Thursday, March 11, 2004

Wasted Youth

In my senior year of high school, my so-called best friend got me hired at the pizza place where she was working. Fargo's pizza was a pretty jumpin' spot to go get was built to look like an opera palace from the old west, it has these two giant crystal chandeliers from the Detroit Palace Theater hanging in the center of the restaurant, a player piano that I would like to dismember after so many years of listening to the damn thing, stuffed animal heads all over the walls and wax figures of the namesakes, Fargo & Sophia. The figures are upstairs in a glass-encased balcony, dressed to the nines. They're also haunted. I kid you not. Well...I've never seen them move but other people have and I always got a freaky feeling walking by them.

Fargo's is haunted, though, with or without the creepy wax figures. Opening day, the guy that designed the building dropped dead of a heart attack at the foot of the front staircase. During the years that I worked there I heard weird whispers when I should have been alone, felt something poke me in the head and in the upstairs women's bathroom, the faucets would just turn in by themselves. That was scared me the most, watching that water and knowing that the faucet was in the OFF position. A little kid and his mom came up to my window one day and the little boy looks around and asks me, "Is this place haunted?" I told him that it was and his mother looked at him in horror and said "Why would you ask that? What made you ask that?" I can't remember what his answer was but I'm thinking that he must have had some other experiences with the supernatural for his mom to really flip the way she did.

I didn't mean to write about the ghosty side of Fargo's. I have enough ghost stories in my repetoire. Fargo's Pizza Company was my first job ever. It taught me how to deal with money & count change back correctly & how to deal with the general public which I soon learned is the worst job ever. The general public sucks. In general. Most people will just come, place their order, give you their money and move along. But sometimes you get the people who can't believe that the world doesn't revolve around them.

I had people yell at me because they got the wrong toppings on their pizza and all I did was hand it to them. I had people yell at me because they wanted a veggie pizza and to do that I did a #19, Farmer John hold the beef. But they wanted a discount after the beef was taken off and I wouldn't do it. Those people actually made me cry. It was sad...other customers stood up for me which made me cry harder! I spent a lot of time in the back folding towels that night. I had one guy who was so drunk I could barely understand him and he kept telling me I was talking weird...I wonder what I looked like to him. All green and twisty, maybe?

We had a group of church kids come in one Friday night about 10:30pm. Church kids, I've learned, are the absolute worst. They were loud and obnoxious and one dumb girl studied the menu at my window for a good ten minutes before ordering a #6 shrimp pizza. When she got it, she said she hadn't ordered a pizza, she had ordered the shrimp basket. I asked her where on the menu she had seen "shrimp basket" and she pointed to the #6. "You mean, under the heading that reads 'PIZZAS' and not 'BASKETS'?" She got all huffy and walked away with her pizza. As if she wasn't enough...the damn kids stayed and stayed and stayed...we closed at 11 but we couldn't force them to leave. So the closing manager, Gary, who was a total sweetheart, let all of us closing employees change out of our uniforms (I haven't mentioned that the girls have to wear lace blouses and floor length lacy skirts. Bleh.) and have free sundaes at the break table while we waited for the kids to finally leave.

From my vantage point, I could see about three booths upstairs where the kids were sitting. After a while, one of them stood up and started taking the light bulbs out of the mini-chandeliers above them and shoving them into his pockets. "Gary! They're stealing light bulbs," I cried, shocked. These were church kids!! Before he could get up there, the thieves started to leave, cascading down the stairs. I got there first and asked the kid what he had done with the light bulbs.

"What light bulbs?"

"The ones we sat down here and watched you take. What did you do with them?"

Pretty quickly, this other kid jumped in my face, yelling that he didn't do anything, leave him alone. If I wanted to start something, he would fight me. I've never turned down a fight but I never got the chance to, either. Gary grabbed the kid by the collar of his coat, lifting his off of his feet a good 10 inches, shook him till his eyes rattled and slammed him through both sets of heavy wooden doors that led outside. My hero! The next night he said he didn't remember any of it. Too much adrenaline, I guess.

Those are the pitfalls of working with the general public. They lie, cheat & steal then want to fight you because you call them on it. What a pain in the ass. The best day of my life was when I quit Fargo's with no notice. Just said "Today is my last day." I go back sometimes because they have the best salad bar in the world and probably the best pizza. It makes me laugh to see that so many people I worked with in 89 are still there. We call them lifers...they must have done something really bad in a past life to be sentenced to work there for all eternity!

As for sentence was light...only 8 years wasted.

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