2.20.1992

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I was supposed to be in school today from one to ten but I decided not to go. I’m having a real hard time getting motivated to go to the Junior College. For the most part my art instructors are has-been hippies leftover from the sixties that got nowhere with their art careers. They ended up teaching art rather than making it. I find it ironic because if they couldn’t make it on their own as a successful artist they probably shouldn’t be teaching art.

Dad has been a real fucking pain. He thinks I’m some sort of a total fuck up. Most of the time I don’t understand where he is coming from. When I turned sixteen I got a job and since then I’ve been steadily employed. Sometimes I’ve kept two jobs at once. I’ve been involved in all sorts of cool projects like writing for Cyanosis and freelancing for Ipso Facto, and even started my own magazine project. None of that matters to dad. It’s all junk. He kicked me out of the house last week because I slept through my alarm. I was supposed to be at school at nine in the morning for a printmaking class, but I dropped that class from my schedule. I didn’t bother to tell him about it because I figured he’d flip out.

He woke me up by yelling at me. Then he grilled me about all sorts of crap that had nothing to do with anything. I told him what I thought of him and it turned out that wasn’t a good thing for me to do. It just made everything much worse. He left the house in a rage. Apparently he took the pink slip for my car to the DMV to have it re-registered in my name so it would cause my insurance to be more expensive. It would raise my yearly premium from $700 to $1200 a year. He knows this and seems to be happy about it. Dad feels that I am fucking him over financially, and that I’m doing it delibrately. I don’t get it. I just don’t make enough money at Petrini’s. I’d like to move out of my parents house right away but I’ve got no money to do it. Petrini’s is worthless.

Things at the store have gotten alot worse. Between the Canadian company that bought us out, and the idiots at our main office, we’ll soon be out of business. People come to our store for two reasons. One, because we carry items nobody else has, and two, because of our superior customer service. Well, they keep getting rid of the specialty items. Sales are down so the main office continues to cut back on our hours. With less employees in the store at any given time we can’t keep the same high levels of customer service going. Customers are getting angry and some of them I don’t see here anymore. Morale is really bad. Most of the store managers keep saying “It’s Over” to each other like it’s some secret greeting.

Some of the guys have been using a wiffle ball bat on the squeezed oranges from the juicer machine they have back in the produce department. The juicer machine goes through cases of fresh oranges pretty fast and the produce guys have to dump the squeezed oranges into a rusty 55 gallon drum. For fun they take turns pitching the orange husks at each other and whacking them with the wiffle ball bat. Some of them are damn good hitters. They’ll cause the oranges to go sailing clean out of the warehouse and up into the rafters above the main aisles. I think I found one of them recently on top of the dog food aisle. The orange was dirty brown and shrank to about the size of a hacky sack. At first I didn’t know what it was but then I saw the three holes the juicer machine makes when it crushes the oranges. Makes them look like little bowling balls because of the hole pattern. Anyway when I went to grab it a swarm of fruit flies came out of the holes. Kinda nasty.

Senor 23 invited me into the warehouse for some Forklift Freshness Testing (FFT) that he likes to do on random grocery items. The way FFT works is you take an item and you place it on the ground. Then you drive over the item with the forklift and see if it is “fresh”. Senor 23 tells me that so far nothing has passed the test. The first item we tested for freshness was a loaf of Wonder bread. It was crushed flat, so I guess it didn’t pass. Next was a can of chopped black olives. It also failed the FFT. Miserably.

Our store director has been out on medical leave for a while now. He had some surgery done on his shoulder. Guess he messed it up somehow. While he’s been out some of the guys have started filling the pockets of their aprons with gum balls from the bulk food bins. The gum balls are being used for ammo in the warehouse and the back rooms. The whole area has turned into a gum ball warzone. At any given time there’s hundreds of shattered gum balls lying around. The other day I was back there trying to find an item that we ran out of on the floor for an impatient customer and just as I came around the corner from the receiving area I saw one of the guys throw a gumball up into the rafters at Rad Rob. He was up behind the main office on a cat walk looking for something. The gumball just missed him and went straight up into a bank of flourescent lights just above where Rad Rob was standing. A couple of the tubes shattered out and all that white powder and glass bits rained down on Rad Rob. It was pretty fuckin’ cool to watch.

Been closing the store alot lately with The Colonel. It’s been fun. After we close up and start on our chores to get the store cleaned up for the following morning he makes his rounds by riding inside an old rolling ice cream case that we used to have on the front of the frozen aisle. It’s one of those ones that’s a top down loader with sliding glass doors. He’s scrawny so he can slide one of the doors open and sit inside like it’s a go cart and then he has one of the baggers push him around the aisles to check up on us. He put two cardboard signs on either side of the damn thing and put the double lightning bolt SS on it. When he rolls up on you, you get a crisp Nazi salute and he puts on his best German accent. He’ll ask where you are at with your tasks and how much longer it’s gonna take you to finish up. Then he’s off in his bagger-powered SS ice cream case to hassle someone else. It’s hard not to laugh.

We hired a new kid recently. He’s extra dumb. I call him “Cupcake” because of his hairdo. He has fire engine red hair that he let grow out and then he had it shaved up to the top of his ears all the way around like a bowl cut. So the top of his hair looks like the top of a cupcake in a foil wrapper. Everything we ask him to do he somehow manages to screw it up. It’s been making alot of the other baggers mad. Dave decided to give him the job of shaking bottles of salad dressings. I love that shit. Usually happens to the new guy. Dave took him over to the produce department and told him that the bottles of salad dressings will go bad if we don’t keep them fresh by shaking them daily. So he told Cupcake-head to start shaking dressings. We left him over there for a couple of hours and forgot about him. The Colonel got mad since he hadn’t seen Cupcake on the front end of the store for a long while and went looking for him. Sounds to me like he was dumbfounded to see Cupcake standing alone in the produce area madly shaking a bottle of salad dressing in each hand. When he asked him what the fuck he was doing and why, he told The Colonel about Dave giving him the job of keeping the salad dressings fresh. The Colonel kinda got riled up about it. It probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal if he’d only been over there for a few minutes but since we forgot about him for a couple hours, that changed things. Hey, at least we didn’t lock him in the checker’s count-down room and drench him with seltzer water…

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~ by factorypeasant on August 17, 2004.

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