The Root’s senior writer Michael Harriot was asked “what was the worst job you ever had?” and he had a meme-worthy answer on Twitter last May.
Please read, it’s really good… it’s a 29-Tweet epic.
Via Michael Harriot:
Someone asked about the worst job I ever had:
One summer, for 3 weeks, I worked at a place that rhymes with “Boss Dress for Less.” I don’t know how it is now, but when I worked there, it was INSANE!
First of all, a lot of you might not know what Boss Dress for Less is. It’s a place where white women go crazy.
That’s it. That’s the whole description. I don’t even understand what it does. It sells clothes, and umbrellas and toasters and window fans but it isn’t a dept. store
Basically people go shopping there. Not for A THING. They just wander in and buy stuff.
Say you wanted a blue blouse. They might have They might have 178. They might have ONE. I truly don’t understand how it works because, if they only have one item, it’s not that they sold out
Sometimes they might get ONE BLUE BLOUSE!
Now my job was to be the guy in the Boss store. The entire staff was women, which meant I was responsible for lifting shit, cleaning up, taking out trash, etc. I knew this going in. But there’s one thing they didn’t tell me about.
Y’all, I believe 98 % of the customers don’t come to buy shit, they come to MOVE SHIT. I swear some people go to Ross on their lunch break and sling shit around.
Nothing was EVER IN ORDER. But I don’t just blame the customers. Sometimes they didn’t know.
Like, what’s the difference between “Misses” and “petite?” How about a “blazer” and a “sports coat?”
And WHAT THE FUCK ARE “KNITS?” Sweaters are knitted, but they don’t go in knits. Neither are button-up, that’s a dress shirt, Unless it has a pattern, in which case it’s a knit
And I still don’t know what a “Henley” is.
Ans some things are organized by size, but not EVERYTHING. And some things go on hangers and some have to be folded, which wasn’t my job. Except that motherfuckers came in and hung up the folded shit and fold the hanging up shit!
And I don’t know where all the hangers come from. I truly believe Boss is just a place people come to drop off abandoned hangers. But that wasn’t the worst part of the job.
I didn’t mind the lifting, the cleaning or the taking out garbage. It was the best part of the job
And of course, it was summer so I thought the store would be filled with women. Nope, just white ladies who wear culottes.
But if you were on the floor, the culotte-wearers wouldn’t just ask you questions, they DEMANDED to know things.
The standard answer you were supposed to give was: “if it’s not on the rack, we don’t have it.”
But experienced Boss shoppers know this isn’t true. People move shit so much that shopping there is like a scavenger hunt.
So the next question was always:
“Can you check the computer.”
Most of the time, those computers don’t know squat. Plus remember what I said about the descriptions and the quantity? What the hell am I supposed to put in the computer? “Blue Misses Henley in a size 8.”
Most of the time we’d type random shit in the computer and say: “We just sold our last one yesterday. Check back tomorrow. We’re getting a new shipment In tomorrow”
Look, if anyone tells you they’re getting a new shipment in tomorrow, they’re lying.
But those women weren’t bad
There were always women who wanted you to help them look for something like I knew where to find it
But the ALMOST worst kind of shopper is the ones who want you to “check in the back” for something.
WTF do people think stores have in the back? Elves? Slaves sewing turtlenecks? Why do people think the back is this magical place that businesses are holding all the good shit they don’t want to sell?
Lady, ain’t shit in the back but a mop bucket, 13,484,937 hangers…
Some boxes I gotta break down, and a woman on her 15-minute break crying softly into her pimento cheese sandwich.
But the other reason I worked there is because I was “the guy.”
I know it’s a thing now, but before cell phones, people didn’t know about the Karen Culture
And NO ONE on the planet is more vicious than a white woman between 39-72. Basically, when they reach the age when they start getting creases in their necks, you gotta watch out because they will attack.
So they keep a dude around basically to usher them out of the store
So one day, I’m in the store. I may or may not have been drinking the night before and drove straight into work. It’s the end of the day and i can barely stand up.
This lady comes in, and she wants to return a shirt. It has no tag. It clearly has been worn but she says it’s new.
The manager, a black woman, tells her that she needs a price tag, receipt or SOMETHING.
*I’m overhearing this, because that ain’t my job. I don’t work in returns.
The lady wilds OUT in that motherfucker! She starts ranting and raving and asks for a manager
Now, she’s actually talking to the manager, but she wants to speak to someone higher.
This is the part where I tell you about my job interview.
Here is a transcript of my entire interview:
Her: can you fit this shirt?
Her: Can you start Wednesday?
“The shirt” was just a blue button up with a tag on it that said “manager.”
Every day somebody had to take a turn in “the shirt.” If it was your day in the shirt, you had to be “the manager” when a white woman went crazy.
It was my day in the shirt.
I go to the counter and hear the situation all over again. I’m not about to go on a treasure hunt for no damn blouse, so I pretend to look it up on the computer. The lady pulls herself up on the counter & peek at the screen like I’m a liar (even tho I was lying.)
Now I’m mad.
Why is she acting like I’m lying just because I’m lying. I tell her to get down. Now she’s demanding her $38.
Now I admit I was wrong, but they shouldn’t have called me up there to wear the shirt if they didn’t want me to handle it. The actual manager couldn’t say anything…
Because she had already lied about me being the manager. So I said:
“The only thing you’re getting is your old ass outta my store”
Then I ordered the ACTUAL manager to escort her out.
I guess the idea of her getting kicked out by 2 black folks made her so mad she…
Before I say this, put down anything you’re eating or drinking. Take a deep breath. Thank the lord for his grace and mercy.
This old white lady SPIT on me.
I don’t know if it was racism as much as it was privilege. But she spit that old white people spit, too.
And it landed ON MY LIP!
I was scared to talk. I couldn’t move. What if it went in my mouth? I’ve seen zombie movies. I didn’t want Mad Caucasian Disease! It was so shocking, everyone froze. I couldn’t slap her (she was across the counter) so I did the only thing I could do
She was drinking a soda & her spit smelled just like it
Y’all… I had to dig deep. I summoned the ancestors and they came and gave me all the spit that ever was. I had the loogies that Harriet Tubman hocked on the Underground Railroad. I had saliva from Frederick Douglass
I’m talking great migration mouthjuice and civil rights slob. I had phlegm from back when God told Pharaoh to let his people go.
I aimed it at her neck giblets and…
I mean, a little bit got in her hair but I don’t really be practicing my spitting technique that much
And then she pulled out a gun.
And then everybody ran.
And Boss Dress for Less wrote me a check for $4600 for my pain and that’s how I got the money to go to grad school.
The point is, I’ll never forget that smell
And that’s why I can’t drink Mountain Dew.
So the worst job I had was at a place that bottled Mountain Dew
😄 👏 😆