I have 28 days left in retail management, and I think I’m being thrown a crazy sendoff party. I’d like to present two vignettes from my past week. One, the tale of a young everyman, trying to find a way to make ends meet, interviews for a job. The other, a passionate relic of a bygone era sees hope for a continuation of his beliefs. Both, deeply funny, in an intensely depressing way. Now, with your permission, I present:
The Crapplicant: The Heywood Jablome Story
One Unemployed Man’s Journey into a Barnes & Noble
Only to Leave the Same Barnes & Noble Unemployed
A young man walks up in jeans and a drug rug. He’s tall, and heavily built with an expression that manages to combine apathy, malice, and wondering where that fart smell is coming from. Our heroic Cafe Manager approaches him.
“Nice to meet you! I’m Derek,” hand outreached, waiting for the customary response.
“…Ok. Well, lets have a seat.” The handsome Manager shuffles through his papers, “I see you worked at Taco Bell and Cashwise before this”
“Yeah, I was in high school.” the Crapplicant grumbles defensively.
“Well, I was in high school. Those were the only kind of places I could work.”
The Cafe Manager is perplexed by this statement. Had he offended the young man?
“… I was wondering if you liked working in food service.”
“No. Not really.”
“I guess we’re done here, then. Have a nice day.”
Willst du mein Freund sein?
Many months ago, when our Cafe Manager was still a Merchandise Manager, he stood at the customer service desk. An elderly man approached, smartly, but not expensively, dressed. He spoke with a thick accent.
“I’m looking for a book about Heinrich Himmler.”
The manager thought nothing odd about this request; a new biography on Himmler had been released the previous week.
“No, not that one, I’m afraid,” the man replied. “I’m looking for a different one. I left the information about it back at my office, though.”
That’s no problem,” the manager replied, having danced this jig before, “what can you tell me about it?”
The man began talking about the book, explaining how it used Himmler to show the social and economic climate leading up to WW2. He then explained why he wanted this particular biography.
“You see, this book isn’t put out by the Jew media. The Jews are a dirty people, and cannot be trusted.”
Needless to say, our fearless Manager was stunned. This customer was a Nazi. Not a, “Oh man, that guy is such a Nazi,” way. A real one. The Manager kept his cool, though. He realized that, if they found the book the man was looking for and had to order it, the Manager would now have the man’s name, address, and phone number. All useful bit of information for groups that track down potential war criminals.
Unfortunately, the search yielded nothing, and no information was collected.
The Cafe Manager noticed the man standing at customer service, getting help from a bookseller. The Manager recounted the tale to the Cafe Server he was working with. After the man had been helped with his books, he came up to the cafe.
He put his book down on the counter to purchase it. It was Mein Kampf. The Cafe Server turned to the Manager, struggling to hold back shocked laughter. The transaction proceeded smoothly; the man didn’t drop more hard J’s, but did spout some interesting interpretations of the bible, then sat down to enjoy his drink.
When the man left, he left behind a gift:
A small twig, covered in sprouting buds.
The Cafe Manager put out a picture to the internet, asking for information. Some speculated that it was an oak branch, which are common in Nazi imagery and symbolism.
Is the twig a message?
Should the Cafe Manager try and track the man down?
Will the Manager see the man before he’s done at his job?
Only time can answer these questions. One thing is for sure though:
That guy is a Nazi.