evany's extended cake mix
(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)
get the latest
march 2008
december 2007
october 2007
may 2007
april 2007
march 2007
february 2007
january 2007
december 2006
november 2006
october 2006
september 2006

get the rest
archived entries

get more
my history
my writing
my crafty
my misc
my email

get into my head from twitter:

get my book

the secret language of sleep: learn more, buy more, or take the sleep test!

get involved
give books to beleaguered libraries via the amazing dewey donation system!

get your own

bj and the bear
Monday, March 26, 2001 | link

When I moved to LA, I was crazy-poor and desperate for work. After about a week, I'd torched through all of my savings and potential college-degree-related job contacts, so, starving for rent money, I crumple-tossed my "real" resume (which was nothing but internships ridiculously inflated into jobs: summer stuffing envelopes for no pay = "Promotions Assistant," 6/99-9/99 = 1999, etc.) and took my "restaurant" resume (which listed with painful accuracy all my experience waitressing, catering, countering, and hostessing) on a tour of every possible food purveyor I could find.

The only places that called me back were Starbucks and Ben and Jerry's. Starbucks wanted to interview me immediately, and I trotted right on in to lie to the shift leader about how much I liked coffee (at that point, I'd never even had a cup), which lead to an interview the next day with the assistant manager, who arranged another meeting with the manager the following week. The day of Starbucks interview number three (so insane) was also when my first interview with Ben and Jerry's was scheduled. I padded my time heavily between the interviews so I had a good hour and a half to kill after my final interview at Starbucks (which featured amazing Qs like, "Do you have any pet peeves, and if yes, how do they reflect your work ethic?" A: "Co-workers who don't carry their own weight!") .

I walked around and around the neighborhood so I'd arrive exactly on time at the ice creamery. I was greeted by the manager, a short man with Weird Al hair and mustache, who said, "Oh. Right. You're the one from San Francisco. I can tell because you people always overdress for every occasion." I was wearing slacks, a white tee, and a tight-fitting vintage men's waistcoat -- it was the early 90s! -- so he was probably right, but still, what a huge dick!

We sat down at one of the sticky tables, and he said, "So, what have you got for me?" When he had called me in for the interview, he had told me that he didn't like people whose lives were limited to ice cream -- he wanted creative, motivated employees with rich lives. He, for instance, was more than just a manager at an ice cream store -- he was also a stand-up comedian. ("How do people hitch-hike in Hawaii [thumbs-up visual]?" Punchline: [thumb-and-pinky-up visual] "Shocka, bro!" Get it? Yes, just like I get the flu.) To prove how well-rounded I was, he wanted me to bring in some sort of demonstration of my creativity. One of his interviewees, for instance, had made a movie called Where the Cows Are and screened it at the interview, another had written and read an epic, "Ode to Ben and Jerry" poem.

I brought a bunch of self-promotional stuff I'd made to land the summer internship in promotions, sticks of Evany gum ("For a breath of fresh air!"), cute Evany hair clips, and a petition attesting to what an asset I was, signed by 500 friends, family, fellow students, and customers at the restaurant where I had waited tables. One by one, I took all the shwag out of my bag, "Here's all the stuff I've created to convince people to hire me, but if you won't take my word for it," I tossed out the petition, all confident and creative and self-assured like I thought he wanted me to be, "then maybe you'll believe the many thousands of people who already think I'm worth it."

He just looked it all over silently, then said, "It doesn't look like thousands of people signed this petition. It looks like four hundred, maybe four-fifty." In my defence, I said, "Well, that list is just a sampling of my many believers."

"Did you lie on your resume, too?"

Before I could answer, he jumped up from the table and ran behind the counter to help a customer. When he came back, he said, "See? We're team players here at Ben and Jerry's. Yes, I'm a Manager, but when my counter person needs help, I roll up my sleeves and dig in. From what you're wearing, and where you've worked, I don't think you have what it takes to make it here. As a stand-up comedian, I've done a lot of work with people in promotions, and my experience has taught me that none of you are willing to help out when push really comes to shove." I just sat there, carping, and he jumped up to help some more customers.

When he came back to the table, I said, "Obviously, I'm not what you're looking for." And he said, "Tell you what, if you go outside and yell at the top of your lungs how much you love Ben and Jerry's, I'll give you the job."

"You're kidding."

"No. I'm waiting."

"Have you ever heard about that fraternity that made its pledges have sex with sheep, and the only guys they let in were the ones who refused to do it?"

"No," he said, "I've never head of anything like that."

And because my panic over lack of money was greater than my pride, and because the grossness of the situation had gained its own, weird momentum, I did it. Only I didn't scream and yell, I simply addressed the first two people that came along, a couple of elderly ladies walking arm-in-arm, in a normal voice. "Excuse me -- there's a man in there that knows how badly I need a job, so he's making me come out here at tell the world how much I love Ben and Jerry's. So, 'I love Ben and Jerry's!'"

"Oh, how AWFUL. But good LUCK!"

When I went back inside, he was standing there with his arms crossed. "I didn't hear you scream."

"I thought the personal, one-on-one touch was better."

"Here," he said, "let me show you how it's done." As he was outside, screaming how much he loved Ben and Jerry's, my eyes locked with the sweaty person standing behind the counter, who shook her head in knowing sympathy.

He bounded back in. "You still here?" I stared at him, shocked at what a turn my life had taken, then I turned silently away to pack up my gum and petition and resume. "Hold up!" he said, grabbing my elbow. "You've stuck it out this long, so obviously you have some fight in you. I'm going to give you the job."

"Great. Thanks."

"It's $5.50 an hour, you have to wear a hair net, and, just so you know, I'm a little bit touchy-feely, but it doesn't mean anything."

When I got out to my car, there was a thirty-dollar ticket on the windshield. I thought of the six hours I'd have to work for that man just to pay it off, and started wailing.

When I got home, a message was waiting for me from Starbucks, telling me I had the job -- six fifty an hour, health insurance, and no touchy-feely. When I didn't report for work at Ben and Jerry's, Huge Dick gave me a call. "Where are you?" How I wish I'd said something cutting, witty, and damaging ("Tell you what, if you go out in the street and scream how much you want me to work there, I'll consider it."), but instead I just said, "Oh, I decided to take a job elsewhere." "Well, I guess you're not the creative, fun-loving person we like to have work here after all!"

"Nope, I guess not."

Two years later, I went into a Ben and Jerry's with my friend Sophia, and there he was behind the counter. I was instantly so shaking mad that I couldn't order, and I just walked out. After about a hundred feet, I stopped and turned to Sophia, "I have to go back in there and tell him what a horrible, horrible person he is." And she said, "You could. But do you really have to? I mean, he's working behind the counter of Ben and Jerry's. Still."

"Right. You're totally right."

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

archived entries