Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blunder from Down Under ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved


     Some of y'all might know that besides waiting tables, et cetera, at a couple of restaurants, I'm also a beer vendor at the local football team's home games. I stroll around the stadium, toting a big-ass tub of ice and brewskis. And I'm versatile, too; sometimes I'll work other events, like concerts or different sports. My beer-vending supervisor called me last week to ask if I could work an upcoming show at the local shed, Tampax® Amphitheatre. I said I'd try. I wound up being scheduled at the regular gig that evening but a co-worker asked if she could pick up. So I took the vending opportunity. The show was last night.
    Every venue has its own rules, beyond what you might expect. These edicts can even be more, or less, stringent within the same building for different events. This show, headlined by a C&W-tinged pop act, was expected to draw plenty of folks under 30. Therefore a lot of strict rules and the promise of more enforcement and spying than usual were in effect.
    One of the rules was ID everyone every time. I've dealt with that one a lot. Another, imposed sometimes but not always, was that driving licenses from outside the US and Canada weren't to be accepted. And by the way hockey fans, welcome and thanks for visiting but don't flash that sweet CHT Card at me. I can't accept it for ID and it'll just make me jealous.
     Anyway, at one point during my pretty lucrative night, a 35-year-oldish-looking dude ordered a beer from me and passed along a driving license from Australia. He didn't seem at all intoxicated and I'm sure he's well over 21. In other situations, I'd have been at least tempted to sell him a brew anyway. But for that show, the bosses seemed very serious that surveillance and enforcement were at the max, so I shut the guy out. "I'm sorry sir. I'm afraid I can't use that. Did ya bring your passport?" He didn't.
     I felt bad and hoped he hadn't come all that way just for this one lame (to me) show. I was trying to think of a way I could help him out. Maybe I could make a legit sale to another patron with the instruction to not pass it to dude until I'd walked away or something like that. Before I'd decided what, if anything, I could do for the tourist—and just to be nice too; one measly sale's not going to make or break my night—he got a little pleady and a lot argumentative, which withered my sympathy considerably. I thought about fucking with him back a little. It even briefly crossed my mind to get security into the mix—under venue protocol, his verbal hostility had given me that option—but I didn't. His words didn't hurt my feelings or anything. I try to not give a shit about something somebody has said and in this instance was successful. I shrugged and told him, "I just work here," or, "My kids gotta eat," or whatever, and walked away.
     He probably got suds later if he half-assed tried. I'm easily imagining one of my dumbass fellow vendors thinking Queensland's a province or a state. It'd be cool if he told another vendor what a dick I was and the story making them realize they couldn't sell him anything either.
     I like my vending gig OK, especially when it's as profitable as last night, but it's pretty physical and always wears me out. I cheerfully eschewed the Outback Steakhouse® I passed on the way home—take that, Australia!—and instead got to the crib and microwaved some Campbell's Chunky®, 'cause it's the soup that eats like a meal and I was pretty fucking hungry.

     Oh yeah, I almost forgot: I've got Twitter now. @JoeSixtop. I haven't checked it in a couple of days but as far as I know, my next follower on there will be my first and I want it to be you!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dagney's Voice Became Shrill ©2013 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     What was my problem last time? Oh yeah; I was whining about some folks I feel like should of been a little more thoughty ("Fucktarded Whims," May, 2013). And the time before that? I was pretty unhappy about work wanting us to solicit charitable donations from our clients. That's what this here installment right here is about, too. Then it'll be time to give that particular Sixtopic a rest. I think.

     You've seem 'em, mostly in retail establishments like Eckerd's® and Family Dollar®, but restaurants have 'em too sometimes: Smartphone-sized pieces of construction paper, shaped and printed like big, stylized aortas, flogging The American Heart Association, stars for Make-A-Wish and the popular shamrocks, benefiting, uh, The Lucky Charms® Foundation for Magical Deliciousness. Merchants sell these decals, usually for a buck, with proceeds (allegedly) going to the designated worthy cause. If you spring for one, you're emcouraged to write your name, or whatever, on it. The personalized pieces of colorful paper are then taped to the cash registers and walls throughout the property. When asked, I'll usually get a charity sticker. I tend to write something smartass (but not dirty) on mine. Until the disappointing CD was finally released in 2008, I'd buy a decal and scribble "Chinese Democracy?" and sign it W. Axl Rose, which I (and probably no one else) thought was hilarious.
     All through March, our store was selling paper Easter eggs to benefit The Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome Awareness Center. We have a similar campaign, helping whatever, every couple of years or so. This time, our managers were really adamant that we move a lot of stickers. Obviously, their bosses were pressing them for our store to sell a lot of paper Easter eggs.
     I work Curvesideto-go—where you can phone or fax in your order and I'll bring it out to your ride—on weekday lunches. I've got a lot of regulars and I do all right with it. One of my most frequent regulars is a nice white lady named Dagney, who I'm accustomed to seeing five times a month, easy. She always orders just one lunch, with few or zero special mods. She always receives her chow in a timely manner, without any problems. She always tips me either one dollar or two dollars, five if it's right before Christmas. Dagney's in her early 60's, dresses well and conservatively, seems to get her hair done a lot and drives a sharp, late-model Mercedes®. She works for a non-profit organization, I don't know which one. I'm aware that she's married to a prominent local physician. Together, they've got to be pulling down some pretty nice coin.
     Early in March, when the Osgood-Schlatter push was just getting underway, Dagney pulled up to get an order she'd called in. Everything went as usual until I asked her to buy an Easter egg. Dagney's voice became shrill and she got pretty flustered. She began stammering about how she has a substantial charity budget and it's all earmarked for her church and the non-profit she works for and she just couldn't do anything about Osgood-Schlatter, which I construed as a no. Oh well. I smiled, thanked Dagney (she tipped me as always) and told her I'd see her soon.
     But I didn't see her soon. She didn't show up again for over a month. When I thought about the situation later, I was a little irritated with Dagney for being weird—not too much, because otherwise she's always been real cool and nice—but mostly I was pissed off at work itself for setting me up to be in a situation so redolent of awkwardness. Plus I didn't like that it looked as though the company and I were set to lose out on some nice potential future revenue.
     About mid-April, Dagney returned. I mentioned how we'd missed her and she said something about having been real busy. It looks like she's back to being my easy, good, regular customer again and the whole ordeal seems to have been forgotten. By everyone save me.
     I'm particularly reminded of my friend D right now. Happy Birthday and Rest In Peace bro'.