Au Revoir, Schlaples

The conference center called to offer me the job this morning. They want me to sit through a couple of events as kind of a testing period before formally accepting the offer, to make sure that I’m competent and so that I can be sure that I actually want the job after getting a taste of what it would be like, but I’m giving notice to Staples at my shift tonight nonetheless. The joy of giving this news will only be amplified by the fact that my coworker, the only other dedicated tech, will be enjoying his last day at Staples tomorrow.

Happy Easter, motherfuckers!

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[expletive deleted]

I haven’t written much about Staples lately, because I’ve had this rancid, bile-filled rant building inside of me for the past several months and I’m afraid that if I start to let it out, I won’t be able to stop, and I’ll end up cursing at my boyfriend and my dog and my neighbors and eventually they’ll have to escort me from Staples in handcuffs because I just tried to strangle a customer with a CAT 5 cable.

The rant is so enormous that I don’t exactly know where to start, so I suppose instead of attempting any kind of cohesive narrative form I’ll just start with tonight.

Tonight I spent a significant portion of my shift unloading the truck. Why would the people in charge have the shortest, weakest, and most accident-prone employee hauling 400-pound printers up an extremely tall and marginally stable ladder, you might wonder? Because they wanted to see me totter and tumble to my death, after which they would no longer have to deal with me nagging them for a key to my own office.

Have I mentioned that I don’t have a key to my own office yet? I’m too lazy to check the archives, so I’ll just re-explain it. If you’ve heard this before, and I’m sure all five of you are really sick of hearing about it by now, feel free to skip ahead to the part where I get arrested for threatening to commit a violent crime on the internet.

The Staples tech department is brilliantly split into two locations on opposite sides of the store. At the front of the store is the tech desk, which has a desktop for tech use, a register set up for intake, and enough desk space to work on one computer, maybe one and a half if you’re really persistent about bending the rules of geometry. At the back of the store is an office, which has another desktop and plenty of desk space, so that you can work on up to five or six computers at once. If that sounds pretty sweet to you, here’s the rub: the front desk computer has the internet, and there’s an ethernet cable for the computer being worked on. In the more spacious tech office, there is only wireless internet available, and the desktop in the office only has Staples intranet, which means only one website is accessible. If you’ve ever tried to perform desktop support without access to the internet — no wait, no one has ever voluntarily worked under those conditions! EVER.

Because one location has the internet and the other has all of the computers, I have to run back and forth between them quite a bit. This is only exaggerated by the fact that I’m a total flake, and will usually forget something I need in the last location I’ve been. The door to the tech office locks automatically when closed and is supposed to stay locked whenever it is unoccupied, including five-second jaunts to the front of the store because I forgot the entire left hemisphere of my brain up at the tech desk. And I don’t have a key to that door, because if they were to give me a key to that door, it would unlock every door in the entire store — including the cash office. Thus, any time I need access to the office, I have to page a manager to let me in to the office. The managers, of course, are usually hiding under the display desks so that they don’t have to answer pages.

Allow me to illustrate:

As you can plainly see, this is completely fucking ridiculous.

Speaking of completely ridiculous things, that allows me to seamlessly segue into the brief yet tragic story of how I was pushed over the edge today and forced into my current rage-y state. A customer wanted some pictures burned to a CD. Nothing in our list of services even comes close to describing this. A coworker asked a manager how to classify this service; the manager responded that it would be a data transfer and should be charged as such. Guess how much a data transfer costs? $99.99.

One hundred fucking dollars to burn some pictures to a CD.

I’m fairly confident that I don’t actually work for Satan and his minions, but sometimes that confidence is gruelingly tested.

“Is everything we do here evil?”
-Lem, Better Off Ted

Staples claims to only make 60% profit on its tech services. This statistic requires an enormous suspension of disbelief to swallow, considering that they pay their techs barely above minimum wage to work on up to five or six tasks simultaneously, and that chances are at least three of those five or six people are grossly overpaying for simple services that we don’t have the tools to adequately perform. And despite the ridiculously high profits coming out of the tech department, no one — not the managers, or the associates in other departments, or the higher-ups in corporate — concedes even one iota of respect to the tech workers. The managers think we’re too demanding, the other employees think we sit in the back and do nothing, and corporate thinks that they can slap a degrading uniform on a rabid squirrel they caught in the parking lot and call it an Easy Tech.

Do I sound bitter? I may be a tiny bit bitter.

I need a better job. And a life. And a beer. At least I can fix one of those pronto.

Note to Self: Avoid This Job.

SEEKING AN EXPERIENCED WRITER! (Champaign,Chicago, Florida)

Writer
Seeking highly talented, experienced writer. I am seeking to publish a book that seeks to explain the connections between science/religion/life. The book will Illustrate how we can better navigate life through a better understanding. “The secret” genre. Basic knowledge of quantum physics, chemistry consciousness/prayer research a plus. Must be able to start work immediately full time commitement [sic] until complete – can provide housing for the writer. Compensation by contract.
Email xxx@xxxxxx.com fax XXX XXX XXXX

* Location: Champaign,Chicago, Florida

Okay, sure, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a ghostwriter to put into eloquent prose all of the deeply intellectual thoughts one might have milling about in one’s large, intellectual brain. And I can understand wanting a ghostwriter who has a basic comprehension of the subject material — for instance, I would probably not hire myself to ghostwrite a novel about our nation’s modern covert ops organizations, as the vast majority of my knowledge therein has been culled from the documentary miniseries Chuck. However, the author* of any purportedly non-fiction, or even semi non-fiction work should likely have some knowledge of the subject material as well, just in case someone like, I don’t know, a book publisher or a talk show host wants to know what the book actually consists of. I for one gleefully anticipate the eventual Oprah interview, wherein she will ask him to describe his theory and he’ll mumble about “chemistry consciousness/prayer research” (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?) before whisper-shouting “LINE!” to his ghostwriter in the wings.

Also: I am spectacularly befuddled by the offer to provide housing and the simultaneous posting in Chicago, Champaign, and FLORIDA. These places are not geographically proximate. Is there an option to move to Florida involved here? Who would pay relocation costs? Are you talking about Florida, the state, or is there another type of Florida in play here, like the towns of Florida, Indiana or Florida, Missouri? Cause nothing sounds more appealing than a live-in working relationship with a person who is incoherently passionate about “chemistry conciousness,” except if that relationship occurs in Missouri.

*I’m admittedly uncertain as to whether this person intends to credit himself with the authorship of the book, or is merely commissioning a work that he will then self-publish. Either way, the English language demands that he be stopped.

Status Update

It’s been over a month since I interviewed at the conference center, and nearly a month since I sent in the editing/proofreading tests to the press that requested them — and no, I haven’t heard anything from either potential employer. I can only assume that they found this blog and realized how awesome I am, and that their pathetic organizations could not hope to compensate me commensurate to said awesomeness.

So, I did what any responsible young adult pulling down barely over minimum wage should do. I bought a car!

Behold, the majestic ’99 Cavalier in its natural habitat (on a University campus, across the street from a girl’s dorm):

I think I’m going to call it The Sex Machine.

Conan and Me

I’ve been very reluctant about this Twitter thing, in part because one of my favorite verbs is now essentially unusable, but I was drawn in this morning when a coworker quoted this to me:

This morning I applied for a job at Home Depot, but they couldn’t find an apron big enough to fit over my head. Tomorrow: Staples.

That’s from Conan O’Brien, who would look absolutely dashing in the black-and-lime-green Staples uniform (that is, if he joined the electronics department. The red office supplies shirts would clash with his hair, and he’d have a similar problem with the aprons over at copy and print).

Shenanigans.

As you may recall, a while back I was tricked into filling out a lengthy employee profile only to discover that I was jumping through hoops for a job at Staples in Chicago (I’m giving up on the Schlaples/Staples thing; it’s getting old, and I don’t give a hoot if I get fired for blogging about my employer. In fact, it would be an honor to join the likes of Chez Pazienza). A few weeks ago, in a weak-willed moment of desperation, I half-heartedly applied to the job. I figured I had an in with the company, was definitely qualified, and was not in a position to be turning jobs away.

This morning, I got the standard form rejection email from Staples/Quill. This was not especially interesting, if slightly disheartening; however, the far more significant email had arrived twenty minutes earlier.

Dear Jamie:

Thank you for your interest in employment with Quill.com/Staples, Inc. We enjoyed discussing your background and how it relates to the Editor opportunity.

Although we were impressed with your accomplishments, we have moved forward with an offer to another candidate whose background and experience more closely aligns with this position and the hiring manager’s needs.

Your resume will be kept on file and considered for appropriate opportunities should they become available. Also, please continue to monitor our career opportunities at http://www.staples.com/jobs.

We would also like to let you know that Staples is a member of AllianceQ – a partnership of companies collaborating to increase our ability to find talent.

We would like to invite you to join this free and confidential service today. Simply complete your profile and what you desire in a new job, and alliance members will continue to consider you for future positions that match your profile.

To join AllianceQ or for more information, visit:

http://www.allianceq.com/staples

Again, thank you for considering employment opportunities at Quill.com/Staples.

Sincerely,

[name redacted]
Recruiter, Staples, Inc.

Please note:

1) I received someone else’s rejection letter.
2) Staples seems to have a bizarre relationship with this Alliance-Q company. It reeks of spam, such that Mail actually flagged it as junk. (Junk, indeed.)
3) Evidently the mismanagement I have witnessed in my store is not limited to the retail functions of Staples.
4) I wasn’t even worthy of an interview? But this Jamie person was, huh?
5) Seriously, they sent me someone else’s rejection letter. How incompetent do you have to be to manage that?

In conclusion: My god, I hate this company with all of my little black heart.

Dog Crap for the Soul

Last week, I received a notice that my status had been changed from a temporary employee of Staples to a regular part-time employee. What this meant for me, the letter read, was that I must enroll in part-time benefits or say what the fuck until whenever. Essentially.

Tonight I get to thinking. I hate that notice and I hate everything it stands for: permanence in a position I hate and resent, yet must be grateful for thanks to a shit economy. After a fair quantity of gin and wine I think that it would be a good idea to incinerate said notice, as a cathartic measure notifying the universe that I will not put up with its bullshit.

It takes almost half a box of matches for me to light a single piece of paper, due to the freezing cold and wind.

But I did it. I burned the fucker. And I laughed to myself, thinking that this felt good and signified something.

I went back inside and walked through the house, when something caught my eye on the dining room table. Where the recently incinerated letter had been, there now was an envelope with suspiciously red lettering on the return address space.

Staples was confirming that I had declined to enroll in benefits and would not be eligible to change this fact until June 2010. I would have burned that letter too, but I had run out of matches. Also, my house is made of wood, so a drunk depressive trying to change her fate with fire is nothing but a bad idea.