well it had to happen eventually

** photo removed as marko is afraid we will get sued **

i have been inspired. after almost 6 years this week marks my last week at kinko's. somewhat nostalgic, but mostly relieved i find that perhaps a retrospect is necessary, for old time sake. there was once this great website called the blue apron blues that a co-worker in toronto created. it mostly slagged the kink's and it's clientelle and in the end it got the co-worker fired for defamation of character. legend has it he sued for violation of the first ammendment. no one knows the co-workers name or store or if he won, but for a long time it was this devilish thing to do, read the blue apron blues site while at work. often moved to hysterics i thought it would be great to write a book of short stories about "the establishment". those that aren't in it are often moved to disbelief at the reality of it all. having been there i can confirm that all the crazy stories are true. so in memory of the long defunct blueapronblues.com i bring you

tara's top 10 most memorable kinko's moments

*warning some language may be offensive to some readers...enter at own risk

10. well this first one didn't happen to me but i was present for it.
thank you for calling kinko's ________ speaking how can i help you?

yes, ummmm i'm....well i ummm have this thing, well i guess it is a poster? that needs printing. how much would that be and how fast can you have it cause i am in a bit of jam here?

well how big is the poster?

oh you know normal size.

posters come in a variety of sizes, normal is perhaps too vague a term, is it like a movie poster size? or smaller?

long pause.....one sec let me ask my friend, she designed it.......ok well she says it is the size of a chicken, so how much would that be?

it depends is it a hen, or a rooster?

9. i love this one

old lady on the line sounds overly confused....hello kinko's (high inflection on the end as though she is asking me a question)

yes, that's right this is kinko's. how can i help you?

well ummmmm i have this thing that i need but i don't know if you do it, my grandson told me you would be able to help me out but i am not sure?

oh i see, well what is you are looking to get done?

i have this thing i believe it is called a "floppy disk?" and i can't use it so i was wondering if you could rewind it for me, it appears as though my computer isn't capable of rewinding...

* grandson gets secial mention on this one for giving granny the brus off...i wonder if he was on the line muffling his giggles?

8. william gibson comes in (and if you have heard this one i apologize but it is a good one). for those of you who don't know, william gibson is a well known science fiction writer, arguably best known for his book "neuromancer" where he coined (yes i said coined!) the phrase cyberspace. considered by many a revolutionary novel that ultimately paved the way for the future, he is a guy that one would expect to know his way around a computer. or at least that is what i am arguing. well he comes in one fall day with the draft for his novel pattern recognition and hands me a floppy and says in this disoriented way "i have this thing on here i think it is in a program called word?". he doesn't know that i know who he is and i am not letting on but honest to god my jaw drops. there are several weird things at play here. i mean this guy writes best sellers and he brings in his draft to kinko's where it is completely unprotected and allows me to copy it to the desktop? and he doesn't have a clue how to use a computer? so either he is a crazy genuis? or just crazy (this one gets my vote) either way it shocked me to the core, cause it called into question everything i hold true.

7. while working in toronto (at a store in the affluent neighbourhood of rosedale no less)i had two people of the male peruasion come in to the self serve computer section and ask me frantically if the printer prints with print down? i don't know? i said. i had never been asked and never paid attention so i really didn't know. well we need to know! beep beep beep my freak radar goes off loudly in my head. but still there was something here beyond the regular run of the mill freakiness you become accustomed to working nights at an all night joint. so i tell him to test it. he does and relief sets in, it prints print down. so i watch them closer, from a distance and despite their best efforts to block the screen it was clear as can be. child pornography. ok so now we stop mid sentence and say a. what kind of a fuck does this stuff? b. what kind of an idiot comes to kinko's to print it??? the police were called, they came and aprrehended. i was a little shook up but not nearly as bad as out next on the list...

6. thank you for calling kinko's tara speaking how may i help you

you stupid bitch i am going to get you for this, you are going to pay. you cost me $100 000 because you fucked up my job and you are not going to get away with it this time.i pay you $5000 and this is what i get? your going to wish you didn't mess it up!

(freakin out inside i calmly reply) i'm sorry sir, perhaps there has been some misunderstanding would you like to speak with the manager?

fuck you, it't too late i am going to make you pay for this...click

gulp. i tell the manager and she calls the police. they say they can't do anything and ask if there is a job that has been placed recently that matched the amount? the trouble with this is that this store is slow, very slow. it is like christmas comes early if a $5000 order gets placed and there had been no snow recently. it just hadn't happened. but still, ok he's not a customer...that isn't really bringing me comfort.

2 weeks later

tara the phone is for you!

thank you for holding tara speaking

tara i said i was going to get you and i will. i am watching you right now from across the street, don't look so surprised. you didn't think i forgot did you. you fucked me over and now i am going to make you pay. click

now completely insane i am crying incontrollably looking around nervously and completely shaking. the police show up this time and tell me i should go home. they escort me there and my brother comes home from school. i cry the entire afternoon. the next day i go to work paranoid and the same the day after. no one shows up but i always have my eye on the door. he never calls again and nothing happens. this was perhaps the first of many kinko's moments that served as a reminder that the world is a fairly fucked up place.

5. golf magazine debaucle. so this real estate guy (and try as i might i can't remember his name...maybe you do? i would love to give him a big fuck you here on my blog, i alway said i would write the local paper, this might have alleviated the regret at not having done it. if you remember the name comment it) comes in with a golf magazine, i think it might have been score? and he wants to have one of the pages photocopied in colour. if memory serves me correct it is an advertisement for some new club, not particularily clever or anything. it is my first week at the vancouver store. so he shows up to get the job and i see that it is done but the magazine is still in the machine so i casually open the lid and gently lift the magazine up. the problem is that a milimeter and a half of the corner had tucked itself under the glass corner and as a result it tore ever so slightly upon removal. he heard the rip and his face immediately turned red. smoke started pouring out of his ears and the profanity began. i remember it was busy, really busy. like the bank counter in it's a wonderful life when everyone wants their money back busy. and he starts calling me names, ugly names and using words like incompetence and idiot. woah dude it's a golf magazine for christ sake! but no it turns out it is a rare magazine that he allegedly paid $5000 for on ebay (ummm yeah whatever it was printed last year...collector my ass you're just pissed at the world and i am the closest target) and he demands i apologize. well he already humiliated me in front of many people and belittled me, no fucking way i am apologizing. not. a. chance. he leaves with a business card and the promise of a lawsuit. i thought i might lose my job (and now looking back maybe that would have been better??) but nothing was said to me and no lawsuit was ever filed.

for those that don't know the end of the story, buddy came back months later and threw a fit over some folded fliers.throwing a fit in this case meant actually taking the box of fliers and throwing them at a co-worker and then claiming he didn't and that the co-worker had dropped them. a quick review of the surveillance camera proved him wrong and with it came a lifetime eviction from the store. i only know of one other time he tried to do business with us (and really have you been kicked out of everywhere? cause there are at least 400 other copy shops on our block alone...have you no pride?) and he was refused while i laughed in the corner and stared. if karma exsists that guy is going somewhere either really cold or hot in the next life, and there he will work retail.

4. christmas party 2001, toronto hard rock cafe. the deal was that my manager at the time was friends with the hard rock manager and they had a little you pat my back i'll pat yours set-up. so we did a bunch of work, menus, signs etc and they host our christmas party. we did a lot of work, our credit was high. we let it roll on even. i brought my brother and he and my manager got wasted early. collectively the table ordered every entree (almost)and appetizer (and there were only maybe...11 employees?)and then dessert.so much dessert it was incredible. it was like a greek feast in that room. then all the non-drinkers (half the staff)left, leaving 6 of us to head to the bar and partake in tequila and more beer (import in bottles). we went long. well past midnight and then we went dancing to the velvet underground. we rocked it so hard and it was and likely will remain the best christmas party ever. of course later head office found out (they always do) and the manager got demoted to assistant manager (but the crazy thing was that he went to ass man at a profit store and ended up making more money because of it) and now he is back to manager at a store in TO and continues to be today. but he took one for the team and there is something about putting it all on the line for a good party. i will always remember that cause there was a sense of danger that night and it only made it better. later, when i was in vancouver i wrote him and said thanks! he said no problem, the pleasure was all mine

3. maybe this should be number one, but i don't think of us like that anymore. it is something so seperate that it is hard to say it is a kinko's moment but never the less it is and that is the day i met my husband to be. he worked the overnights and i was the evening project coordinator. it wasn't love at first sight. in fact i don't remember the day he started, but he grew on me. at first it was harmless jokes and flirting and then soon i thought about him when he wasn't there. i looked forward to 11 (although he was always late...even back then) everyday. it all started in the administrator office when he asked me if i had seen chicago and i said no. i thought he would ask me. he didn't. he chickened out. but i wasn't going to enough was enough and so i asked him if he would like to hang out outside of work sometime? he said yes and the following friday we went to a movie about gypsy's at the ridge and the rest as they say...is history.

2. there was this assistant manager that was nice mostly outside of work but at work he was a grade A jackass. honest to god take him out back and smash him against the dumpster variety. denise (aka D) and i took it from him all the time at work. it was some sort of maucho act on his part, the puffed up chest and simmer in his eyes. well one particular day he was riding denise hard and she wasn't in the mood. maybe we were out drinking the night before (who....us?) or maybe not but we were tired, it was sunny and we would have rather been at the beach. so he goes at her something fierce and in a blaze of glory she lives out the fantasy of every underpaid, overworked, unappreciated retail employee and rips off her apron (without losing eye contact for a minute) throws it on the counter and shouts fuck you! i don't need this fucking job or your fucking attitude anymore, take this apron and shove it up your ass. i think it was only the three of us there that day and inside i was smiling so wide i couldn't contain it. he was caught unaware and shocked. she just calmly walked off and never came back. i know it wasn't me, and so the victory isn't mine to claim, but that day i felt truimphant. someone actually did it. fuck you is right. later she went back to waterloo cause she didn't feel like finding another job and never really grew to love vancouver anyway. so it was sad, to say goodbye. but i couldn't think of a better way to go out. she has a special place with me now. a retail warrior fully armed and not afraid to attack, that's D.

1. i just alluded to it and maybe you guessed it but the number one, without a doubt, is all the friends i made. it isn't easy working at kinko's. some days it seems like the hardest job around and certainly the most difficult i have ever faced. i often equate it to going to war, we are all on the same army and without each other we are vulnerable, together we are invinsible. over my six years i have met dozens of people with whom i have a strong affinity. i just hope one day we can all (including craig!) meet somewhere and talk about our new jobs and look back at kinko's as a place we used to work. we all deserve that. so to the late nights at the firkin, friday's at the side door, elementary school tokes, sushi trips, pizza christmas parties, staff meeting donuts, alex's bad breath, the stupid blue (and then purple) aprons, IGA lunch runs, bathroom duty and the thousand other things that i file in the folder called kinko's...i bid you adieu. it was something else.


i've got another confession my friend, i'm no fool

so it turns out that the gap is no longer selling jeans? no it turns out they are selling a "lifestyle" and as a bonus everytime you try on one of their lifestyles you get a free song from itunes. what a treat. turning another corner i learned that sarah jessica's new scent is called "lovely", apparently the former tv actress has dreamed about having her own scent since she was kid. forget about astronaut, doctor or police officer. no it would seem that mrs broderick was big into fame and marketing from a wee age. the 20 foot tall billboards downtown claim that "lovely" will make you beautiful on the inside. interesting. i wonder if you inject it?

next up? the best of them all. a billboard for bc ferries. picture a stunning photograph of active pass, sky is blue, water perfectly calm and across the top the words: "in the real world you won't find any words blocking your view". honest. it said that. so there i am on the hot, smelly, slow bus trudging up main street and this advertising wisdom is handed to me. so it turns out the the world is only real when we are on the ferry (which for me is almost never). it is good to know, i don't feel nearly as much pressure now that i know this is all fake. at least advertising isn't even trying to trick us anymore, instead i suspect we will soon see signs saying: "buy it because you know you think it will make you feel better, plus don't you want to be like everyone else?".

one day there will be a revolution. i should start thinking up witty slogans now.


i will wait for you, i will wait for no one but you

i see the road, it's just over there, clear as day. but i don't want to go. i like it here on my pad. the security and familairity i have grown to love. they say the lake is better on the other side. not as many frogs, more bugs to go around. i'm not sure though. i think i would rather stay put and do without? what's so great about more anyway?

but you never know, i suppose a change would be nice. i hear the forest is so big you wouldn't believe it. a frog could hop all day and not step on the same spot twice. i like books about adventure, maybe it is time i have one of my own. maybe today is the day. do i feel lucky? not especailly but what has luck got to do with it anyway. either it works or it doesn't, there is no way to know until you do it. maybe i should wait for a rainy day. maybe then the giants would stay at home. but visibility would be compromised, i don't want to get lost. i hate making decisions.

ok i think i can do this. i mean the more i think about it the more i feel a little bored sitting here all day. i mean yeah it is safe, and green and perfect, but when did that mean happiness. wish me luck i am about to jump. i leave my fate in your hands...take a picture of me as i go so that we can always remember this moment, the one that changed my life...

..there was camping and other versions of tomfoolery that took place in the last week (including the frogs). 120 pictures in total. maybe tomorrow they will find their way here, including my new segment, the one i will be calling the "half face picture of the week". you know the one where you hold the camera up and try and take a pic except half a face gets cut off? it is a biproduct of the digital craze. my collection of said portraits has blossomed to the point of sharing...so stay tuned.


and so it is, just like you said it would be. life goes easy on me most of the time

the light from the street shines through the curtains, blinding and aware. i sit in the window and watch you as you wait for the bus. orange sneakers with a skip in your step you smile at the people that pass you by. your eyes glance from the road to your watch and back to the paper you read silently as you wait.

i will you to look at me. silent prayers into the warm night air. just look. just once. smile. in that toothy grin i would find something. maybe the thing i am missing.

my water glass is empty now and my throat is dry. when i return from the sink the bus has come and gone and you have left me again. i don't know your name or the colour of your eyes and yet everynight you enter my room and you smile. and the brightness hangs on my wall, a reminder.


i used to think that i would get over it, but everything just got over me

have you ever run into someone who compliments everyone insincerely? nice hat! oh i love those shoes, they are so cute. it would seem to me that this could often be roughly translated to "who let you out of the house like that, you look awful!?" the thing is they are usually pretty good with the delivery. they have created their entire persona around bullshitting, brown-nosing...or as i like to think...mocking. silent. venomous. wreckless.

maybe you don't even know if someone amongst you is one of them. they are coy and camouflage themselves. but sooner or later it will become clear. maybe at first it is just a feeling, like why is this person always so nice? and maybe this will be accompanied by a feeling of guilt. should i be that nice? am i a bitch? this may continue on for months, you may even start to compliment people yourself but it won't come off as convincing, it's an art you know.

so then how do you know? well the clincher, the thing that will seal the deal as it were is the moment you witness them compliment someone and then turn to you and say something polar opposite to that which they just stated out loud for all to hear. trust is an easy street when you are on it, deviate from the plan and you are on your own. it isn't the same.

so why do people do it? a part of me longs to believe that it is about being positive, that they want to spread some sort of good will. but still underneath it all there is this nagging feeling that they do it because they are just shitty people who like to laugh at the world while smiling shit eating grins. or they have no confidence (or maybe that is me writing this now, don't worry the thought isn't lost on me...still it is my blog after all). apparently i root for the underdog so really i should believe the last, however, my pessimistic tendencies win here. stop being such an ass. if you like the shoes, say it. if you don't keep your mouth shut. nobody is buying that crap anyway.

but then that is just my two cents and really they ain't worth much. although some might claim they will put me one step closer to cuba. i could use the vacation.


you needed something else to relieve your emptiness

red is the colour of the dress i wore on the day we first met. i put it on hours before you arrived, i was so excited. i thought of cherries and red smarties, they way they would stain my eleven year old lips as i danced around my bedroom to the sound of duran duran. red was the colour i saw when i closed my eyes and looked straight into the sun. i always thought that the light of the world would shine white but it didn't. wearing the red dress made me feel powerful and sexy and alive. then you called it crimson. i know you just wanted to sound arty and clever but it made me think of blood and death and destruction. i laughed anyway. i wanted you to like me.

it was simply the first in a long line of miscommunications. the beginning always determines the end.


is there trouble ahead for you the acrobat?

riding the bus home tonight i was confronted by the usual assortment of crazies. the lady who likes to tell everyone what they are doing wrong..."hey you! don't you know you aren't allowed to eat on the bus?", the beer can guy, garbage bags filled to the brim, a pungent odour wafting from his direction, and then my personal favourite, the obsessive compulsive lady.

her hair perfectly coifed, attire respectable and meticulously clean, posture upright and quite proper. so what's the problem right? there wouldn't have been one if she hadn't taken out an antibacterial wetwipe from her purse and started wiping the seat before she sat down, the entire time staring me down with disdain, and even that comes with an excuse, I mean beer can guy was in the vicinity, it makes the best of us shakey. but then there was the constant standing up and looking with fear at her seat, brushing away imaginatry crumbs, straightening out of the skirt and then back on the seat. mix in the several quick glances in all four directions and a strange paranoid energy around her and you have a bonefied crazy.

when it came time for me to get off she considered for a spilt second of simply moving her legs slightly to let me pass but once she gave me another glance she thought better and stood quickly up, careful not to touch the pole. she then sort of hovered in the aisle unsteady on her feet but willing to take the risk. she was afraid of both me and and the pole, possibly in that order. so i allow her the senility but admittedly i fantasized of licking my hand and running it through her hair just to see if she would melt like the wicked witch of the east. or maybe just to remind her that she wasn't the only one that was crazy on the bus, some of us are just better at covering it up then others.