Friday, January 14, 2005

Robbery, Part Two

(Note: scroll down to "Bashing George" for the beginning of this anecdote.)

Rockarama - used records, imports, posters, buttons and stuff.Somewhere I've got a picture of George's Store #1, featuring me and my prize-winning display for the Prince LP Around the World in a Day.  I can't find it, though, so instead here's a picture of me at Rockarama, circa 1982.  John and Kal and I owned that store, and I managed it.  It never really supported us, which is how I ended up working for George.

Robbery, Part Two:

When we last looked in on Our Heroine (or clueless victim, your choice), a man with a gun had made me hand over the money in the register of Store #1, plus the ticket money. Then he asked whether there was money anywhere else.  Well, yes, there was.  There was money in an old metal desk in the back room, petty cash and whatever $20 bills I had skimmed from the register some hours earlier.  It can't have been more that $300 altogether.  This robber had known about the CTO ticket cash.  Would he know I was lying if I said there was no other money in the store?  If he did, would he shoot me?

I'd heard that when you're robbed, you should just hand over the money, putting human life ahead of greenbacks. But if this guy had to ask, he probably didn't know, and the company wasn't doing great financially as it was.  So I put George's money ahead of my own life, to the extent that withholding info about the cash in back might have increased my chance of dying by 1% or so.  I lied. I said he'd gotten everything, except for the $1.75 or so in my purse. (Okay, I don't actually remember whether there was any discussion of the contents of my purse, but it probably happened.)

The robber then made me go in the back room, which made me nervous about the choice I'd just made.  But no, he didn't follow me back there, didn't see the desk.  He turned around and ran out the front.  I carefully made my way back to the front of the store and, again taking my life in my hands, peeked out.  No sign of him. Loyally (and stupidly), I called George, and then the police. A couple of kids came in during all this.  They looked for the robber for me, but he was gone.

Now, Here's the Outrageous Part

George arrived shortly after that.  Did he commend my loyalty, sympathize with me about my ordeal, comfort and reassure me, or in any way behave like a decent human being?  He did not.

Instead he berated me for half an hour because I had not followed a longstanding policy of skimming from the register into the bottom drawer of the cabinet underneath the register, until there's an opportunity to take it into the back room.  I had never, ever been told of any such policy, in two years of working for him.  He also blamed me for the guy getting the ticket money, on the grounds that he must have cased the store beforehand, and I should have noticed this.  The fact that there was a sign at the ticket counter, and that naturally there would be money taken in there, cut no ice with George.  I could tell he really wanted to blame me for the entire robbery, but he stopped short of doing that.

So after that day, I started doing the bottom drawer skim thing.  I also told a number of people what George had said and how I'd been treated.  The former manager of Store #1, Sue, was especially sympathetic.

Robbery Redux

The following Saturday, exactly a week after the first robbery, an entirely different robber came in.  Chris was there with me--it was the brief overlap for a busy Saturday afternoon--but that didn't matter.  Neither did the bottom drawer skim.  The guy knew all about that trick.  He made me get the money from the bottom drawer, too.  But he didn't get the money in the back room.

After the second robbery, Sue talked George out of talking to me at all.  Thanks, Sue.  I was in no mood for George's unfairness that day.

All these years later, I don't remember for sure which robber was white and which was black, which one handled the Prince LP but left no clear prints, or which one the cops hoped I could identify in a mug shot, but his photo wasn't there.  It doesn't matter.  What I remember about it all, more than guns in pockets, more than being herded into the back room (again, this time with Chris beside me), was the way George pretended that my being robbed  at gunpoint, and forced to hand over part of his money, was somehow my fault.


1 comment:

ryanagi said...

Unreal. He wins the a-hole boss award, for sure.