Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Deja Vu

“Do you know what an IRewards Card is?” she asks us.
Nods from most, but not all, forces her to continue, “They're our frequent shoppers cards, for discounts on purchases…”
Now all of us are nodding. “And it is expected that all employees sell these cards. Are you comfortable with that?”
Of course we are. We want jobs. We are at Chapters for a group interview. Two supervisors interviewing six candidates. We are all females. Four fit ones, under 24, all recent University graduates. Two of us, older and heavier, with years of customer service experience under our belt.
“Demonstrate for us please, your ability to sell something. Think of a product, place, location, or idea that you feel passionately about, and sell it to us. Teresa, you go first.”
Followed by; “If this was your store, what two things would you do to guarantee its success?’

Half a dozen questions like that are thrown at us from the tag-team interview duo.

Then they hand us a packet of papers attached to a clipboard and instruct us to fill out the forms and complete the tests. Laughing, Brigit says, “I guess you weren’t expecting exams at this interview, were you?”

Ha ha. Oh yeah. Cool joke.

There was a Math Quiz: (Show all work on the space provided)
- What is 30% of $297.50.
- If a products costs $5.00 and the mark up is 44%, what is the selling price?
- What is the total amount of; Twelve Fifty Dollar Bills plus Forty Three Quarter Coins plus nineteen twenty dollar bills plus 148 penny coins plus …
- What is the total amount of the sale if you sell 19 Products @ $18.75 and 57 products @ $4.95 and 140 products @ .79?
- Etc.

Next page was a timed test. A list of 20 authors, all with names starting with S were to be placed in alphabetical order. Go.

Then the “so you think you’re an avid reader” questionnaire.
“Check each box indicating you have a solid background in the following book categories:
_ fiction _planes, trains _eastern religions _business _computers
_children’s _mystery _new age _alternative _art
_music _romance _literature ­_movies _western relig
_cook books _self help _health _sci fi _travel

I checked off 4 areas. Four!
The position was for part time seasonal work as a customer experience clerk. Not even a cashier. Minimum wage, I’m guessing.
I left there feeling inadequate and under qualified.

I will have no self esteem left by November and will be begging Bevo to take me back. “Please let me squat in your 100 degree greenhouse …”

I am still involved in fundraising for the Europe trip next Spring. And tonight was our big fall meeting, complete with all the parents. I wanted to make it a teensy bit special so I decided to drive out to Delta to pick up a few boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts. (We will be doing a KK fundraiser later this month, so having donut samples available seems like good marketing. Besides, I had volunteered to design two collection boxes for our KK orders. Using actual donut boxes is my type of creativity.)

As I merge onto the freeway, I swerve to avoid three stray dogs on the shoulder at end of the on ramp. They are running into the ‘slow’ lane and causing no end of confusion. So I move over to the ‘fast’ lane, hoping to get past them, but they are one step ahead of me. Three mangy mutts galloping west on Hwy #1 have traffic snarls accumulating in their wake.
“Ring.” It’s my phone.
It’s my mom. I was going to pick her up and take her to Krispy Kreme with me. “Where are you?”
“On the freeway, following a pack of dogs…”
“I know…” I glance in my rear view mirror. “OH SHIT!”
“I’m going to get hit by a dump truck again. He’s not stopping…”
I drop the phone, veer right off the freeway onto the shoulder and accelerate. No way I’m going to get rear ended by another dump truck. I played this game last fall. I lost. I don’t care if I squish that rapid dog, and leave a messy pile of guts smeared all over the road…

He was a double dumper (truck and trailer), fully loaded with aggregate.
“I sorry miss. I full load. Heavy. Can’t stop like that on freeway. I try…”

He hit two of us. The other gal was not as understanding as I. She needed to vent. He let her. I went into auto-pilot mode. (How many times have I been hit in the past 4 years? SIX. I am so an expert at these things. Is that a skill I should highlight on my resume?)

After we exchanged info, I shook both their hands and wished them well. Then sat in my truck and got the shakes.

The timing stinks. You know how there are good times to deal with Motor Vehicle Accidents and there are not so good times? This was the latter.
However, in spite of the mishap, I managed to buy the donuts, load up four more bags of donated clothing for the drive, pick up 5 kids from two schools, and drop them off at three different locations, then take Drew to a friend’s house, get Clint down to Fluid to pick up his order, deposit Max at his guitar lesson with a new instructor, fill up with gas, purchase a few groceries, pick up Max, get back Drew, and be home by 6 pm. Mark was supposed to have the kids but he couldn’t come get them, could I drop them off? After I fed them… Please.
The phone rings at 6:10; “Jane, I can’t make it to the meeting tonight. Could you chair it?”
“Guys? I need to figure out an agenda for tonight’s meeting. We’ll go in a minute or so.”
At 6:20 my printer is spitting out a 10 point agenda, a sample letter, a sign up sheet and minutes from the last meeting.
At 6:30 we are ordering from the drive thru menu at McDonald’s. At 6:55 they are dumped in Mark’s driveway. At 7:15 I arrive at the school, praying the photocopy room is open.
By 7:30 when the parent’s arrive, I’ve got 30 copies of each page ready for them to pick up.
“Hi. I’m Jane. Lynne and Debbie who are in charge of this can’t be here tonight, so I’ll fumble through this as best I can. Please, help yourself to a donut. I’ve risked life and limb to get these for you…”

At 9 pm I turn off the lights, close the classroom door and head to my truck.

Some days are just like this.
I’ll report my accident tomorrow. I’ll feel achy and stiff tomorrow. I’ll figure out how much this’ll cost me tomorrow.
I’ll get my child support cheque tomorrow and feel like a loser all over again.
I’ll …

“Hi Jane. I just talked to my husband. I’m so excited about this and so is he. Our office has a new opening this fall. We need a part time administrative assistant. 9 am to 2 pm, daily. The pay is definitely more than minimum wage. Based on how you handled tonight’s meeting, especially considering your troubles earlier in the day, I’m confident you would be perfect.”

Tingles of joy and relief.

“Would I have to do a math test?”

Oh, I know. It’s not a sure thing. Neither of them even does the hiring. Some guy from a country that starts with N (Nigeria, Nicaragua, Nepal?) who has a lot of vowels in his name (Akweelou?) would need to see my resume first.

It’s not the job possibility that has me all verklempt.
It’s the kind words of affirmation.


So appreciated.

Thank you B for believing in me. You too, F...
Thank you J and L for encouraging me to kick it up a notch with my photography.
Thank you C and J for pushing me into the world of Blogging.
Thanks mom for reading everyday. Twice.

Thank you God for protecting me in another accident.

Like Lori says, “There’s got to be a better way for you to meet men…”

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