Saturday, July 2, 2016

Robbery in Progress

Bait Sandwiches, our Specialty
Shopping at a convenience store can sometimes bring drama. This is a true story told to me by the person involved written from his point of view. © Peg Cole.
"The management of the disk duplication company where I worked was doing their best to make me quit," he paused for a moment of reflection as he told the story. 

"All the signs were crystal clear with their cruel tactics of isolation and denigration, but their latest effort was the one that nearly got me killed." He scratched his head and continued.
"Things at work seemed like an ongoing battle between the old school faction and the young entrepreneurs who owned the business. They wanted us to believe that they knew it all. You couldn't tell them anything. That was just they way it was where I worked. That's just the way it is...

"Of course, these guys probably never tested a component to the board level in their lives. It all came to a head that day I repaired their outdated duplication equipment which served to add fuel to the growing animosity. The owners had apparently told everyone the machine was beyond repair, which naturally, put them in a bad light when I got it running better than before. 
Rather than being pleased with my innovative solution that cost them pennies, my repair didn't set well with either partner.
Old SEAC Computer, Wikimedia Images, Public Domain
Sure, I was probably as arrogant as either of these dudes that seemed dead set on running the company into the ground. They were quick to mock those of us with a few years of experience under our belt, calling us geezers and the like. The way I saw it, they couldn't diagnose their way out of a paper bag.
Their vendetta began almost immediately after my repair job and escalated from there.
To begin with, they removed me from all tasks having to do with technical or computer related equipment. Instead, they put me on a special project assembling wood cabinets in the blistering hot warehouse. The task was easy but I certainly wasn't putting my years of computer experience to use.
That wasn't important. I'd taken this entry level job out of desperation following a layoff at the computer company where I'd been working for twelve years. I had started working there right out of tech school, after graduating at the top of my class. I never had to look for a job - they had recruited me. 

Still, I was grateful that this new job provided enough money to pay the basic household bills, although my confidence and my ego suffered a bit during the transition.

Vintage Disk Duplication Equipment
Isolating me from the other workers by putting me in the warehouse apparently wasn't enough to suit them. When that wasn't enough to make me quit, they decided to up the ante and have me report in to work at four in the morning. The normal first shift clocked in at seven am.
I was headed to the warehouse to work my new schedule when I stopped by a Seven-Eleven to pick up some coffee and a snack. The store was quiet, empty at that time of the morning. It was still dark outside, so that came as no surprise. I helped myself to a large regular coffee in a Styrofoam cup and went up to the register to pay, but there was no cashier around. While I was looking at my watch and growing impatient, I heard a noise coming from behind the counter. Someone was moaning.
"Help me," the nearly inaudible voice whispered.
Now, that is definitely a sound that will get the heart pumping and the blood flowing. Then, I noticed the telephone was off the hook, its cord dangling to the floor. My eyes followed the twisted wire downward where I saw the receiver lying next to a body. He'd been shot.
Frantically, I looked around the store seeking who knows what - a doctor, an ambulance, better yet, some indication that I was still sleeping quietly in my nice warm bed at home. Instead, my eyes rested on an array of automatic weapons pointed in my direction.
The entire parking lot was jammed with patrol cars, their flashing lights sending eerie rays of red and blue strobes into the darkness of the early morning sky. Officers held their positions behind the cover of their vehicles. They had arrived on the scene silently with sirens turned off.
"Put your hands on top of your head and don't move!" the officer closest to the door shouted.
I managed to raise my hands above my head when the lead officer told me to sit down. There were cases of canned Coke stacked behind where I stood. Legs trembling, I took a seat on the display. In one hand, I still held the steaming cup of coffee whose purchase had taken me on this detour. Hot liquid dribbled down my arm from my shaking hand. Beads of perspiration covered my face. I felt like I might faint.
"It took little time for the officers to secure the building and confirm that the robbery suspect was not on the premises. They wrote down my personal information, asked me a few questions and told me I could leave. I was shaking so badly all I could do was sit in the car for a few minutes, saying a prayer of thanks to God.
"When I finally calmed down enough to drive, I headed to my workplace, arriving about the same time as one of the partners who was there to see if I showed up on time. He entered the building and stomped across the wooden floor with his muddy boots.
"You're late," he yelled, inches from my face.
"Yes, boss, I sure am." Before I had a chance to explain the reason for my delayed arrival, he screamed.
"You're fired!"
" 'Thank you,' I said, and I genuinely meant that. It was all I could do to leave the warehouse without hugging him. My mantra of Thank you, Jesus carried me all the way home where I counted my blessings and smiled at the brand new day ahead."
1 Old Computer equipment that used punch cards, By Tshrinivasan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By National Institute of Standards and Technology (National Institute of Standards and Technology) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. I love a good 'classic' and this fits the bill nicely, dear Peg.

    Wouldn't a compilation of your short stories be a treat...just 'thinking out loud'...!

    Loving you and sharing this, Maria

  2. Oh, my, Maria. What an interesting idea you have there. That gets me to thinking about it. I like it. Thanks so much for the inspiration and for the sharing. Love. P.

    1. Yeah! Please reserve an autographed copy for my collection, Sista!

  3. Excellent story! Sometimes our circumstances have to get worse before it can get better.

    1. Thank you so much Martie, for the visit and for the excellent comment.