My own personal Survivor Series (or, the Workday from Hell)...

Last night, I learned a very valuable lesson:

A riding mower is not a toy.

* * *

A very long day at work today. It wasn't the worst day, thanks to the money I made ($1700 in one day is a pretty good sales figure.), but I wouldn't want it to happen again.

Some of my co-workers decided they'd go out drinking last night. That's all cool and such, but not when people who are scheduled to work the next day decided to bite off more than they can chew.

I opened the store with Emmanuel. Nathan was supposed to be there, but called in and said he'd be a bit late. Like an hour late.

So I had to open the store by myself. While Emmanuel opened the toy store by himself. I had only one task for him to do: Take down all the green sales tags that had expired the day before. Not a hard job. Certainly one even a slackass like Emmanuel can do.

It was busy. Nothing I couldn't handle, but I was glad when Nathan showed up at 10:30. He told me what had happened last night, and that he was suffering from a hangover. he wanted to get something to eat, so he could sober up some. I said, "Wait until Darren comes. I can't afford to be by myself in the store at this point."

Darren calls at 11. "I'll be a bit late."

"Why? Same sort of circumstances as Nathan?"

Darren laughs. "No. I just need to take care of some personal business."

"Okay, then. When do you think you'll show up?"

"1 pm." An hour late. Well, I'll cope, I guess.

Meanwhile, he's got some things for me to ship out. A video card to a store. More product to other stores. A 27" TV he sold to a customer and promised to ship the next day.

All I knew is that I was NOT going to go downstairs and get the box for a 27" TV that he sold, pack it up, ignoring all the customers in my store when there's only two of us working. Darren can deal with that when he comes in. If I can't go for some desperately needed change, I can't take care of a sale he made...

Terry shows up at 1. I send him over to the toy store. But before he goes, I make sure to tell him that I want all the expired green sales tags down. I know, it's an easy job, but Emmanuel rarely does work. He tells me he's got it taken care of.

I start to get worried when Darren doesn't show up. At 2:30 pm, a full hour and a half after he told me he was coming, I start calling his cell. No answer. I call Jeff on his day off, and tell him what's happening.

"Damn it!" Jeff says. "Why can't these people think before they get drunk, if they're working the next day?"

"You took the words right out of my mouth, Jeff."

Nathan's feeling woozy. But I can't afford to give him a break when there's only two salespeople in the store.

A woman comes in with a patch cord she bought.

"I'd like to get a return," she says. I look at the receipt. It was from August. A full three months after she bought it.

"I see you have the extended warranty. I can give you a new cable."

She shakes her head. "It's not working with the TV. My husband bought a new cord, and it's working now. I want my mnoey back."

"I'm sorry. I can't do that. The return policy is only 30 days. I can give you a new cable, though, if this one's broken."

"But I bought the three year warranty!"

"Yes. Which gives you a new cable. I exchange the broken one for a new one, free of charge."

"I don't want another cable. I just want my money back."

"I can't return the cable..."

She interrupts. "I don't WANT to return the cable. I just want my money back."

"Yes. You want to return the cable. I can't do that. I could have done it halfway through September. Not three months later."

"It doesn't say there's a 30 day limit on this receipt."

I turn over the receipt, and point out, word by word, where it says there's a 30 day return policy.

She glares at me. "I want my money back."

"I won't give you your money back. I CAN'T give you your money back. All I can do is give you a brand new cable."

"The boy who sold it to me said that if anything happened, I could bring my cable back..."

I finish her sentence. "And get it exchanged for a new one. Which is what I'm offering you. The three year warranty does not mean you can get your money back in three years."

She throws the cable at my chest and storms out. And storms back in, demanding her receipt back. Which I give her. And then she storms out again.

I almost leave at that point. Instead, I just sigh and help the next customer.

Nathan feels sick. He rushes to the washroom.

Emmanuel and I are dealing with the lineup. Nathan comes back, wearing his t-shirt. He has puked in the washroom, and has soiled his shirt.

"I'm going home," he says.

I reply, "Fine. If you go home, you have to call up Jeff and tell him you're going home. Because he's going to have to get someone to come in to replace you."

Darren still hasn't shown up. Nathan manages to get him on his cell. Darren's been at home, sleeping.

Nathan calls Jeff. Jeff calls me back.

"I got a call from Darren. He's not coming in today."

"Nice of him to tell me. So, you're coming in to take over the store, right?"

He said he'd call me back.

Four o'clock. Emmanuel's leaving. I ask him to stay until Rod shows up. Because I'm not going to be in the store by myself.

Emmanuel grumbles. "I don't get a break. I have to stay later."

"Join the club, Emmanuel. You can always quit, if you want. (In my mind: "PLEASE quit! It would make it easier for everyone...") But you're staying until Rod shows up."

Nathan goes to buy a shirt so he can still work. When he comes back, I follow him into the back room.

"You know, I'd be kicking your ass right now, if your body wasn't doing it for me," I tell him.

Rod shows up. Emmanuel leaves. Terry calls up, asking if he can get relieved so he can go for break. I tell him it will probably happen at about six or so.

Jeff calls up, saying Steve (glorious, glorious Steve!) will be showing up to finish the shift. And that Jeff and Martin will come into close.

I deal with a customer who called earlier about getting a Bell Expressvu receiver. I had clearly explained over the phone that he'd need a credit card to buy the dish, thanks to Expressvu's new crazy-ass policy. (In a nutshell, you have to sign a two year plan of at least $40 a month to get all the promotions given. You have to sign an agreement saying you are NOT stealing a signal from Bell. The retailer pretty much has to fill out a form with address, work number, creidt card, dish registration number, etc, etc... It's more work than a cell phone contract these days. You can't buy an Expressvu unless you have a credit card.)

So this customer was grumbling, saying I didn't need his information. Although I had explained it in detail over the phone prior to his coming in.

Six o'clock. I'm supposed to be off. Steve hasn't shown up yet. I call Steve's cell, asking him to PLEASE call me with his whereabouts.

6:20 pm. Steve comes in. Nathan can now go. I have to go to the toy store so Terry can have his break.

Terry has made a grand total of $150 at the toy store. It's so slow, he's been able to watch three movies on the TVs.

While I relieve Terry, I take down all the green sales tags that expired on Sunday. Because Emmanuel didn't do them. Terry didn't do them. Sigh. I am at the point where I'm calm. TOO calm. Eye of the hurricane calm. A dangerous calm.

Steve comes into the toy store at 7 after Terry's done his break. I am able to leave. But first, Steve wants to buy a Game Boy Advance and some games. So I have to ring that through first. It takes about fifteen minutes to do properly, because of some miscommunication between us. So I'm leaving at 7:30. But first I call Jeff.

"You're still there? Why?" he asks me.

"Just. Don't. Ask. Please."

As I am leaving, Terry answers a phone call. And asks me if I know anything about a 27" TV that was supposed to be shipped to a customer's house.

I laugh maniacally, and tell him to put the guy on hold, so I can tell him that since Darren didn't come in to get that done, it didn't get sent out. "So tell the customer that it WILL happen. But it will happen tomorrow. And it won't be me doing it."

I leave. Finally. Completely wiped.

* * *

I am so happy with the way that the WWE writing is dramatically improving. Raw is having some moments of brilliance these days. Yesterday, I called some matches at Survivor Series wrong. I lost the pool. But I was fine with the wrong choices, because they worked out in an unpredictable, yet plausible way.

"There's no way Stone Cold's team is going to lose. They're not going to fire Austin. Oh. Austin's team lost. Well, that worked out better than I had hoped...

"Yup. Triple H is back, which means he's going to take the title and push down all the talent that deserves it a lot more than the son-in-law of Vince McMahon. Oh, Goldberg retained the title. That's good."

Just some logical storylines these days. I won't bore you with the details of today's episode of RAW, but I was very pleased with how the writing's improved.

It's getting to the point that I can't call the plotlines in every detail before. Unpredictability in the WWE. It's definitely looking up.

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