Hey Neighbor!

February 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

Welcome to the neighborhood!

A nationally known chain of convenience stores (think numbers) has opened a franchise five blocks from my store. That makes three 24-hour Kwik-E-Marts on the street within that stretch. Thanks, guys.

Business downtown has been in the dumper. Walking the streets at 8 PM is no big deal, nobody around to panhandle or sell dope to so the bums have gone away. The only people out are the social pariahs who still smoke, banished to sidewalk space ten feet from a doorway. Shops, bars and restaurants have gone under. The Upscale Mall is beginning to look like the Galleria.

But you can get a cremated hot dog at 4 AM!

I worked for this particular chain for twelve years under a franchisee. When he sold back to the corporation and they took over, it wasn’t long before I went elsewhere. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Everyone with a clipboard thought they were my boss, and that I should do things their way. While their rules and policies made sense for the most part, they can take the letter of the law to the extreme.

I check their progress on the way home every night as I walk past. One of their corporate rules is no leaning, sitting or “gazing stupidly into space.” If a supervisor walks past the store and sees you not busy doing something, you can be fired. It’s the corp way: Keep you in mortal fear of losing your shit-job while giving you minimum pay and comfort. If you don’t want to comply, we’ll hire someone who will!

Good luck with that.

I see guys in red smocks standing at the counter (gazing stupidly into space) “cleaning” the same spot on the counter for minutes at a time. Another time he was taking packs of cigarettes off the rack, then replacing them. Over and over again. Job security.

They don’t know the neighborhood. When I pass there’s often a congregation of unwashed types parked on the sidewalk in front of the store, folks that we’ve long since parted with in a professional capacity. (Translation: 86ed for stealing or other misfit behavior.) The Garbage Pail Kids can spend their spange on dog food, and feed themselves thanks to the Oregon Trail.

It’s been open about a month, and the graveyard guy is coming around. He’s got a milk crate in the corner facing the door, and he reads a magazine while waiting for the bell to ring. He looks beaten down. My first three months at the Nightclub Store were like that. I hope he has the nads to stick with it, because there are a lot of nice people in the ‘hood. Unfortunately, until you get to know them, everyone has to be eyed like a criminal, and his current customer base is everyone we’ve ever kicked out.

We’re not heartless. We are happy to send *some* business their way. In fact, just last night I sent a fellow their way with a garbage bag full of empty beer cans scrounged from the trash.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

1 Comment

  1. Bobbing4BabyRuth's said,

    >>>***…7-11 was an inside job…***<<<

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