"I need all package help up front please... all package help up front." Those were the words I used to love to speak into the intercom-phone at Publix every day. Even if we didn't need any package help, I still loved to do it. God, I loved my job...
Those days are long gone unfortunately. I was a proud Publix Supermarket General Manager about 15 years ago; Dreams, hopes, and aspirations in full throttle. I was making $80,000 a year, living the high life. No one could stop me. At least I THOUGHT that no one could stop me. That is, until I interviewed and hired what I thought would be the next Ned Hernandez... this guy's name happened to be Jeremy Phipps, a.k.a. "Jabroni".
I called this gentleman into my office for an interview one day. "Mr. Phipps please come in", I shouted, as the gentleman was waiting outside my office. [continued below]....
..... In walked in what I could only describe as a "fat Egon Spengler" from Ghostbusters. But I never judge anyone based on their looks alone.
After talking to the guy for a mere three to five minutes, I completely fell in love with him. He gave me such a detailed descriptions of his background: He was a back-up singer for my favorite band, The Backstreet Boys, he was a Green Beret Desert Storm hero and saved the lives of 30 American P.O.W.'s from Iraqi forces under Saddam's regime, he was a famous arm-wrestling champion who hasn't lost in 16 years. But what sold me was when he told me about the tragic loss of his wife and kids in a horrifying plane crash. I knew I had to hire this guy, I couldn't wait to introduce him to my regional manager!
After about two weeks of him working, I noticed some commotion in aisle 5 with several of my stock clerks. They were all surrounding Jeremy and laughing hysterically as Jeremy was telling some sort of story. As I approached the gentlemen, they all quieted down as Jeremy turned around and quickly acted like he was going back to work. "Tell the boss what happened!", one stock clerk said to Jeremy. Then they all agreed and said "yeah, tell him what happened to you last night!" Jeremy nervously turned around and started fiddling with his eyeglasses as if they needed to be polished. "What happened?" I asked, as he couldn't look me straight in the eye. Looking off towards somewhere behind me, he stated "I was stabbed last night in a bar fight."
"WHAT?!" I said, obviously not expecting him to say that. "Yeah, I'm fine though. It missed my kidneys", he responded. To make a long story short, he was very hesitant to explain what had happened at this "bar fight." I brushed it off thinking maybe he just didn't want to talk about it.
The next encounter happened about 4 days after that. A similar situation with several stock clerks surrounding him, laughing hysterically. Again, I walked up to them in which they all dispersed except a select few including Jeremy. "Hey Jabroni! Tell the boss here your story!" The stock clerks were blatantly now insulting poor Jeremy, deeming him the name "Jabroni".
Nervously Jeremy starts telling me "I was just telling them a few war stories." He then brought up how he was captured by Iraqi soldiers and in the middle of the night when they all fell asleep, he got a hold of one of their AK's and "lit 'em all up and escaped" as he described. Pretty fascinating story considering he didn't have any PTSD or anything like that.
A few days after that, I heard yet another commotion down aisle 7 this time. My entire stock crew had Jabroni surrounded as they were singing "I Want it That Way" by the Backstreet Boys right in his face. "What is going on?" I asked, as they all quieted down to my presence. "Jabroni here sings with the Backstreet Boys", they said.
Embarrassed, Jabroni said "well I fill-in when Brian is out". It was then when I thought that maybe Jabroni had a screw or two loose.
About two weeks go by and I found myself in the back room next to the bailer where there was yet another loud commotion. "Woooooooooo!" I kept hearing a bunch of people screaming, followed by a loud "SMACK!" sound. I quickly charged over to see what the large commotion was about, as I saw three or four stock clerks holding Jabroni against a wall with his shirt off. Jabroni's chest was so beet-red, I thought blood stains of hand prints were slapped on it. "SMACK!" I heard again, as the stock crew were now taking turns giving Jabroni some of the hardest knife-edge chops across his chest I've ever seen. "Woooooooooo!" the whole crowd screamed and cheered.
I quickly ran in to intercept any more of these vicious slaps against his now-deformed chest. "ENOUGH!", I screamed. My stock crew then took Jabroni and threw him across the room like a dirty rag, causing him to flop on the floor. "UGGGHHHH....MY KNEES!", Jabroni screamed. I quickly pulled the stock clerks aside, one by one, and wrote them all up. Apparently they bullied him because he "made up stories and wild accusations".
The next day I came in to work and there were police and my regional manager there. "Oh God, what now?", I thought, as I approached them. My R.V.P. got right in my face and said "I NEED TO SPEAK WITH YOU NOW!", as he was an inch from my nose, spit flying directly in my eye.
We walked in to my office and he again got directly in my face. "You're the clown that hired Jeremy Phipps right?" He told me to sit down, and just as I did, he took off his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves. "Nedley", he stated. "It gives me such pleasure to do this. I've been waiting a very long time..." He then got directly in my face and, doing an uncanny Vince McMahon impression, screamed "YOU'RE FIRRRRRRRRED!!!", with the most hoarse, raspy voice I've ever heard. His spit came flying directly into my mouth. He then strutted out of the room exactly like the WWE chairman himself.
Since I've been fired, I have been unable to find a job. (15 years now). My wife left me 6 years ago, my kids have abandoned me. I foreclosed on my home. I filed bankrupcy even though I was in only 200 dollars worth of debt. I'm drinking again. I no longer have my mustache, it's terrible what my life has been through. I simply cannot find a job because I'm known as the guy who "Hired a known compulsive liar in the Palm Beaches". How I was supposed to know what a lying loser Jeremy Phipps was? However, I have no hatred toward Jabroni. I just hope he changed his deceptive ways over the past few years...