The Art of the Steal

You all remember The Quitter from yesterday, right? If not, then stop reading this post and go read it before going any further.

Welcome back, this is what it feels like to be caught up you lazy bum.

As I was saying, you all remember The Quitter from yesterday, right? Of course you do, I’m a very memorable writer and you should follow me immediately.

Ok, now that you’re following me, and that you’re all caught up, we can continue. No more holding back the rest of the class.

Due to the lack of composure and ethic of The Quitter, I spent a large portion of the day making phone calls and interviewing people. One young lady in particular stuck out like a sore thumb. With gangrene.

After going through most of the interview, she asks me if I’ll be performing a background check. Odd question to ask since most employers get a background check of their employees. I told her I would be doing that if we decided to go any further with the hiring process. She then proceeded to tell me that she was fired from a job about 7 years ago for stealing.

I’m a forgiving person and I don’t judge, as I’m sure you can tell from my obvious unicorns and rainbows demeanor. Unfortunately, when it comes to work, I have zero tolerance for certain things. Theft is one of those things. Especially in a business where we have our hands on hundreds of products each day, a lot of which is unsupervised.

I let her know that I would contact her to let her know either way if I wanted to continue the hiring process. She left, I immediately got on the internet.

Turns out, Klepto McStickyfingers had a misdemeanor for taking close to $500 right out of a register in front of a camera that she knew was there. Now, I know people change, everyone deserves a second chance, and all that jazz.

I also know that I have fifteen other applicants who haven’t stolen anything. Guess who I’m going to hire?

Back to the story. During my research online and a couple of calls to her old employer to find out what the circumstances were, I discovered quite a bit. McStickyfingers not only blatantly stole from her company, but told fellow employees in the weeks leading up to the crime that she’d easily be able to do it without getting caught. She thought the cameras didn’t work because they were too outdated and for sure didn’t have any kind of audio. They were there for a scare tactic. I bet she was scared when she got arrested.

I DO NOT CONDONE THEFT OF ANY KIND FROM ANY PERSON OR COMPANY.

That being said…

If you’re going to steal from someone, come on. Be fairly intelligent about it. Don’t tell people you’re capable of doing it, how and why you are capable of doing it, or when you’re going to do it. Try to block yourself from any cameras. Don’t be obvious about it. Make it look smooth.

I wrote a post a couple months ago called The Art of the Deal. Go read it. I’ll wait.

Okay, welcome back, again. If I have to make you go back one more time I’m throwing your ass out of this class.

Now insert the wealth of knowledge from The Art of the Deal into this post, The Art of the Steal. See what I did there with the titles? That was a complete coincidence. Yet it worked out seamlessly. I told you earlier I was great at this writing thing. You should read what I write every day like Iamthesunking does. Front of the class, top marks, teacher’s pet.

Anyway. Be smart about what you do. Even thieving. Again, I don’t condone theft in any way. But if you’re going to do something, do it well, think it out, be smart about it. I’d hire a good thief over a bad one any day just out of principle.

Don’t be like Klepto McStickyfingers.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a beautiful woman in my bed waiting for me to hold her so we can pass out.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Karen: Evolution

I’ve recently posted about a certain type of woman. The name I gave this woman is Karen. The name is a catchall for the women who think they are better than the average person and treat those people as such, for absolutely no reason. Karen has an average job, an average car, ill-behaved children, a let-me-speak-to-your-manager haircut, can’t get through the day without Starbucks before work and at lunch, and goes to church every Sunday just to show everyone there that she showed up. Karen is no better than anyone else, but likes to pretend she is even though she is the same as your average human being. This is a story about an evolved form of Karen: Sharon.

Sharon is a name we are going to give to the Karens of the world who, instead of treating people like garbage for no reason, do so because they actually are of a higher stature than the rest of us. Sharon has the let-me-speak-to-your-manager-so-I-can-get-you-fired haircut, drives a luxury SUV that is way too big for her, has very spoiled children who get everything they want, doesn’t have a real job but makes turquoise jewelry to sell at local markets, gives back to the community by writing a check, knows all the local politicians but doesn’t actually know anything about politics, and wouldn’t be caught dead in a Starbucks even if her cappuccino machine at home was broken.

The easiest way to spot a Sharon is by her bracelets. All of them are shiny, all of them are too big, none of them actually go together, and they are the loudest bracelets on the face of the planet.

I had the misfortune of meeting a Sharon around 4 o’clock this morning. I was just wrapping up a site and was inside the store when Sharon walked in.

Gas stations that are open 24/7 are not usually the kind of please you want to be. Sharon is the last person who wants to be there.

Sharon had been driving her Audi Q7 for the last few hours on her way to a Mary Kay sales convention and needed to use the restroom. The clerk directed her to the restroom in the corner of the store. About 2 seconds after the restroom door closed it opened right back up again and Sharon stormed to the counter.

How could that clerk expect her to use such a terrible facility?! Not only is it unisex, but it was filthy. Clearly some man has sprayed his DNA all over the place and she would be calling the district manager to let him know how she was being treated.

I was the last person in that restroom, it was spotless before and after I used it. Very clean, smelled good, and was fairly spacious. So I don’t know what the hell Sharon was talking about, and seeing as how the clerk was the one who cleaned it, he was as perplexed as I.

Not only did Sharon display her disgust at such treatment, but she exclaimed that she will never visit one of these gas stations again. As she walked out the door she could be heard muttering that she should have just flown to her conference.

Good riddance.

Karens are awful people to deal with. Sharons are worse. I have dealt with many Karens and Sharons in my day. This particular Sharon was on the tame side. I’m sure it won’t be long before I get to experience another. Can’t wait.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Production Line

Being on the road as much as I am, I eat out for 99% of my meals. Because of some of the remote locations I go to, this means McDonald’s. A lot. I understand that dining at such a fine establishment does not bring with it the highest of expectations. However, I have a few issues.

Issue #1:

I showed up to a McDonald’s and ordered a McChicken sandwich, with pickles. I also ordered a Hamburger. Both of these items are on the Dollar Menu and, again, I should not have expected the fanciest of cuisine.

I unwrapped my McChicken. A pickle had fallen out, no big deal, down the hatch.

I unwrapped my Hamburger. I realize that ordering such an item from McDonald’s, off the Dollar Menu no less, shouldn’t get my hopes up. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a hamburger, even the most basic of hamburgers, I imagine the bun, some lettuce, tomato, some kind of condiment, onions, and the patty. Most places seem to use mustard as the condiment, so when I ordered, I asked them to sub mayo instead of mustard and made sure they put pickles on it.

Behold, my “Hamburger.” The pickles were ON TOP OF THE BUN. All of the lettuce was in the wrapper, none of it on the burger. The patty was in the bun, held in place by an obscenely large amount of mayo. By obscenely large, I mean enough for the patty and myself to go swimming in. It was spilling over the sides of the bun. It covered the pickles and turned it all into a disgusting, congealed mass of green and white. There were a few finely minced onions on the patty, the rest were in the mayo orgy. The top bun, the one with the pickles on it, was completely off the patty. No tomatoes or lettuce. The burger consisted of a patty, pickles, and onions.

I was aware that for so cheap of a price I would be able to participate in the building of my own burger. Especially since they refused to remake it for me.

Issue #2:

I know McDonald’s employees probably don’t get paid much, don’t have many incentives, and are only there for an easy paycheck. Hence the quality craftsmanship of my aforementioned meal. I have never seen worse attitudes from managers and employees than I have at McDonald’s. Every McDonald’s I’ve been to, not just the one.

If I bring back something and kindly ask for it to be remade or to just have my money back because it looked like the Hulk had an anger issue with my burger during an earthquake, then I don’t need to hear that you don’t see anything wrong with it. Or that you can’t remake it. Or that you can’t refund my money.

I understand that I’m sacrificing quality for price at such an establishment, but come on. At least be nice about it. And don’t laugh about it when I turn my back to leave the counter. Go reprimand the line cook. Anything.

Issue #3:

After such an experience, and on a hot day, I figured I’d treat myself to a shake or an ice cream cone or something of that nature. Remember, McDonald’s was the only place in town, I couldn’t go somewhere else for a tasty treat.

I ordered my ice cream cone. But guess what, and I know all of you know what I was told. Everyone together now: OUR ICE CREAM MACHINE IS DOWN.

Of course it is. I can’t remember a single McDonald’s anywhere that I’ve been to in the last 4 years that could serve ice cream because the machine was down. All of you have experienced this. It doesn’t matter which location you go to or what time of day or night you go, the machine is down.

After some research, I discovered that this is because the ice cream machine they use puts itself through a rigorous self-cleaning operation that takes several hours. Completely understandable. So get 2 and alternate them. Or set the time that it cleans itself every day and put hours up that ice cream is not available. Are you telling me the multi-billion dollar company can’t afford to figure this out? Hire me. I’ll clean the damned machines myself if I can get some ice cream once a year. I bet I can do it faster.

These issues make me dread going to any McDonald’s. But when you’re starving and it’s the only place for a hundred miles, what are you going to do? Get your shit together, Ronald McDonald. Your Golden Arches are fool’s gold and no one is loving it.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Art of the Deal

I don’t condone the use or sale of drugs or anything like it. That being said, if that’s something you do, be smart about it.

It was 7:45 in the evening in Santa Rosa, NM. Still plenty of daylight, definitely enough to make a drug deal obvious to anyone who happened to be looking in the right direction. I was in the middle of testing sensors under a bunch of fuel dispensers. Halfway through, I looked up. A mid-90s Ford Something-or-other was pulling up to a dispenser. A guy (Idiot Numero Uno stepped out and started walking toward the store. Another guy, we’ll call him Idiot Numero Dos, was smoking a cigarette against the side of the store and started walking towards Idiot Numero Uno. They met in the middle of the parking lot, halfway through between the fuel pumps and the storefront.

Now, if I were going to make such a transaction as these two businessman, I certainly wouldn’t do it in the middle of a parking lot at the busiest gas station in town, at the busiest intersection in town, while the parking lot and store are full of witnesses, with the sun burning bright. Not that I would do anything of the sort to begin with.

Then the idiocy began:

  • Idiots Numero Uno and Do chatted for a minute. A solid minute. In the middle of the busy parking lot
  • Idiot Numero Dos pulled out a wad of crumpled up cash and visibly counted out the right amount in exchange for his product
  • Idiot Numero Uno took the cash, counted it, and stuffed it in his pocket
  • Idiot Numero Uno pulled a joint out of his other pocket and noticeably gave it to Idiot Numero Dos
  • Both Idiots shook hands, Numero Uno went back to his car; Numero Dos back to his wall to smoke another cigarette

I’m no expert, but I have enough common sense to see that they went about their little exchange all wrong.

First of all, the whole thing should have happened all at once and taken maybe 3 seconds. Idiot Numero Dos should have already had the cash counted and separated ahead of time. Idiot Numero Uno should have had the joint in a plastic baggy or some other kind of protected containment; no one wants your nasty pocket-lint weed. there shouldn’t be that friendly of a relationship between a dealer and a user. It can create problems down the road in a big way. That means they shouldn’t have been having that friendly of a chat for that long. If they were friends, then they should have saved the conversation for later, over the phone, or hanging out somewhere else. Idiot Numero Uno should have actually gone into the store for any number of reasons to look somewhat legitimate. Idiot Numero Dos should have left, not posted up in his usual spot. Never stay in the same place where you make a transaction like that.

The best part of this is that I’m 6’1, I was in a very bright orange shirt for work, and I was visibly staring at them both during the whole thing, maybe 10 feet away.

They should have casually passed each other, passed cash and product in a couple of handshakes, and both moved on. It’s simple. But I guess if you have to sell or use drugs to make a living or get your rocks off, you’re probably not smart enough to wheel a tire down a damned hill.

Do better.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you at the next stop.

The Blog

Well, I’ve managed to write 10 posts now. This will be my 11th. Those of you who have been following along or have read my first entry (The First) know that I made a commitment to write at least 1 post a day. I realize that 10 days is not long, but considering how crazy my schedule is and that fact that I’m not a big writer, I’m pleased. And you should be too. Feel free to applaud quietly wherever you happen to be reading this. I’ll wait…

When I started this blog it was mostly to get some things off of my chest about the things I see and think about on the road. So far it’s been a success. I get a handful of new followers every day and a fairly decent amount of page traffic for just starting out. Now that I’ve been doing it for a week and a half and now that I’ve done some exploring and reading of other blogs, I think I want to make an effort to monetize it. My goal is to start doing this after my 20th post. Don’t worry, no one needs to put up any money or anything like that. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m the one who has to pay for a bunch of stuff.

Seeing as how I’m new to all of this and have no idea what I’m doing or talking about when it comes to blogging and making a profit out of it, I’m going to invite my readers/followers to comment and email me on some ways to get started. I’d love to hear from some of you that have your own blogs and are currently earning from them. Any pointers and help will be greatly appreciated. The reason I’m going to you instead of doing a ton of internet research on monetizing blogs (don’t worry, I’m doing that as well) is because you have first-hand experience. Part of the reason I’m writing this blog is to keep everyone included in the day-to-day goings on of my life. I’d like to develop a close relationship with my readers. Some of you I’ve known for years and some of you just started following today because you found one of my posts in whatever category you happened to be looking at just then. All of you are equally important. Except for you, Mom. You’re the most important. But don’t tell these guys.

Anyway, please comment or email me (michaelhowell0188@gmail.com, I’m sure that’s somewhere on my page) with any ideas. I’d also like to thank all of you for sticking with this little venture of mine for the last 10 posts and would like you to keep it up. For my new readers, I promise these get a lot more interesting. Once again, thank you, everyone.

Stay classy, and I’ll see you the next stop.