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I Am A Retail Warrior: Throw The Dog A Birthday Bone!

By Jane Harper
At that point, I was kind of hoping the dog was back at home chewing up her hand-sewn Italian leather shoes.

Posted on October 19, 2015

I Am A Retail Warrior: The 41-Cent Saga

By Jane Harper
Nobody likes to know what goes on backstage at a boutique. If they want to see things like that, they go to Walmart.

Posted on October 5, 2015

I Am A Retail Warrior: Doggy Dress Code

By Jane Harper
Keep in mind: I do a lot of squatting down to scratch ears and I often come home covered in fur and drool.

Posted on September 24, 2015

I Am A Retail Warrior: I Am Not Your Friend

By Jane Harper
So stop calling me at home.

Posted on September 1, 2015

I Am A Retail Warrior: 15 Things We Wish Customers Knew

By Jane Harper
Your AmEx Black Card does not impress us. Also, If you're fifth in line, we'll get to you after we get to the four people in front of you.

Posted on August 25, 2015

I Am A Pizza Delivery Guy: Dog Tales

By Guy Essenfahr
They always think the pizza is for them.

Posted on February 27, 2013

I Am A Pizza Delivery Guy

By Guy Essenfahr
A job that's the only thing preventing me from becoming your kid's drug dealer.

Posted on June 15, 2012

I Am A Security Guard: Goodbye

By Jerome Haller
Funny how the job-hunting process works.

Posted on July 17, 2011

I Am a Security Guard: Rest In Peace

By Jerome Haller
I had watched him for the wrong reasons.

Posted on July 14, 2011

I Am A Wrigley Beer Vendor

By Wrigley Beer Man
Like any workplace, we've got our cliques.

Posted on June 30, 2011

I Am A Security Guard: Replacing Raquel

By Jerome Haller
A cocaine dealer by trade, he flashes a big wad of cash and talks loudly on a cell phone as though he were a big shot.

Posted on May 2, 2011

I Am A Security Guard: We're Here, We're Queer

By Jerome Haller
I once told the Nice Cashier that my favorite cross-dresser had nice legs.

Posted on January 20, 2011

I Am A Security Guard: Ode to the Nice Cashier

By Jerome Haller
We assumed the Nice Cashier had served her time. Subsequent events proved us wrong.

Posted on January 17, 2011

I Am A Security Guard: And I Won't Carry A Gun

By Jerome Haller
People like me should not pack heat.

Posted on January 11, 2011

I Am A Security Guard: 10 Degrees And Topless

By Jerome Haller
She wore blue corduroy pants - and nothing else.

Posted on December 23, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: Working Stiffs

By Jerome Haller
Although I don't like my job, the kindness of others has helped me to survive.

Posted on December 16, 2010

I Am a Security Guard: The Roads Not Taken

By Jerome Haller
The security company that rejected me did me a favor.

Posted on November 15, 2010

Working The Door: No Public Restroom!

By Danny Fender
Not on my shift.

Posted on August 4, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: My Brief Foray Into Crime

By Jerome Haller
Although decades have passed since the theft, I have not forgotten the fear and shame I felt that afternoon

Posted on July 28, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: Pitbull's Revenge

By Jerome Haller
Although the lookout and his partner had played me, Pitbull helped me get the last laugh.

Posted on July 27, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: And A Voyeur

By Jerome Haller
It's too easy to cross the line.

Posted on July 26, 2010

I Am a Security Guard: Karma and Condoms

By Jerome Haller
Truth be told, that cross-dresser ranks among the store's most polite customers.

Posted on June 22, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: How To Steal

By Jerome Haller
Despite our best measures, shoplifters have a fighting chance.

Posted on June 21, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: Mistakes, I've Made A Few

By Jerome Haller
I've written about people who are quirky, obnoxious or just plain ignorant. This time, I acknowledge that I've been the idiot on several occasions.

Posted on April 29, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: Why I Draw

By Jerome Haller
Ultimately, drawing does more than provide a means to pass the time. It gives me a survival tool. Unlike my uncle, I can't give it up.

Posted on April 26, 2010

At Your Service: St. Patty's Pizza

By Patty Hunter
I know that no matter what else is going on in my life, there will be hungry tourists waiting to tip me 10 percent.

Posted on March 25, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: The Roaring 20s

By Jerome Haller
I resisted the urge to shove his face through the door. Instead, I called the police.

Posted on March 9, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: Where Is The Love?

By Jerome Haller
The New Cashier has a good heart, but can be flippant when someone ticks her off. Also, she had just dumped her loser boyfriend.

Posted on February 25, 2010

At Your Service: Holiday Hoedown

By Patty Hunter
My manager tried to follow the group as they walked out. I tried to hold him back but he's a big guy.

Posted on January 11, 2010

I Am A Security Guard: Hairy Situations

By Jerome Haller
Customer offenses.

Posted on December 10, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Profiling

By Jerome Haller
Was the Head Guard targeting suspects based on skin color? I found out later that night.

Posted on November 13, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Nicknames

By Jerome Haller
Churros, Coupons, Diapers, and Mr. Stinky.

Posted on November 12, 2009

At Your Service: Staff Unity

By Patty Hunter
I'm not afraid to tackle a bitch.

Posted on October 29, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Origins Part 2

By Jerome Haller
As time passed it became clear that several of the other guards were lazy, incompetent, or both.

Posted on October 13, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Origins Part 1

By Jerome Haller
I enjoyed the sessions because they provided a taste of the real world. No one talked about handling dangerous visitors at my old office.

Posted on October 12, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Se Habla Espanol

By Jerome Haller
He approached me and asked for "gay or raid."

Posted on September 25, 2009

At Your Service: The Stupid Season

By Patty Hunter
I don't think I'll miss explaining a dozen times that our exit is located the same place you came in

Posted on September 24, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: My First Stakeout

By Jerome Haller
The assistant manager kept grinning like a schoolboy sneaking a peek in the girls' locker room.

Posted on September 15, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Bad Moon Rising

By Jerome Haller
I have my father's bad temper. This was the night I thought I might lose it - over cheap merchandise.

Posted on September 11, 2009

I Am A Roofer

By Scott Buckner
Say what you will about trade unions, but this is exactly why most of them have some sort apprenticeship program that extends beyond, "Dude, what are you doing Monday morning?"

Posted on September 8, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Darkest Before The Dawn

By Jerome Haller
Hookers, drunks, addicts and lonely folks with nothing better to do stalk the aisles in the dead of night.

Posted on September 1, 2009

At Your Service: Neck-breakers

By Patty Hunter
Ageless abstractions - like drunks and bad math.

Posted on August 27, 2009

At Your Service: Smells Like Feces

By Patty Hunter
Flooding, a famous director, and the wisdom of children.

Posted on August 20, 2009

At Your Service: Out To Eat

By Patty Hunter
Feeling their pain.

Posted on August 13, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Karma Cashiering

By Jerome Haller
I jinxed it.

Posted on August 7, 2009

At Your Service: The Tip Jar

By Patty Hunter
I want to save money too, but I need to make it in order to save it.

Posted on August 6, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Begging, Addiction And Tax Evasion

By Jerome Haller
I Got Out Of Bed For This?

Posted on August 4, 2009

At Your Service: Ode To A Pizzeria

By Patty Hunter
Oh, local Chicago pizzeria, you surely kid!

Posted on July 30, 2009

I Am A Security Guard: Mother and Child Reunion

By Jerome Haller
The mother followed her son out the store, perhaps not knowing that she had set herself up for major grief ten years down the road.

Posted on July 23, 2009

At Your Service: Rock of Ages

By Patty Hunter
I saw more little people making out with transgender hookers than I ever thought possible, and employees doing enough cocaine to give a DEA agent the shivers.

Posted on July 8, 2009

I Am A Security Guard

By Jerome Haller
For slightly better than minimum wage, I stand at my post and get my kicks by observing human frailty.

Posted on July 7, 2009

At Your Service: Behind the Bar

By Patty Hunter
Every time I hear "Let's rock and roll on that pizza" or "Let's pull the trigger on it," a little piece of me dies.

Posted on July 2, 2009

At Your Service: First Dates And Foot Massages

By Patty Hunter
It's not an accident we walk over and ask how everything is going while your mouth is full, then stand around until you answer

Posted on June 24, 2009

At Your Service: Tales From The Front

By Patty Hunter
Bloodied customers and foot fetishes.

Posted on June 17, 2009

At Your Service: Don't Be A Dick

By Patty Hunter
Chances are, the cook that night is a cokehead, the busser was hungover, your server hated your guts and the host warned everyone about what a pain you were.

Posted on June 10, 2009

Barista! The Coffee Goes Cold

By Maude Perkins
Sure, I made an awful lot of transactional enemies, but I had even more allied customers that went largely unmentioned in this column. Let's be honest, you readers didn't care about them. You only wanted to know about the dipshits and the douchebags.

Posted on May 14, 2007

Barista! The Return of Stupid

By Maude Perkins
I reached behind her stupid bouffant and slammed her face straight into the countertop, hot Americano spilling all about her and scalding her face. Well, that isn't exactly how the transaction ended. Per se.

Posted on April 11, 2007

Barista! Even Blended Frozen Drinks Cannot Bring Me Down

By Maude Perkins
A customer informs us that our district manager is the most self-centered, egotistical person he has ever overheard. Our customers are getting smarter every day.

Posted on March 26, 2007

Barista! McCoffeeland Looms

By Maude Perkins
A plea to Head Bean: Heed Barista's call before you end up with indoor playgrounds and a do-gooder mascot.

Posted on March 15, 2007

Barista! Sans Clown

By Maude Perkins
We abide by a mentality to cater to nitpicky drink requests, but let's be honest, people have taken this small, innocent privilege and shit all over it.

Posted on March 5, 2007

Barista! Annoyances Large and Grande

By Maude Perkins
Lady, you just ordered two sizes and no actual drink there.

Posted on February 28, 2007

Barista! How I Roll

By Maude Perkins
One minute to close, all lights are out, regardless of people still in store. You didn't get the fucking message four minutes ago? Now you can feel your way to the door. Thank you, come again.

Posted on February 18, 2007

Barista! Cold Winds Blow

By Maude Perkins
Sure, I wasn't necessarily the nicest I could have been, but at least I didn't tell her to go have her Grey's Anatomy conversation somewhere else.

Posted on February 11, 2007

Barista! Suggestively Selling Out

By Maude Perkins
The district manager threatened to write up any manager whose baristas were not suggestively selling to every customer. And then we, the supervisors, would also be written up for allowing non-suggesting to occur on our shifts.

Posted on February 2, 2007

Barista! Assistant Managing

By Maude Perkins
When District Manager Nimrod scoots on over from Pizza Hut without ever drinking a cup of coffee and barks orders at the people who have espresso endlessly caked under their fingernails, the system tends to break down.

Posted on January 23, 2007

Barista! Glazed and Confused

By Maude Perkins
One of these days (probably in February when I'm over the resolution thing), I'm going to emphasize to him that he can buy those cool French press things, and decaf espresso, and do it his goddamn self.

Posted on January 18, 2007

Barista! Bucket Brigade

By Maude Perkins
Who knew where that missing glove had been? I mean, besides floating around the cocoa urn.

Posted on January 3, 2007

Barista! The Gift Card That Saved Christmas

By Maude Perkins
I wanted to smash his head through the glass so he could get a closer look at the superior quality of people he was degrading.

Posted on December 27, 2006

Barista! The Motley Weekend Crew

By Maude Perkins
Most of the homeless people are dazzling conversationalists. Whether they are talking with themselves, each other, or with you, it is never short of fascinating.

Posted on December 18, 2006

Barista! The Refill Bandit

By Maude Perkins
If this guy really had to cut corners, he'd forego his daily, overpriced corporate coffee. But maybe the cup with the familiar logo on it is too much of a status symbol to give up - like his Lexus. I wonder if he bargains for refills at the gas station.

Posted on December 11, 2006

Barista! The Unbearable Horror of the Kids Corner

By Maude Perkins
I realize, by the way, that some of you may think it would be cute and somehow appropriate to spell the "Corner" in Kids Corner with a "K." But there's nothing cute about it.

Posted on December 7, 2006

Barista! Giving Peace A Chance

By Maude Perkins
Barista gives peace a chance - and finds it lacking.

Posted on November 23, 2006

Barista! Mocha Violencia

By Maude Perkins
With only two of us working at the time, I nearly fashioned myself a gun out of rubber bands, spoons and whole beans to take aim at this blonde wench as she did an eager dance outside the store window.

Posted on November 19, 2006

Barista! The Perks

By Maude Perkins
There are perks to the job - being snide to customers who can take it and working with co-workers who are equally as dark. Plus, the coffee smells great.

Posted on November 12, 2006

Barista! Holiday Spirits, On The Rocks

By Maude Perkins
The company I work for all but blows Santa for eight weeks straight. Nine, if you count this week - the one preparing, training, unwrapping, decorating, and stomaching for the main stretch.

Posted on November 5, 2006

Barista! A Grande Skim Offensive Latte

By Maude Perkins
I don't advise being a douche to those preparing products for you to put in your mouth.

Posted on November 1, 2006

Barista! Back in the Grind

By Maude Perkins
I explained that anytime you put something in your mouth - or even get in your car to drive to the local coffee shop - you are putting your life at risk. And I warned him not to sue. Problem solved.

Posted on October 21, 2006

Barista! Our Ennobling Mission

By Maude Perkins
I don't know what utopian coffee village employs our trainer, but my observation to the class was that not everyone wants to have their day enriched by a chipper barista; especially not the pre-caffeinated majority that is our customer base.

Posted on October 16, 2006

Barista! Tales From the Coffee Front

By Maude Perkins
The pastry case looked a little weak, my manager said. Maybe we ought to do something about it. We meant me.

Posted on October 9, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
Remember the Clinton years when you could lose your job and have a new one five minutes later? Sigh.

Posted on October 5, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
Even unemployment can be a grind.

Posted on October 2, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
I was once really really desperate to learn goat husbandry in the Arizona desert. Didn't happen. This isn't a world where you can really be whatever you want to be.

Posted on September 29, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
My parents are returning home soon from vacation. I'm adjusting my personal threat level to orange.

Posted on September 28, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
Even the unemployed call in sick sometimes.

Posted on September 27, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
It's not only payday I miss; it's the anticipation of payday as it nears. I also miss that loud office guy talking about his weekend nightclub conquests.

Posted on September 26, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
Someone told my parents I no longer have a job. That wasn't part of the plan. Now I must find the leaker and exact revenge.

Posted on September 25, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
I tested above the 50th percentile, so at least I can still claim to be above average, even if I don't know how to use Excel.

Posted on September 22, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
Doesn't everybody lose their Social Security card? I mean, do you know where yours is?

Posted on September 21, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
I don't want to face it again. Not the getting fired part; the getting hired part.

Posted on September 20, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
If you have too many days where you don't get out of bed, you seem to lose some sense of . . . something. I'm not sure what. But something.

Posted on September 19, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
I have no pressing engagements. Just a pressing, re-occuring thought: "Well, hell, do I really need to get out of my pajamas today?"

Posted on September 18, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
My dad is a totally rational person until he hears me say something like, "I think I'm going to apply to be a private eye." Then he totally loses his shit.

Posted on September 15, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
I guess the Boss really did think I was as dumb as I thought he thought I was.

Posted on September 14, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
Technically I wasn't "fired" or "terminated." I just wasn't the "right fit."

Posted on September 13, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
Sometimes work sucks even more than usual.

Posted on September 12, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
Better to stay home from work one day than feel lousy at work for several, and wind up on antibiotics. No matter what The Boss thinks.

Posted on September 11, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
When you work in a building a gajillion feet in the air, the Internet is your only access to the outside world. When the Net goes down, you're fucked.

Posted on September 8, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
Being a downtown drone in a black suit is, most decidedly, not who I am. And yet, that is who I am forced to be 40 hours a week.

Posted on September 7, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
When I get home from work, my dog has to wait til I've changed into my "real" clothes before I'll play with him, not because I don't want my work clothes to get dirty, but because I can't stand to wear them for another minute.

Posted on September 6, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
There's currently a battle in the suite in which I work. It's between individuals who work on either side of reception. It's the office equivalent of Civil War.

Posted on September 5, 2006

Life at Work

By J. Bird
My coworker and I recently got titles. She is "Executive Assistant." I am "Personal Assistant." This seems to mean that she gets to answer the phone and sort out what bills need to be paid while I get to be a personal (verbal) punching bag when the boss is in one of his "moods."

Posted on August 31, 2006

MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - No Rehabilitating Vietnam.
POLITICS - Rauner Vetoes Online Privacy.
SPORTS - Coffman: Cooper's Blooper Not As Bad As You Think.

BOOKS - Quimby's Adult Thrillers!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: Black Jeans In White Tel Aviv.


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