Valencrime’s Day

I was lucky enough to have a friend that works at a flower shop give me a week’s worth of employment during Valentine’s Day, their busiest season. My first day on the job, I had scrounged change out of my couch to get on the subway. The shop was super busy when I walked in and someone asked me if I could run a delivery before getting started in the office. The building I went to was Goldman-Sachs. Hilarious. While waiting in the messenger center, I tried to plug my phone charger into one of the electrical outlets, but the security guard told me it was against company policy to let me do that — power ain’t free!! Dicks. After a few days of paperwork and telephones, I was positioned on the freezing street in a giant U-Haul truck filled with deliveries for the actual day of lovers.

Jeff__s_Heart_Tattoo_by_luckyfrogs

The company had hired about 80 people off Craigslist to escort the floral arrangements all across the city. I was suddenly face to face with other unemployed people, all of us just thankful for the chance to earn a few dollars. As I chatted with my fellow Americans, I quickly learned way too much information about their lives. One had just gotten out of the hospital for some mysterious reason, a plastic bracelet around his wrists. Many kind hearted men with tattoos of teardrops on their face.  A very old Chinese man who wore an eyepatch. An extremely overweight lady who worriedly kept asking if she could leave by 4pm to pick up her kid from her mom’s house before her mom’s boyfriend came home… I didn’t even want to imagine why. A lot of the people seemed to have very rough lives and were in some way ex-criminals, criminals, or very possibly mentally ill. I was in the middle of finishing my hot tea when someone from the shop promoted me to be the manager of the group. Privileged white guy, here I am!

For each successful delivery, confirmed by a signed receipt, I was to give a little red ticket to the delivery person, which represented a dollar. The idea being the faster you deliver, the more money you can make. An older lady who couldn’t walk very well, but had warm eyes, told me she didn’t care how much she was getting paid, she was just happy to get paid. Well, I became very popular. Lots of sugarcoating, pole smoking, and artificial niceties. I was authorized to give the people I saw doing well extra tickets. Aside from a handful of slowpokes and the stoned guy wearing a black leather jacket with the words “In God We Trust” embroidered in yellow, who kept “losing” his receipts, everyone got a little extra money. I’m pretty sure he was selling the flowers on the corner. If I was in charge of firing, he would’ve been gone. Some people tried to coerce or trick me into getting extra tickets, but I was always a step ahead and once they tried to take advantage of my kindness, they never saw it again.

The day after Valentine’s, I helped by making deliveries myself. From banker’s offices at the southern most tip of Manhattan to the Upper East Side to the West Village to Washington Heights, I pedaled the petals. While lost in Harlem, two girls, who were mayyybe 16 years old, came up to me and said, “Hey don’t I know you from the TV? You were on that one show!” They couldn’t remember the name of the show I was on, but they knew my name. Beyanna and Diamond gave me directions and told me that, as of the night before, they were officially girlfriends. The three of us had a kyoot little “queer power” moment in the street, we hugged, and we went our separate ways. I love them. Yay queer youth!

By the end of the week, my feet hurt, my brain smushed, and the anxiety over what the next chapter of my life is gonna look like had set in again. Lots of changes are happening, surrounding the people I know and am friends with, but I’ve decided to embrace the chaos and go where the universe wants me. Rollercoasters, puppies, the position of your head when you bite into a taco, diarrhea, zen…

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Unemployment, God, & Applebee’s

applebee tipAn unnamed server at an unnamed restaurant was given this receipt as a tip. Automatic gratuity for parties of 6 or more are standard at this particular restaurant, but the Pastor took great umbrage against the policy, crossed out the tip amount, wrote a huge zero with an obnoxious slash through it in the “additional tip” space, THEN wrote “I give God 10% Why do you get 18?” Well la-di-fucking-dah. The tip was charged on the credit card regardless, but the Pastor clearly wanted to make a statement – and a statement she did make.

Another server, who didn’t wait on the party, took the photo above, shared it online, and it went viral immediately, sparking moral outrage in both Christian and Atheism communities (and everyone in between). Internet sleuths tracked down the Pastor by her signature. Here is a kooky video of her “preaching” at her store front “church”.

Once people found out her church’s name, they alerted her “congregation”. A friend of Pastor Bell’s told her that her name was all over the internet, which prompted Pastor Bell to call Applebee’s to complain. Mind you, no one on the internet knew which restaurant this happened at until this phone call. It’s been reported that she demanded everyone be fired – the server who waited on her, the server who took the photo, and the manager on duty. Applebee’s responded by firing only the server who posted the receipt stating, “Our Guests’ personal information – including their meal check – is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy. This individual is no longer employed by the franchisee.” Applebee’s has posted similar information on their own website, but it was regarding positive feedback.

“My heart is really broken,” Pastor Bell told The Smoking Gun. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.” SO CREATING A NEW UNEMPLOYED WAITRESS IS GOING TO HELP TURN THAT AROUND?!! On Pastor Bell’s website (which was hacked and now appears to have been taken down), she describes herself as a mother who was unemployed and homeless on the street before turning her life over to Christ. I would think she would understand the repercussions of getting someone fired. Here’s a news segment where she is trying to act meek and mild to regain some self respect.

This ordeal is a great example of religious entitlement. People sometimes think they have the moral superiority over someone else because of their relationship with God. God seems cool, and if he exists – great! But, for people to use him as justification for their complete horsecrap never ceases to amaze me. The act of preaching in public is the height of selfishness. If people want to participate in a sermon, they will go to church, or read their Bible, or harvest their unique relationship with God on a one on one basis. Stop making yourself feel like a better person by going out into the world and placing your insecurities in the middle of the public square. Injecting ones religion into someone else’s life, whether it be very adorable Mormon young men who knock at your door uninvited or voting discrimination into law, is weak. If you need others to believe what you believe, then how firm are your own beliefs? Where does your own truth go when you have to convince people of the “truth”? This is why when a subway preacher starts screaming at a trapped audience on a train I sing “Holiday” by Madonna in their face until all the hipsters join in and the preacher shuts up or moves to another train car.

Applebee’s has been dealing with a PR debacle ever since. Whoever heads their social media presence should be fired as well, or at least demoted to server for a few months. The public outcry on their Facebook page has been fascinatingly hilarious to read through. Applebee’s has succeeded in bringing all sorts of people together in outrage over this issue. Christians, non-Christians, gays, straights, all ethnicities etc. Everyone everywhere is raining fire and brimstone down on the corporation, who also recently has cut hours with their staff so they aren’t required to provide health insurance. Nice work, corporate America.

Anyway, this is what I’m mad about this week. Have a great day!