The revenge of the camera geek.

I used to work as a salesman in a camera store, which was admittedly an odd career choice, because I never had any great facility for cameras or photography before taking the job. In fact, before working there, I'd broken every camera I owned, save one, before finishing the second roll of film. (The sole survivor? The free camera I got in a box of cornflakes. Go figure.) But I needed a job, a friend recommended me, and I somehow ended up working for the world's largest chain of camera stores for eighteen months. I did pretty well, for a guy who had to pick it up as he went. I picked up a new hobby, learned lots of otherswise-useless technical information, kept the store tidy, won some prizes in a couple of sales contests, and got referred to as my right hand man by my favorite manager. All in all, I was doing a pretty good imitation of being a happy camera geek.

After my favorite manager retired, I volunteered to leave my original post in Phoenix and help open a new store in Scottsdale. Although Scottsdale is unquestionably home to a more well-to-do populace than Phoenix, I was the only employee in the company who volunteered to work in the new store. (Sales associates like sure things -- nobody else in the company wanted to take a chance on lowering their commissions as a new location.) All of my co-workers (and the store manager) were hired new to for that store, given some quick training, and dumped into a store so new that the parent company forgot to give it a copy of the employee manual.

The new employees didn't work out so well. The new manager (hired from Target's camera counter) cracked up and asked for a demotion. They replaced her with some psycho who had already been fired-and-rehired once, and insisted on running a dance studio on the side. Finally, it came down to a point where all of the full-time employees except me quit, the part-timers (including the manager) wouldn't change their schedules, and I ended up running the store for two straight days all by myself.

Then the company's regional manager decided I wasn't doing a good enough job of doing everybody else's work, and fired me. Fired me hard. Fired me in a goes-on-the-permanent-record, stay-out-of-our-stores, "You can never work for the company again" ultimatum kind of way. (Have I ever mentioned my theory that all sucessful regional managers are subclinical psychopaths?)

Today, I got a paycheck from the company. I was confused for a couple of minutes, then I remembered that I put a company advertisement on my sole photography-related website last year. I guess I do get to work for them, sort of. It was only a check for twenty-five dollars, but as I far as I'm concerned, it was twenty-five dollars of sweet, sweet vengence. Take that, you sociopathic middle-management moron.

Posted at 11:59:06 PM EST on 27 January 2005 from Trenton, MI