Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crazy bank lady and her nonsense

My wife and I have this friend...actually, it's Mikes sister. Most everyone has heard from or about Mike in some form, but I've never mentioned his sister. At any rate, she works at a bank here in town and they were running a promotion that if you open an account you get $100 free. Since I'm the kind of guy that waits until the last minute, I waited until the very last day as it turns out. So I met Trish somewhere and she gave me a form and said "I tried to call this in, but this woman is a little weird so I'm gonna hand you the form and let you take it in since I'm off today." Not a big deal right? Well, normally it wouldn't be...but this woman was fucking nuts.

I wait in the lobby, just hanging around. The 225lbs of intimidation that I am is getting the stare down from the Jackie Gleason wannabe security guard. He finally approaches and says "Son...what's yer bidness at the bank today?" So I showed him the form and told him I was waiting on Jaba the Hut there to open me an account. He informed me that "bankin bidness" is supposed to wait on the couch. At least that's what I think he said through his chew and lack of teeth. So I sit and wait...still getting the stare down. Finally, me and The Hut get to talk. I was going to just write a check for the minimum to get the account open and my hot wife didn't get to go with me because she was out shopping with Foxy Cousin E. Not a big deal, we get the free $100, Trish gets her credit, we close the account, money comes back to us. Simple. I obviously didn't tell this woman that. So she asked why hot wifes name was on that checking account but I wasn't putting it on this one. I explained it to her and she said "Sir. Are you aware that the divorce rate is over 50 percent? Do you realize that is almost half of all marriages ending in divorce now?" I assured her we weren't going to get divorced over her name not being on the account and I'd add it when she was free. Then comes the nonsense. "Sir, in most cases it is a good idea to have your own money seperate. In some cases even when the spouse doesn't know about it. That way you have money that's all your own and your spouse doesn't know you have it." So I told her that wasn't exactly what I had in mind for an open relationship. She disagreed. Repeatedly. So I sit, and listen to her vominous nonsense while gritting my teeth and just wanting to leave and go watch football. Her best, and probably my most favorite piece of advice was planning for the emergency of my wife leaving me, and that I should keep this account open and active without my wifes name on it. So I just responded. "Yes ma'am. I'll do it. My wife will have no idea that I'm only depositing half of my paycheck in to the account, and the $100 that I'm putting in here today is going to go a long way when we get divorced. I mean, that's so much money these days I bet she'll be stinging when she finds out it's gone. She'd probably take me back just to have access to it...don't you think?" She stared at me for a minute and said "I was only advising to help you out sir, there is no need to be rude about it." So I told her that unless she knew my wife and knew something I didn't, I could probably live another 30 years without her help. Her response "Well thank you very much for those kind words sir. I really appreciate you saying them to me, and I really appreciate your business." So I just said "Make sure Trish gets credit for this account. I don't ever have to want to speak to you directly again. So I took my free coffee mug and headed out. On my way I thanked the security guard for making me feel all warm and fuzzy and having the premises so secure and said "I think the Hut over there has a thing for you. She kept giving you the eye when you weren't looking. Since you're about to close she's probably ready for lunch..again." I know...I'm an asshole...but it's the little things in life that keep you sane.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Arrogant Liar...

I did mention that the store is off to an okay start, but not without a few administrative road blocks. I started back in April contacting the campus and trying to let them know in the most amicable way possible that we were starting an off campus store. Dealing state funded schools is only slightly more painful than birthing an armadillo that is on fire. No matter how you go about it, they're going to start out hoping you go away, then they move in to their resistance phase, then comes the resentment. This week is all about resistance. Man oh man do they hate the smallest possibility that their monopolies are coming to an end. It's like they fight just to squeeze the last bit of life, or in this case money, out of their students. With no regard to them or anything else, they treat everybody like shit because they're the only game in town, and if nothing else, the most convenient game in town.

So I had made a few phone calls to the Vice President to tell her what we were doing, and that I'd like to talk to her. She of course never returned these phone calls, and e-mails were treated the same way. I thought perhaps a visit was in order so I had one of my ho's watch the store and headed that way. I waited patiently in her office for her assistant to finish what she was doing and she finally acknowledged me. So I just said who I was and that I'd like an appointment with her boss. Upon hearing this, her boss got up from her desk and slammed the door. A little unfriendly if I do say so, but about what I expected. I was refused an appointment and left. When I returned to work I sent the following e-mail.

"Good afternoon Ms. Dumbitch. My name is Raul Duke and I've been trying to reach you concerning our opening an off campus bookstore. Numerous phone calls and e-mails have no doubt been unreturned, but I thought I'd tell you that you have the option of simply returning a phone call or e-mail, or I'll be happy to watch you explain to the Eyewitness news teams that are a phone call away why you feel you're above federal laws and why you're personally denying your students the opportunity to have an off campus bookstore." If you can imagine I got a response within the hour. She still fought us tooth and nail on every bit of information and eventually said "No. Never." Unfortunately for her, college textbook information is federally protected. So, a phone call to my lawyer friend and some leg work on his part showed that we were correct and an official request was sent to their attorney. It was only after this that I got my meeting with them. Can you imagine?

The meeting was grossly unproductive as most of them are. But this one involved the president of the university. I can only guess because legal teams had been summoned. Presidents NEVER take time to meet with people they deem below them (which is everyone) or aren't trying to make an overly generous donation. So, the VP in question was also there and informed me that I was very arrogant and hard to work with. She was trying very hard to look like a bad ass in front of her boss but what none of them realized is that I carry the wallet. Yes, it makes a difference. So I mentioned her non phone call returning and door slamming and she got nervous. This woman started going back to her routes...which let me tell you is the Ghetto. Not just any Ghetto, but I bet this woman knows words that would have made Tupac Shakur blush in his prime. The very next words out of her mouth were "Well...I don't preciate you runnin round tellin lies on me neitha!" After some elaboration she said their current bookstore manager was telling people that she had given me permission to operate. Permission which I do not need. She started in again and I held up a hand and said "Stop. Right there. I don't need your permission nor did I ask for it. None of this is up to you. I'm operating right across the street from you. Deal with it, or have a statement ready for the press. This meeting is over."

So, I'm currently not making any new friends on campus. The campus store has of course sent out their secret shoppers and the manager was nice enough to call and have a talk with me...but that's another blog entirely.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And then there were two...

Well, it's been a long time. And I guess no one really reads that much anyway...but alas Reverend Raul has returned. Nothing exciting really, but here is an update on where I've been.

Most of you know by now I'm in the college textbook business. I can say this on the blog because no one really knows who I am. To people that do know me, I tell them I'm a drug dealer because that is somehow a more respectable occupation than running your own college bookstore. Well, now we're one step closer to becoming an evil empire because I've been opening a second store in my blogger hiatus. We started a little later than I would have liked, but it's somehow working. There is another college right near us that has enough students to warrant a second bookstore so we've always said once we figure out the first one, we'll open a second one. The opportunity came and we're currently managing to make it work. However, I'm on day 27 of constant book rush so I'm just about ready for a little time off. College kids do tend to get on my nerves after so long, but for the most part at the new store they're a little more appreciative.

Anyway, the challenges of opening a new business were a little more than I'd expected. Finding a manager proved to be more of a problem than I'd thought. One of the girls that worked for me had a mom that was at a job where she seemed to be unhappy. She was one of our vendors so in passing one day I said "One day I'm gonna open a second store and I'm gonna come buy you away from this place if I can afford you." She leaned across the counter and said "It won't take much, but when you're ready to talk I'm ready to go." Well, apparently she was ready to go because a couple months later she left and found another job. So Plan A was gone and it was time to search for Plan B. It never materialized but I was moving forward on the second store regardless. We interviewed several people but most of them weren't interested from the get go, or decided after a few days of thinking that they would rather open their own bookstore than work for someone else. One of them had the testicular fortitude to ask me how to go about doing that. Just about at crunch time, my best and most trusted employee said "You know, I could run this for you. I've got two classes left at this school that I can take at night so I could manage for you." I thought the idea was perfect. That way it gives me a year at this store to see if it would work, and if it flopped, nobody got fired. She just went back to working for me. The only drawback is that she's friends with most of the people that work there. But, she's managing. And doing a damn fine job.

So, then there were two and here we are. One day I'll be able to say that we're two stores strong, and I promise I have plenty of stories to share from the opening and the new administration, and I'm sure there will be plenty of ho-drama to come, but currently I'm in two places at once, so I'll start blogging more once I get stopped.