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Office Panhandling

A typical business school graduate.

The place where I work is a paradox. As an internet-based business (we retail shit) the boss hates it when people walk into our little 20′ x 20′ den o’ fun. We are decidedly not a store. But the manufacturers of the products we sell don’t like to give their shit to minuscule internet-only outfits, like some pimply-faced nerd working out of his garage. To that end, the boss did a crappy photoshop of his business name on a fake picture of a retail location that he purloined, sent it to our suppliers and strives hard to convince them that we are ye olde brick and mortar.

I think what he really means is that we should be bricked and mortared. Right out of existence. Yeah, that’s it. And I couldn’t agree more.

Most retailers adhere to an ABC philosophy. “Always Be Closing.” It’s old school salesman shtick where your only purpose in life is to divorce a fish from his wallet in the shortest possible period of time.. My boss, though, likes to be different. He’s more about the ABL philosophy. “Always Be Lying.” It makes the game easier when you don’t follow things like rules and morals.

So, in a nutshell, the boss wants the entire world except our suppliers to KEEP OUT of our little nondescript strip mall headquarters. Our office has no signage of any kind. Even the post office and FedEx have a hard time finding us. The glass front door doesn’t contain a trace of our business name or even a sticker or any hint of what might be lurking inside. We’re as nondescript as you can get. We’d be perfect cover for the Area 51 administration office. (That would be a marked step up for me. I can dream, can’t I?)

Somehow, though, the public still finds us. They are more than happy to walk in like they own the place. A lot of them think we’re the business that used to be there 15 years ago. Some of them try to sell us tamales out of their car. A great many of them are salespeople, like the investment broker who stopped by this week. She asked if any of the employees needed help with their investments. Whew!!! What a riotous laugh we had over that one!!! Lady, you obviously have no clue how little we get paid!

I hate people walking into our office as much as the next guy. As is my nature, I tried to come up with creative solutions to this problem. In a veritable fit of creativity I head this idea: Put a sign on the door that reads, “Absolutely No Admittance.” The boss couldn’t poop on this idea fast enough. Remember: He is working hard to maintain the illusion that his place is a “store” even though it’s not. It would be bad news if a sales rep stopped by and caught him in the act.

Other sign ideas I had intended to keep out annoying life forms:

  • Extreme Radiation Danger
  • Bird Flu Quarantine Area
  • 1.21 Gigawatt Microwave In Use
  • Justin Bieber Music Zone
  • Poisonous Snake Recreation Facility

Because this is a sick, cruel and twisted world, none of my ideas were accepted. Like all true geniuses I am not meant to be recognized in my own time.

And this is how, yesterday, I ended up minding my own business, sitting at my desk, when I was approached by a person off the street.
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