Maybe someday I'll node the inside story about what goes on behind the scenes at a shoe store but for now I want to express how frustrated I was at the New Balance store. Initially I went in to see if they would have a good ankle stabilizer. While I was there I thought I should try on some running shoes. Typically running shoes have more support and cushioning than walking shoes so they are a better option for people even if they aren't running in them. The first two pairs I tried on were decent. After that the guy brought out two pairs of shoes that could not have been more wrong for my foot type so I gave him a solid F because if your entire job is recommending running shoes you damn well better know what you are doing or you could seriously damage someone else's foot.

So anyways the guy at the New Balance store doesn't have an ankle stabilizer in my size, he didn't listen when I told him I had a high arch and I specifically wanted a running shoe and he did not discuss socks or orthotics even though I came into the store wearing clogs and dress socks. After thanking him for his time I went to the store next door which is a major competitor of ours. They carry most of the brands we carry and a couple we don't. For a long time I've understood that support is the key to shoes. Before I started working in shoes I used to shop at that store and I went back because I work in a fucking shoe store and can't get a black dress shoe that I can comfortably wear all day long.

I do have to take some points away from the woman who worked with me because she didn't measure my foot however with the exception of two pairs every single pair she brought out fit me well. At my job our district manager is always yelling at us. Recently I went to some training that was largely ineffective. I got a lot out of it but what I learned had very little to do with sales and quite a bit about the people my company thinks are good at training. At work we have a computer that tells us what type of an arch someone has. This is the key to comfort under your foot so if you ever have the opportunity to have this done for you be sure to take advantage of it.

The software I use at work has been set to recommend certain levels of support only when certain pressure points are reached however there are times when I override what I see because of what people are telling me or what I see for myself. The only problem with that is people don't really want to listen to what I'm telling them. Today I sold about $300 worth of stuff. One woman bought the wrong size of Birkenstock sandals off of the Zappos website. She also bought the wrong size of another shoe and I could have told her that she was going about shoes all wrong but she didn't want to listen to me and what I had to say so I made sure she knew what size of Birkenstocks to get from Zappos. I let her walk out without any of our products which is perhaps a failing of mine but I feel that people like her have tainted money and I'd rather not have any part of that even if it means a larger check for me.

Today I had this sort of A-ha! moment after I bought a pair of three hundred dollar orthopedic shoes. A lot of things that I had subconsciously known became clearer to me, it was almost like I had voices in my head echoing things I tell my customers except this time I was talking to myself. It's true that I don't need a lot of shoes but I do need good ones. Shoes that are wardrobe builders are what I need. If I have basic brown I should pick up a pair of basic black shoes and if the shoes are good for me and I'll wear them quite a bit and they are good for my body then maybe I can't afford not to get a pair especially if none of my other shoes will accomodate an ankle brace.

Recently my family qualified for group health insurance. That's a good thing but the job I have is not. I'm not going to quit today or tomorrow but my days there are numbered and I tore up the sheet that asked me to commit to another year of working where I do. Today I realized that I have a lot of knowledge I can't use where I'm at. I have the ability take comfort to a level that most people don't understand, don't appreciate and aren't willing to pay for so why should I work crappy hours for low pay anymore? From now on I am going to start looking for jobs where I enjoy the work that I do, that don't require me to miss out on things my children are doing and that pays me well enough to support the lifestyle I've decided I want for myself. This might take some time but I've been working on my resume and I am a superb networker so I'm confident that if I am patient the right job will be there for me when I really need it.

Tonight, or rather early this morning (I have officially lost track of when one day ends and the next begins) I was advising a friend on tactics for job interviews, as he is looking for summer employment. The inspiration for this conversation came from him returning home from a night out with friends completely baked, as he is wont to do on weekends. I am not anti-pot by any stretch of the imagination; I have blazed away countless Saturday nights watching Futurama and stuffing my maw with Pringles. But drug testing is pretty compulsory these days, even for lower-tier jobs, and the numerous synthetic urine and other tricks of the trade are not fail-safe by any means. I reminded him as such. I don't think he cared, or was even listening to me, but it did remind me of one of my many fucked-up job interview stories.

A couple years ago I was hired as a sales support liaison for a veneer factory. I was later promoted to human resources assistant, most likely due to this incident. I was pretty much hired on the spot and started work the following day. Right away I was concerned about the mental stability of the human resources manager. She was friendly enough but I could smell batshit insanity about her. When my supervisor walked me down to meet her to fill out tax forms her office door was shut, something my supervisor told me she had been chastised for in the past. I thought nothing of it and simply got started filling out the forms. Once that was finished, the HR manager handed me a plastic cup sealed in a baggie.

"Alright, go upstairs and fill this and then you can get to work."

It is quite obvious from the little litmus paper-like test strips adhered to the side of the cup that she doesn't want me to fill it with coffee. My WTF meter is off the charts. She notes my bewildered expression and explains that it's a quick drug screen, emphasizing ominously that I have to pass it before I can start work.

Okay, there is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to get started. It is not unheard of to hire someone prior to their successful passing of a drug screen, but it always seemed weird to me. I've had people tell me they worked for an employer for the better part of a week before being asked to take a drug screen. A week might not sound like much in the grand scheme of things, but when you are essentially hemorrhaging money to train people, every single day counts. And people can and do fail drug screens, which renders them hors de combat and both potential employee and employer royally S.O.L.

Anyway, I'm mostly shaken up because I do not have to use the facilities. Urinating on command should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. But you get me stuck in traffic with no cigarettes in blazing summer heat and you'd better believe I'm busting. But I digress. I shyly tell the manager that I don't have to go and it might be a minute. So she tosses me a dollar and tells me the employee lounge has bottled water. I am stunned and a little horrified at what in my unprofessional opinion is pretty unprofessional behaviour. Long story short I guzzled down some water and was able to fulfill my duties. The test takes a couple minutes to register. Upon receiving the satisfactory result-that is, that I'm not a druggie-this numpty hands me the cup o' pee and tells me to go dump it in the restroom sink. As I hold the disturbingly warm cup I can't help but feel that there is something expressly against company policy afoot here. Nonetheless I do as she says. Later I tell my supervisor this story. Her reaction? "She made you dump your own piss? I'm sorry but that's nasty. She's such a stupid bitch."

Less than a week after this incident the HR manager quit suddenly, having left a cryptic resignation letter on her desk seemingly in the middle of the night. My supervisor and I filled in to cover her duties. The rest of my brief employment with this company left me somewhat bitter and even more baffled as to the human condition, but it's a funny story to tell, apparently because it involves pee. Eh.

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