Deficit is Defeat

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

For those who work at a Coop Convenience store...

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Deficit is Defeat

I used to love those shifts, the shifts with complications. It’s those types of complications that can make my 7 hours of work interesting, interesting only when I wasn’t the one who had to deal with it after it has been made. Like the time Matt tried to carry too many Culligan bottles in the cart and they exploded. Or the time Tarek locked the keys in the safe at the beginning of the shift and the traditional freeze of the master till, setting us back and annoying our rushed customers. But today’s complications were different, I was supervisor, therefore I had to fix them. Thankfully I didn’t lock the keys in the safe, make a mess of broken bottles and water, or have any till problems; no what happened to me was even more extraordinary.

It all started at seven, the shift change, when all of Niverville recognizes the change and decides to come for gas, coffee and some ice cream. It is the ultimate business that three cannot handle. It is also a time when utter chaos is the norm and a skill that needs to be mastered in order to survive.

Now utter chaos begins with a small problem, like running out of ice cream mix right at the shift change and not having enough time to even think about filling it. The pumps fill up with lines running onto the street, and the lines at the till venture past the island. Then in the middle of this chaos, a sweet little girl comes up to you and tugs your sleeve,

“Is there no more ice cream?” she asks.

Why is it always the big eyed cute little girl that has to cloud your mind with more chaos, when life is chaotic enough? You rush to fill the ice cream machine, make her a cone, pat her on the head and send her to the ever existing long line of impatient people.

But wait, this ice cream extravaganza has left the pumps unattended, where is my third party member? I run outside, the red lights flashing, I feel the eye of the camera. Stress overcomes me in my attempt to collect money, remember Co-op numbers and wash windows all at the same time.

I feel the sweat collecting in the small of my back. 206511, I try to remember as I wipe the dirty water off the window. 206511 pump 2, 206951 pump… My mind is lost, who had pump 3? Number 206511 or 206951… Faces, numbers and pumps swimming around in my head, it’s almost as if they were dirty and thrown into a washing machine, and are magically expected to come out just right. Just a complication, my complication.

And so the rush of faces, numbers and people flash through my mind as four new cars pull up to the pumps demanding my attention. Exhaustion prevails me, as I remember the money in my pocket. I run inside throw the money on the counter and site the number.

“Just ten”

He spits, like the “Just” was my fault for gas prices. I scoff to myself, thanks buddy.But hey, finally a customer with no number. I slip the ten in my pocket and on goes the rush.

It’s around 8:30 when Niverville decides that they have milked the shift change enough. The store calms down so rapidly, the whirring of the machines startles you. As I walk up to the counter, my third party member says to me,

“Do you have the twenty- five?”

The twenty- five? Twenty five? No, no, I have the ten. Pause, and chaos, I am once again submerged into chaos. My first shift as a supervisor and we are already in a deficit.

At this moment in time, I take a second to reminisce my early years and how I tortured my supervisor. How gracefully he looked for the right person who had the missing gas, and always seemed to solve my complications. One day I hope, no I aspireto be a supervisor like him. But he isn’t here now, I am here and I need to solve the third parties complication.

The store is calm, I have time to think. Did I recognize who had the twenty- five; could I remember who it was through the sea of faces? Whose gas did I pump around the same time? Slowly my mind whittles away this complication, till there is almost no information even three minds combined could solve.

Defeat I think to myself, deficit is defeat. I exercise my last option and hit the drive away key. What a terrible lying key. I hate that key, the key of defeat. In order to make up for my inability to perform as a supervisor I scribble a note, taking blame, with any information I could muster.

I had no choice but to leave this complication behind as time progressed to the end of the shift. The clock is ticking away my last calm moments before I immerse into more chaos that comes with closing. Calm down, take a deep breath. My mind is racing, I start to sweep, sweep away the complications of the last six hours. I am sweeping away my third party, the cause and effect of the night’s complications.

Its closing time, I reminisce Sunday when I was learning how to take on this finishing task. I felt the pressure of my boss, for me to close correctly. I have six machines to file reports on and another million things to remember. Slowly and thoroughly I work my way through the procedures book. One machine down, five to go. The till slowly prints its reports, passwords, swimming through my head, paper spilling onto the floor. I can imagine in the future this will be one of my favorite times. This is one of the perks of staying at this job for so long. I don’t have to mop the floors; I don’t have to deal with garbage’s or coffees, I simply sweep and collect information.

I am almost finished now. I am on the last machine, the last step. I pause for a moment and look around me. The store is empty, and now clean, the cabinets are locked and stocked. My co-workers tired faces are concentrated on their mopping task. I reach out and press the number 5 twice. And then to the Execute Auto Batch key. The ultimate moment, the height of perfection ends with the action of pressing that key. But you and I both know that there would be very little to this story if that was the end. If I had been able to simply press the button and then carry on by looking around at my night’s accomplishment. I hit the key without further delay on the subject. Success, I think to myself as I step out of the box, grabbing the keys along with the day’s tills.

Submitted: February 17, 2009

© Copyright 2021 Tanis Joy. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



I can completely relate to this story.

Tue, February 17th, 2009 9:12pm


when you read it in a frantic voice it sounds best

Tue, February 17th, 2009 5:56pm

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