring. We imagined him practicing at home. "Can you help me find Abacradambie and Fitz?" and then getting nervous, thinking "I know it sounds like that red Thanksgiving turkey topper. A cranberry?" Anyway, what a tool.

I'm currently obsessed with: I imagine this dad texting his teenager: "Gr8 sex s! Got to Ab fitch. S-pants so cheap. I'mma make them in 2 stockings... LOL... @ hot topic now. Kneed N e things?"

Dumb Stuff

I can't believe it's taken me this long to tell you this, but a shocking amount of people say "Wow, cool, an airplane!" every day. Honestly, at least 30 people a day. Really? The word "Helicopter" is too much for you? You're OK settling on "airplane" you lazy shit. I know part of the reason this happens. Yesterday, a little boy was looking at the helicopter fly around in awe and his mom said "Isn't that a cool airplane?" The woman with her said, "You know that's a helicopter, right?" and the mom said "Oh, he can't say helicopter. This is just easier." You are really dumb. For real.

First off, little kids mis-pronouncing things like pasghetti and hewicuapter is a-fucking-dorable. Why rid the world of that cuteness? Also, little kids can pronounce helicopters. I've seen it. But because of your mis-information, dozens of adults can't remember that word. I know, it's tricky. I just call motorcycles "cars" and cheese bread "pizza" because it's easier that way. OK, there hasn't been a great helicopter TV show or movie, so it must really stretch the limits of your imagination to remember such a difficult concept. Sorry to burden you with the word helicopter. Most importantly, by intentionally teaching your kid the wrong things, you're just teaching them to fail. Thankfully, this woman was very pregnant, so she'll be unleashing more of her genius lessons on the world too.
  • # of people who tried to get candy from the machine: 5 The fewest yet! One kid made three hand motions at the machine, though. God I wanted to punt him across the room.
  • # of people who told me I have the best job in the world: 2 OK, either my body language made it clear I didn't feel like I was having the best day at my best job or people just needed to make their last Christmas shopping time count.
  • # of kids who asked if they could fly it: 25. Some things never change.


  • # of free Asian chicken samples: 0. After writing about what a terrible job it is, I couldn't bring myself to have one. OK, I'm no hero. I'm fucking sick of that chicken.
  • # of kids with a Justin Bieber t-shirts: 0, but one dude did have a big purple shirt that said "Ain't nothing important to me, except... CODEINE over ice." I wanted to chase him down for a pic, but dude was on the move. Prolly for some syrup. Oh, shit. I found it online. I love you, Internet.
There were enough distractions, like Codeine t-shirt guy and the usual parade of morons, but the last few hours dragged insufferably. My legs were killing me and no matter how much I stretched, it felt like the last 20 minutes of a Yom Kippur service. You just want to sit down and get out of the uncomfortable clothes and maybe eat something. And the god damn Glee**** Christmas soundtrack was still on. Around 7:30, after the manager had gone home and the crowd had started to die down. I was considering just leaving at 8, but that wouldn't look good on the time card. I had to do what I always do. Take control of the music.

I have what I assume has to be an annoying habit for everyone around me, in which I insist on taking control of the music, even when it's wildly inappropriate. Have I already had several back and forth discussions with the DJ of the party I'm going to on NYE tonight as soon as I found out he was DJing? Of course. Did I bring a boombox of White Stripes songs around all Halloween weekend when my girlfriend and I dressed up like Jack and Meg. You know it. I'm that guy.

So after suffering through six days of Glee Christmas, enough was enough. As much as I'd like to say I'm good at picking out the right music for the right situation, I'm not. But I thought Local Natives would be a smooth transition. Halfway through the first song, an assistant manager told me we had to put Glee back on. I FB updated about it and ended by saying "soul=crushed." I was even excited when some clowns came in to test a speaker and put P.O.D. on the system. Even that felt like an improvement. After they left, I reasoned with the asst manager, who showed flashes of being cool and was like, come on. My last hour. I need this. We need this. I'll pick out something easy listening-enough that people won't notice. He gave me the go ahead.

You know what Bob Marley says the one good thing about music is. The man knows. My ankles felt no pain. I got goosebumps when "Airplanes" came on and I realized I had to write about it tonight for Festival Crashers anyway. The last hour flew by. I even ended with "The Sprawl II," "We Used to Wait" and "Modern Man," which, when you think about it, is quite a good song for a Brookstone shopper even if "The Suburbs" is not the ideal album for the store, it worked. To close my set, I went with the song that ends all going home mixes I make. Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" The Stop Making Sense version.

I thought of home in Austin. I thought of my friends. I thought of my girl. I want to go to there.

"Home. Is where I want to be. Pick me up and turn me 'round." One girl in the store mouthed the words and did her own little Byrne dance. I smiled. No one has reacted to the Glee soundtrack once. "Guess I must be having fun." I said quick goodbyes to my temp co-workers. "The less we say about it the better." I headed back to the Travelodge. "If someone asks, this is where I'll be." It's over. What a week. I made more money and wrote more than in any six-day stretch of my life. "Cover up and say good night. Say goodnight." (lamp dance...)

So, that's it from Lafayette. I'm booked for a week of shows in the Austin Brookstones after Christmas and have a batch of essays I've half written in my head on everything from how I learned to sell, to my co-workers to the look on a kid's face when he sees his first helicopter, etc. This isn't the end. Don't worry. Thanks to everyone who read and commented on Facebook or Re-tweeted. It meant the world to me to know you cared and enjoyed reading about it. I know I've had fun writing. It kept me sane. Thanks again.

*If you've read Outliers (and you should) you know it takes 10,000 hours of practicing something to become exceptional at it. Well, 6 days of non-stop flying with a cache of four helicopters and unlimited batteries has made me the Marcus Dupree of RC helicopter flying. The real reason I was late today, was because I was performing bris' in the parking lot with the wing of the 'copter, I'm that damn precise. Kid didn't even cry. You get it. I can fly the bitch.

**Trademark Peter King

***Yeah. I still like Friends. I use to DVR it until Bryn wouldn't stop making fun of me. I know it's really cheesy and the laugh track sucks, but it's a comfort show. Sue me.

****I watched the pilot of Glee out of curiosity when all the hype started. Just not for me. No, this is not just redemption for admitting I like Friends. OK, maybe a little. But it's really not my thing. The only Glee related thing I've ever enjoyed was when Dwight said "Who would want to show about the emotion glee? Thirst. Now that's an emotion I'd watch a show about."

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