Monday, February 25, 2013


   I've worked in a lot of places. This job always encompassed some form of money handling, but not always in a grocery store.  The third job that I ever had, I held when I was 18: pre-baby days. I worked for this man who owned his own business; a small, local businessman who had an unusual business plan. This was  when I still lived in Gulfport, Mississippi, and this businessman owned 3 stores, all of them located along Pass Road. One of his stores was a movie rental store, back before Netflicks, when DVD was the new thing and Blu-ray was as yet, unheard of. The other store was a tanning salon. And the third store, the one I worked at, was a combination of tanning salon and movie rental, with a twist. There was a special 18 and older room that people could go into to select and rent porn. Yup. The man was a genius; women would go in to tan and their boyfriends/husbands would browse the kink in the back. He got business from both sides, and this was probably the only tanning salon where dudes where happy to go wait for their chicks to get their tan on.
   We had to wear many hats at this job. I had to know how to run the beds, and I had to know how to audit the videos, set up accounts, turn people in to soft collections, make bank deposits for the store, and I had to play security guard. There were monitors set up all over this place. Of course, the tanning rooms and bathrooms where not recorded, but the areas that sold the lotion, the videos, and the porn room was recorded and we had little TVs were we could watch for suspicious activities. Guess which room I never, and I mean NEVER checked? If you're thinking this room starts with a 'P' then you would be correct. Go get yourself a cookie, friend.
    Why did I never check that? aren't really thinking that, right? If you are anything like me, then you are thinking that if they want to steal that, there is no way in any kind of hell that you are actually going to be the one to stop them. Uh-uh. No friggen' way, I'd rather eat my eyeballs than sit there and watch what goes on in that room. I would never even go shelve the 'movies' unless that room was empty, and checking to be sure that the room was empty was the only reason I ever looked at that particular monitor.
   But griping about the porn room is actually not the reason for this blog post. I didn't mind renting out porn. I would rather people watch that then go rape/molest someone, and further, I don't actually care. Watching porn is not illegal; I just wasn't willing to make a bust and be all, "Dude, I saw you put the porn in your jacket, hand it over." Nope. Can you say chicken? I can. So I don't know if anyone even attempted to steal that stuff, because I was not attentive. Funnily, audits and inventory for that room did not show missing items, so the porn watchers are a little more honest than others, it seems. Because they totally could have robbed us blind with me manning the cameras.
   The real surprise to me was how many people we caught stealing tanning lotion. What a thing to steal, and there is no excuse. You don't need tanning lotion; lotion isn't essential to survival. I have a sneaking sympathy for people who are starving and stealing food, or women who are stealing things like prenatal vitamins (food stamps do not cover vitamins, before you go shooting off at the mouth, and those things are costly). The world is a hard place, and sometimes people have to do hard things. But tanning lotion? Oh, you thief. And of course, not only did we catch thieves on camera, but usually, they went in to tan. Which means that we had all of their information stored on the computer, via their account. Walk-in tans were not allowed; to tan with us, you had to have an account. We knew their home phone, their address, where they worked, and we also had their thumb-print on file, because this business man didn't want people to share accounts, so he had some thumb scanning thingy-majigger all set up to scan your thumb and connect you to your account (it never worked and we were always having to bypass it. Stupid technology.)
   Not the best place to be stealing from, but people can be crazy stupid. However, with all that info on hand, did I ever make a bust? Nope. I saved the tape, gave it to the boss, and let him call them at their happy little homes. Hey, at least I was attentive.
   But really, I was just barely making over minimum wage, and people, yeah, they can be crazy. And Pass Road? A lot of crackheads in that area, and I was not getting all shot up for $5.45 an hour, over a bottle of tanning lotion. But I never did make good security. Good thing I'm a cashier. 

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