Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kruger Industrial Smoothing

Only 6 weeks of the 2 person, 3 car tango to go before Oldest son heads to College. Yesterday was kind of a reverse workday where everyone else in the family had a commitment and I was home. My wife took my car to work and that left me to run the boys to work and a pole vaulting camp for youngest son.

Pole vaulting camp "cleared the pole" at 8:45 AM. No problem.

Oldest son had to be at work by 10 so I thought I'd do my errands at the same time, killing two birds with one stone. We drove over to the Tuxedo shop where he works before ten and as we drove up he said "ohhh no"

I'm thinking, what does "ohh no" mean? The store was locked and he is a very junior team member there so he never opens or closes himself. It's not clear what the plan was but here He was, out in front of the store, locked out at opening time. I am pretty sure someone else was supposed to open. Oh, well.

He had a set of keys, but there were inside the store.

Later when recounting the story to the more practical youngest son, he said:

"Why would you ever leave the keys inside the store?"

Right.

He also says this story is "Blog Gold".

Over the last 8 weeks he has been working here, it is quickly becoming apparent that the Tux shop is the formal wear equivalent of "Kruger Industrial Smoothing", one of the many fictional places that George Costanza works on the TV show Seinfeld. As you may recall, the people at Kruger really just don't care. In one episode, the boss, Mr Kruger, says something like "Well, my office is locked so I'm going home for the day". Oh well.

And now it's time to test the Kruger/Tux shop's emergency procedures which apparently are "Call or Text everyone on your cell phone to see if they have a key while nervously walking in giant circles in the parking lot".

Oldest son follows the procedures flawlessly.

It's not going well. His "manager" is in Florida, the "owner" is far-far-away in undisclosed location, the sister store, which 2 miles away, does not have a key. They gave their key to Oldest Son which, of course, is now locked inside the store. His only hope is a co-worker that went to the same Elementary school as he 10 years ago.

This is not one of the numbers in his cell phone. But he knows that her home number is the 10 year old Elementary school directory at home. Which is where I come back into the story.

Now people are showing looking for their Tuxs. Angry townspeople. With Pitchforks, clubs and torches. Angry townspeople with weddings today, I imagine.

I now race home, using 400 dollars of gasoline, to get the co-worker's home number from the 10 year old Elementary school directory. Knowing that finding this directory is going to be "a challenge" to say the least, I risk a ticket and call my wife at work and ask her where it is. (Here in Jersey, you can get ticketed for making cells phone calls behind the wheel).

She tells me "it's in our room". Which at this point is like saying "it's somewhere in the house" or"it's in New Jersey". Our room is normally a wreck and now even more of a wreck with all of the things from Oldest Son's room in there because we are painting his room. When pressed, she gives me a couple of more specific places to look. Great, the crazy Tux place is locked and now suddenly, it's our problem, we are yelling at each other, I am making crazy trips and I am not getting my errands done.

I get home and amazingly, I find the 10 year old Elementary school directory, find the number and call him back. Of course, this now unrequired information because he found her cell number through his network of Tux shop workers and called her independent of my quest to find the 10 year old Elementary school directory. She is a half hour away and is heading towards the Kruger's Tux shop.

Now it's a waiting game in the parking lot. It's us and the customers patiently waiting out in front of the store. The are standing, leaning against the wall, chatting on cell phones and sharpening their pitchforks. You know their cell phone conversation is going like "No, I don't know why they are not open!. Yes dear, You are right, I should have done this yesterday".

As we are waiting, we hear someone yelling Oldest sons name. It's an old friend from scouts, waiting in the parking lot. He works at the Staples next door to the Tux shop.

They are locked out too.

Now this is just unbelievable. Two stores, next to each other are locked and customers are peering in through windows trying to see why. Staples has a lot more customers peering in though.

Even more ironic, my wife is working today with the "friend from scouts" mother.

For the next 40 minutes it's like a party in the parking lot, hanging out waiting for keys to open.

In the end the Elementary school co-worker showed up about an hour and twenty minutes after the 10 AM opening time, but really, who cares.

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