Upon graduating, like most people of this generation, I thought I was entitled to a larger piece of the pie. Our fathers and grandfathers worked in coal mines and steel mills until they could get lucky enough to land a desk job. I'm talking about something stable with a comfortable living. Something you could raise a family on. But I was better than them, wasn't I? I mean I thought that's why they worked so hard, so sons like me could be something more, not less. This false sense of entitlement led me to turn down jobs my father would have killed for. Then after a while, the offers stopped coming. And I got desperate. By that time the only job that would take me was Brooks Brothers. Yes, America’s oldest retailer. Founded in blah blah blah by Richard A. Whitey.They've dressed every US President for the last hundred and fifty years. Abe Lincoln was killed in a Brooks Brothers overcoat. Teddy Roosevelt used to get his units military uniforms specially made from there.
|"To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society."|
I got physically sick after I accepted my position of sales associate for a measly $9 an hour. I made more in the warehouse working with convicts and crackheads. But, I learned more there than I ever thought I would about clothes, business, and life in general. Chinos, gabardines, and Elliots, or pants as I knew them, marched through my dreams like a fascist army on sale for the fall season. Button downs, forward point, and spread collar shirts clothed the specters of my nightmare. My sub-conscience was diseased with useless compound words such as Herringbone, pinstripe, mini pin, chalk stripe, slim fit, traditional fit, regular fit. Whatever happened to small, medium, and large? I even managed to convince myself that all the folding was therapeutic. I envisioned Mr. Miyagi teaching me a kung fu lesson. Fold, unfold, fold, and unfold. It didn’t last too long. A storm was brewing you could feel it in the air. The time had come. It was a Tuesday, and the day had arrived. You know the day. Whatever it is, maybe you don’t get enough sleep or haven’t been laid in weeks, you can’t remember. I walked into work and it started as a typical day. I had to fold a whole wall of v neck sweaters. They were on sale 2 for $99. What a fucking deal! I had folded 40 sweaters in all.
|"Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything."|
Around 4 o clock, I was standing near the dressing rooms trying to ignore customers and stay invisible. And I heard someone's voice. “Who folded these?” It was my boss. She was not pleased. From her tone, someone might as well have shit in the foyer. I walked up to her. Me, "what’s wrong with them?” Her, "Well for starters you need to use the small board, not the large board.” I ignored the idiocy in her reproach and replied, “I thought the big board was for men's clothes and the small board was for women's and boys.” She shook her head. “You have to use the small board for sweaters too.” I curbed by mind's building rage. “Sorry, I didn’t know.” I turned to get the small board. “Oh my God!” She exclaimed as she examined the sweaters further. “You need to use three sheets of tissue paper, not TWO!” I turned around. “Is it that big a deal.” This insulted her. “Abe,” She said, “I don’t know if you weren't listening or just don’t care, but if you're going to work here you need to do it right.” I don’t know if she was blind or just stupid, but she remained oblivious to the murderous vision flashing across my eyes. “Of course, I’ll start over.” She muttered something and went to the back room. Now, I firmly believe that the free market and consumerism is a driving force in our country. Retail is the fastest growing job market and employs millions of Americans. In addition, in no way do I consider myself better than people who work these jobs. But I wasn’t working at a premier law firm or a major marketing agency. I was working at a Brooks Brothers factory store in Hershey, PA. I could see fucking Chocolate World from the front door. This was in no way a job that I was proud of or had any intention of working hard at to get myself promoted. So, I refolded all 40 sweaters, said goodbye to my boss, closed up, got my jacket, and left. That night I returned with a tank of gasoline and burned the place to the ground.
Over 2,000 pieces of oxford cloth, jersey polo, non-iron, pieces of shit turned to ashes. I thought the kids in Malaysia deserved a day off.