The proverbial Straw and a meltdown #178

The proverbial Straw and a meltdown

Blog #177 I talked about when Aaron sets up the Zappos interview. In this blog I want to talk about The proverbial Straw and a meltdown


The straw that broke the camel’s back. This  is a phrase usually used when a string of bad events happen that lead to the final thing that makes someone lose their patience. Example would be “everything was going wrong this morning and the straw that broke the camel’s back was when I spilled coffee all over myself” The origins of this phrase is unknown. Knowing that a Camel has a very strong back and people early on used them to transport goods you can imagine how it got started.


So back to my straw. The way the job went everyday this week was I would get in at 9 or 10pm and check to see that the trucks were in the dock. The team came in at 10pm when the store closed. Yep we had two trucks tonight. The Logistics team lead came over to me and said half the team was detained by INS tonight for questionable citizenship. Great…This is going to be fun to explain in the morning.

The Hardlines ETL came in and I informed him we had half the team in tonight. We both looked at each like “O’boy.” I was glad he was there to help but he wasn’t very nice to people. He screamed at people to work faster all night long. I told him to lighten up and he said “You don’t understand, you can’t be nice to people, they won’t get the job done.” Not sure if that was the initial straw that broke the camel’s back as I was 100% sure that straw would arrive around 7am.

Unloading the trucks

Unloading the trucks is like a bucket brigade. By that I mean you have two people in the truck throwing the cases to the front (unless its fragile). There are ramps with rollers that make the cases easier to go down the line. Before they are placed on a pallet they are scanned in. There are several pallets set up by department so a pallet gets pulled out by pallet jack to that department once it’s full.

You usually have people on the floor that start filling the shelves with goods. We were half staffed though, so we had the truck team and a small team on the floor. The people that were there really worked 110% that night despite the other ETL swearing and yelling all night long. Dude lighten up! He kept telling me I wasn’t going to make it as a Logistics ETL if I was nice. You can’t be nice. You have to be a dick. Well I wasn’t that guy…

Right around 6am We started pulling stuff to the back and setting it so we could still work the cases during the day, we had no choice. We got further along than I thought. This team had the same results usually with a full team so we did pretty good considering. Now the question was which Store Manager was going to show up. The Nice very personable STL or the Bi-Polar one.

The Morning walk

Most mornings, everything is put away and the backroom is clean and ready to go. When this happens there are Pallets stacked up in the backroom and not all the shelves get re-stocked properly. This was going to be fun…The day ends for logistics with a walk with the STL and a report of how things went.

The STL arrives and I tell him what happened. “YOU ARE GOING TO START WITH EXCUSES!” he screamed. Okay Bi-Polar STL was here today, great…We got to cosmetics and the team leader was putting some of the stock we didn’t get to up on the shelves. “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? YOU DON’T DO THAT, THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO IT!” And when I say yelled I mean YELLED.

It was brutal every department I got swore at with the F word many many times. Can’t count how many times he said “What are you stupid or something?” This was in front of the team members too.  It was like a walk of shame, except no fun at night either. WHAT THE FUCK, I CAN”T BELIEVE THIS. Over and over, the whole walk. People would actually scurry away from him as he approached. Rule by fear.

Fun part was about to begin, the backroom. The whole walk the hardlines ETL kept saying, “told you not to be nice.” He wasn’t that smart, so I just ignored him. At this point it didn’t really matter. We get to the back and there were stacks of pallets lined up. “YOU AREN’T LEAVING UNTIL THIS IS ALL UP!”

The proverbial straw and a meltdown

With a very intense face, I looked at him and I said “you know what… (pause)  I think…(abnormal pause)  you …(second abnormal  pause)  SHOULD GO FUCK YOURSELF” It was the most amazing feeling to get that out. I towered over him too, which made the effect that much better. “Excuse me” he said. I asked him if he really wanted me to repeat myself, he said no. The Hardlines ETL started to walk away at this point.

Why don’t you take tomorrow off, the STL said. I told him I was going to take the next two days off, because I knew I had the interview coming up and wanted to get rested. The straw worked in my favor this time…

Yes, I was ready for my leap of faith, the answer was going to be yes I just needed to nail the interview now. When I got to my car that morning I let out the biggest sigh. It was going to be over soon. A smile came to my face. I was going to be okay. It was almost comical, where the hero goes through so much crap and at the end comes through and has that last chuckle. He made it through it. I can hardly wait to call my dad and tell him what was going on. He was my voice of reason and I needed that now.

My Dad

So I went to get some coffee as I was exhausted and had a little bit of a drive home. The coffee wouldn’t keep me up at this point, the anger would though. I called my dad. Told him the story and he said his famous line “You only live once, better to live it happy” He thought the Zappos job was the way to go. We had a nice long chat and I felt good about everything. My dad had a way of doing that for me.

SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...

…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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