punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,
punkwalrus
punkwalrus

I wonder whatever happened to...

Some of you may know I used to run a book store. Old Crown Books #854 out of Rose Hill, Alexandria. I was a manager there for a year before I couldn't take the insanity and quit.

One of the stupid things was a cashier I had named Rich. Rich was a skinhead. I don't know if he was a racist since he never brought up that topic, but he called himself a skinhead, was bald, had little round glasses, and wore leather. Rich was not a mean person, but very laid back and passively aggressive. He was a high school friend of my boss, Tim, and Tim hired him because... well, he owed him a favor, felt bad for him, or something. I fired Rich twice, and Tim kept taking him back. What could I do?

Rich smelled REAL bad. Tim said he had this Rasta thing about bathing, but I don't know if that was a bullshit story or not. Rich was the only guy, and this is saying something because I worked in fandom since 1984, that I could not be near because of the stench. It was an acrid, vinegary, dung smell that seemed to be a combination of fish, patchouli, and the ape house at the zoo. Customers complained.

Rich also liked ska music. A lot. We had a crappy boom box in the store which usually played light classic music from the office. Rich would put in some cassette, play ska at volumes that were over what the boom box could take, and mosh behind the counter with his big combat boots. Sometimes he'd be doing some kicking-mosh thing so violently, he'd ignore customers waiting for him to ring them up. Customers complained. I told him not to play the music, so he'd play it when he thought I couldn't hear it. Finally, I just took the damn boom box and hid it. He brought his own crappy boom box, but it died shortly afterwards on its own.

He loved to ask random people uncomfortable questions. He once asked a middle-aged soccer mom if she looked back at the toilet to see what she created after she took a dump. When she expressed horror at the question, Rich said, "You know you do it. Don't lie." I fired him for that question, but he came back a week later because Tim said Rich was sorry.

One day, Rich came in and said, "Guess who I saw at the porno theater?" a bit too loudly. "I don't care," I said, but he continued anyway with, "Herbert Haft! He was with some young girl, looked like she was barely 18, and I said, 'Hey! You're Herbert Haft! I work for your son's company in one of your stores!'" Herbert was the father of Robert "Bobby" Haft and the owner of the huge Haft empire at the time that owned the Dart Group, Crown Books, Trak Auto, Combined Properties, and a ton of other stuff. Rich continued with, "He really looks like how he looks in the newspaper; old, with huge white hair!" I blew this off as one of Rich's bullshit stories, but he continued retelling it to random customers.

Later that evening, I got a phone call from corporate security. They wanted to speak to Rich. So I handed him the phone, and at first he was his usual causal, "So?" Then he started to calm down with a lot of "Okay. Okay. Uh huh. Yeah, sure. Yes. I said Yes, didn't I?" He handed the phone back to me. The guy on the other end said, "He is to speak to NO ONE about Herbert! Understand?"

A week later, my boss told me he wasn't allowed back in the store. He didn't fire him but told Rich, "The position has been eliminated."
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