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The Buddy System

A thousand cans of coffee, maybe more; whole pallets full of blue cans neatly stacked by the automatic entrance, each shiny can hoping to catch the entering shopper’s eye, ordered into an army of enticement, maintaining its foothold, allowing easy access to all those intent and eager aisle cruisers, lists in hand, in search of Thanksgiving Nirvana. Matt works in the bakery section, moving frozen cakes and pies from the receiving freezer to the smaller bakery freezer, dating the boxes and rotating the stock. It’s a hard job for Matt, who, when he enters the larger freezer, is always overwhelmed by the sheer number of boxes, each of which screams, “Hey!  Hey Matt! Look at ME! Read my label first! Pick me! Pick me!” Sometimes he has trouble just getting past the coffee can armada and making his way to the time clock to punch in on time. Sometimes he punches in late, waylaid by his attempts to calculate the number of cans, the potential cups of coffee. He doesn’t drink the stuff himself, but he really doesn’t need to.


Barney works for the agency, not for the store.  Barney’s job is to keep Matt focused and productive.  It’s a hard job for Barney because he likes Matt and he likes a good joke, too, but every time he gets off a good one-liner Matt picks up on it, runs with it for half an hour, and can’t find his way back into the task at hand. Both of them just have to keep their lips zipped—something neither of them is very good at.  Barney gets paid either way, whether Matt moves the pies on time or not. Sometimes, afraid of getting chewed out or laid off, Matt sends Barney out front, asks him to count up the coffee cans for him. 

(also posted at Scrambled, Not Fried for "It's not my job, man" Wednesday)