Bored With Your Job? Try Getting Fired.

old historic Sears & Roebuck Co. catalogue guide 1909 turn of the century antique A while back I wrote a series of articles about working retail at Sears; stories about the weird situations that I encountered as a sales clerk. What I didn't write is how I added to this weirdness.

You see, working for six years in any building is similar to leaving your home for a second home. You know where the cracked tiles in the restroom are before you step on them, you know the stuck keys on the register keyboard, you know what Bret, the annoying co-worker, is going to say before he says it. It all becomes monotonous.

So, during the slow hours, one must learn to entertain oneself.

By nature, I don't get bored very often. Ennui was unacceptable, growing up. My brother and I always found something to do--we invented games during slow times out of tape-balls and sock-fighters that {we thought} were better than many Winter Olympic events.

At Sears, there were often hours between viable customers. My department was small and easily managed. The signing, facing, stocking, cleaning, etc. were all done in minutes, which left tons of time to loiter.

Playschool power wheels quad 4-wheeler adult riding
Apparently, this Power Wheels infatuation was
quite a problem in my early twenties.  
One time, when I was tired of listening to Bret's lack of love life chitchat, I decided to charge up a Power Wheels battery, and take the toddler police squad car out for a ride. It was surprisingly powerful, considering it had been a display model for over three years. Aaron, the other sporting goods associate, didn't think this was a good idea.

"Of course it isn't a good idea, that's why I'm doing it."

My then girlfriend had walked down from the kid's department just in time to see me blaze down the 30' isle and head-on collide with a structural pillar. I was like a slow motion crash test dummy in a Consumer Reports simulation. The force of the impact flung me over the hood of the car (although I like to think it was artistic, like Luke Duke sliding over the hood of the General Lee).

Luke Duke Dukes of Hazard general Lee Dodge sliding over the hood

Somehow I held onto the yellow blow-molded CB radio through my trajectory, and landed backwards, the CB's playskool-like red twine pulled taught; the Power Wheels vehicle on its side, wheels still spinning. At least I could still radio for help.

"Man down...I repeat...we have an officer down, in sporting goods..."

Jackass golf cart crash from first movie Johnny Knoxville concussion
Thankfully my infatuation with stupidity ended in my early twenties,
unlike the morons form Jack@ss.  (Of course, they are all rich now). 
Like all my stupid antics, somehow there was now an audience, as Jill (now my wife), Bret, Aaron, and at least four customers were laughing at my stupidity. I would've understood if Jill would've dumped me right then--I obviously showed I had no cerebral cortex control. Or maybe she just liked the "make believe" bad boy.
Another time I was perturbed because Sears decided to sell plastic storage totes in our department. The company ditched a line of merchandise that paid us a healthy commission, for products that rarely added up to over a ten dollar transaction. Not to mention that Rubbermaid, our new store brand, brought in this moronic rep to "redesign" our whole department. Our manager couldn't stand this blowhard who had the audacity to bulk stack five dollar items on our end-caps. I almost got in trouble once for frisbee tossing a Rubbermaid lid at this rep while he was on a ladder, but when he went to our manager to complain, my manager (not because of me) 86'ed him from our store for good.

Retail Signage field goal sign tall poll sign
I actually had to look through
five pages of Google images
to find this sign display...
I passed seven random naked
women, before finding "tall
store sign display."
Good job Google. 
Well one day I showed up to work and we had a mid-isle bulk stack of these stupid totes in grey and purple, with a "field goal" sign post advertising their price of $6.99. The "field goal" sign was at least five feet in the air, with two thin metal bars about two feet apart where they wobbly met the metal base. The totes were stacked in two rows before the sign, and the lids in two rows behind.

I suddenly had the idea that I could Superman jump over the totes, through the field goal sign poles, land on the lids, and have them splay out across the floor, carrying me down the isle.  This, of course, probably explains why I got a B- in physics; I had stupid hypotheses.

It was an idiotic idea, but I couldn't get it out of my mind.  Three things were working against my plan.  One: my 215 lb. body might not even fit through the two foot metal openings.  Eh.  So I break a sign, big deal.  Two: physics never worked the way I thought they should.  The lids could catch a floor tile and fling me off just like the Powerwheels.  Three: management.  But after four years or so, I no longer cared what Sears, or my revolving door managers, thought of me.

playing Card deck splayed fanned out in numeric order So I waited until there were no customers, took a twenty foot running start and dove headfirst through the opening, landing on the tote lids just as I had dreamed, and like a casino dealer, the totes fanned out across the floor, carrying me like a slip-and-slide past the paint department. Never touching the tile floor for at least twenty feet. "Take that Ms. Walker (my physics teacher), this hypothesis is now fact!"

I barely got off the final tote when my manager came around the corner and saw the strange sight.

"What's all this mess about?"

"Some dumb customer's kid just pushed it over...I knew we shouldn't have these in the middle of the isle," lied Bret.

"Okay, yeah, lets move them up to the catwalk, I hate that Rubbermaid rep anyway," replied my manager.

Thanks Bret, sometimes just listening to people's dumb stories pays dividends. (And liking, commenting, tweeting, or google+ing people's dumb stories, can pay dividends as well).


  1. I have a tendency to do this at jobs where I'm overqualified and understimulated. Although I've never ridden a kid's toy into a pillar.

    1. I think overqualified and understimulated were at the core of why I did what I did. Flash forward ten + years, and acting "crazy" is eating salsa after ten PM.

  2. While it is likely more a "you had to be there" moment, the sight of Chris Plumb crashing into that pillar will forever remain stored in my memory banks. In fact, reading that story made me miss those days. WE truly were the sillier side of Sears. (By the way, don't forget that you spent the next hour 'fixing' that official police vehicle. Propped up on random Sears merchandise, Chris dutifully put Craftsman tools to good use.) Ahh, the good ol' days.

    1. Ha ha, I forgot I put that stupid Power Wheels up on a jack and gave it an oil change, etc. Wow...There must be something seriously wrong with me.

      Aaron, I miss those good ole' days as well. Although I don't miss the minimum wage adjustments in February (or Bret's random complaining).

  3. I don't think I had to be there. I got a pretty good visual. Oh my gosh this cracked me up! Thanks for the new Sears story on a day that needed it!

    1. Thanks for the idea. I didn't want to blog about Boston, as I think we all get over-saturated with bad news on bad news days.

      Without being disingenuous to Boston, I think laughter, for most of us, is the best medicine.

  4. This is awesome! I never had the guts to use work stuff as props. I wish I would have. The best I have is trying to play indoor baseball with an old dinner roll and a big stapler as a bat! Good work!!

    1. It takes many years of alienation and lost benefits before one can be jaded enough to no longer respect their company's property. That, and an overactive imagination.

      Or maybe it's just a Leo thing.

  5. This is every job I've ever had. Bored, bored, bored - and I am a person that's never bored in life. We were raised on no more than 30 minutes of TV a day, then we had to entertain ourselves, so I can always find something to do.
    My severe fear of getting caught keeps me from elaborate work-pranks now, which is just as well, because shouldn't one at 30 have it together at least a little?
    Don't answer that.

    1. I'm supposed to have it together? I write a blog. It pays nothing. It is my one creative addition to this world...

      Jeez...I shouldn't have answered that...

  6. After your pillar crash, I was completely expecting you to get halved in the sign...or stuck inside it while sailing down the aisle. I was so excited to read about your sweet success!!

  7. Hurrah, that's what I was looking for, what a material! present here at this blog, thanks admin of this site.

    Here is my page: Tag list ()