The Mystery Unfolds
"The Mystery Unfolds"
by Eric D. Snider
Published in The Californian on July 20, 1993
Naturally, this isn't my only job. Goodness knows you can't make enough money as a columnist to live on, especially not if you're lousy at it.
So I have another job, at the Lake Elsinore Millers Outpost. My basic function there is to meander around the sales floor and say to people, "Can I help you find something?" If they say no, I keep on meandering, but if they say yes, then that's when things get tricky: I have to help them find whatever it is they're looking for. It can get pretty complicated. Sometimes I have to go back to the stockroom and lie down with a cold compress on my forehead.
Overall, Millers Outpost is an absolutely swell place to work. After all, I get to wear a name tag and fold lots of pants. And do I love folding pants? Oh, Lordy, yes. We have many, many shelves of pants, all folded up and in stacks or four or five pairs each. People come in, and they unfold the pants, and they put them back on the shelves unfolded, and they go away. They do not, as far as I have determined, ever buy the pants. They just unfold them and go away. Then, I follow a company-regulated two-step process:
STEP 1: I refold the pants and put them away.
STEP 2: I mutter unkind things about the customer.
(I should point out, in the interest of accuracy, and of not getting fired, that I am kidding about that last part. Watch, I'll even laugh -- ha ha. There, see?)
The only major problem with working at Millers Outpot -- which, as I mentioned, is overall an extremely blissful experience -- is the music. Instead of playing the radio over the sound system, many Millers Outposts have special sound systems, manufactured in Taiwan, that play only special loop tapes, manufactured in Hell. On these tapes is three hours' worth of pre-recorded music. Unfortunately, our store for some reason only received one tape, instead of the normal six, so we get to listen to the same tape over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. This would be irritating even if they were songs that I liked. But they are not songs that I like, nor are they songs that anyone likes. (And I don't mean that no one at Millers Outpost likes them -- I mean no one likes them, anywhere in the world, period.)
There's one song called "We Are Each Other" in which the singer sings about how close he is to this girl. Sample lyrics:
"Closer than a sister to her baby brother;
Closer than a secret agent working under cover."
What the heck does that mean?! What is a secret agent close to when he's working under cover? Nothing -- I think that's the point of being a secret agent, that you don't get too close to anyone. I wish I knew who sang this song, so I could hate him more fully. All I know now is that if I hear it once more, I cannot be responsible for my actions. You don't hear about disgruntled Millers Outpost employees very often, but I think I may become one.
But other than that, work is just peachy, thank you very much.
(Eric D. Snider is a student at BYU, living at home in Lake Elsinore for the summer. If you go visit him at work, he'll be very nice to you, and won't complain if you don't fold your own pants.)
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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