TOYS, BACKGROUND CHECKS, AND MAKING JEFF BEZOS FILTHY RICH
Most recently, Forbes reported that Jeff Bezos (best known for being the founder of Amazon) has now officially become the richest A-Hole in the world*. I think net worth is estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of 117 billion. Yes, that is ba-ba-billion. Looking back on it, I cannot help but think that I deserve some of the credit for him being able to obtain such extraordinary wealth. Allow me to explain….
* Editors note: The richest A-Hole alternates between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk at interval times.
There I sat, waiting in a room for the assistant manager to come interview me. As I looked around, I couldn’t help to notice the overwhelming theme of deranged smiling giraffe’s that adorned the concrete walls that I was surrounded by.
It felt like deja vu, as I got the distinct feeling I’ve experienced this exact situation before at one point or another in my lifetime. And if it felt a little too surreal, it would be because it was. The room. The giraffes. The pimply faced kid who was going to interview me in a moment. All of it.
Only it was twenty years removed, and long before a felony conviction. And way before all the ups and downs that life handed me. And way, way before I blew up my business career in grandiose fashion.
You see, there once stood a young man who entered those exact same doors excited at the prospect of working here. I also seemed to have the whole world in front of me, and not so much as a clue to where I was going in it. And here I am. Again.
Whats even more disturbing is there I sat, getting ready to be interviewed for the same position I’d applied to over two decades ago. Humbling. Nostalgic. Depressing.
It gave me pause in that brief moment to look at where I went astray in my long journey, as I could almost see my former young self sitting there eagerly waiting to hand over my filled-out application. Yet even back then as I exited those doors, I laughed at the thought that I would be back. Why would I – I was on to bigger and better things. Well, the joke’s on me now.
Was it weird that I was applying for a job at a toy store now that I’m a convicted felon.
I mean, would they even want me to be around kids seeing as how that may contradict the image they want to project. Or was there even such a law that would state that? It wouldn’t have surprised me though. As my mind raced, I tried pushing out all ridiculous thoughts, but really, how could I not think that way. Lord knows things weren’t that easy for me in the present day. This was the hand I now dealt with.
Believe me when I say I’m not some random weirdo either, just a former swindler (awe shucks) now looking for gainful employment. I even went so far as to sit there silently rehearsing how to justify the difference in felonies (some really aren’t as bad as others…. just saying), in order to distinguish me from coming off as creepy, in the event the topic may come up.
Jesus, what was I thinking coming here for a job. This was all a big mistake. But I was also a dad with a small child who thought it’d be the coolest thing ever if I worked there (again). Not to mention that I desperately needed to pay bills, so I thought applying was still a good idea.
Let me tell you, long before there was an Amazon that ruled with an iron fist, there was a business called Toys R Us, and it was a wonderful Fortune 500 company to work for. It was THE premier spot for any kid with a dollar to their name, free time, and a wish list of what they wanted at any random moment, occasion or not.
It was a godsend for parents too, as soon enough they’d enjoy the services of free babysitting from the store and it’s associates, all while they took off running errands and the like. Sometimes not returning for days on end (sad really). Still though, what a concept. A theme park of toys and games for all the ages, but more than at, it was an experience.
For the employees, there was good compensation and perks, including stock options, health benefits, vacation pay, and discounts. Above all other things, I really enjoyed working there. It was a fun environment, and to be honest, one of the greatest times in my life.
So you could see why I’d be interested in wanting to give it the old
college felon try to see if I could get back in their good graces and partake in some of that. And now here I sit, in that familiar room, staring at a familiar giraffe that brought back so many good familiar memories.
Yet now some twenty years later, I’m not all that familiar to them since I’ve changed a bit over time. I now come with lots of baggage: A family, a felony, a whole lotta tattoos, and a whole lot more attitude directed at the world. I’m hired huh?
The person that came to interview me was all but a teenager, and didn’t apologize for keeping me waiting, seeing as how he was fifteen minutes late (assistant manager my ass). After giving the usual spiel he went on to his bullshit interview questions.
Okay, I see that you worked here before. So why do you wanna work here……. again I should say.
Giggling like a child when he corrected himself, emphasizing the word again.
I said I really enjoyed working there and always had fond memories, saying it would be great now that I’m a parent too.
Playing the kid card for points.
You seem a little overqualified. I mean… why would you wanna come back? You loved it that much huh?
After feeling the condescending judgement come off this prick, I said at this point in my career, I was more focused on the environment than anything else and can adapt pretty easily. And quickly, if given the opportunity.
Remember those phrases. They’re gold in interviews. Pure gold*.
*Pure gold even though they didn’t hire me that is.
He kept firing off questions as if we were playing the lightening round of Jeopardy. Even cutting me off at one point when I was giving him an answer, only for me to finally tell him to just listen and allow me to speak for a moment. It was all very tense and uncomfortable, as if I was being interrogated (again). So naturally I got defensive.
Listen, there is nothing more degrading than sitting there essentially begging for something, only to have it be thrown in your face. And truth be told, this is not how I envisioned things going. I at least thought the vibe would’ve been a little more welcoming, seeing as how I was an exceptional employee from the past, and was always very dependable. That, along with being (as they said) overqualified.
I’m not gonna lie, I was hoping that would all add up in points to somehow allow them to overlook anything that would rear its ugly head on a background check. This interview was to be a mere formality in getting there, and all I know was it did not seem to be going well at the moment.
In my defense, this a-hole didn’t know how to properly interview.
A pitiful half smile accompanied the hatred I had for him and the company as we both stood up and awkwardly shook hands ending that painful exchange. And with that, it was all over (probably in more ways than one).
We left off by him saying that they’d be in touch in the coming days if they wanted to proceed, but they had to get through all the “really great” candidates whom I was up against, as they were all very qualified. Um, yeah, okay. And what the hell was I.
Walking out those doors (again), I thought this was a happy, carefree place. And when I worked here back in the day I was a really happy, carefree person. But it was also at a different point in my life. A point much less complicated than in the present. And it all left me with a very bad taste in my mouth.
They call me “The Reaper“
In the coming days when I didn’t hear back, I grew more and more frustrated with the whole process. Anger was building inside of me, directed not only at life and why it was so hard to find a good job (with a felony), but at that company (Toys R Us).I know this feeling well, and I know what happens when I feel this way.
When I spoke of deja vu, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the sentiments of wishing malice on a company that I’d felt wronged by in the past.
Numerous businesses have experienced “unforeseeable hardships and issues” after my departure happened. It’s true, as I’ve left a trail of destruction in my wake from all the scorn and animosity I’ve directed at past employers.
There is a curse, hex, or whatever the hell you want to call it alive and well within me. And when I wish bad things upon it, something weird happens to their business. Kind of like the movie Carrie.
I’m not proud of this power either. Well, most of the time I’m not proud of it. But I’ve done a lot of growing since then and don’t have the ability to conjure it up as much anymore, rendering that power pretty much obsolete.
But in that interview, something happened. I felt they treated me like I was an old fart and out of touch. They discriminated against me. They were an ageist, on top of being a felonist (did i just make that up). I don’t know but it sounds good.
Laugh if you will, but in my parting of ways with jobs, there’s been numerous restaurants, call centers, and establishments that have met their demise. Even that beeper store (anybody remember those) that burned down under mysterious circumstances six months after I quit in a huff.
For the record, I had nothing to do with that.
I never got a call back from Toys R Us. No email that said we decided to go in a different direction, or to pursue someone else and for me to go eff myself. Nothing. It just didn’t work out. But maybe it was for the better. Part of me was still troubled at the thought that I was going backwards in time, looking for some sort of happiness in my work that no longer existed there.
That interview was a disaster. I was off and didn’t seem all completely there. And I admit, the animosity that I had built up over the years came out in that interview. Needless to say, I believe it was over before I even walked through those doors (again). It wasn’t them; it was actually me.
Maybe they just plain didn’t want me with it having nothing to do with my background or felony. Maybe someone else was more qualified (hard to believe). Maybe they just didn’t like me. Either way, the collateral damage had already been done, as they’re just one of many businesses to suffer the consequences of my growth process as a human.
But if I can impart a little job advice for the poor bastard suffering through a criminal background, it would be that shit is difficult as it stands in the job market without you self-sabotaging yourself before you even walk through the door.
Do yourself a favor and leave the baggage there. Take a deep breath, clear your head of the paranoia, and don’t overthink every last little thing. That and try not to have a felony. That always helps.
I didn’t get the job at Toys R Us, but you could say I moved on as well, as I went on to become a mattress salesman (hold laughter).
Oh well, Toys R Us has gone the way of the dodo bird. They’re long gone and out of business, and although I’m still a felon, I think my curse had a hand in making many kids go online to buy their toys forever, thus making someone very, very rich. You’re welcome, Bezos.
Educate yourself on your situation, because nobody will do it for you. Stay well and out of trouble.
–The Educated Felon