Thing I Never Said: “You’re here ten minutes before we open and you brought food with you? Conner, go back to Mucho Burrito and tell them you were wrong, you’re gonna eat it there.”
The cafe was a place where my shift happened to fall on a night when an adult entertainment group was doing a nerd-themed exotic show in our store, and not only did I get paid to be there, the strippers tipped ME.
It was a place where our white whale, our most lucrative customer, confounded me to no end, between his ability to spend 12 hours a day, seven days a week getting high and playing Player Unknown Battlegrounds, and (knowing that outside food wasn’t allowed at the computers) eating his meals hunched over the counter like an animal instead of taking a 40 minute break to go to a restaurant and eat at a table like a person.
It was a place where early in my tenure, three of my favourite customers asked me to join them for a round of Left 4 Dead, my favourite of the games we stocked.
It was a place where every spring the computers needed to be dusted out, and doing it without a mask made you a little sick, and three years running I was the only one doing it.
It was a place where, if I’d done the cleaning and stocking required, I could work on scripts or play Civilization 6 or just watch Netflix until my shift ended, and I can’t think of customer service jobs that allow any of those things.
It was a place where one customer managed to hit so many technical errors that I eventually straight up accused him of being a secret shopper sent to see how I managed under stress.
It was a job that offered a performance bonus to the manager that at one point paid for my trip to Peru.
It was a place where other people’s computer illiteracy became my problem.
It was a place that promoted me to general manager after four months.
It was a place where customers complained about lag like I had a magic button that could speed up the internet.
It was a place where co-workers became valued friends, even if I mostly only saw them at shift change. Dylan, Bri, Te-Ja… miss you guys.
And it was a dream taken form for our big boss, the owner, and he didn’t deserve to lose it because landlords think they’re the only ones who shouldn’t be impacted by COVID.
I never meant to spend so long there, but I’m a little sad my time there ended so suddenly, and more sad that it’s gone.
Next time… some thoughts on my latest rewatch binge.