Archive for Work Etiquette

팀 선생님 시가 괴수입니다

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Oldies But Baddies, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2017 by shenanitim

Translation: Tim Teacher is a kaiju.

File this classic under: First year teaching ESL in Korea (October 2nd, 2015).

It’s not often that I don’t have an answer in class. Today was one such day.

“Tim Teacher is tall.”

While that statement is grammatically correct, and also correct within the confines of said class, in any other situation it is completely wrong.

How do you break it to a 9 year old that while I am taller than him, I’m still not actually “tall?”


Popular By Nobody’s Standards

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Live from the C.O. with tags , on August 22, 2015 by shenanitim

It’s truly a wonder that it took Target as long as it did to get rid of me. (Or, more likely, it’s a testament to just how awful my boss there was. He wanted me gone oh so badly, but was either too lazy or incompetent to do anything about it.) One day my boss demanded that I get my team to sell more credit cards by creating a prize for them to win. Look guys, your hard work is appreciated! Here’s some cheap crap!

Most often someone would grab a gift basket, a $5 DVD, and throw in two boxes of movie theater candy; instant date night for those who secretly want to be single and so are hoping their significant other leaves them. Normally someone else would create the prizes, leaving the “real work” to me: fixing things, training people, handling guests. I was asked to create a prize once, and what a glorious day it was!


And so it began. I spent the rest of the day talking about Target’s new “adoption” policy; as the anthropomorphized bag was given a name, “Bobble.” I spoke endlessly on the walkie-talkies about how anyone could be lucky enough to win Bobble and take him home. To their credit, none of my co-workers had a clue to what I was carrying on about. I doubt my boss even knew, and he was the reason for me taking it over the top!

I managed to keep the charade going on so long, while enjoying it so much, that it eventually transformed from a not-so-subtle “fuck you” directed from me to my boss, to a “Tim is fucking crazy” from my boss to his peers! You can get into trouble for being disobediant. But being insane? They can’t very well hold that against you.

Learning How Not to Sink

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Live from the C.O., Oldies But Baddies with tags , , on January 26, 2014 by shenanitim

[I’m so glad I’ve left retail behind me…]

“Sir, do you carry baby coffins?”

“I’m sorry, we do not.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’ve worked here a long time and have never seen baby coffins here.”

[Indignant] “Well, do you know where I could get one?”

Guests always get angry when you don’t have whatever they’re trying to buy. They become even angrier when they find out that you’re not, in fact, a walking retail encyclopedia.

No ma’am, I don’t know where you could buy what you’re looking for. Last time I checked, that part of our marketplace was your area. Having cash isn’t enough anymore, we expect you to know what you want to buy and where to buy it too!

Sometimes it’s fun to play along with them awhile, so as to make their eventual disappointment that much more poignant.

“Excuse me, where do you keep the baby coffins?”

“Oh those? Let me think… Yeah, I think we have a few left. What size did you need? I believe I have a couple newborn ones in back, plus a few 2-3 months… Are you looking for any in particular? I know the newborn ones are honey oak, and we might have one of the 2-3’s in expresso.”

“What about black?”

“Please ma’am, let’s keep this civil!”

152 Czech Waitresses

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Oldies But Baddies with tags , , on May 7, 2012 by shenanitim

I think I might have finally recovered from last week. Though this wondrous tale of woe technically starts a week and a half ago. So after spending Wednesday night fighting off the hordes of ex-cons number munchers (i.e. inventory), I discovered that it was my co-“workers” that were the bigger threat to my health and sanity. They had dicked over my schedule, then had the nerve to play Joey-Bag-of-Doughnuts when I arrived.

Boss-Man: “Where’s your team!?!”

ShenaniMe: “Fucking right here dumbass, Did you think I was joking when I warned you about this on Monday? Shut the fuck up.”

Instead of wandering around for hours sneaking photos of poorly tattooed wanna-be carnies, I was stuck at a table in the front of the store, with a printer, piles of UPC-less merchandise, and a (larger) pile of papers sporting numbers for said mystery items. That’s how I spent a good five hours Wednesday night to Thursday morning (10-3).

Thursday brought my sick sounding car sounding like it didn’t have long for this world. Each start-up was weaker, with more gurgles audible. The fates were kind, they waited until after I made it from work on Friday to give up the ghost. Made all the worse ‘cuz I passed the mechanic’s shop on the way home, and debated whether or not to stop then and there. You know, take all the blows in one day, leaving myself free to heal over the weekend.

It’s funny how you never really want to leave your home until you can’t, at which point your inability causes horrendous frustration. Most days I hope I don’t have to leave. Here I was pulling my hair out ‘cuz I couldn’t. Damn sick friends and those who love them…

I can’t complain though, since the stuttering tow truck driver was awfully nice.

Tow Truck Driver: “Do you mind if I stop for a soda?

S/M: “Uh, we’re just going three miles down the road. Buy your (fucking) soda afterwards. I’m paying for your time right now.”

He pointed out that I was REAL lucky; as his boss didn’t usually accept checks. Politeness strangled the laugh trying to leap from my throat. There’s a recession/depression going on, and literally three pages of tow truck companies listed in the phone book.

I’m the lucky one? Hey, tell your boss, he’s welcome.

It turns out my car’s engine had taken the time, over the years, to tie itself into a Gordian knot. The starter was dead, which was great, ‘cuz I had just replaced it last August, meaning it was still under warranty. Dead from drowning from all the oil my leaky valve covers were spewing.

Returning on Monday to finish the valve cover work, it was discovered that the timing belt had about as long as it takes you to read this sentence to last. (And they couldn’t find the valve covers anywhere in Tampa; doubling that cost.) So Wednesday was also spent at the mechanics too.

“Wow, you’re just going to be here every day aren’t you?,” is not something you want to be greeted with when entering a shop.

The silver lining to all this depressiveness is I found twenty bucks in the ATM at the gas station next to the shop. Meaning, naturally, after the car was running again I ran across the street to Sound Exchange! Finding this piece of epic-ness:

Seasons One and Two of Super Sweet 16! Just what every grown adult needs, *psuedo”-documentarian proof of others’ leasurely lives. Spending half a million dollars on a birthday party? No problem!

Some of my friends have the nerve to question my taste in viewing materials, some even going so far as to use that always trite comment, “I liked MTV better when they actually played videos.”

Clearly they don’t remember those videos. Which were (and still are on a more limited scale) as bad as the songs they were advertising. The Tim Version have a song (the Natural Light Theory) where they sing, “I don’t want to see everything that I listen to.” It’s good advice.

It’s practically our job as the mythical “less fortunate” to watch what the rich do from afar. Not to judge them, for who are we to condemn what they do? We have no frame of reference by which to judge them. We live in a world were a organization that refuses to pay taxes on the grounds that it uses its profits to “help” people, curtail said profits into funds to keep child molesters above the law. And these are (your) God’s representatives!

So how can I pass judgement on some rich kid who couldn’t possibly know any better?

Not to mention the priceless episode where the father takes his son down to New York City to audition strippers (called “dancers” here) for his party! It’s brilliant! Especially when this boy receives his just comeuppance; having scheduled his birthday party at the same time as the school dance, everyone shows up after the dance is over! Totally, and literally, “schooled!” Really, you have to be quite unpopular for your $200,000 private party (with strippers!) to come second to a school dance. It wasn’t even homecoming or prom!

I think I just fell in love all over again…

A Harbor of Hope in a Sea of Suck

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Live from the C.O. with tags , on November 11, 2011 by shenanitim

“I need $2.00 in quarters,” demands a disheveled woman, as she’s dropping a overflowing pile of coins into my foolishly extended palm.

“What?,” I ask politely; desperately trying to buy myself enough time to make sense of what’s happening. Making change isn’t tough; it’s something I do nearly everyday. But this pile of coins. It’s just a clinking mass of metal and… stuff in my hand.

The kind of stuff you generally don’t want anywhere near you.

I can see pennies poking out, some quarters fighting with her dimes and nickels for equal face-time. All mixed in what I hope is/was lint and a few slivers of tree bark.

Yes, you, dear reader, have read that right: slivers of fucking tree bark. It’s as if she had slept out in the woods the night before, and then decided to bring some of it in with her.

“I said ‘I need $2.00 in quarters,” she repeats, clarifying, “for the bus.”

If I learned anything in 10th grade geometry class, it’s that the shortest (i.e. fastest) path between two points is a straight line. So I stop trying to figure out where this borderline hobo’s change came from, and just start counting.

I start by cleaning out/off the playing field. Dust, lint, dirt, bark; all gets wiped off the counter. I start sorting through the coins; trying to group each denomination alike.

One, two, three, four quarters: a dollar. So technically she only needs one (more) dollar in quarters. My one wise move of the day: I did not point this out to her.

Four dimes are unearthed from the Pigpen coin pile and a smile lights up my face. I’m now so close to ending this nightmare.

The nickels lifted my spirits even higher. Only three of them. 15 cents. An amount so small I wouldn’t need to create a new pile for them.

Now come the pennies, which are always way too many, way too messy, and discomfortingly way too slimy. Not full-on, “your hand is now wet” slimy, but just damp enough to make you notice, wonder, then dread.

Thirty-seven. 37 fucking, partially wet pennies. 37 greasy, slimy, tiny little pennies to be corralled into equally greasy, slimy, tiny stacks of five.

Looking down at all the change, I was pretty sure something was wrong. Something, along with our entire interaction, just felt off. A cursory count confirmed my suspicions. $1.87. Not the $2.00 she professed she needed.

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I start recounting. Thinking that maybe I had missed something amongst the pine needles. (Dimes are small after all.) Something that would make up the difference, and place her on a bus on its way out of my life.

No dice. Instead of apologies for any inconveniences, I received insults.

“What? Do you need help counting?,” she jeered.

Stopping, looking at her, and speaking just loud enough so that everyone nearby could hear, yet without raising my voice, “No, ma’am, I’m just double-checking the amounts here. You said it was $2.00, but there’s only $1.87 here.”

She quieted down real fast.

“You’re 13 cents short.”

She digs deep into her grass-stained shorts, turning its tiny pockets inside out only to come up with two more wretched pennies.

Looking down, “Okay, now you’re 11 cents short…”

“I don’t have anymore change,” she admits.

I just start silently off into space. I’ve found it best, in uncomfortable silences like these, ones where I have nothing personally at stake, to not say anything. Allow the person a modicum of dignity before they walk away defeated; no matter how hostile they were mere moments ago.

All this, and we’re still 6-7 weeks out from Christmas. If things stay on this course, I’m in for a wild 4th quarter…

[While searching for the above link, I stumbled across this here, further proof I need to just stop counting.]

Then “Yes,” I Agree!

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Live from the C.O., Oldies But Baddies with tags , , , , on June 26, 2011 by shenanitim

I almost made it to work on time today.  That was until I turned around to lock the door and realized the little piece of paperwork magic sitting in my wallet.  So I whipped it out and placed it for my dorkus neighbors to read all day.  (Those lame-asses have namecards that actually say “Name card,” like they’re too dumb to know you’re supposed to put your own name there.  Or they’re really postmodern.  Fuck ’em either way!)  Naturally it then took me five minutes of shooting photos to get a decent enough shot of the damage done.  This is why I was late:

‘Nuff said I think.  If you ever come across this door while wandering through parking lots. well, you’ll know who lives there.  I even “redneck laminated” it (i.e. wrapped it in tape) so it’s protected from the elements!  Some days I shine so bright I don’t know what to do with myself. 

I think if my boss a.) cared that I was late, and then b.) knew the real reason why, he’d support me.  More than he does already!

Stephane claimed I was “a mess” when I made this yesterday at work.  I’m pretty sure she meant “mess” as in when you spill your bottle of awesomesauce all over the counter and have to clean it up.  Then yes, I agree!

[Of course, I moved after a couple of burglaries, so I’m assuming the new tenants have taken said sign down. Unless, they too, are awesome. But what’re the chances of that happening?

I did, however, remake the sign, and stick it in my wallet. This way whenever a girl checks my ID we share a laugh. And when a dude checks it, things become really uncomfortable. Everyone wins!]

Pistolburg/Drunkenhelm (the Drunkenhelm half)

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Live from the C.O., Oldies But Baddies with tags , , on June 23, 2011 by shenanitim

“Wow Tim, you always smell good.”


“Why do you always smell like the beach Tim?”

She then expressed her desire to be at the beach.  No shit, honey.  We’d all rather be at the beach than at work.  Shit, I’d rather be [name any horrible condition here] and at the beach than at work. 

Instead I reminded her that it was way too cold to enjoy the beach.

She replied that sitting enshrouded in a blanket on a beach is superior to being at work.  It’s not often people read my thoughts.  It’s even less often that they then repeat these thoughts back to me…

She’s very right.

Though I do still prefer to be able to swim while at the beach.  I also enjoy the heat and the burning sand.  These are important aspects of the beach experience.  Just like listening to Funkadelic records as you walk the dunes.  It must be done.  (You could listen to Converge records instead, but believe me, it’s not the same.  And you will notice the difference later.)  The same as listening to Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul on the way home.  All are routines that must be followed. 

At least until I find something funkier.

In case this blog hasn’t clued you in yet, my odor continues to be a lasting topic of conversation at work. 

“Do I smell coconuts?”

You probably do.  And if you do, that would mean you’re standing too close to me.

People don’t seem to grasp that you can really do whatever you want.  Which includes smelling like a mixture of coconuts and suntan lotion.  One for protection, the other for me. 
“Wow, Mr.B.  You smell like bubblegum.”

Oh, how I wish I could remember what that magic combination had been.

I should hire a mariachi band to follow me around on Fridays.  That’d complete my personal beach theme.

Fear and Loathing in F19 (Part IV)

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Live from the C.O., Oldies But Baddies with tags , , on June 12, 2011 by shenanitim

[Final piece of the Fear and Loathing in F19 tedium, I swear. Find Parts I, II, and III by clicking on their respective numbers.]

I figured Imari already knew about Roadhouse 41 ‘cuz he had lived here before.  I had only ever been in there on business delivering pizzas.  Strippers actually make great tippers.  They understand all the unwritten rules of the service economy.

Unless you forget the (albiet plastic) silverware.

Just don’t forget the (plastic) silverware.

‘Cuz if you do, they get pissed!  And boy do they hold grudges.  I had hoped that by bringing them a doomsday supply of plastic forks and knives that they’d take the hint and hold onto some.  You know, help us both out.  Negative on that.

But these weren’t amazing stories.  Everyone (should) know these facts of life already.  So then I hit Imari with the crown jewel: Punta Gorda’s own whore house!

Most people I know always seem shocked to find out that a lowly place like Charlotte County even rated a whorehouse.  No one ever seemed to know about it.  (Which could just be another indicator of the type of people I generally hang around.)  Everyone seems shocked to find out Punta Gorda had a whorehouse; even more taken aback to find out it was right on US 41.

Now this wasn’t one of those lame ‘lingerie/modeling’ business fronts either.  Just a run down shack with what looked to be mattresses covering all the windows.  Gaining entrance involved tougher scrutiny than entering the courthouse at the time.  (This was before 9/11 changed all that.  Unless the whorehouse beefed up their security too.)

You’d ring the doorbell then wait as you were checked out from ninety different angles.  Then the door would open a crack and they’d ask you, ‘who is it?’

In case the stench of pepperoni wasn’t a good enough indicator!  Did they think they could trip up a lowly undercover agent with that?  ‘Ah, geez, what am I posing as again?  Oh, yeah, the pizza guy!  I’m the pizza guy!  See, right here!’  [Pointing to the pizza box.]

The whores tipped like champions though.  And, for fun, you could skip that delivery so that your sixty year old boss’ ex-wife would have to run it.

That almost made up for the tip money you lost out on!

‘Uh, Tim, what, uh, was that place?’

It had no address.  It was just about twenty feet back from the giant vegetable stand on 41 on your way to Burnt Store.

Imari and I were practically platonic soul mates at this point.  The hours just fly by once the walls of decency have been completely torn down.  There was no place left to go other than wherever we wanted!

Ian didn’t have any strip club/whorehouse stories.  (That he’d admit to, anyway!)  Just a few tales of playing Scandinavian death metal tunes at high school talent shows to unreceptive crowds.  He could talk your ear off about Porcupine Tree though.  Or about how he hated bands that write songs about politics.  Which is related to he loved Bad Religion’s music, but not necessarily their message.

He’ll be missed.

(Is it wrong that I’m totally psyched by the fact that God will have to file this missive under: “Most Poorly Executed Tribute to a Mormon Ever?”  ‘Cuz clearly it is.)

Fear and Loathing in F19 (Part III)

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Live from the C.O., Oldies But Baddies with tags , , on June 11, 2011 by shenanitim

[Another chapter in my long winding tribute to a disappeared Mormon. Here are links to Parts I and II for everyone sitting at home confused.]

Imari might’ve wanted to reacquaint himself with religion and “proper” living, but old habits die hard. It was no surprise that his next question was to me was, “Do you know of any good strip clubs in town?”

It was now my turn to “shine.”  Somehow I’ve amassed plenty of strip club stories from that town.  (Okay, only a few.)  What’s great about them though is that they all serve as fine illustrations to just how socially awkward I am.  ‘Cuz frankly all our strip club trips never start as, ‘hey, let’s go to a strip club.’  Never.  Instead they’re by-products of the ‘it’s eleven o’clock, Thursday night and there’s no other place open’ syndrome that rears its ugly head whenever my friend visits.  There’s always two places open: Wal-Mart and Emerald City.  Luckily they’re right across the street from each other!  Seize the night!

Inside was (still is?) blah blah blah a strip club.  Stools, chairs, a stage, a bouncer and lots of mirrors.  The mirrors are always what get me.  They are set up so there’s one behind the stage, and one behind you.  Which creates that infinity optical illusion effect you normally find demonstrated in children’s museums.

Really, how am I supposed to be watching coke fiends when there’s optical illusions going down all around me?  Who hasn’t seen a pairs of tits by the time you’re old enough to enter one of these places?

Then some (unlucky) stripper would sidle up and start her spiel.  How are you doing?  Her name is blahblahblah.  Blahblahblahblahblahblah…

Is something wrong?’

[Look at her] ‘Wha?  Everything’s fine.’  [Looking back at the mirrors.]

‘Would [I] like a lap dance?’


‘Did [I] mind her talking?’

Clearly I did.  ‘Uhhh, it’s okay.’

‘Did [I] want her to leave?’


With that uncomfortable exchange over I could get back to focusing on me.  [I mean I write a blog about myself so I’m assuming that this rampant narcissism comes as a surprise to no one reading this.]

After all, I keep a mirror in my messenger bag at all times; just in case.  Now, I don’t peruse it much.  I do, however, feel good knowing it’s there.

Imari was here trying to refocus back upon himself.  I think everyone I know hopes that someday I’ll actually broaden my gaze.

(I’m sure the slighted stripper was a nice girl and all; supporting her family and whatnot.  But really, c’mon, you’d think she’d be able to read people a little bit better.  My expressions are a lot more honest than anything I’ll ever say aloud.)

Fear and Loathing in F19 (Part II)

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Live from the C.O., Oldies But Baddies with tags , , on June 8, 2011 by shenanitim

The shortest week (of my life) came from a giant amongst men known only as Imari.  Imari came from the heavens equipped with stories that fascinate me to this day.  Catching, cooking and eating raccoons and turtles for Thanksgiving anyone?

I was so ready to figure out a plausible excuse to skip my families’ own festivities.  I mean turkey versus raccoon?  Do you even need to think about it?  Sorry, Grandma, but I’ll go for the unknown every time.

It didn’t start off as grilled turtles though.  Imari’s first day had me sweating bullets.

While the libertarian had the ‘politics’ part of the ‘don’t touch’ training equation down pat, Imari started off by preaching the ‘religion’ side.

You don’t know just how long five hours can drag when all your partner is talking about is church.  Did I know any good churches in the area?  Pastors?  Blah blah blah.  Dude, I don’t think I’ve even spent five hours in a church in the last fifteen years.

It took all my restraint not to start busting on the Pope.  He’s such an easy target!  Instead we settled on child-molesting priests.  That way he gets his religious jibber-jabber in while I can still pass out at least a little trangressive/aggressive humor.  We could do this without completely destroying any sort of mutual respect we had growing.

It wasn’t until we settled into the P.G.I. strip mall parking lot for lunch that Imari transcended his ‘bore’ status into the coveted ‘holy Christ awesome‘ spot.  This transformation started with his relocation story.

Imari had previously been living with his sister in Hotlanta.  His routine was: work all week, get paid, and then party all weekend.  Pretty normal by must standards.

One fateful night he ended up with 600 dollars burning a hole in his pocket.  So naturally he went straight to the strip club.  (This is the point where my ears perked up.)  The next thing he remembers is waking up with the sun shining through is passenger window.  He had managed to drive back to his sister’s apartment, but not make it into said apartment. 

Then he passed back out.

Passed out only to be awoke by his sister banging on the windshield.  She was screaming her head off at him.  Didn’t he know this wasn’t a good neighborhood?  How could he sleep in the car like that, it wasn’t safe.  She had been up all night worrying about him.  She knew he had some money and was afraid that he’d either found trouble, or trouble found him.  How could he do that to her?  Oh, by the way, where was the money?

It was Saturday morning and he was dead-ass broke again.  Six hundred blown in a strip club and he didn’t even have a memory of it to enjoy.

He realized there that he needed to refocus.  So he moved to a retirement community in South West Florida; i.e. the dullest place on Earth.  From here he would reacquaint himself with his religion and start living ‘right.’