Saturday, December 24, 2005

So that's it for me at the Toolatorium. It was weird closing on my last day, since I had to say my goodbyes to the rest of the department early on, then spend the rest of the shift alone. The day ended on a fitting note, however, a sort of summation of the Tuul Haus experience. Being almost entirely devoid of customers, and on Christmas Eve Eve, the manager told us to do our closing routines early, so he could let us out right at closing. Hey, no problem; all I was doing was responding to rumors as news of my departure continued to spread (apparently, I was the only exciting thing going on there). Yes, I'm moving to Seattle. Yes, I'm working there. No, I probably won't get to meet Bill. Yes, I'll have a chip implanted in my buttocks that will automatically open doors and turn on lights.

So, ten o'clock, the only customer left in the store is a woman drifting back and forth past the endcaps. We've had the fifteen-minute announcement, the ten-minute, the five-minute, and finally, the "The time is ten o'clock, and Tool Seraglio is now closed." Naturally, that's when the woman turns and begins asking me, in a language only tangentially related to english, everything there is to know about Shop-Vacs.

Seriously, it was like a greatest-hits of my customer interactions. How much is this. How does it work. Can I use it for this. Why does this cost more than this. Are you sure I can use it for this. Does it come with this. Are you sure I can use it for this. All going on, remember, as I'm supposed to be on my way out the door, another recurring theme. And of course, once she decided on one, it was the one whose bay was empty, meaning I had to find a ladder and schlep one down from overstock.

I was beginning to wonder if I was getting secret-shopped; I could just picture the suits back in Montreal going, "let's make sure that this guy on his last shift, on the night before Christmas Eve, isn't gonna start slacking." But that's just, y'know, self-important me. If any of the suits even spared me a single thought, it was probably, "good riddance, now you can't scare the customers any more."

So, despite getting out late (by which I mean, less early), it was a fitting end to my career as tool monkey. There have been some jobs that, when I left, it was sheer relief. Yes, I sorta missed the gang at the pitcher-frame place, but only in the way that, say, Hawkeye missed Charles after Korea, if you catch my drift. This place, though, treated its employees with a surprising amount of respect, and counted on us to be able to take initiative and make our own decisions. Whenever I leave a job for greener pastures, I always say I'll come back and visit. This place, I actually will.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

the chip is implanted in your head.
Don't be silly Angie. I work there and they haven't implanted anything yet! Although I am a contractor...And I did feel a small uncomfortable something behind my left ear this morning...but I think that's just the chip implant that the people from Frau Tramador (in the Orion constellation) put in there from my childhood. They're tracking random people's behavior throughout their life and...ooh, I've said too much.
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