Tally Me Banana

March 9, 2010 at 11:05 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  Last night I had pretty good night at The Three Jakes.  During a four-hour shift I spent maybe 15 minutes in the store.  Anytime that happens, it’s a good night, even if I’m getting raped on every other delivery and not getting tipped on the other ones.
  Even in those fifteen minutes in the store–and realistically, maybe it was half an hour–I managed to pull the frozen bread, mop the kitchen floor, and clean both bathrooms.  It was certainly more than I wanted to do–I’ve cleaned the toilets more in the last three months than I have before in my entire life.
  But such are the sacrifices we make.  My back hurts a little, and the weather was giving my knees some problems.  But I wanted to focus on doing a good job so that I wouldn’t think about how much I hated the place.
  Brain Surgeon TJ was in charge of the shift.  I’m sorry–was that harsh or inappropriate?  I still like TJ, or want to.  But my initial reading of him may be coming to fruition.  I initially thought he was somewhat elitist.  He works for a university, for crying out loud.  But we bonded a bit early on, but now it’s different.  I get a mild sense of…I’m not sure what.  I know it’s something.  Latent hostility?  That may be too strong.  Maybe just more of a distancing–he’s trying to separate himself from me.  Well, we were hardly BFF before, so it’s no big deal.  Except for the fact that it’s noticeable and obvious, in a subtle way.
  I made sure I defered to him, but it wasn’t entirely for altruistic reasons.  Sure, he prefered it that way.  Of course I can read people.  But it was also easier for me.  Instead of having to think or look at the list, I’ll let him dole out the punishment.  I mean tasks.  And it was reasonable too:  "TJ, I haven’t been in the store much tonight, so I don’t know where we are on the list.  What do you want me to do that is most pressing?"
  My understanding of the job has come full circle, and all jobs on the bitch list are equally annoying.  Does it matter if I get on my hands and knees and wipe the baseboard with a soapy cloth, being sure to clean the entire baseboard, moving equipment out of the way when necessary, and go around the entire store?  Is that worse, really, than stocking the chips, rotating them all, and cleaning the shelf they are on while I do it?  Because I have to get on my knees for that one also.

  Last Thursday when I worked, Jessica told me to clean the inside of the makeline underneath.  The way she phrased it made it sound like a special bitch list project.  After I did that–and she saw me do it–then she tells me that she just wanted me to clean the rack, as part of the process for cleaning the line and breaking it down.
  But first–I was about to grab a towel and the broom, because it was after dinner and the lobby is usually mine.  She stops me.  "Do you want to clean the rack under the make line?"
  I answered honestly, which is always a mistake.  "Not really…"  This is a job that involves getting on my knees on the tile floor.  I’ll do something else–
  Normally she finds me funny, or did.  Before I had a chance to explain her demeanor changed abrubtly.  "Well, too bad.  We’re all on the clock, we’re all working–"  blah blah blah.  She said some other stuff that I didn’t really pay attention to, I just started on the cleaning.
  When I’m almost done she comes to tell me that everything I did was wrong.
  "But you said–"  I just stopped.  I finished what I was doing, then I went to her.  "I guess I misunderstood what you meant.  So what do you want me to do?"  And she explained breaking down the line to me, which is all she had to say before.  Breaking down a line I can do.  I did that, then I did all the dishes that you make when you break down the line.  About the time I was done, it was time to go.
  Of course we had our funny little thing with the money.  I owed…call it 53.04.  Again with the change.  Oy vey.  I knew I didn’t have the goddamn four cents.  I laid 54 bucks on the counter, and as she counted it I brought in my cartop.  When I come back there is 96 cents there.  No give, ever.  I took the change and walked out, and didn’t say anything to anyone.  What is there to say?  No time for small talk, anyway.

  One might begin to wonder if my attitude is going to come back to bite me in the ass.  Maybe we’ll never know.  Or maybe we’ll find out last night.  It was close to 9 pm, and I was coming back from a delivery.  Kelly pulled up, but she is chillin in her car, so I walk over to say hi.
  I don’t know how we get on the subject of work, but we do.  Maybe it starts with a simple, "How’s it going?" but I told her that I’m not happy, and I am *actively* looking for another job.
  She nodded.  "Good.  They want you to quit."
  Quite a blow to my ego, I must say.  I thought everyone loved me.  I guess it’s not enough to do all the ridiculous tasks on the bitch list, but I have to whistle while I work also.  I’m probably not as fast at these things as they want, either.  You’d think for minimum wage I would bust my ass to do as much as I could and then ask, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"  The combination of my age, my knees, and my cynicism slow me down.
  She said, "Hey, you didn’t hear it from me!"  Of course not.  And I can act casual, I think.  Whatever.  I go in and cap off the evening by cleaning both bathrooms, per TJ.  I did it without complaint. 
  When I check out, I have too much money.  How much is too much?  According to my math I made about 45 bucks, and I have 75.  TJ and I look over the slip.  He says, "Well, it’s what we have here on your slip so I wouldn’t worry about it."
  Are you sure about that?  Because once I leave I’m not going to want to give any money back.  As I get in the car I flash on something, and I grunt and go back inside.  "TJ–Tony gave me a bank earlier, but the computer wasn’t up for him to enter the information.  We need to check my slip again."  Sure enough, no bank was listed.  I tossed him back a 20, and he thanked me for being honest.
  I thought that was the end of it, but it wasn’t.  Brian called me when I was on my way home.  I didn’t catch it, but I got the message.  One of the deliveries I had–no answer, confusion, blah blah, they came and picked it up–I owe another ten dollars.  Well, that puts us about right then.  Brian said he would cover it until the next day.  What, like he’s doing me a favor?  I didn’t make the error, and I’m under no obligation to rush back.  I’ll pay it back when I go in next.
  But it’s not ten bucks.
  It’s 10.05.

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