Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Venture" into this post, I dare you.

Over at Justin's Blog today, he mentioned the loss of the K-Mart store on Peterson Avenue (not the loss of the K-Mart at McCormick/Devon/Lincoln, which used to be Zayre, and is now Home Depot.)

Well, I grew up around 3 blocks from there, and I worked at that store when it was Venture. Remember Venture, with its bold, black and white stripes, and low low prices? Well yeah, I worked there for about 3 months when I was 16. My title? Switchboard Operator.

My job involved sitting in the co-ed fitting room, answering a PBX switchboard, paging people, doing store announcements, and 'straighenting up' the area around the fitting room when the phone wasn't ringing off the hook. I made no friends there.

Biggest highlight: Going toe-to-toe with Mike Royko when he called and demanded information on cameras from someone in the Camera Department. I had to be the person to explain to him that, even if the person assigned to Camera ever did pick up the phone, he or she would not be able to answer any of his questions, and he should try calling a more legitimate camera store for help.

Why did I leave such a worker's paradise? Well, here's the oft-told shit shift story:
One night, I returned from my 10 minute break, and as usual, everything was trashed. The phone was off the hook, there was Venture-Quality clothing strewn everywhere, and a really, really bad smell. So I investigate the stalls, and bam! In one of the fitting room stalls someone had taken a crap. And, to add insult to injury, rubbed the crap up and down the wall of the fitting room stall. I paged a manager, who told me to just page a Cart Attendant (another 16 year old) to clean it up! I was all, 'that's not fair, he should attend carts, not attend biohazards!' but the MGR wouldn't have it. So I quit that night. And was given crap about not serving 2 weeks.
Then, years later, Crappy Venture became Crappier K-Mart. I'm actually relieved that Target has razed the building and is starting anew, because that building had a film of 'gross' all over it that could never be scrubbed away!

Oh, and PS Justin also linked to my Trader Joe's/Aldi post. Thanks for the puh-puh-plug!

two things - One, I just mentioned Venture on WBEZ last week and two, when Schadenfreude first started out we played up at the Heartland theater in Rogers Park and we had our first board meeting in the theater (non-profit). So we collected all these friends who were lawyers/accountants/bigwigs artists and brought them up. We got to the front door and someone decided (overnight) to shit on the door. It wasn't out of spite, it was obviously out of necessity. I cleaned it up and welcomed myself to non-profit theater.
It just goes to show ya... shit happens! Har har!
Ah, the Heartland Cafe. The first place I ever had "Ginseng Rush" cola. Mmmm... hippie pop.
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