Insert Chassis Albuquerque: Chapter 3 - The Short Skirt: "Broadway Quits"

25 April 2018

Chapter 3 - The Short Skirt: "Broadway Quits"

The Beaumont family had money, lots of it.
Money is a funny thing. Funny if you got enough of it, live in a big house and drive an expensive car.
Not so funny if you don't.
But, despite all their wealth, was it just me or did everyone think Dr. Peter Beaumont was a dickface of immense proportions…?
The answer is, according to a very recent survey: Yes.
Beaumont had a disparaging habit of calling staff by their surnames.
"Is that o’Riley? O’Sullivan, that you? Or is it o’onnor…? O’Neill, you seen o’Riley…?” he’d say (we’d had a plethora of Irish sales staff recently).
“Broadway,” Beaumont called.
“Beaumont,” I said.
“I’d like to see you in my office, immediately,” Beaumont said.
“What about...?”
He ignored me and was about to enter his office.
I said: “I sure love working here - sometimes…!”
There was an uncomfortable silence, firstly because I’d suddenly yelled it across the showroom floor at him and, secondly, I’d made sure to yell it in front of several customers claiming to have very flexible budgets who were considering buying a piano built in Austria with the feel, sound and touch of a prestigious German piano.
I thought: Maybe he’d found about the “asshole” survey? Jesus! Would heads have to roll for that…!
In Beaumont’s office, before he could list his grievances with me, I tried an experiment: I asked Beaumont for the following week, Saturday, off.
Immediately he dismissed the idea.
“Too short notice, I’m afraid. This is retail, Broadway – we need people on the floor.”
“Is that a yes…? It’s not very clear.”
“That’s a no,” Beaumont said.
Prepared for this, I said: “Very well, then I need to book Saturday…” and I named some Saturday five years ahead in the future.
Immediately Beaumont pulled a face and scratched his head ostensibly deep in thought.
“That’s still several years away. Very difficult. It’s too early to know if we’ll have cover.”
“Is that a yes…?”
“That’s a no,” Beaumont said.
Which just proved what I’d suspected all along: No amount of advance notice would satisfy him, Beaumont was dicking us sales guys around!
I said: “You sure? Think, man, think! You are a doctor, aren't you…!"
"You goddamn whining little puke! I’m afraid I’m going to have to write you up for that insubordination as well…!” Beaumont said.
“What do you mean `as well’?” I asked, surprised.
He pointed at my shorts with some consternation.
BEAUMONT’S insisted on sales staff always wearing a suit, jacket and tie. They were cultivating an atmosphere, as if this alluded sophistication somehow guaranteed people would make a purchase. I was wearing a jacket and tie - with shorts.
I’d been written up for “insubordination” a few weeks earlier.
Beaumont was away and had phoned.
“Beaumont? Make it quick, we’re very busy here and this is a store-line you’re tying up,” I’d said to him.
“The sale signs up…?” he demanded.
“We having a sale…?”
“I told you last week – we having a sale!”
“We are…?” I said, feigning surprise. “Well, Beaumont, listen to me - we don’t want to do that, that will immediately encourage the footfall of professional time-waster assholes into the store.”
“That’s what you for, Broadway, dealing with the assholes. Assholes are where the money’s at.”
“Easy for you to say, Beaumont. You’re in Bora Bora, sunning it up. We’re here up to our knees in asshole shit,” I’d said.
So when he’d got back from Bora Bora, he’d written me up, officially.
The thing is, I could sell.
Overly honest with my lies and able to string words and sentences together in a way that sounded impressive in English, I was a good salesman. I’d already “officially” been written up maybe 20 times. Beaumont didn’t like me, but he needed me and the other sales people like me. People who could keep smiling when they were up against the ropes and the customers were punching them in the face with their terrible, purported ignorance. Generally the remit of every customer was: "I'm about to ask you a series of entirely random and meaningless questions to which you will never ever be able to provide sufficient enough answer. Also, this is time you will never be able to get back, it will be minutes from your life, gone forever…!"
They would say this gleefully.
And even when they didn't say it quite like that, subconsciously they were gleeful.
I wasn’t going to take this shit anymore. Obviously I needed money, a regular paycheck, so I’d have to continue been dicked in the face by other people just like Beaumont.
But not by Beaumont.
“Let me tell you something, Beaumont, the nature of retail sales these days has left a very bad taste in my mouth. In fact, worse than just a taste, I often feel I’ve been raped - raped by these goddamn asshole customers out there.”
Beaumont suddenly shouted: “Just remember, it’s not rape if you can’t prove it…!” and then looked embarrassed.
And ashamed.
He’d thrown me there, for a second, because what he’d said had somehow sounded quite anecdotal for some reason and I’d wondered about that. Still, I pressed ahead.
"I’ve added up and calculated all the wasted time I’ve accrued since I started here dealing with pointless, random questions no one in their right mind would ever have the answers to. The amount of time I’ve lost and will never be able to get back amounts to $7,447. How’d you like to pay, Beaumont – electronic transfer or cash…?”
Beaumont raised his eyebrows.
Now, this was a pretty big undertaking on his part as his eyebrows were something to truly behold and involved erecting scaffolding on an industrial scale. I watched as the scaffolding was erected, a small team building it.
Several days passed.
Or so it felt.
Then Beaumont spoke.
I can’t say what he said. It was like listening to one of our customers and their overwhelming inanity. While he was talking I hold internal dialog. I think: I'm dying, fading away. This is time you are stealing from me I will never ever be able to get back.
I must have blacked out because when I came to Beaumont was still speaking.
Nothing had changed.
So I hotfooted it outta there and headed over to The Big Piano Warehouse Discount Store.


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