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.


Arnold said...

I enjoyed reading your stories especially number 3. It's always interesting how two people collide in a world of 6 billion+ who inhabit this tiny planet in the vast universe. You've had quite a ride with Kinko's and I definitely agree with number 1 that if it weren't for the staff, I wouldn't be there.


Tara said...

Sounds like all and all Kinko's wasn't such a bad place to work after all. Number 3 proves that fact. I met Phil at work also, boy I hated working there, but in the end I won the ultimate prize. The $1200 dollar a week salary was pretty nice to, but the 72 hour a week working sucked.

Happy Endings...

Anonymous said...

congratulations, t! the end of an era, indeed. thank you for the journey through the joys & agonies...i too am a big fan of #3. awww. l

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