Oh My Lord, of the Rings

Yesterday was my first day at TheStore. My position at TheStore is to collect donations for a charitable organization that I’m sure we’re all mostly familiar with. I have to say that so far this is the first job where I haven’t been sick to my stomach over stress. There is literally no way to screw this up, as long as I never lose sight of the kettle in which we collect the money.

I would be a little worried that my life is about to become like that Christmas episode of Ziggy way back when, but as I have stated, we mostly know about this organization and therefore I’m certain it’s not some Fly By Night Santa Scheme.

My primary snag is with some of the other ringers. The saving grace is that I only have to deal with them for one percent of the working day and the rest of the time I am completely alone, which is the best.

Just a few examples of what the “Co-Ringers” have done so far that grates my skin.

There’s a “veteran” of the Bell Ringing position. Like a lot of people who occupy this position, they seem to think of themselves as the Nurse Ratchet of any place you work. They’re the ones who “have been there” and “know everything” about the place where you are about to go and damned if you try to prove otherwise.

When we were at the main building waiting to be shipped off to our various locations, he approached me and introduced himself. So I tried to be polite and introduce myself and then with a warm smile he said, “So, have you done this before.”

“No,” I said, honestly.

“Well have you thought about what you’re about to do?”

“Yes I have.”

“No, have you reaaaaaally thought about it?” He flashed that ‘Santa Groped Me at the Mall and No One’s Going to Believe You” grin as he spoke. So I just politely walked away and avoided people for the rest of that hour. If only it stopped there.

Later, the Bossman gathered everyone together and did a “roll call” of sorts. Several times throughout the morning he and a few other people called my name and I responded. This is important.

There are two women of note in this story, who I’ll just call Bertha and Anne.

They gave Anne a bunch of cards with people’s names and the locations where they would be working. Anne called my name and gave me my card, instructing me to place it in the kettle once we got to my location. The card was where they did the math afterward to count who got what amount of donations at the end of the day.

Before we got on the vans, Anne spoke to the Bossman about something and kept pointing at me. The Bossman asked her to talk to me. So immediately I’m wondering what the hell I could have done wrong in my first hour as an employee here and what could anyone possibly be complaining about? But it wasn’t as sinister as all that.

You see when we’re out in the field, so to speak, we have coordinate our breaks because certain stores won’t hold our kettles for us. And the mall is a big place, so what they usually do with another guy who is in my position is they bring the kettle to him to have him watch while they go on their breaks.

That’s all well and good except that Anne decided to spring this info on me at the last minute, even though we were told pretty implicitly at the orientation that we are responsible for our kettles and the money within and that we could only leave the kettles in the stores. Nothing gets under my skin more than people introducing last second changes to policies that could result in possible termination and/or arrest if violated.

So I flat out said I wasn’t comfortable with that, because I wasn’t told beforehand this would be the case. Now that I understand the situation, which they had a whole hour to explain to me instead of approaching me like a creepy uncle, I’ll try to work a little more closely with everyone and hope today goes smoothly.

On the van ride to the Mall where I would be working, Bertha was riding shotgun and I was all the way in the back next to Anne. I hate loud conversations in an enclosed space and I hate being in a vehicle for a drawn out period of time with the heat blasting no less, so all of the boxes on my “seconds from psychotic rage” checklist were definitely being checked twice.

“Does he know where to put the kettle on breaks?” Bertha asked.

I didn’t know who she was referring to at first, because there were two other members of the masculine gender in the van, one of whom was driving. So I assumed she’d know that guy’s name since it was on a lanyard around his neck.

“Does he know where he takes his kettle on breaks?” She asked again.

Anne replied, “I don’t know,” and turned to me.

“What’s your name?”

“Who me?” I said, trying to keep that balance between jovial chatter and annoyance. “I’m Nathanielle. The guy no one wants to address directly, apparently.”

To their credit, everyone did laugh at the statement because they probably understood that being spoken of as if I wasn’t even there was a teensy bit rude. So that cultural faux pas out of the way, we established where I was to bring the kettle for break. It was thing that had already been established, so really the entire van ride was about repeating crap that I had already heard.

Oh well, I have to give them some credit. When I announced that I needed to use the restroom before I started ringing, they didn’t give me a hard time. The volunteer that drove the van dropped me off last, helped me set up my kettle and rang for me while I went to pee.

So if it seems like I’m being an ungrateful asshole well there you go. Don’t prevent me from peeing and we’re golden. So to speak.

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One thought on “Oh My Lord, of the Rings

  1. Pingback: My true #RedKettleReason | Confessions of a Cart Jockey

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