Stupid Shit I’ve Done, at Work and Elsewhere – Part 2

Yesterday we left off at the end of my aspiring veterinary career.  What a lovely story that was too, no?

I think my next two jobs were ones I worked at simultaneously–one of which was a part-time job as a bartender/toaster oven chef/waitress at a pool hall in St. Catharines, which was a hot spot for avid players and young kids who just wanted to get drunk and mess around. Said establishment is no longer in business and has not been for a very long time. We had I’m going to say something like twenty or more tables in this gigantic space in a plaza next to a corner store. I would walk to and from work, which took about 30-45 minutes for me at the time, open up the place, clean the washrooms, vacuum the entire carpet as well as the pool tables, and wipe them all down, stock the fridge full of beer, count inventory, etc.

One memorable part of working here was that I think the owner couldn’t stand me. I think he thought I was incompetent because I broke several vacuums while I was working there, which was about two years total I believe. What can I say, if you buy cheap vacuums and use them to vacuum the equivalent of half a block every single day, the fucking things are going to get banged up. And I’d like to add, in my defense, that the legs on a pool table don’t tend to be too forgiving. So he would bust my balls about it all the time. He liked to drink rye, but his wife, who also helped to run the place, would always secretly ask me not to serve him any. I never understood why until one day she left early and he insisted that I serve it to him. And he drank it all night long. He was a pompous fucking jackass. Such an unwarranted, inflated ego on this guy, pretty much all of the time. I mean, there were moments when he was super nice and we got along great. Overall, I respected him because he was my boss and because there were times where he could be a pretty solid guy. When he wanted to. I didn’t like that he would hold pool tournaments with cash prizes, and then participate in the tournaments himself.  He should not have played. He was good friends with many of the regulars, and while as a whole they were a good source of my tips, I had to work double time to keep them happy because they felt like they owned the place. I’d get a quarter for each beer I served this one guy.  He loved to sit on his high horse, I mean high top, and smirk and make snide comments about basically everything anyone did. He was a pain in my ass.

The owner’s wife was an absolute doll.  She was too good for him, in my opinion, and she had to put up with a lot of shit. But I loved her, I really cared for that woman. The one thing I can think of that I didn’t care for was that she always had me wash out all of their Zip-Loc bags and then re-use them for the frozen foods, just for the sake of saving money. I had never in my life washed a plastic Zip-Loc bag and I found the whole thing to be ridiculous. Now that I buy my own on the regular, I kind of understand where she was coming from, but still, wash your own damn Zip-Loc bags!

I referred to myself as a toaster oven chef because that’s where I cooked any food that anyone ordered. They also had a George Foreman grill where I could make hamburgers and hot dogs, but I cooked mozzarella sticks, jalapeno poppers, and pizza straight in the toaster oven. One night I decided to give the George Foreman a solid cleaning, because it was on its way out and everything was sticking to it, and I soaked it in the sink for an hour. Only then did it occur to me that an electric grill should probably not be submerged in water, but by then it was too late. Add that to the list of things I’ve screwed up. You bet your ass that my boss busted my balls about that one, too!

Anyway, this poor establishment got hit pretty hard when the smoking ban happened in Ontario. Everybody wants to drink and smoke cigarettes at the same time, at least in my opinion. So this guy decided that he wanted to find a way around it by essentially building a room behind the building made entirely of plywood that was not physically touching the rest of the building. This was actually not such a bad idea, although I would’ve chosen different wood and maybe made some windows, and I’m not sure how the Smoking Police would’ve felt about it. The only trouble with his plan, which I learned the hard way, was one Saturday night when a few regulars racked up a massive tab and then snuck out the back door through the “smoking room” without paying their bill.

I was devastated, and working alone that night, so I didn’t have anyone I could ask what to do. I cried from anger, and then I ended up paying the bill out of my own pocket because I didn’t want the till to be short. I told my bosses what happened the next day. They tracked the guys down and they came in and paid me back and apologized, but that sort of thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

The other job I was working at this time was at a Walmart in the jewelry and makeup section. This was not ideal for me, however I needed money, so I sucked it up and went through the damn orientation. It was a seasonal position over the Christmas holidays. I really enjoyed holding the keys and unlocking the counters so I could show people the nice jewelry and cologne we had. I mean, I’m sure it wasn’t the greatest quality because of where we were, but some of the pieces were beautiful, and it was there that I discovered Tanzanite, which is a very beautiful gem that I would really like to have a piece of some day.  (Hint, hint, Trev Trev!)

My other responsibilities included restocking and organizing all of the makeup on the shelves, and also changing watch batteries. There was a girl who worked there at the time whose name was Tasia, and I had never heard that name before or since, but I absolutely loved it because it reminded me of the movie Fantasia. That and it was different, like my name is. People would come up with their watches and buy a battery from us, and then we’d use special tools to lift up the back of the watch and replace the battery. I really, really liked this task. Until one day someone dropped off a family heirloom and I accidentally cracked the crystal face on it. I think I cried, because I was so upset and scared that the person was going to go ballistic on me when they returned to pick up the watch. It ended up being a lot better than I expected; he was pretty easygoing about it, but I think the store had to reimburse him for the cost of a new watch face, and after that I avoided changing watch batteries like the plague. Did I mention that I’m a klutz and I break a lot of shit?

The Christmas rush was great when it finally came; I, for one, love Christmas carols and they played them on the P.A. ALL. DAY. LONG. It drove everyone else crazy but I loved it and I’d dance around in my little area listening to all the classics. It was a fun time, if a little busier than I would’ve liked, and overall I’d have to say that I enjoyed my experience at Walmart, although I didn’t really feel like the staff was supported the way they are where I work now. Everyone seemed like they had kinda checked out and didn’t give a shit anymore.  I’m pretty sure some shady shit happened at the end of my “seasonal” position but I can’t remember exactly what it was. I know I got screwed out of a permanent spot though. I don’t blame them after the watch incident.

Now seems like a good time to take a little break, but I am suddenly brimming with all sorts of ideas for things I can write about, and trust me when I say that the best ones are yet to come.


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