Hippie side business

Man-child boss (MCB) prided himself on being an entrepreneur.  He was always in the market for a new million dollar idea.  The problem was, when struck with the lightning bolt of invention, MCB became blinded by his dreams and couldn’t see that his ideas were lacking the all-important sellability factor.

One such idea was an online store featuring fantasy and hippie items.  I will call this venture the hippie side business.  MCB had an acquaintance who somehow owed him money.  In lieu of a monetary payback, MCB made a deal to be paid in merchandise from his friend’s failed store.  Note the foreshadowing…

When I came into the picture as the marketing assistant for MCB’s real estate office, he took the opportunity to shoulder on me the responsibility of finding a way to sell this traded merchandise.  There were faerie figurines, mini incense burners, spirit beads, glitter candles, and other fantasy-inspired trinkets.  It was like the designer from Claire’s collaborated with the production team from the Dollar Store to make the cheapest, cheesiest products for fantasy-lovers.  I wondered what consumer would come to a real estate office to buy a faerie necklace, but MCB put my concerns to rest by announcing that he planned to sell off his newly-acquired merchandise on the internet.

Any old E-Bay sale was not considered entrepreneureal enough for MCB.  Instead, he planned to create an original website solely for selling off his products.  I spent many hours populating the website with the hippie side business products, taking care to label and categorize each product to create an organized warehouse of merchandise.  Before the website launched, MCB discovered that he could not afford to pay for a webmaster to run the purchasing functionality of a sales website.  I certainly wasn’t able to run a website which took credit cards and arranged shipping for customers, and MCB wasn’t either.  So, it was on to plan B:  Sell the merchandise to another store.

I was sent out to a trendy area in Miami, Bayside Marketplace, in order to pitch the hippie merchandise to some local candle/trinket stores.  I came armed with no speech or data to present, as I had arrived to work that morning with zero warning that I would be sent out to sell nicknacks to strangers.  All I had was MCB’s business card and some pictures of the merchandise.  When I arrived to the first store, I explained my purpose to the one employee, and they took my (MCB’s) card for their manager.  The second store I visited was manned by the store owner.  As I pitched the hippie products to this slimy, pastel-shirted, accented man, I could tell he was more interested in me than in my sales attempt.  He interrupted me to ask if I was married, instead of taking my business card he asked for my cell phone number, and then at the end he said, “You would have sold me something if you were wearing a mini skirt.”  I left the shopping area after my failed attempts, feeling insulted and dirty.

Luckily for me, two failed ideas in a short time was enough for MCB to postpone his delusions of success with his hippie side business, and he never made me go out and attempt to sell the products again.  I guess the moral of this story is:  Sometimes one man’s trash is another man’s…trash!

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Anastasia.com

One day, while going through Man-Child Boss’s (MCB’s) emails as instructed, I came across a message from a woman named Olga.  She was writing MCB because he contacted her through a website called Anastasia.com.  At first I assumed that this was just a generic junk email, like the ones that try to get you to click on viruses.  I then found an email verifying that MCB signed up, created a username and password, and PAID to be a member of this website.

I decided to investigate, and when I visited the website, I struck MCB gold:  Anastasia.com was “The Ukraine’s #1 source for mail-order brides”.  Decorated with glamour-shots of heavily made-up, sad-looking teenagers in lacy lingerie, the site advertised that it would connect you with potential brides and ship them over to America when you bought the one you wanted.

As I continued to go through MCB’s emails (to reiterate, he actually asked me to do this and apparently didn’t care that I saw all his personal stuff), I found more “bride connections” from women named Irina, Lara and Svetlana.  MCB had responded to all of them, telling them that he was an active, successful entrepreneur looking for a wife.  The child-brides responded in broken English, mostly complimenting MCB and trying to obtain payment for services rendered.  Since MCB never actually bought a wife, the correspondence ended after 2 or 3 messages, then ceased all together.

All the working women at Anastasia.com should consider themselves lucky that MCB was too cheap to actually buy one of them!  I can only imagine what would have transpired if he had gone through with that plan…yuck.

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Black Widow Kook

While working at the University in Miami, one of the faculty members was a man who shall be called Black Widow Kook (BWK).  BWK was a teeny tiny man, about 4’9”.  He was in his 70s and rapidly growing more senile, but refused to retire because he wanted to remain the providing husband to his…husband.  His…third husband.  His third husband who followed his…two deceased husbands.

BWK met his third husband during the time I worked with him.  BWK had gone on vacation to Cuba, and met a boy toy there, who he continued a long distance relationship with. I say boy toy because BWK was in his 70s, and his new boy toy was in his 40s.  A few months later, BWK announced to the office that he had married his Cuban boy toy and after the paperwork cleared, the new husband would move to Miami.

Shortly after moving in together, the husband became ill with mysterious symptoms.  Once a healthy, active, middle-aged man, he rapidly deteriorated into a bedridden invalid.  This third husband probably thought he was getting an easy ticket to America, but ended up the victim of a black widow.  BWK would call his husband every day as soon as he got to work, to ask him where he was and how he was feeling.  This may seem sweet, until you start to wonder if perhaps BWK was somehow making his new husband sick.  I mean, he exhibited all the signs of an abusive husband:  Controlling, demeaning, needing to know the whereabouts of his husband at all times…

If BWK called home and his husband did not answer, he would leave a message, then call back until he got an answer.  When the phone was answered, BWK would bombard his husband with questions on where he was, why he couldn’t hear the phone, who he was with and what he was doing.  BWK also took it upon himself to plan out his husband’s days, including doctor’s visits, meals and housework.  I know this because I could hear BWK call home every day to make sure his husband was on the schedule provided for him.

The first two dead husbands seemingly passed of innocent causes.  BWK claimed that his first husband died of AIDS and his second husband of cancer.  He also did extensive charity work with AIDs and cancer research organizations.  However, the coupling of two dead husbands with the third almost-dead husband made me suspicious.  Did BWK choose to marry people that were already sick so he could control them, or was he killing them?

I watched the progression of the third husband’s mysterious illness until I left the University.  Did the poor third husband survive his marriage to the black widow kook?!?  I fear I’ll never know!

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Maintenance Men

While working at the university in Miami, I had to serve as liaison to the facilities department.  I had to work closely and attempt to communicate with the maintenance men, whose only interest was passing off responsibility or doing as little as possible.

In charge of all maintenance issues, the facilities staff seemed to consist of about 20 middle-aged men, whose faces all looked like they had been disfigured in some kind of horrible accident. Is having a face fit for a Disney villain a prerequisite for working in maintenance? Apparently. They also had the voices of stereotypically poor people from 1800′s England. How this is possible in Miami, I have no idea. These men were all races and cultures, yet every single one of them sounded like a London street urchin who might say, “Allo guvnah!”  Upon entering the room, they would shout, “Ousekeepin! Oy! Atcha got ‘ere?” Where did all your consonants go, maintenance men?

They also, being uneducated and having no sense of respect for a woman of my age, liked to call me little sexist nicknames. Of course there were the usual ones…sweetie, honey or darling, but some of the men got creative.  One of them referred to me only as Precious. Precious? Do you mean as in the overweight teenager from the movie? Or perhaps the ‘my precious’, Lord of the Rings reference? Or you just mean that I’m a woman, so you talk to me as if I’m either your niece or a sex object? Yes, that sounds about right.  Another one would shout at me any time he saw me around campus, saying, “OYE!  Yu look ‘ike ‘at ‘oman on the news!”  This was the most detailed description I could get out of him…that I looked like some woman on the news.  Which woman?  He would never give any more details.

These maintenance men also had no concept of reading a work ticket before they came out to fill it. They would come to my office, work ticket in hand, and say, “Oy Precious, we ‘posed to move a table or ‘omethin in ‘ere?” “Um, no, I didn’t enter any work tickets lately”, I would reply. “What does it say on the ticket? As in, whose name does it say entered this ticket?” They would stare at me blankly until I took the ticket out of their hands and pointed to the place where the person’s name was, explaining to them that this clearly wasn’t me and therefore they should look at what things say before they wander around the wrong places.

They also liked to show up without warning so that they could catch you away from your office, which meant they could put down on the work ticket that they tried to fulfill the ticket, but you weren’t around.  They would also get the wrong room or building numbers, and go knocking on a broom closet, pretending to think it was my office.  Repeated attempts to correct their lists of locations were not successful, because that would mean they actually got work done.

We could all learn something from these maintenance men.  1) Don’t worry about fixing things, because they will probably just break again.  2) As long as you’re physically at work, you can fool people into thinking you are working.  3) All white women look the same.

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Dear Louise

Man-Child Boss (MCB) is the star of most of my posts (and of my nightmares, but I digress), due to his epically disgusting behavior and unbelievable actions.  The best way to describe him and his awfulness is to present the email below.  As I’ve described earlier, I had to check MCB’s emails for him, and he practiced no division between business and personal emails.  One day, I came across this gem of an email he wrote to his girlfriend:

Dear Louise,

I noticed you have a very large and unattractive mole on your eyebrow.  Here is the contact information of a doctor I know who can remove it for you.  Please get that taken care of for me. 

Love ya,

MCB. 

This uncalled for and unbelievably cruel email of course caused his girlfriend to write him back, expressing how hurt and self-conscious he made her.  They had a back and forth of about 5 emails, and somehow, the end result of this was her apologizing for being sensitive.

I don’t think I need to make any commentary on this one :)

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Rabid Mutt

Cutter Kook (CK) became quite depressed after his girlfriend dumped him, and he began to get special treatment at work because of his delicate mental state.  Although I was the only one to notice his cutting, everyone was aware of his depression.  One day he asked if he could bring his dog to work with him.  The bosses, thinking it would be a nice treat, said that he could.

CK brought his dog in the next day, equipped with a dog bed, water bowl and treats.  He set up the dog’s home inside his cubicle.  CK’s cubicle was located at a center point for office necessities.  You had to walk past it if going to any of the offices, other cubicles, or the copier/printer.  CK’s dog was a brown cocker spaniel, weighing about 50 pounds.  The first day, it quietly sat under CK’s desk, behaving itself.  On the second day, and every day for the next three months, it transformed into a rabid mutt.

Any time someone would walk past CK’s cubicle, which they had to do many times daily, the dog would growl loudly, sometimes darting out to snarl and bite at the victim’s hands.  For some reason, everyone in the office accepted this clearly inappropriate behavior, and let it continue.  The rabid mutt would chase people down the hallway, snarling with fury until the victim was able to escape on top of a table or into the lobby elevator.

This scenario brought up two concerns for me.  One:  Why were the bosses allowing this to continue?  Two:  Why was CK still bringing his mutt to work when it attacked every person in the office, including all three bosses?

My worst experience with CK’s rabid mutt happened one day as I walked back to use the copier.  I had a notebook in my hands, which turned out to be a hand-saving coincidence.  As I passed CK’s cubicle, the standard growls emerged, followed by the dog coming out to stand in the hallway behind me.  I kept going towards the copier, but the growls became louder and more furious, so I turned around.  At this point, the mutt lunged forward at me, jumped, and bit the notebook that I held up in front of my chest to protect me.  It tore out a chunk of the notebook, and while it was distracted, I was able to escape into an office and shut the door.  Upon inspection of my body, I had thick cuts on my stomach from where its claws made contact as it jumped up with the intention of biting my face.  I complained to both CK and the bosses, but they said I was overreacting and that nothing would be done.

Another incident with the rabid mutt occurred during an important meeting.  CK was meeting with two potential clients in the conference room, while his mutt roamed freely throughout the office.  The mongrel went out into the lobby, shared by 4 other businesses, and dropped large, wet piles of half-diarrhea, half-solid poop all over the marble floor.  The meeting was not near its end, and I certainly wasn’t going to clean up this creature’s excrement, so I held up a sign that only CK could see from his seat at the conference table.  My sign said, “Your dog pooped all over the lobby.”  CK excused himself from the meeting, and cleaned up the sizable mess.  Even this embarrassment to the company did not cause the bosses to ban the mutt from the office.

I was laid off from the company about three months into the rabid mutt’s reign of terror.  To my knowledge, CK and his dog continued to come to work every day, where surely the attacks continued.  And yet, I was considered the most disposable at the company.

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Cutter Kook

During my time at the advertising agency in Miami, I worked with a man who shall be known as Cutter Kook (CK).  CK was a mid-20′s, over 6-foot-tall man who worked as a junior account executive.  He had thinning, sandy-blond hair that he wore in the standard frat boy forehead-swoop.  He usually wore button-down shirts to work, but with the sleeves rolled up to his elbow.  He had rows of scars lining each forearm, but I never asked him about these or acknowledged that I noticed them.

CK moved to Miami to be with his college girlfriend, who worked as an account executive at a rival agency.  After about a year of living together, she abruptly dumped him and he became very depressed.  One day, I noticed lines of fresh cuts on CK’s forearms.  He must have noticed me surveying them, because the next day, he had band-aids covering the cuts.  I jokingly said to him, “Those are really going to hurt when you pull them off,” because they were sticking to sensitive arm hair.  He smiled at this comment, and I thought nothing of it, until the next day.

The next day, even though it was 90 degrees outside, CK wore his standard, button-down shirt to work.  For the first time, he had the sleeves down to his wrists. At this point it became obvious to me that CK was a cutter.

A cutter is a person, usually a teenage girl, who cuts themselves with razors or other sharp objects to physically release their emotional pain.  Some examples of celebrities who have admitted to cutting are:  Angelina Jolie, Mary-Kate Olsen and Demi Lovato.  All as teenage girls, mind you.  Now, back to the story…

Every day afterward, CK would wear long-sleeved shirts, or if he wore a t-shirt, he would have a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath it.  I knew this was because I had inadvertently exposed his cutting, and he thought he could hide it by hiding the evidence.  Even though I could no longer see his cuts, I knew his destructive behavior was thriving.  Whenever he would angle his arm so that his sleeves opened slightly, I could see the rows of fresh, bloody cuts.

I never said anything to CK about his problem.  We were not friends, and he barely tolerated me in the office.  After I made the band-aid comment, he realized that I knew his secret, and he began to be very rude and dismissive towards me.  When I was laid off (due to lack of funds to pay me anymore), we said a cordial goodbye and I haven’t seen or heard of him since.  I sometimes wonder if he is still alive.

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Satan’s minions

Man-child boss (MCB) hired me as a marketing assistant, but had me perform tasks that were clearly under the personal assistant/mommy title.  Taking his dry cleaning, getting him lunch, taking him for car repairs and packing a suitcase for his trips were some of my duties.  Another job of mine was to babysit his dogs.

MCB regularly kept in contact with his ex-girlfriend, a Chinese woman (he had a type I guess, as his current girlfriend was also Chinese) who had moved away from Miami.  They would chat all day long on Yahoo chat, and they also shared “custody” of two mongrel dogs, which were the worst behaved, most annoying dogs I’ve ever met.  I called them Satan’s minions.

Satan’s minions were a brother- sister pair of little white fluffy things with gunky mucus all around their eyes, and permanent, brainless expressions on their faces.  He brought them to the office because he said he didn’t want to leave them at home alone.  He would then leave the office and have me babysit them.  When they weren’t scratching the door and howling for escape, they entertained themselves by humping each other, ripping up the carpet with their teeth and urinating on our computers, legs and anything else within reach.  When I would approach the male to try to discipline his behavior, he would roll over on his back and urinate high into the air, like a sprinkler that I then had to dodge.

It didn’t take very long for me to stop caring about the damage they did to the office.  I figured if they broke anything, it surely couldn’t be blamed on me, as I was not an animal trainer and the ability to control inbred dogs was not part of the job requirements.  After just a few days, Satan’s minions had ripped up half of the carpet and fried at least one of the computers.  After realizing this, MCB brought them to the office less frequently, and later sent them off to permanently live with his ex.

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Paranoid Hypochondriac

Man-child boss (MCB) was paranoid and a hypochondriac.  MCB was terrified of all “degenerates”, especially the working class.  A few weeks into my employment, he went on a week-long cruise.  The office building was still somewhat under construction, which meant there were lots of construction workers and contractors hanging around.  MCB normally locked us inside the office all day, so when he left for the cruise, he was particularly worried about the safety of his belongings (mostly his video cameras).  As he was preparing to leave, he said to me, “Now, if any of those workers try to get in here, use my gun.  It’s right here in this drawer and it’s always loaded.”  He opened his bottom desk drawer and produced a handgun.  Knowing that my psychologically unstable, perverted and idiotic boss had a killing machine in our office only added to my concerns about him.  Plus, he thought that telling me to murder any person who came within 10 feet of the office door was a totally normal thing to say.

MCB’s paranoia also surfaced in hurricane season.  He would close the office in anticipation of hurricanes that never came.  This was fine with me of course, because it meant I could have a free day.

I first noticed MCB’s hypochondria when I came into work with a mild sniffle.  I had a runny nose and a slight cough, but nothing serious.  MCB noticed my sniffing and coughing, and over the course of about an hour, began to exhibit his own symptoms.  He proclaimed that he was not feeling well, and left.  This was a triumph for me, having the office to myself!  Whenever MCB left the office, I was free to work uninterrupted and was able to listen to my own music instead of “Phish live in concert” on repeat.  Also, the longer I worked for him, the more difficult it became for me to stomach his behavior.  I began to feel like I was going to vomit every time I looked at him, so I welcomed his absence.

After the first phantom symptoms incident, I began to run experiments on him.  I would pretend to feel ill, and sure enough, he would begin to feel sick a couple of hours later, and leave the office.  All it took was a couple of coughs from me, and he would start to complain of symptoms.  This happened at least 10 times, without fail.  Maybe I took advantage of him, but consider this:  He was looking for any excuse not to work.  That is why he always took the bait; it meant he could go home and take the next day off as well.  He got his freedom, and I got my privacy at work.

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Sorority Kook

I once had a temp position at a company that sold supplies and furnishings in bulk to hotel chains.  My job there was to call the same list of suppliers every day and yell at them about where the product was and when it would be delivered.  It was terrible; even my boss ran to the bathroom crying after a particularly draining phone call with a client whose merchandise was not delivered on time.

My little cubicle was located right next to a summer intern’s workspace.  She was fresh out of high school and her parents had hooked her up with a summer position to give her something to put on her resume.  She was the typical sorority girl (or in her case, future sorority girl).  She fake tanned, straightened her long, brown hair daily, and wore tons of eyeliner and mascara. We shall call her Sorority Kook (SK).

She always talked about how her boyfriend was going off to school in a different state but she thought they would be able to stay together.  The fact that he openly referred to her as his back-up plan didn’t seem to bother her.  She took Xenadrine in order to lose weight to achieve maximum attractiveness for her charming beau.   She would take the dangerous weight loss drug every day and then drink Coke, which brought up two problems (feel free to imagine me screaming these points at a wide-eyed, vacant-headed, tangerine teenager).  #1 =  Coca Cola makes you fat, girl!  Drinking Coke totally defeats the purpose of the weight loss pill.  #2 =  Xenadrine, TrimSpa and any other of those “miracle” pills become even more dangerous when you mix them with caffeine!

One day SK didn’t show up for work, and nobody heard from her for the next two days.  When she did show up, she told me that she had been rushed to the emergency room because of an irregular heartbeat and she almost suffered irreversible heart damage.  One might ask, how could this happen to an 18 year old?!?  XENADRINE + COKE = DEAD.

After the hospitalization, SK stopped taking Xenadrine, but kept drinking Coke.  She said that her new weight loss plan was to just stop eating, and drink only Coke.  I told her this was not a good plan, but I’m sure she tried it anyway.  I moved on to a full-time job after 4 weeks temping at that company, so I didn’t get to see whether she almost killed herself again.

Bonus kook:  The other worker who sat diagonally from my cubicle was a late 20′s, well-traveled latina who thought that overly pronouncing words made her sound educated and authoritative.  Her favorite word was “correct”, except she said it “curract”.  At least 35 times a day, I swear, she would say, “curract” and it drove me crazy!  She claimed to know Keri Hilson (R&B songwriter and singer) and talked about it incessantly.  That’s all I can remember about her, so you see why she didn’t get a full post or a real name!

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