Life of Sam
“Wake up, you’re going to be late again!”
“Ugh mom, just a few more minutes, I was up studying for finals last night.”
“You know you can’t be late again, Mr. Thimbel will fire you.”
Sam is, well he is Sam. There wasn’t anything exceptional about him. He stood at a measly five feet eight inches and was neither overweight nor underweight. He has short light brown hair that often was up in a fauxhawk and normal blue eyes that neither spoke to the world nor tried to hide. There is nothing remarkable about his fair complexion. Sam is in the absolute sense average.
Sam quickly tossed on a pair of jeans that were once his older brothers, and an old t-shirt he received for volunteering his summer between his high school graduation and his first semester of community college. Sam was not necessarily destitute, instead, Sam was the typical 20-year-old American. He lived with his parents while attending college, and worked a dead-end job at the local bookstore in order to pay for his education without experiencing crippling debt so early in his life.
Sam looked over at the clock, 7:54 am
“ Great, just what I needed.”
He quickly grabbed his keys, while yelling out:
“Love you mom, see you after work.”
He went out to the street where his car was parked stopping for just a second to admire the virgin air. The smell of the night’s famous Oklahoman rainstorms still fresh in the air. Sam loved the smell of rain as many do, however for Sam the intoxicating smell reminded him of better times in his life. Times of when Sam was a child playing out in in the forest, free in every sense of the word without a worry in the world.
Sam entered his old Volkswagon Jetta, the car was on it’s the last leg but he was thankful for the fact that he had no car payment and that old Betsy usually got him around town without problems.
Sam worked at a local bookstore called Thimbleson Books. He had been there for just over a year, and even in that short amount of time, he knew the store was failing. His boss, Mr. Thimbleson was often on edge, and at this point would assign random tasks just to keep him busy.
Thankfully Thimbleson Books was no more than a few minutes away, but Sam knew that Mr. Thinbel would still be pissed. While Sam made every attempt to show up on time, his work schedule varied so much week to week that he often had to resort to staying up late to study for his classes.
This was not Sam’s first job, however. Sam had previously worked for a grocery store, as well as the local drug store. Both of which equally had their issues. Retail, in general, was something that Sam held a mortal hatred for, yet Sam found himself able to excel to the point where he had previously held management.
By the time Sam pulled into the parking lot the time was 8:07 am, he quickly grabbed his backpack from the trunk that way he could study over his lunch break and rushed inside.
As Sam pushed open the massive nine-foot tall oak and brass ornate door he noticed Mr. Thinbel standing behind the old mahogany counter staring at gold wristwatch
“You’re late again,” said Mr. Thimbel
“I know, I am really sorry, my alarm di-“
“Excuses again, Sam? Look I thought we were past this, I could have hired anyone and I hired you.”
“I am sorry I was up studying last night for finals, and I though I set my alarm, but I guess I didn’t”
“We will talk about it later, for now, I want you to reset the books in Fiction as we have a few new authors coming in. Take everything off the shelves, and categorize them by alphabetical order.”
“Wouldn’t it be faster to just move everything one place over and add the new books in?”
“If I wanted suggestions I would have asked for them, now get to work before you find yourself without a job. Oh and don’t forget to smile and give all the customers the Thimbleson greeting”
“What customers” Sam mumbled under his breath. He knew better than to challenge Mr. Thimbleson however he couldn’t help but let that slip. Most days the store would see less than twenty customers, and Sam would be lucky if he could get anyone to buy from the store’s one dollar clearance rack which was often filled by going to the local thrift stores and buying by the pound.
Sam knew the store was failing, as did just about anyone else in town. The only person who seemed to ignore the fact was Mr. Thimbleson he hated Mr. Thimbel and the meaningless tasks that were often assigned to him, but Sam needed the job. He had to pay for his tuition as the scholarships he received were not almost meaningless compared to the massive tuition prices. Since his father died more than three years back it was up to him to be the man of the house.
After his older brother, Jeff graduated their family slipped apart. With their father gone, Jeff moved to California to work at a new tech company. Sam was lucky to get to video chat with Jeff once a month, but in reality, he hated his brother for leaving.
As Sam was pulling books off the shelves he heard the distinct chime of the bells hanging over the doors. While Sam couldn’t see the doors from where he was working he still shouted out the Thimbleson greeting.
“Good morning, welcome to Thimbleson bookstore, where the customers are the best.”
“Just looking” a firm feminine voice shouted back.
Great, Sam though. Guess it is too hard to simply say good morning back.
Sam decided he should go over and greet the customer and just let them know where he was in case they needed any help. He was also a bit curious as to who the customer was that so quickly blew him off.
“Hi, how are you today?” Sam said.
“I said I was just looking.” An overweight middle-aged beast of a woman shouted back.
“Not a problem, My name is Sam I am right over here if you need anything.”
Sam, although agitated with the woman’s attitude, went back to the fiction section and began pulling more of the books off the shelves. He was trying his best to keep everything in alphabetical order, as was customary in the store during any resets.
A few minutes later Mr. Thimble came out of his office and approached Sam.
“We have a customer”
“Yeah, I know I already introduced myself to her and offered help just a few minutes ago, she’s a bit rude, so I thought it would be best to give her some space until she was ready to buy something”
“You know that is not the Thimbleson way, I doubt she was really rude. Go over there and offer help again, if she says no that just means she doesn’t know what she is looking for. Ask her some questions get to know what she is looking for and sell her some books.” Mr. Thimbleson said.
“I really don’t think that is a good idea, she really seemed like she just wanted space,” Sam said, almost pleading with his boss to not make him go again.
“Nonsense, go over there and show her some Thimbleson Books love, and remember to sell, sell, sell.”
Sam knew there was no getting out of this, he knew there was no way this was going to be as picturesque as his delusional boss thought, but Sam really needed this job.
Sam approached the woman, a grotesque mix of cheetah print leggings ready to split at the seams, much in the way a sausage splits when heated too long, and a ghastly neon green shirt that reminded him of vests often worn by hunters and road workers stared at him in the face.
“Is everything going okay? If you need any recommendations I would be happy to help you find something.” Sam said, in his well practiced fake customer service voice that often passed as genuine.
“Um, what the hell don’t you understand about, I ‘m just looking? Why can’t you people just leave me be? What you wanted to come over here and look at my fine ass? This store is a joke, I am never coming back here again. I can get all this cheaper online anyways!”
She kept screaming and yelling, Sam knew this would happen, but really his boss had forced him into a corner from which there was no exit other than to poke the cheetah print beast.
Hearing this, Mr. Thimbel ran to offer his apologies to the woman, Sam could overhear Mr. Thimbel offer the woman any book she wanted fifty percent off and assurances that the “employee” i.e. him, would be severely punished.
With the monster of a woman “pleased,” she quickly snapped a book off the shelf and demanded Sam to come check her out.
As Sam approached the old mahogany counter she quickly started shooting off.
“That is how customer service should be done”
“I am sorry ma’am, that I asked if you needed any help, I sincerely apologize for offering my assistance as well as being such an inconvenience to you,” Sam sarcastically said.
“Whatever just give me my book, so I can get the hell out of this backward store and away from your hungry eyes.
After she had left, Mr. Thimbel approached Sam and without hesitation began to tell Sam that he needed to learn customer service skills and that he was on his last chance. Then Mr. Thimbel told Sam that he would now be required to work through his lunch break while off the clock in order to make up for this, Sam lost it.
“You know what Mr. Thimbel, Fuck that. That was not customer service, that was you being a spineless coward and giving in to demands. The customer is not always right. You are not always right. From day one you have been riding me over the tiniest of things. Take today, for example, you wanted me to take every book off the shelve in order to add a few new books. Fuck you, fuck this failing store, and fuck this job!
Sam was proud, he walked towards the door to leave with a grin on his face and a sense of accomplishment. Sam had never felt better in his life.
Only when Sam exited the store and approached his old Jetta did the reality sink in. He had bills to pay, no job, and less than a thousand dollars in savings. Sam stopped for a second just to let everything sink in.
“ Oh shit, what have I done?”