A Video Store Epic

I graduated high school and got a job at a family-owned video store. The owner was a nurse who opened the store about six months before, and she seemed to like me at first because I had aspirations of becoming a nurse, too. I thought I had it made, but soon I realized that this woman had no business running her own store. Despite this being a new business, the owner was absent, apparently just expecting teenage kids to do the grunt work and have money roll right in.

I was trained by two co-workers, given conflicting information, would get confused, try my best, then be reprimanded by for doing the wrong thing. Instead of quietly taking me off to the side (remember she was hardly present), the owner would write a note and clip it to my time card, so all the employees could read them as they clocked in. The other employees never seemed to get reprimanded, though.

The owner was also  a bible-thumper, insisting on buying religious videos that no one was interested in renting. This was back in 2000, and our customers had to fight over three VHS copies of Gladiator. Business wasn’t good. This was also when DVDs started getting popular, but she refused to get any, thinking they were a fad. I found out all of the inventory was bought from an out-of-business video store, and that there were boxes of porn videos hidden in the storage room. Considering how many times I was asked if there was a “back room,” I know a ton of money would have been made. Due to her religious ways, she refused to make a back room up to rent them out, and thought I was seriously evil for suggesting it. Why someone with a stripper for a daughter and a teenage son dating a twenty-something, married woman was so self-righteous and judgmental of me, a reasonably good kid, I have no idea.

This son of hers worked at the store from time to time. One evening we were working together, I was stuck with cleaning duty. He took it upon himself to eat Taco Bell before his shift, then have explosive diarrhea all over the seat of the break room toilet that he didn’t clean up. I still think he did it on purpose. Another boy around our age worked there, and would invite his friends to the store to hang out for hours and sexually harass me. One slow night, I made a rubber band ball the size of a baseball, which he grabbed from me and threw across the store, embedding it into a particle board door. He begged me to lie and say a couple of kids ran in and did it, but I couldn’t keep the lie up for long and squealed to the owner. He blamed me, saying it was all my fault because I was the one who made the ball. She went along with him, saying that since I was older (by a few months, I believe), I should have set a better example. I was docked $100 in pay to cover the cost of another door, and I heard through one of the girls who worked there with us that they got the replacement door for $50.

I annoyed the owner mostly because I was constantly off on my till every night. I tried my hardest to cooperate with their dinosaur of a cash register, and why the other ones never seemed to get in trouble for their tills being off, I’ll never know. The owner would ask me really increasingly condescending questions in front of the other employees from “Do you need your eyes re-examined?” to “Did you take special classes in school?” She must have forgot that I graduated a year early. She would tell me multiple times that someone like me would struggle throughout a nursing career due to my stupidity.

It was no surprise to me that I was fired after six months for incompetence, but I was not sad at all. The business failed three months later, she had to go back to her old doctor’s office job that she hated under a huge mountain of debt, and I’ve been a successful nurse for the past eight years with an advanced degree, which I couldn’t have accomplished if I truly was as stupid as she tried to convince me.

Comments (9)

NurseDJune 23rd, 2010 at 6:52 am

Wow, that sucks, but with your advanced degree (I’m assuming CNP) you should practice at her Doctors office and try to hire her. Oh and be generous to give her the same treatment she gave you.

TheRestOfTheStoryJune 23rd, 2010 at 10:26 am

Do you still have the VHS tapes? I already got Gladiator, but what about the other ones you mentioned?

TMSJune 23rd, 2010 at 10:35 am

The trouble with family owned business is nepotism, why the other workers never got bothered however maybe they were in good with the family (read: ass kissers). I realize that sometimes it’s hard to get another job, but when you’re pretty much the official whipping boy (or girl) then I have to say no paycheck is worth that kind of treatment. Of course, I am glad that karma came along and bit her on the ass and the business failed.

tronnerJune 23rd, 2010 at 2:51 pm

NurseD – that is the best idea EVER!

PocketFoxJune 23rd, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Wow… With every family-owned business horror story I read, I become more and more convinced that I never want to work for a family ever. >.<

Frau BlucherJune 24th, 2010 at 6:39 am

this loser had no business running a business. Obviously her karma came back at her big time!!

XandrayaJune 24th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

PocketFox: Me too! I actually worked for a family-run movie theater. I was the only person I ever saw actually doing any work, they wouldn’t pay if I worked past midnight (good thing it always took past that), and they tried to make me work a holiday for normal pay (it’s the evening of the holiday, so it’s no longer the holiday, right?)! Luckily that was about the worst of it. The OP’s is faaaar worse. :/

lgSeptember 15th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Okay, I just want to ask, what made this owner a “bible thumper?” I don’t think someone objecting to peddling porn and wanting to provide customers with ‘religious’ videos is enough to qualify a person as a bible thumper. As the owner, it was her choice and obviously, not the most business savvy. Unless she was preaching to you constantly, I’d say she was simply a religious person.

Also, on a side note, if you’d like to make the point you are of above-average intelligence by stating you graduated a year early, you may want to check your grammar (i.e. “She must have forgot I graduated a year early” should read “She must have forgotten…” Just a little ironic I thought.)

A. ZeeApril 26th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Wow – that really sucked. Why are some people so delusional?

Also, lg – Totally catty comment, you Bible-thumper you.

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