Insert Chassis Albuquerque: Chapter 5 - The Short Skirt: "First Day"

Chapter 5 - The Short Skirt: "First Day" I learnt the Boss didn't play piano or even own one.
But he sure had good shoes and drove a nice car.
Very old-school, he was big on a man’s shoes.
“Shoes,” the Boss said, “shoes are a way to judge a man - you know why, Broadway? So you at least you have an idea of what kind of shit a man’s already stood in.”
But why judge a man at all?
Because it's just something people (mostly women, wives and girlfriends) like to do.
The thing I noticed about The Big Piano Warehouse Discount Store was the customer profile was exactly the same as BEAUMONT’S pianos. Already, I couldn't take it anymore and felt close to cracking. For instance, I'd only been there a few minutes and already seven different customers had told me there grandmother had been a concert pianist.
I was starting to disbelieve them.
Every fucking customer’s grandmother was a concert pianist?
Statistically, it just seemed impossible.
But where BEAUMONT’S had glorified and lauded the customer, The Big Piano Warehouse Discount Store was a store with a low tolerance for customer ignorance.
Or customer eccentricity or grandiosity.
Everyone at the the The Big Piano Warehouse Discount Store was an out-and-out liar.
I fitted right in.
“You Broadway…?” the sales guy said.
I nodded.
We were over by the main entrance, the desks with computers on them were arranged so the sales guys could jump any customers with questions who were trying to leave.
“Johnson,” Johnson said.
We shook hands.
Johnson showed me around.
He got me up to speed on the computerized accounts system. It was exactly the same as BEAUMONT’S - antiquated and unreliable, it would often stall the computers.
“CCTV cameras everywhere for the Boss to keep an eye on things,” Johnson said, pointing them out. “Oh, yeah, no smoking on the premises and never go upstairs into the offices,” he said.
He pointed to a set of stairs at the back of the store. The upstairs offices had a glass frontage running the entire width of the store. There were blinds but they were closed.
“The Boss live up there?” I wondered.
“Could be. Maybe. Last sales guy who went up there without being asked to, disappeared. Never saw him again, think the Boss killed him and dumped his body,” Johnson said.
“Or maybe he’s still up there,” I said.
“Could be. Maybe,” Johnson said.
A man wandered up to the sales desks. He was looking to sell a piano he had.
“What make of piano is it?” Johnson said.
“I don’t know,” the guy said.
“How old is the piano?” Johnson said.
“I don’t know.”
“When was it last tuned?” Johnson asked.
“I’ve no idea. Look, is there someone here who can give me a quote for this piano I’m selling…?” He looked at me - probably because I was wearing a jacket and tie; he couldn’t see my shorts hidden behind the desk and computer monitor.
“You just need a quote? How much you selling it for…?” Johnson said.
“I don’t know - how much did you have in mind? It’s in excellent condition!” the man said.
Johnson looked at me.
Looked to me like Johnson was about to lose it. He was close to cracking, too.
“Maybe I can help...?” I said.
“Our piano buyer here, Mr Broadway, will try help you, sir,” Johnson said, smiling and standing aside.
“How can I help…?” I said.
“You’ve already heard I’m selling - I just need a quote!” the man said.
“You wanna a quote? No problem, what is it you’re selling?” I said.
Jesus! I just wanna quote…!” the man yelled.
“Sure, let’s see now…” I said.
I went with Stanislaw Lec's: "If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky…?"
"You trying to be funny…?" the man demanded.
“I could say the same thing about you, pal,” I said.
“Now look here, I am a customer and-” he said but I shut him down.
“Now don’t go getting all defensive. Firstly, you not the customer, I’m the customer. Secondly, you selling something but you don’t know what it is or even how old it is. What’s worse, you’re selling something while expecting the buyer, which is me,your customer, to decide the price you should sell it for without allowing them any of the information to know what it is they’re even buying - you think you walk into a Ford dealership to buy a car and the asshole sales guy says he doesn’t know what model car it is? You think the sales guy says he doesn’t really want to tell you if it’s new or second-hand or how old it is? You think the guys over at Ford won’t tell you the mileage or what the fucking goddamn price is?”
The man didn't say anything.
So we stood there, staring at one another.
This was an amazing retail experience.
Something had to give - he did and left.
Yeah, this was a different company, but it was still the same shit and the same ridiculous people.
It wasn’t that we were dishonest, we were just tired of the shit people said because they thought we had to put up with it.
My phone in my pocket rang.
I didn’t answer. Because it could only be a woman, one of my shady parents or someone I owed money to.
And I didn’t want to speak to any of them.

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