Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Cheer

This time of year reminds me of when I worked retail. Way back when, I was a buyer for a department store chain in New York City. It was tons of fun- and I would spend oodles of money in short spans of time (I once wrote orders for $4,000,000 in 2 days) but I had to work so much that the rats in the New York subway had a better quality of life than I did.

Anywhoo....when the hours got long, we tried to amuse ourselves with practical jokes. One of my favorites was around Christmas time. It was the height of Teletubby fever- and these scary stuffed animals were flying out the door. We had classic management back then--- a real mahogany row of executive offices, flanked by steely eyed secretaries, and a chairman who smoked cigars and was famous for his temper tantrums. You never spoke to management directly. They called a Senior VP, who called your Divisional, and then you were called into an office and chewed out for not reordering/ordering too much/ being a moron. It was a very uplifting experience.

One December afternoon, I got bored- and grew tired of listening to my officemate beg her vendor for a reorder of Teletubbies. I scooted over to the men's buying office, and cooerced one of my friends into this prank:

Pretending to be the chairman's secretary, I called my officemate. When she answered the phone, I said in my best Mary Poppins voice: "Please hold for Mr. XXXX (grumpy, cigar smoking, chair throwing chairman).

I then threw the phone to my buddy, and listened as my officemate nervously said hello. He returned, in his best, cigar smoking, belittling fashion:

"Annabelle? My kid's having a birthday this weekend, and I want to get him one of those f#@king' Teletubbies. Bring me a Tinky Winky to my office Immediately!" and with that, he slammed down the phone.

As she quickly tried to locate her tinky winky and make her way to the elevator, we smothered our laughter into samples of men's scarves. This was almost as good as the time my boss convinced me one of my vendor's was the mafia. Almost., but not quite.

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