The Golden Bookstore Job
Years ago I was living at home with my parents and working as a manager in a local bookstore called Encore Books. The business was a disaster. There was a chain of Encore Books trying to compete with Barnes and Noble. It was obviously run by big executive dopes at the top level. Anyway, I remember interviewing for the job, getting hired, having a week of training-- then they handed me the keys to this small store and I told me I was in charge. I was 23-24 and was like, 'That's it? I'm the boss?' The woman who trained me was like, 'Yeah... see you in two weeks...'
My store was in a strip mall and a relatively small sleepy bookstore. There was like maybe one other full time employee and like 10 part-time people. We were totally overstaffed and for most of the day there wasn't much to do. After assigning one person at the register and couple others to count books or whatever, I'd hang out in a back office which had window that looked out over the store. Back there I would either nap (sometimes on the floor!) or call in the radio talk shows and try to get on the air. Bob Grant was big at the time on AM and I liked getting on the air and pretending to be a lunatic with theories about the future and way-off takes on politics. I would try to make him yell. Whenever I was waiting on hold before going on the air I would call the staff in the back via the intercom so they could hear me on the radio. They'd look at me like, 'Jeezus! Don't you have anything to do?' I really kind of didn't.
That went on for like six months. I loved it! I was like, 'This work thing is so easy! I'm already a boss!' Granted there were some frustrations- like one of the workers couldn't grasp the concept of shelving titles that started with 'The' or 'A' alphabetically by using the second word. Like if its, 'The Firm' You don't put it under T. But for the most part the job was pretty cool.
One day the district and regional managers came in and told me that they were closing my store soon because they were gonna open a 'superstore' being built up the street. They were also bringing in a new boss for the superstore. My days of being king manager were gonna be over. Anyway, they started building the store up the street and all I had to do was sit there and run my store normal until it opened.
Finally the week before the superstore was set to open the district manager guy (jerk) came in all panicked. The head honcho execu-dopes were coming for the grand opening and this guy screwed up really big. He way over-ordered books to fill up the superstore and didn't take into account all the books in my small store. The superstore backroom was already jam packed. There was no room to move all my books to the new store up the street. The execs would be pissed at his dopeheadedness.
He was like, 'Todd man, you gotta get rid of alot of these books pronto!' I was like, 'Umm... please tell me I don't have to return every book in the store...' He was like, 'No! There's no time for that. They just gotta... go. I don't care where they go. Just get rid of them.' I was like, 'Like have a big sale?' He's like, 'No we can't do a big sale... just make them disappear.' I was like, 'Holy macanoli! This guy wants me to like steal books!' Wink wink type thing! It was awesome! Keys to the kingdom! Party time!
I told the staff to go free shopping. We had the plastic baskets and everything- and dumped books into our car trunks. I called friends and gave them garbage bags full of books (literally). Slowly the store started emptying out. The manager came down after a day or so and said it was enough and told me to stop. Then got upset with me for overdoing it on the disappearing act. But whatever. What was he gonna do? Write me up? It was a dreamy free for all couple of days.
Being at the superstore of course sucked. Eventually I was transferred to the small store in Ossining. They told me it was temporary just for a week or so till they hired someone. But they lied and after a couple weeks told me it was a permanent move so I quit on the spot. I didn't like being lied to and that store sucked. It was loaded with thieves all day. Eventually the whole chain went under and that was that.
But man, for that six month stretch it was a great job that ended in a blaze of good clean theft.