The Crooked Path

September 20, 2009 at 3:59 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  You all know that I’ve been working at Domino’s Pizza for a long time.  How long?  You must be new.  This time, it’s been almost two years.  In total, probably 17 of the past 23 years.  It goes without saying that I have pretty much seen it all when it comes to pizza delivery and restaurant management.
  One of those things I have seen is change and turnover.  Recently I prophesied of a change coming.  This morning, that change came.
 
  It all started when–
  Actually, it’s hard to say when it *started*.  But here is where the end began.  Saturday, Dina the manager was supposed to come in and do some marketing, like hand out fliers for a lunch special to businesses.  Why she would do this on a Saturday–
  Anyway.  Rumor has it that she didn’t actually do that.  She may have just fucked around that afternoon.  And she was supposed to work Sunday and didn’t, I think.  Since I don’t work those days, I’m sketchy on the details.
  Monday I didna work, I forget why.  Oh, I had to take the boys to the train station early Tuesday morning.  So I’m all tired when this shit goes down, okay?  I closed Tuesday and Wednesday night at Domino’s.
  I guess during the day Monday or Tuesday, Tom the supervisor came in and questioned Dina about her work schedule, as well as some fiduciary discrepancies that he dug up.
  Tuesday night, Steve mentions to me that there are some deposits missing, and Tom the supervisor had been snooping around.  No problem, I thought.  I know I still had Saturday’s deposit on me, but I would drop it tonight along with tonight’s.  Right?  Still, something ached distantly in the back of my memory.  Steve said there are about 6 deposits missing.  That’s not good.  But still, only one was my responsibility, and I had it.
  Let me explain quickly right here what happens.  We close at midnight, and I have to be up early for my day job.  Instead of driving the extra ten minutes out of my way EVERY night to the bank drop, I most often keep a couple of them on me, and drop them off at once.  I know it’s not policy, but I don’t follow the rules on very much as it is, so why should this be any different?  Besides, it’s much more convenient for me, and that is the ruler I use to measure most things.
  I know I’m sloppy and a bit lazy, so let’s move on, shall we?
  Wednesday, I get a call from Dina in the middle of the afternoon.  Upset and crying.  Tom the supervisor and Big John the Director of Operations are in the store.  Fourteen deposits are missing, going back into August.  They want them all here in the store by five o’clock or they will call the local police and press charges.  Do you, she asks, know anything or have anything?
  A brilliant flash of light, much like a mini-stroke, hits my brain.  "I need to make a call," I said.
  I called Mike, the driver.  "Where are you?"
  "At work."
  "Go outside."
  As it turns out, I had "loaned" Mike a deposit.  Risky shit, I know.  He needed to borrow the money for a day or two, and was going to replace it and make the deposit.  Well…he hadn’t done it yet.  He needed one more day–that day–and he would have it.  But I didn’t have *that* day.  I had two hours.  He had the deposit with him, but he couldn’t leave the store.  There were no deliveries, and Dina was gone.  Tom and Big John were running the store while Dina went out to gather hers.  I’ll get to her story in a bit.  But Mike was right there at the store, with the two people expecting the deposits.  This was going to turn into the Bourne Ultimatum or something.  Our Man Flint.
  Well I wasn’t going to get my nap in today.  It was 230, the time I leave the bank when I am working at Domino’s in the evening.  I get home at 3, and there is Detroit.  I explain ever so briefly, leaving out any incriminating details, and tell her I need to leave now and take care of this.  I give her Mike’s phone number, in case something happens.  "In case I get fired or arrested.  Or both."
  I leave and I meet Mike, where he explains the incredible bad news.  The deposit is still short; he needed today to get the money.  How short?  Two hundred seventy dollars.  Oh, and the last one I had let him borrow (do you see a trend here?) his wife was supposed to drop off for him, but she had gotten sick and was sent home, and she never did make the drop.  It is still short 30 bones.  So we have an even 300 clams out.  It was 330 pm.  An hour and a half until I had cuffs on me. 
  Mike apologized up and down several times.  To be honest, I wasn’t that mad, only because I could see me getting into this jam.
  In fact, I was in this jam.  I made a call.  To Bunny.
  "What’s up?"
  "I need a favor.  A big one."
  "What kind of favor?"
  "The kind that will keep me out of jail."  I can only imagine her eyes widening.  "I need three hundred dollars until tomorrow."  Which is payday.  I can cover whatever Mike can’t.
  I get the money from Bunny, as well as a lecture from her, similar to the one I got from Detroit.  The truth is, I agreed with them, and in fact thought the same thing months ago.  More on that later, too.
  I get the money, fix the deposits, seal them up, and deliver them about 4:15.  I may or may not still have a job, but at least I’m not going to jail.  I think.
  That’s when I find that Dina isn’t there.  She has been sent to fetch deposits that she has somewhere.  She shows up about ten minutes after I do.  On her heels, coincidentally enough, is Stan.  He has on his normal closeted and quiet mask.  He disappears into the back and then returns. never saying anything about the deposits.  Like we don’t know, but of course he had some as well.  What are we, a bunch of squirrels, saving this stuff for the winter?  He leaves.  Shortly thereafter, Tom and Big John leave.  I was relieved at that, because there is only so much I can pretend to do while they are here.
  When I deliver mine, I handed them to Tom and apologized.  I said, "I’m sorry.  It was just carelessness on my part."  I went through my explanation, of course never saying anything about loaning some of the money out.  In fact, when I cashed Bunny’s check, I got all twenties, and also traded in the three hundred dollar bills that were in there for twenties as well, so it would seem like a normal deposit.  Nothing questionable.
  Dina thought she was going to hear a verdict from them, but instead they left, leaving her future hanging in the balance.
  This morning, Dina texts me, asking about the till.  "what is the till set at?  i have a feeling i am going to be met at the store."
  Because although the till is supposed to be 400 dollars, she has borrowed money from it (hey, I have too, in the past) and currently she owes it 200 dollars.  At least she didn’t borrow from the deposits that she had, and had a thousand dollars outstanding.  *THAT* would have been a bummer.  It was also what I expected of her as well.  Maybe more benefit of the doubt is due.
  I called her and told her the status.  She said she was going to have money, ones and fives, like she was getting change for till.  Good try; I hope they buy it.
 
  Later this morning, some more texting.
  From Dina, 1114 am:
  I was right and you have a new gm
  Reply from me:
  bummer.  RUOK?  sorry.
  Reply from Dina:
  I am ok I wish you guys all the best!  I definitely had the best crew ever!  We had fun and I appreciate your work.

  As I told both Mike and Steve–we’ve been looking for an out, and this might be it.  I don’t know if the new manager is going to be a good guy or a dick.  But if I need to, I can get out of there with no guilt. 
  It may be easier than I thought.  I need to work certain hours, and I need to be off certain times and things.  You know, they (Tom and John) could use this as an excuse to get rid of me, because they don’t like the idea of someone being part time.  They want someone with both feet in, so they can control him.  They might suggest to the new manager to push me, see if I respond. 
  I have the freedom to take it or leave it and not put up with their bullshit, and they don’t like it.  We shall see, we shall see.
  But I also see this as an out for me, in terms of getting away from the wide grey line.  I want to be good, moral, ethical, et cetera.  I’m not a fanatic or anything, but I want to be good.  No, seriously.  Stop laughing at me!  One way or another, we all will be judged.  I need to be cleansed.  I also need to be around better influences, or at least away from corrupting ones.
  Later that night, I opened up to Mike over a cigar and a Manhattan.
  No matter how I explained it to him, he took it badly.  He felt bad that I thought he was a bad influence.  Well, he is.  But I didn’t blame him.  I made the choices.  No one *made* me do it.  But I just…I want to do what’s right.
  And, as I added when I backpedaled, I said, "I want to find a part time job where I can get some better money, and maybe work less.  Domino’s pays the lowest, I swear.  And the hours are shitty.  There has to be something better."

  There *has* to be.

EPILOGUE
  Got a call from Mike.  He says the new manager (I don’t know his name yet–odd) says he plans to not change anything right away.  He wants to work and observe and see how things go before he decides to make any changes.  If this isn’t a campaign promise I don’t know what is.  I feel fairly certain he is going to feel pressure from Tom and Big John to make changes.  It’s only logical.  Hell, I would. 
  I wonder if I should have called Tom and pretended to be upset, wondering why I wasn’t offered the store?  That’d be funny for a second.

  And there is still more to come.

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