in Musings

Where I’ve worked: some strip-mall computer store

I moved with my family to Great Falls, Virginia in March of 1986. It was the end of my junior year of high school and I more or less vanished into the background until summer.

Still, I needed a job. By this time the family had had a PC for four years and my brothers and I were very familiar with its workings under the hood. One of my brother Jeff’s friends used to work at this computer store down Route 7 in Loudon County, Virginia and suggested I get a job there. I figured I would enjoy the work and maybe get some discounts on equipment.

I hated it. Hardly anyone ever set foot in the store, located in a strip mall so new it still reeked of fresh paint and carpeting. The only deals in the store were in the mammoth monthly copy of Computer Shopper magazine kept behind the counter. The manager and I had little in common: he was a bit of a jerk. I had little to do and quickly grew depressingly bored.

The last straw came one day when an old lady walked in to shop. Like a shark sensing blood, my manager pounced on her, keeping me firmly occupied at the counter while he talked to her. After about a half hour she left and the manager came chuckling back over to the counter.

“I just sold that lady a bunch of stuff she didn’t need!” he bragged. He then went on to tell me how stupid the customer was.

I couldn’t believe my ears. What an asshole! Taking an old lady for thousands of bucks and bragging about it.

I wasn’t going to work another day for someone that lacking in morals. I quit the next day, two-week-notice be damned. I think I lasted a week. Today I don’t even remember the name of the manager or the store, which is how it should be.