I had taken a position at Radio Shack, which had branched out to sell, among other things, sporting goods. My first customer was a younger guy, white, with a straggly rim of beard and what seemed like ordinary clothes for someone of his age - long baggy shorts and a T-shirt of some sort. He wanted to exchange something but hadn't brought it in. I thought there was something fishy about this to begin with but was determined to do well with my first customer. He said he'd bought a "Pete Reed." I had no idea what that was. Asked him if he could just bring in the broken part or something.
He gave me a really funny look at that - as it turned out, he'd bought a Pete Reed basketball. I was able to lead him to the sporting goods section after that, at least, and move on.
This was a typical minimum-wage bullshit job. Nice crew, though. One showed me where the pizza was (yes, RS sold pizza too now). I was eating slice after slice at the little desk (not a checkout counter) which was our station.
The store manager - a short, stout woman with short hair, wearing dark blue slacks and a light blue short-sleeved blouse - came in and sat down at the management desk, which was facing the window into the street. I came up behind her and tried to introduce myself, before finding out that she was on the phone. She held me off with a raised finger; I was already backing away but she was still pissed. She got off the phone, came over and gave me a lecture about that, about eating constantly (we were supposed to confine our food to the lunch breaks, naturally), and so on. Cranky bitch.
I was musing about management styles when I got another customer. This one was a young black woman, who reminded me a lot of former schoolmate Lynn Radford. Not sure what she actually wanted; she wandered off into the mall next door, which at this point was a dark hallway lined with video and pinball games.
I'd sort of lost interest in Radio Shack anyway, and followed her as she met up with some friends, a guy and an older woman, and selected a video Whack-A-Mole game to start playing. The instructions on the screen were in some sort of cartoonish Ebonics, and I was afraid for a minute that the "moles" would turn out to be black people's heads... that this would turn into a twisted little exercise in self-hatred. But no, the moles were just moles, and she started whacking them. She wasn't all that good at the game but the graphics were incredible.
The game was interrupted when a giant, photo-realistic boa on-screen started gulping the moles down one by one, very realistic bulges traveling down the brown scaly snake.
About that time, I woke up...
October 26, 2000
©2000, 2001 Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.
This document was last updated May 20, 2001.