Friday, July 14, 2006

Coworkers: Part 70 - Revamping The Layout

   The Boss and Stacey quarreled and bickered like an old married couple. For the hundredth time, they were altering the store floor plan. Joe alone tossed in his two cents worth of advice. Other employees interfered at their own peril.
   Blockbuster's original design was but dimly remembered, it had been modified so many times. Visiting Overlords or new District Managers commented or sputtered helplessly. Those neat rows of aisles breathed ordered elegance. They were also exploited by thieves for maximum concealment. Unless staff patrolled constantly, shady characters tucked themselves away in the far corner and determinedly massaged security keepers.
   There had been a Manager's Booth in the Sound Warehouse era, two feet off the Floor and centrally located. CD bins were also lower. Lines of sight were straight and clear. Even from the front door registers, a cashier could scan across the store, into Cassettes, into Video. Now, there was the Classical Room, with its outer walls. Moreover, new CD bins were easily a foot higher. With header cards, some of the bins were over five feet tall. Too tall.
   Shoving CD bins so that more lanes could be viewed from the Listening Center was a huge undertaking. Bins had to be emptied into shopping carts. After racks were shoved into the new layout, a new problem was often revealed. Reset. Employees got dirty, tired, and grumpy, especially The Boss. Invariably, whenever we rearranged, one customer would demand a title buried deep in a cart. If they approached Mandy or Sharon, arguments arose.
   The Professor was a big man, who steadfastly shirked grunt work. He was much too important for physical labor. Besides, Ludwig never busted rocks, Johann never cut toothpicks from logs.
   Winston was the largest male, but lately he was rolling in pain. Throbbing cavities. An object lesson in improper oral hygiene.
   New hire, Tarryton, had been drafted into duty. He was funny, a nonstop motormouth. Yet working with him, one felt trapped in Hell's audition chamber while he rehearsed some stand-up comedy routine.
   "If I rip my groin, it'll be a hernia. Shouldn't it be a himea?
   "Ever notice one group is The Rolling Stones, the other is not The Yes's.
   "For my girlfriend, that time of the month is always four weeks long.
   "I dub this bin - - a has bin.
   "How have you bin, by the way?
   "If we shift this one more time, I'm gonna seek a sex change.
   "Oops. Just put the axe and the dent into accident.
   "Last time I bent over like this, my doctor showed me Mister Hand."

   There were like 147 more. Hell ... 447 more. All lame. We really tried to tune the guy out. During lunch, Tarryton drained two cups of coffee. Verbage worsened. Winston, clamping his jaw, threatened to hurl him off the back door lift.
   "Lift? Lift yourself up, neighbor. Neigh and boar, reminds me of that horse pig stag film I watched in the Dew Drop Inn."
   Even The Boss wearied and advised he'd heard enough already.
   "Enough already? That's my girlfriend's favorite line. Not two hours later, but the minute I take off a sock.
   "How about we sock it to this bin?
   "Knuckle down, Bin-Socki, knuckle down.
   "Sorry, that's bin a long time comin'."

   Tarryton was still new. We could kill him and tell the police he never showed up for work. Tarryton? Never heard of him.
   End of the day, Rap, Soul, and Country pointed directly into the Listening Center.
   Twenty empty keepers were found in the Classical Room the next morning.

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