Off the clock with The Checkout Girl: A Cup of Ambition? Check!

The the news has been chock full of stories of underlings fighting the corporate man, and the tiny Norma Rae in me is fired up and ready to sing “Take This Job And Shove It”, to the powers that be over at Fancy Pants Grocery, Inc.

This past week, the the news has been chock full of stories of underlings fighting the corporate man. Dramatic, Internet-friendly job resignations are all the rage and the tiny Norma Rae in me is fired up and ready to sing “Take This Job And Shove It”, to the powers that be over at Fancy Pants Grocery, Inc. However, stupid-ass grownup issues like “a paycheck” and “health insurance” *insert appropriate eye roll here* keep me tied to the man like a marionette on a golden string. But that doesn’t mean I can’t rise up in my heart and cheer for those who are fed up, fried, mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore!

First, on Monday, flight attendant Steven Slater got huffy, puffy, and blew JetBlue’s house down when he gave the middle finger to the old adage, “the customer is always right”. Anyone who has been paid to help a customer, ever, knows that the old saying doesn’t always hold true. However, our champion was not content to grin and bear the slings and arrows of the “coffee, tea, or me” set and popped his cork. According to reports, Steven was working a flight from Pittsburgh to New York that had just landed when he was accidentally hit on the head with a bag from the overhead compartment. Who knew the straw that broke the camel’s back would be a carry-on? Probably every flight attendant, both past and present, that is reading this. But not me. Steven allegedly grabbed the mic, unloaded a few choice curse words over the airplane’s intercom, grabbed a couple of beers, and, get this, DEPLOYED THE EMERGENCY EXIT SLIDE. Gah! My biggest regret in life (no, really, I’ve pretty much lived a life with very few regrets… or at least to few to mention) is not having been on this flight when it happened. Who HASN’T wanted to pull the handle and activate the giant bouncyhousefunslideoffun? All you’d need is a fire hose (which I’m sure airports totally have) to make the world’s greatest Slip ‘n Slide! Apparently, Steven then went inside the airport and bragged for a while, before heading home to victoriously knock boots with his boyfriend. One prob: his shenanis were illegal and Johnny Law came calling while he was still playing the love game. He was arrested, charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and trespassing, and eventually released on bail. Even worse, some of the passengers on that flight are giving statements that don’t agree with our working-class hero’s story. But that’s ok by me. Whatever the trueyTRUEYtruth is, I’m down with the story of the man who rode the enormous inflatable slide to freedom, threw his corporate-issue tie on the tarmac, and said “Get yer own damn peanuts.”

Then, on Tuesday, came the email heard ’round the world, as a mysterious, attractive cubicle drone named Jenny sent a series of pictures of herself, holding a whiteboard, to the people in her office. In each picture, she’s written something different on the whiteboard and is making an appropriate facial expression. It goes like this:

Happy Monday Everybody / I quit / I’ve learned a lot these past two years / and I’m going to miss all of you / except one / I’m looking @ you Spencer / being your assistant’s been a special hell / I put up with your temper / and your bad breath / because I wanted to be a broker / on Friday I transferred you a call / I was about to hang up / when I heard you call me a HOPA / HOPA?? / HOPA HOPA HOPA / Hot Piece Of Ass / is that really all you ever thought of me? / did you ever wonder… / why everybody in the office called the trash… / a garbage diSPENCER? / office moral is down since you installed the “little office snitch” / so you could monitor how we spend our time online / so I wondered / how does Spencer spend his time online? / you gave me the codes after all / 4 hrs/week Scottrade / 5.3 hrs/week TechCrunch / and drumroll… / 19.7 hrs/week playing FARMVILLE / wow / so this HPOA’s moving on / although I don’t have another job / something tells me I’ll be just fine

The ultimate kiss off to the jerk boss that we’ve all had. How encouraging. How empowering. How faux. It turns out that Jenny is an actress named Elyse and the whole Dolly Parton in 9 to 5 shtick was written by the two guys who run which is a site that, among other things, tracks Internet memes. Also creates them, apparently. They said they did it because they wanted to see if they could. They could. But, just like with Steven, I think the message is valid, even if the facts are a little fuzzy. Just because Jenny wasn’t Jenny and there was no Spencer, most of us have been Jennys dealing with Spencers at some point in our lives and dreaming of the spectacular verbal dressing-down, if given the chance. Plus, the edutainment value is pretty high on girl with a strong resemblance to Angelina Jolie telling her jackass boss to kiss her HPOA, you know? I know it sure stoked some vivid revenge, I mean “resignation”, fantasies in me!

Look, I’m not saying you should compare your boss to trash, or slide down the superfun slide to unemployment, but a little fantasy goes a long way when dreaming of telling him that he’s overbearing, boorish, and has giant pores that look like they might consume children and small animals, if left unsupervised, or to call you Miss Jackson if he’s nasty. Sometimes, dreaming is as good as doing, except that you can still feed the children. No. It’s not. Ever. But hungry kids and your mortgage will always win. Can’t keep your spirit from giving the finger, though, can they?

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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