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11:46 am - Fri 2/13/04
The Evil Empire (And other topics of little interest)

The Evil Empire (And other topics of little interest)

(In the interest of historical accuracy, I have to amend something I said in a recent entry; the episode of Ed that I railed against was not just the "season ending" episode. It was, in all likelihood, the end of the series. That's why I was especially disappointed with it.)

Well, I didn't get the PSA.

Woke up this morning, logged onto the internet (I guess that's the modern version of "reading the morning paper"), and read the weekly JS newsletter, where I learned that pretty much everyone else at JS had booked the gig except me.

(That's a particular bite in the ass regarding JS and the email newsletter--More than once, I've not gotten a gig, only to discover another actor from the agency beat me out. I know it's just business, but it's discouraging nevertheless.)

I'm pretty bummed, because I really wanted the money, and bragging rights over booking two gigs back-to-back. And it's just tough to lose out when you're so close.

But all that said, it was essentially an extra gig. And I knew at the callback that it was basically a crap shoot--At a callback, you have to assume everyone can pretty much do what's required (Particularly if what's "required" is merely to look "sad"), so it was just going to come down to whose "look" they preferred.

So anyway, that's that.


I'm trying to think of my life right now as moving towards something (Being a professional actor), instead of escaping from something (My job as a bookstore flunky). But Border's Inc makes it pretty fucking hard sometimes not to be angry and upset at my lot in life. And with the latest indignity, I really find myself thinking "I have to get the fuck out of here...!".

The "latest indignity" of which I speak? Not only are we supposed to "upsell"--which I hate already (And almost never do)--but now we are under orders to say the words "I recommend..." to every customer we help, as we try to sell them shit they don't want and didn't come in for in the first place (They actually made us sign off on this shit. I guess so when they start writing people up for not doing it, they can say "Hey, you signed the form saying you understood what you had to do...").

We're also supposed to shoehorn the words "highly satisfied" into our spiel when we hand them a coupon at the register (Long story short--If a customer does a phone survey about their visit to the store, they get a coupon for 15% off on their next visit. Thus far, the results of this survey have, by and large, not been too positive. So in effect, we're giving people 15% discounts to say that we suck).

To me, this edict is even more lame than "I recommend...". What's the idea here, that if we say the words "highly satisfied", we'll Obi Wan Kenobi-them into saying they were "highly satisfied" with their visit, even if they didn't find the book they wanted and the bookseller spit in their face?

Have I mentioned how much I hate this bullshit...?

I just want to be left alone to do the fucking job. I want to help people find what they came in for (I actually like doing that, most of the time).

I don't want to whore myself out for $8 and change an hour. I don't want to be the kind of trained monkey that annoys the fuck out of me when I'm shopping. And I don't want to participate in something I actively think is wrong (To me, upselling reeks of ingratitude. It's like saying to the customer, "Whatever you came in for, whatever you're's not enough")

But I can't see a way out right now, short of grabbing that big national commercial. What else am I going to do? Flip burgers? Be a security guard someplace where I hope to God I'd never actually have to secure anything, while slowly dying of loneliness and boredom? Work at Barnes and Noble or Blockbuster or some other corporate behemoth that would probably be every bit as soul-less as Borders Inc?

I was saying to Cary yesterday that I just think it's a shame; I actually want to be at Borders. I like books, I like my coworkers, and even though it's taken a pretty hard hit in this environment, I like the customers more often than not. I can do the job, at least as I perceive it, so I just want to not be fucked with while I do it.

But I'm embarrassed to work there. It's frustrating that I work a full time job for money I can't live on (If not for the dribs and drabs of money I've gotten from other sources, I would have went under out here years ago).

It's embarrassing and frustrating that we offer services we're too poorly staffed to execute. I don't like it when I can't find a book in a section because the section's in such a fucking jumble, or the back room is so backed up that books which should have been out on the floor weeks ago are still in boxes.

And I'm embarrassed that my "job", as corporate seems to define it, isn't really to help people find what they want, but to sell them crap they don't want.

I want out.


Two funny things lately...

This past week, I had a customer at the bookstore ask me for the books on "outdoor hunting".

("Indoor Hunting" never really took off as a sport...)

Then a couple days ago, I was walking down the street, and noticed the apartment building next to mine had an area that was roped off; there was a sign hanging off the rope, which read "Rope. Watch out".

(That's just great--Now there's another thing I have to be anxious about: Rope.)


Wanted to end this entry on a happy note, and fortunately, I have one; Barring unforeseen circumstances, I'm having breakfast tomorrow with Nick and Kyle and baby Ellison.

I went over to their place a couple weeks ago, and I think a good time was had by all (I even got to hold the baby for awhile, which he seemed to enjoy almost as much as I did).


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