Bent Words

Bent Words

July 26, 2010

It seems my manager was arrested this weekend.

It's as though I miss all the drama, all the breaking news, just because I spend 85% of my work day in the parts room. I hate that.

But before I get into it, allow me to give you a little bit of background...

I get to work at 8:30am. Exactly. I don't always get into the building at exactly 8:30am (as I no longer hold the power of access, meaning shop keys), but I am physically there on time. I turn on both my PCs in the back. This task takes approximately 17 minutes because of the age and overall Shit Factor of each computer. And so I resign the better part of my morning prep with playing Musical Blue Screens of Death. It's a blast.

Then, I fill my giant water bottle, pee, and subsequently bullshit with the boys until UPS Matt arrives with my Suzuki, Tucker Rocky and Parts Unlimited orders. This is usually right around when we open (9am). IF UPS Matt isn't on vacation (and he's literally on vacation every other week). IF he doesn't have a different loader at the main hub in the morning. IF his truck isn't broken down somewhere between Elm Grove and Waukesha. And IF we actually have an office manager long enough to pay the UPS bill on time.

So basically UPS arrives anywhere between 9am and never.

At this point, I help Matt unload anywhere from 4 to 30 boxes of parts/tires/accessories from his truck. As we're unloading, we discuss the latest shop gossip and what Matt won't be doing during his week's vacation. I do not help any of his temporary replacements unload. Number one, they're younger and number two, they all sweat profusely. Matt sweats but he never smells like stale socks. I appreciate this (and the fact that he has a bunk knee) and therefore assist him with his duties.

Once every package is accounted for, I begin ripping stuff open with an extremely dull 'cutter.' I doubt that's the proper name but that's what I call it. I extricate all packing lists. One or two packing lists is invariably missing and therefore I must log into the distributor's website and reprint one or call in to have one faxed over. I then check off each part from each list from each box. Parts are sometimes missing or incorrect. At this point, I make a copy of the packing list and file a discrepancy with the distributor. Once all my parts straightened out on two large folding tables in my back room, I can receive them into our inventory via one the PCs I've already had to restart. I make sure the cost in the computer matches the cost on the packing lists (including all shipping costs which must be spread out evenly over all parts), that retail pricing is at a sufficient number and that each receiving reconciliation matches the packing list. I make handwritten notes as appropriate.

About this time (between 11am and noon), the FedEx Ground lady arrives with my Honda shipments. She's new, I don't know her name yet. I start the whole process all over again until the FedEx Air lady arrives. Unload, receive, reconcile, repeat.

The majority of my shipments being in for the day, I print part labels. These labels designate the part, the date it was ordered, the special order number and who it is for (either customers, service repair orders or stock). I handwrite the current date in code on each label designated for customers and repair orders so that I can track how long it has been since the part has been in our hands.

Once everything is received, labeled and put away into respective bins (based on the customer's last name), I print out Special Order Details. These sheets detail each part ordered for each repair order and showcase what has been received and what has not yet been received. If something has been ordered but not yet received, I attempt to track it via the corresponding distributor to give our service department an ETA -- this I handwrite onto the Details and give to service. At this time I also print out a Call Back Sheet which lists the new orders we have received. I call each customer on the list.

All of this consumes half my day. If not more. The rest of my day is spent inventorying all the fast moving parts in the back room (oil and air filters, batteries, tubes, spark plugs, etc.), returning parts which are not needed or incorrectly ordered, tracking customer pickups, shipping customer orders, handing over parts to service, looking up parts for service and fulfilling parts calls and internet commerce.

I'm almost never at the parts counter in the showroom unless we're shorthanded.


(I realize that was a rather lengthy bit of background into my day but I found it rather amusing to detail what it is, exactly, that I do. And, besides, it's my story. Dammit.)

So last week Wednesday I missed it when my manager, followed by the service manager and two parts counter kids, was at the peak of an apparent Drama Parade through the shop.

Luckily I had to use the facilities or else I would I have missed it completely.

"What's going on?" I asked as JR chopped the shop with purpose.

"I've been let go of," JR replied.


Now it's not a great surprise that he was given the boot. I mean, he was already planning to vacate his position at the shop to become a stay-at-home dad for his little one due in early August so this was really just an early parting of ways. Still, I felt it necessary, for sympathy's sake, to react in a somewhat shocked sort of manner.

"Don't worry, Laura. I'll call you."

A few minutes later I was called into Dan's office to have the situation explained to me.

As Dan, the store manager, describes it, there was a set of tires missing from our inventory but added to JR's.

A set of Pirelli Diablos.

And as JR explained it (based on what Dan told me), he purchased the tires under a "Manager's Program" through Tucker Rocky. Unfortunately, Tucker Rocky doesn't sell Pirelli. Parts Unlimited sells Pirelli. And Parts Unlimited did not sell JR a set of tires based on some non-existent Manager's Program. They also did not sell him a brand new Arai helmet, a leather jacket or a pair of gauntlet riding gloves under this so-called program or otherwise. But somehow he has them in his possession. And he's had them in his possession for at least a month.

So when it came to the owner's attention that ALL these items were unaccounted for (a few days after JR's departure), he decided to call the police on JR. And therefore it seems that my ex-manager has been arrested. This, mind you, is based purely on what Dan has told me. I have not talked to JR but I certainly can't see why Dan would have any reason to embellish upon the situation so I can only relate that which I have been informed of.

All of this falls on the back of our ex-finance manager finally being sentenced (the day after JR was let go of) for five years after having extorted $108,500 in cash sales from the shop.


That's all I got.

Whether or not JR intended to pay for the purchases is irrelevant. There are no paper trails for these items -- no invoices associated with his name. They were all ordered to stock and taken out of stock without having been paid for or laid away and therefore they were entirely unaccounted for. Add to that a brand new FMF exhaust and Bazzaz system which arrived unaccounted for on Friday and you have the makings for a thief. It is unpardonable to leave the store with ANYTHING and simply reason to yourself others that you "intended to pay for it."

That's just not how it works.

Now I like JR. I think he's an alright guy and it is not my business to judge. But I can say, from a business stand point, he hasn't done anything for me. If anything, he's done the opposite. He unloaded his work onto my shoulders (though I like keeping busy and was happy to do it) and was never really interested in doing anything. He never really managed. He just sort of sat back and ordered the kids to look busy when the big wigs were present. There was no product training as promised. Well let's just say that there's a long list of what he didn't do. Why? Because he was always disinterested in work. His wife makes six figures working 14 hour days and so it never actually mattered whether or not he was employed in the first place. He was the first one to admit it. And what motivation can we, as 'subordinates,' take away from that?


So, good riddance.

I just want to do my job, do it well, and then do something else at the end of the day.

But it does seem as though I miss all the drama, all the craziness, all the tomfoolery, just because I spend 85% of my work day in the parts room.

I love that.

Written at 8:10 p.m.