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A Faustian Barbie

| Working | July 23, 2012

(I am a manager at a bookstore. This happens between a senior employee who’s worked for me for several years and a new hire hired by one of the other managers. I ask the employee to show the new hire how we re-shelve the books so that she can do it on her own in the future. Note: both women are on the petite side; the senior employee is particularly thin due to illness a few years ago.)

Senior Employee: *explaining to the new hire* “So, when books are left out or people decide at the counter they don’t want them we sort them onto these carts. It makes it easier to put them back so we’re not running all over trying to find their location.”

New Hire: *examines her nails* “Whatever. When’s my lunch?”

Senior Employee: “One, you just got here. Two, I don’t know. Three, I need you to pay attention, please.”

New Hire: “Whatever, fatty.”

(A nearby customer speaks up.)

Customer: *incredulously* “Did you just call her fat?!”

New Hire: *to the customer* “What’re you gonna do about it, loser? You waste your time reading books. I’m hot! I can get a man whenever I want, so I don’t need to read!”

Senior Employee: “Okay, sweetie… reality check. You work in a bookstore. I’m trying to show you how to do your job. Take this cart; we need to head to general fiction.”

(There are two general fiction carts, which the senior employee usually re-shelves by herself. The new hire takes the other cart but is clearly more interested in one of the male customers.)

New Hire: “Oh my God, that guy is so hot! He so wants me; I know it!”

Senior Employee: “Well, when you’re done doing your job for the day, if he’s still here, you can bother him then.”

New Hire: “You’re just jealous.”

Senior Employee: *sarcastically* “Oh, yes… so jealous of your attitude, your lack of awareness of how to treat other people, and horribly envious of your huge, undeserved ego.”

New Hire: “Just because you can use words I don’t know doesn’t make you better than me!”

Senior Employee: “I never said it did, dear. This section is all alphabetical. Please start re-shelving books, but make sure you put them in the right spot. I’m going to work on this cart. Let me know if you need any help.”

New Hire: *takes out her cell phone and starts texting* “Oh, h*** no! I’ll just watch you do it and I’ll figure it out next time. Besides, it won’t matter if these books aren’t on the shelf. Only losers read!”

(At this point the male customer the new hire was ogling speaks to the employee.)

Male Customer: “Hey I’m looking for a copy of Faust. Can you tell me where it is?”

Senior Employee: “von Goethe’s Faust, Marlowe, or the Murnau silent flick?”

New Hire: “Ugh, none of those people have anything to do with Faust! It’s a segment on a kid’s TV show with a dog!”

Male Customer: “Riiiiiight…” *to the employee* “von Goethe’s ‘Faust’. I have to read it for a college course in literature. Have you read it?”

Senior Employee: “I have! I know right where it is, too.” *starts to take the male customer to a copy of Faust*

New Hire: “I’M PRETTIER! MEN SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN ME!” *kicks over both carts of books*

(I fired her immediately.)

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