Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Coworkers: Part 88 - Football, Fool

   After screaming and complaints, the football had been confiscated and stuffed in the backroom office. The football had been another cheap Wherehouse inspiration to improve morale.
     "Have fun among yourselves! Pass this football back and forth, like you share great work moments and tips to improve customer loyalty."
   Here, as everywhere, morale would be better improved with additional hours and a $500 bonus in the paycheck. Instead, we received the football. All stores received the foam football. Now, The Boss had fresh ammo to lob at employees, in addition to his crumpled sheets of paper.
   We also got Rube.
   A K A - Hey, Fool!
   I understood, hiring was part evaluation, part instinct, part luck. There were good candidates and poor. Rube interviewed well, hired on, spent two months flushing out.
   First warning sign: He couldn't spell. He couldn't look artists up on our database because he couldn't spell "artists."
   "Uhh, my home computer has spell check."
   "Dude, we file The Beastie Boys under B. And The? Whether it's The Beatles or the girlfriend or the candy bar, always has an E at the end of TH."
   "See, Fool, my computer has spell check. It fixes things, and completes words for me. It's great, Fool. Sometimes it even finishes words different on the internet, and I meet a new place. I never have to think. You outta get this."
   Angela was walking past. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. Most of the females had a gutter opinion of Rube.
   Another warning sign: One had to work with men and women in the retail environment. Rube had been raised by his mother --
Wait! Quick break for clarity. Rube was short for Rubert. He had been christened for two different males, Robert and Rupert. Aspiring or accidental parents, please, please, please, don't do this to some helpless infant. They have to live with post childbirth decisions forever.
   -- his mother. Divorced woman, low view of men in general. Except for her son, the Golden Boy (without spell check, th goden boi). Protective, indulgent, and blind to short comings. Females, he treated like skanks. Called them all Fool, called everyone Fool. Never hesitated to let females understand, however, they were second tier ... at best.
   Most of the women I've worked with have owned tempers. Oh, moody, that sounded better. They've busted their ass for me, they've bailed me out when I've screwed up, and they haven't hesitated to kick me. Rube dismissed half the store as girlies, who then couldn't be bothered to help him. With anything. He received no assistance, feedback, training from half the crew.
   They also detested that football.
   I'm back to that again. The only workers pitching the football with any regularity were the guys. Girls couldn't be bothered. Most, Sarah, Angela, Pat, Mandy, Stacey, were trying to work. After a week, even the guys lost interest in the football.
   Except Rube.
   He still liked pitching it at colleagues. Especially at their heads. When they were balancing a stack of discs. Or drinking a can of soda. There would be the usual screaming, cursing and threats. Rube would laugh and laugh. No one could mess with him. He wath th goden boi.
   Of course, with all that passing practice, he wasn't getting a lot accomplished. I could mention the time he worked register. There was a line. Rube ran off ... to retrieve his football. The Boss eventually stuffed the 100 Yard Morale Booster in his desk.
   The Boss cut his hours to 16, then 6, then ... gone!
   Rube's mom came in, her precious child in tow, demanding reinstatement, apology, and paycheck.
   While negotiations escalated, Joe went to the back, dug around in a drawer.
   Farewell gift. Football.
   "Hey, Rube, check it out."
   "Cool! Thanks, Fool."

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