January 17, 2013
(Smelly People I Have Known Part 5)
Despite the impression I may have given, Eddie was not long for the store. He was barely there two weeks. Eddie, however, left a long impression on the store. It took a long time to forget him, especially the way he left.
For whatever reason, Eddie had been saying from the first day he started that if he did not get paid $2,000 he was quitting. That was the ray of hope in my life because no way was a part-time minimum-wage employee going to get a paycheck for that much money. The easy thing to say is that he should have done the math. There was no way he could possibly come up with $2,000, but I think the hardest math Eddie was capable of was “I only have one sock on today, how many socks am I wearing?” And I am not confident that he would always get the correct answer, in part becuase he did not always wear socks.
Eddie started on a Monday and Friday was payday. That is, for everyone else but the new hires. When you get a paycheck it is for the week before so Eddie and the others had to wait for their second Friday to get paid. (I once had a part-time job where, due to a payroll error, I didn’t get paid for four weeks. That was total misery.) Eddie did not understand the concept. It was Friday, Friday was payday, so he should get paid. No matter how much the bosses tried to explain to him that he hasn’t even worked an entire week, Eddie was angry- ANGRY! AND YELLING!- that he was getting ripped off, this was not right, not fair, etc. etc. etc. Somehow they calmed him down and he, in a very surly way, told them that if they were lying and he did not get paid next week there would be trouble.
Next week came and luckily Eddie got paid.
The bad news? He did not get $2,000.
Saw all this for myself.
The paychecks came in and most of us were gathered by the side office to get our checks. It may sound like lemming behavior but many of us carpooled together to the bank on our lunch hours, hence the crowd.
Eddie got his check and examined it minutely. Literally. He held it close to his eyes and squinted at it. He held it up to the light and studied it. He looked on the back, he looked on the front, he pulled off the perforated part and put that through the same scrutiny. So what was the problem? His paycheck was only for $131.
This was not in the back by the break room, it was not in the stock area, this was all happening in the front of the store, by the registers, near the front windows, and in full view of all the customers. He yelled “no, no, NO, NO, NO!!!” and marched to the front office and demanded to see Brian, the manager who gave him the check.
Brian wasn’t there but the manager who was wanted no part of Eddie. Brian had, just a second or two ahead of Eddie, left the store to go to lunch and the manager told Eddie he’d have to wait for Brian to come back. Eddie was not about to wait. He glanced out the window and saw Brian walking through the parking lot. Eddie ran after him and caught up and grabbed him by the shirt. Brian spun around and (I am going on a combination of lip-reading and common sense) and said “what the fuck are you doing!” Eddie repeatedly pointed to his paycheck and said something like “this isn’t enough money-“ before Brian yelled “get the fuck back to the store!” and very angrily pointed to the building.
Eddie came back in, muttering to himself. I picked up things like “they are stealing from me,” and “this isn’t right.” He got his jacket from the back and that was the last I ever saw of him.
Eventually the rest of new hires wore out their welcome as well, and we never saw the likes of them again, at least not until Carolyn started hiring her relatives.