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All G[r]ood Things Must Come To A [Fri]End

2005-01-14 - 3:32 p.m.

Shannon & Boone? So. Totally. Called. That. Shit.

Listening To: Willie Nelson, Sondre Lerche, Television

Quote: "Was it an e-vite? I don't respond to e-vites." Big Daddy Bristow

Well. I've had some time to think about what I was going to write for this entry. This entry to commemorate my escape pod being jettisoned from the Intergalactic Frigate known as G. Willikers! (Oh, Google, how I crave your sweet poison kiss.)
I apologize in advance to all of you who have not had the good(?) fortune of having ever worked for the Good Ship Wallakers. This certainly won't be a favorite entry of yours then.

At first I thought I would chronicle my history with the G and all the notable potables I worked with, but that'd be drier than really dry toast. So I guess I'll just focus on the cold and bitter end. I worked for the G. for 5 1/2 years. It's hard to believe that as I type that, even though I know it's true. I called in sick once in all that time. I had food poisoning and couldn't stop puking. They asked me if I could still work half the shift. I never had one paid day off, despite other employees who got multiple paid vacation days (or weeks). The one time I asked for some paid time off, was when we drove out to California. They said no. I asked if I could have 1/2 my wages paid during that trip. Again, no. I worked though multiple hirings and firings, almost every July 4th (usually with an Eldridge), 9/11, lots of crushing Red Sox season enders - and one magnificent one, many friendships started - a few ended, and hell - I didn't like sour cream when I started at the Wallakers - and now I do! Truly, I'm a changed man. But sadly, because of the way it all ended, it tends to discolor the majority of my time there. I've worked in some piss poor establishments in my time (SurfCoaster, Winnipesaukee Pub & Brewery, Colonial, etc.) but even with those shitty jobs I look back with a bit of nostalgic humor towards them. Sure, I had to clean up webbed puke while listening to Madonna's "I'll Remember You" on a loop at SurfCoaster and sure Pat Baldi made me clean up her OWN DOG'S SHIT down by Theater 5 at the Colonial, and sure, the Brew Pub went down the tubes and took Mad Dog, TC and me with it - but because things didn't end in such an ass-backward, cold-hearted, pig-headed fashion with all those other jobs, I can look back at them and just laugh and chalk it up as an "interesting story/character builder" chapter in the book that is my life. (A book titled, consequently, "I Know Why The Caged Sachem Sings")

But with G. Willikers? They just chewed us all up and spit us out. Sure, we'd known since back in October that our jobs were to cease after Christmas (a meeting that, if I can be honored to remind the court, JENN WAS 45 MINUTES LATE FOR). There was talk of incentives for us, updates about how things were going with the store, promises of one-on-one meetings to see how we were all handling the "transition". None of it happened. I even went to Bob in November and said, basically, "Look. People are getting worried. We know this isn't going to end well, but you need to be handling this more smoothly." As usual, I got the normal reassuring smiles and false pledges to work on the issue that I always got from Bob. And as Christmas came, and we were all grossly underpaid with our "Christmas Bonuses", and we all got ready to move on, how did management help to make things end on a good note? Did they give us a goodbye party? (Which would not be out of the norm, as when past employees have moved on, a meeting at a restaurant was commonplace) No. Did we at least get a handshake? No. Ok, come on, at least a "Thank you for all the years of hard work!"? Right? No. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And sure, some people have some pretty serious extenuating circumstances going on in their lives right now, so I'm sure the closing of the store wasn't on the top of their lists of priorities. But it was Bob's responsibility to at least give us the level of respect in our departure that we gave to the store in all the time that we worked there. And, like operating a store in the mall, he failed miserably.

I've had about a week to process this. And it's good I didn't write this on Monday. But even now I can't get over how much my co-workers and I were disrespected and left out on the street like yesterday's fish. And yet they keep incompetent fat asses like Jenn employed? Zach, why are you trying to use logic on these people's decision making processes? These are the same people that HIRED Michael and instead of firing him when they should have, PROMOTED him to Asst. Manager because they thought, "that would make him 'buck up' and take more responsibilities"! That's like saying, "Well, all my water didn't fit in this glass, so I poured it into a smaller glass hoping the glass would be made of magic gemstones and grow larger to accommodate the extra water!" Or, you know, something like that. And let's hire 6/7 employees for our new Barrington store instead of farming some from the mall to the Barrington since we know we're closing the mall store! And let's run a small corporation in 2004 like a Mom & Pop store in the 1970's and pay little attention to worthless things like merchandise inventories, customer trends, employee feedback, and profitable policies. Let's continue to offer free wrapping while at the same time suggest that maybe if we could have sold an extra .75 card every few purchases, we may have been able to save our jobs/the store - but only bring this up in a defeatist manner, AFTER THE FACT. Run your stores like totally different entities with different policies, ordering agendas, staff rules, and then be blown away when a rift develops between the stores and in-fighting begins. And then put your hands over your eyes and ears and claim, "There really is no store rivalry." Uh huh. And the mission is "accomplished" in Iraq too.

Am I angry because I don't have a job at the downtown Portsmouth location? No. Because, somehow, unbeknownst to them, people look upon that store as having a very snobby, self-righteous reputation. Something that I think they have purposely, yet subconsciously, built. And Lord, if there's one thing I hate more than Mormons, it's snobs. Customers would ask me why downtown Portsmouth (both the store, and the area in general) had such an uppity air? I would just smile, as I was lowly paid to do, and say I didn't see that. I think that's why low class, low rent, white trash like Jenn would get off on being "included" in shit downtown. For the same reason people rush fraternities and sororities when they first get to college. "Maybe if I join this organization people will be forced to accept me - since no one else will seem to." Harsh? I don't care. And in this world of "I Googled you", "Be careful, you might get googled.", and, "I'm sorry sir, you are not allowed to work on the set of E.R. as we googled you and now are requesting a restraining order", I don't really care about people finding this site anymore.

If someone reads something here and is totally fucking shocked - you know what? You had no idea who I really was anyway. And as far as G. Willikers - I'd say that karma can be a pretty lethal boomerang, but let's not kick a business that's going down the tubes while it's already down, eh?

Don't get me wrong - there's a lot of good that came out of the Wallakers Experience. 90% of which was all the friends I made. Sure, I got some good stories out of it, some good Secret Crushes out of it, some good invisible rivalries with secruity guards and Star out of it - but if I had to do it all over, I would. But not for the joy of selling toys to bad little girls and boys, or having to bite my tongue each and every time "management" made another bone headed policy change, but because of the people I got to know. Without Wallakers, really, if Effie hadn't gotten a job there, and gotten Fred to get a job there, who convinced me to apply there - I would have never met Andrea (And Phil, Todd and Rex), Maura (and Ron), Catherine (and Dave), Shara (& Adam), Megan T. & Megan B., Carey (and Evren), Becca & Hannah (and by extension their family and the Drew Crew), Kelly (and her family), Kate (and her G.I.W. crew), Eliza, Alison (and her family), Justin (and Renee and Cam!), Hayley (and Beef!), Aly (and Alex), Shannon (and Ben C.), Anne (and her cherry tree!), Bryan (and the Warden), and Jason. And to think of the other characters that were thrown into the mix: Stephanie (who I'm pretty sure only Kate and I remember, of "Smell ya later!" fame), Megan G. (of "spare parts" fame), Trashley and Jaime, Nick, Michael (of "She's the Sheriff" fame), Jen V. (of "Junior Varsity" fame), Beth (of pregnancy fame), Marianne, Alyson T., Sherri, - and the assorted FRM peripheries like Weird Beard, TK Chris, Helmet, Ruby, Fat Tuesday, Jim's Sister, Loudy McLouderson, and the CVS crew: Wonky & Wobbly & Sterny & Vampy & Jonathon. And all the crazy, kind, bitchy, psycho, hilarious, etc. customers are far too numerous to name. But it says something about your customers when you go to their homes and give them presents for Christmas. Well, at least it says something to me and Aly. Anyway - here's some pics that document the end of the Wallakers as we knew it:

Clowns angrily stalk our souls on the last few days of the G. Shannon and Andrea have threatend to file a class action lawsuit if I show the pic any bigger than this. If you care to see the full size horror, then click here

Shannon, with nothing but a ladybug backpack and a screwdriver to protect her, hides in the barren loft from the clowns after a face to face encounter with them

My last official duty on my last official day (that the store was open) was to clean my car off during that kwazy storm. It looks like my car is wearing a little Sears hat! Isn't that darling?!

Dottie came into visit one last time as we were tearing the store apart this last Monday. I told her I wanted to take her picture and to grab her favorite stuffed animal to pose with her. Naturally, she then grabbed the Playmobil tractor. Perhaps for the BB Ranch? The world may never know

Some people say that all of your dreams can be found under a magical rainbow. I say all of your Andrea, Dottie & Hayley pics can be found under a wooden, painted rainbow

The deconstruction almost complete - with Playmobil bags holding all the carrion . . . I mean, toys.

This pic of further G. destruction is like one of those Magic Eye posters. If you concentrate really hard you can see Hayley behind the register being dumb one last, symbolic, time

A very glamorous shot of Aly, Alex, and Andrea as we eat our "last supper" at The Olive Garden. At the same this picture is being taken, a champagne glass of Andes Candies is being passed around the table and it is causing a melee as Kate is her first to get her claws on it. See next pic for the grisly results

Kate closes her eyes as she fishes her claw around the glass to grasp as many Andes Candies as possible. Hannah scrapes her plate clean as she's sure there'll be no more candy when Kate is finished. Alison smiles into the camera as she realizes she'll never have to work another day at the mall. Hayley wonders who all these people are at the table. Becca starts laughing uncomfortably as that is what a Becca does. And Shannon goes totally apeshit realizing that there is suddenly Andes Candies being bandied about

If you want the sad ending, proceed to the next picture. If you want the happy ending, skip this picture and take a gander at the second one.

And on the 8th day . . .

Ruth Buzzi better watch her back . . .


Good one Beth!

It's been real,

Stormy, Misty's Foal


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