Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 55


The Time Mookie Worked For A Pepsi Distributor For A Day

As I have mentioned in previous episodes of “Monday Morning Stories With Mookie,” I had a number of different jobs while I lived in Colorado Springs.  I worked for Wal-Mart virtually the entire time I was out there, but I was always trying to find something better and one where I could actually pay the bills with.  One day while perusing the classifieds, I noticed a “Merchandiser” position with the local Pepsi distributor in town.  I had seen these guys in Wal-Mart from time to time, filling up the aisles with their various products and then moving on to a different store.  Well, I definitely like soda, and I figured it had to pay more than Wal-Mart, so I figured I’d apply and see what happened.

A few days later, they called my apartment on a Sunday to see if I could come in that day to interview.  On a Sunday.  As I briefly mentioned in Episode 52 of “Monday Morning Stories With Mookie,” my wife took the call as I was hiking up Pikes Peak at the time.  When I called her on my cell phone to relay my estimated time at the top, she told me about a guy from Pepsi calling and wanting to do an interview that day.  So I had her give me the guy’s contact information, and I called the guy from ¾ of the way up Pikes Peak to set up an interview for the next day.  If anything, it showed I was eager.  I mean I called him back while I was climbing a G.D. mountain for Christ’s sake.

The next day I went to the Pepsi place and met with “Tom,”(*) my alleged supervisor.  Right off the bat I could tell Tom liked me, but there was definitely something about him that had my B.S. Detector going off.  Surprisingly, he offered me the job and said my previous retail experience would serve me well.  He asked me how much my hourly wage was at Wal-Mart, and when I told him what it was he offered me .25 an hour more than what Wal-Mart paid. Woo, a whole quarter.  He asked me to come back in a few days so I could fill out the employment paperwork and all that jazz, and then I would start on the next Monday at 6AM.  While I wasn’t thrilled with the early morning roll-call, I still left there feeling pretty good about picking up a new job.  In the meantime I arranged it so I would still work the evening shift at Wal-Mart, that way I still had that to fall back on if this didn’t work out.

A few days later I went back to Pepsi, met with Tom, and went to HR to fill out the necessary paperwork.  Once that was done, he again told me I would be starting the coming Monday and he’d see me then.  Good enough.

Monday morning I rolled out nice and early and made it to the Pepsi place about ten to six.  I went into the building and quickly found Tom.  He was talking to various people about something, and he was being quite an arrogant dick to them about it.  That’s when I realized THAT was what I was sensing about the guy the day I met him.  “Oh.  He’s an asshole.”

He saw me standing there and asked me to come with him further into the building.  He showed me where to clock in, and gave me a laundry list of things I need to do when I clock in and out.  That’s all well and good, but I had no idea what half the crap he just said meant.  He used 4 or 5 different acronyms and terms I had never heard, and when I asked what they were he looked at me like I was retarded.  Then he thought it was a good idea to show me how to order more soda for the stores while I was out on my route.  He pulled out this electronic keypad with a scanner on it, and proceeded to show me that I would scan the product, and then enter how much the store needed.  It was simple enough, except he neglected to show me how to log into it, or how to change stores.  When I asked, he sighed and said “I’ll show you that later.”  He then showed me “the chart” that showed what routes each merchandiser was scheduled for, and the addresses of the 5 or 6 stores on that route.  My name was next to a particular route, but I noticed the keys for the truck they were going to let me drive were missing.  Tom said “Oh, someone else must have grabbed the wrong set.  You can take the truck that’s left there.”  He said he would go with me to the first few stores and show me what I needed to do,  and that I should follow him in his truck.  This was good because I had no idea where I was going.  The stores on this route were ones I’d never heard of and in parts of town I had never been in.  Tom goes, “I probably should have asked you this the other day, but you can drive a stick can’t you?”  I told him I could, and that my current car was a stick so it shouldn’t be a problem.  I asked him what I would be driving, and he said they were Isuzu Pup pickups.  I figured I could handle it.

We went outside to the lot where the vehicles were, and I saw my little Isuzu Pup pickup with a Pepsi logo on the side, and a number on the tailgate that matched the one on my key chain.  When I got in, I quickly found out why someone else left this truck and took a different one - this one was a piece of SHIT.  I put my foot on the clutch to start it, and I could not press it down.  What the hell?  Finally, I pressed my body against the seat and essentially stood on the pedal to make it go down.  I started the truck and it rumbled to life like only a piece of crap vehicle can.  I put it in 1st gear and tried to ease out this bear trap of a clutch without stalling it, and failed miserably. CHUG CHUG CHUG STOP.  So I stood on it again, started it back up and give it another try.  CHUG CHUG CHUG.  I got on the gas (squawked the tires) and took off.  Every shift required me to stand on the clutch, thus making me rise out of my seat like I had ants in my pants.  People in traffic were probably like “what is up with this weirdo?”  I caught up to Tom in traffic, and he led me to this lame neighborhood grocery store.  We went inside and headed to the backroom where there was a huge pallet of various Pepsi products waiting to be moved to the floor.  Tom said to take it to the floor and start filling the aisle where it was needed.  I jacked it up and carted it out to the soda aisle, and did as Tom told me.  I moved the load of cases, 12-packs, 6-packs of cans, 6-packs of bottles, and 2-liters from the pallet to the shelves briskly and neatly.  

Make sure that logo is facing forward.
Tom comes walking down the aisle about then and in an annoyed tone starts going “No no no no NO.”  I have no idea what I did wrong, until he tells me that I have to make sure that each and every can/bottle/case has the Pepsi logo facing forward.  Just to be clear, I ask “So if there is a 6 pack of soda on the shelf, all 6 cans/bottles need turned so the logo is facing out?”  He laughs as though I just asked a stupid question, and says “Yes!”  He then proceeded to tell me about the endless research and focus groups about the topic, and how people are more likely to buy a Pepsi product if the logos are neatly facing out.  I understand this to an extent I guess, but most people are usually dedicated to a particular brand anyway (Coke/Pepsi), and if they aren’t they will probably buy whatever is on sale. I decide I’m not going to argue the fact with him, and we continue on.  While I was taking the remainder of the pallet back to the warehouse of the store, Tom apparently did the ordering thing with the scanner/keyboard gizmo.  When I bring it up so he can teach me how it works, he goes “Oh yeah I should have shown you that.  I just did it.  You should have reminded me.”

We headed out of the store and made our way to the next one - which was also in an area I’d never been in.  It was stop-and-go traffic the entire way there of course, so my left leg is starting to feel the strain of standing on the clutch every time I had to shift.  The next store was more of the same – pull out the pallets, make sure everything was stocked and looking pretty.  Just as we are about to finish up, Tom gets a call and says another store is out of a particular product, and they have a huge display sitting empty.  He curses and says he has to go take care of the situation.  He says I need to continue my route, and he will catch up with me later.  After I finished putting everything away, I realized Tom took my scanner/keyboard to order soda when he left.  This really didn’t matter because I still didn’t know how to use it anyway, and I had no way to get a hold of Tom to ask about it.  So I said screw it and head to the next store on the route.

I continued on the rest of my route that day without any word or instruction from Tom, and had no idea if I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing because every store was different.  Finally at the last store, I saw Tom working in front of a big display of Pepsi cases.  Apparently this is the store that had the issue from before, and he has been driving back and forth between the distributor and this store to fill the display with soda.  This has not helped his demeanor any either, and he is now in full "a-hole mode."  When we are finally done, he mentions in passing that he is going to be out on a week’s vacation starting tomorrow.  Oh super.  "Are you going to show me how to use the scanner?  Anything else I should know?”  He says he will show me that when we get back to the distributor.  Awesome.  So we get back in our trucks and head back.

By the time we get back, my leg has had it from standing on that clutch all day.  I gladly get out and hope I don’t have to drive this piece of crap tomorrow.  We go into the office and Tom says he will be back in a minute.  I stand there for probably 10-15 minutes, and Tom never came back.  There was nary a person around of course because it’s like 5:30PM, but I went looking for someone.  Finally I found someone and asked if he’s seen Tom.  “Yeah.  He just left.”  SOB.  Screw this shit.  I decided that this sort of crap wasn’t worth an extra quarter an hour, clocked out and told myself I was NOT coming back.

To add insult to injury, because I had been driving that piece of crap truck all day, it greatly prevented me from driving a regular car with ease.  I got in and immediately put the clutch to the floor.  I could not get my leg to ease into the clutch, thus it was a rough drive home.

The next day I had a voicemail at home from someone at Pepsi.  They called about 5:30PM, asking me to call in because they heard I missed a store on my route that day.   Yeah.  I missed them all pal.  I never called them back, and I didn’t hear from them again.

I know it was a dick move to up and bail on them like that, but you don't treat someone new the way I was treated.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Miss a previous episode?  Click HERE

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