One of our ever-increasing number of College Reality TV Spoofs…
ominous music, sorta like Darth Vader grumbling in his sleep and rolling over an 80′s synth keytar on the low end at odd intervals
Since 9 / 11 there’s no use pretending that things have been very bright for the majority of North American youth. Tuition has skyrocketed since the 1990s, housing has never been more expensive, banks are bailed out with taxpayer dollars, pensions and aging senior population threaten a shrinking and weak tax base – in short, the real-world isn’t looking so great.
Forget color saturated beaches, six, eight, or twelve pack abs bolted onto the Jersey Shorehead coming at you through your television screen, and join us in an examination of people who live in:
April: Sandwich Artist
Wage: Half of a sub per shift plus whatever the franchise owner deigns to pay them in free cookie benefits. Oh, and the Government forces them to pay April some sort of “minimum wage” or some other hippie nonsense.
- Cleaning up goo trail in snot-like color from obligatory weekend-night pickle races. Thank you, Adam Sandler and drunks everywhere.
-Wearing gloves at all times so that customers can be re-assured that the indentured servant preparing their sweet onion chicken teriyaki on honey oat isn’t directly TOUCHING their food. That would be very, very gross indeed. Also, nobody likes food poisoning or thinking too deeply about what people commonly do with their hands in private. So there is that to mitigate the mighty fist of class oppression – this time.
-Making white chocolate chip and macadamia nut cookies that are secretly and addictively narcotic in effect. In truth, all sandwich artists the world over find themselves in the throes of cookie addiction, which is of course why it is the primary and sole health benefit April receives.
Overall feeling of the segment is that: April is fortunate to have a position where she can so easily gain access to the white chocolate chip and macadamia nut cookies. The six inch sub payment is more than enough to ask for her time and minimal effort in enduring insults and ridiculous orders from confused customers. The minimum wage pays for her car to and from work, as well as a place to sleep at night. What more can a working girl ask for?
Jimmy Five Fingers: Temporary Strongman and Migrant Fieldworker
Wage: As many dollars as there are hours in the day, plus a few more. Jimmy makes minimum wage because those suits and ties say so, but Jimmy’s friend Carlos from Jamaica makes quite a bit less. That’s what he gets for being a foreigner though! as Jimmy’s boss likes to point out while laughing, tapping a big cigar, and tipping his cowboy hat to the camera. Jimmy gets a 15 minute break for water and maybe a 30 minute lunch if the labor inspector is around, otherwise he works straight through if he’d like to keep his job.
-Fruit picker and field worker. If you don’t fill the flat you don’t get paid. If you aren’t sweating, you aren’t working.
- Baking under the sun, shivering in the fog and rain.
- Counting how many bug bites from mosquitoes, black-flies, horseflies, ants you have accumulated over the space of even a few hours. Double count for embedded ticks, triple points (and a great ratings boost for our viewers) if the tick is burrowed in a sensitive area! (NOTE TO MARKETING: Also a great advertising opportunity for Muskoil or the Off! Brands of repellent)
The overall feel of the segment is: That breaking your back as a migrant fieldworker is dramatic, suspenseful, and altogether unglamorous and unappreciated. The schadenfreude factor is purely secondary, we promise, and does not drive the ratings whatsoever! Jimmy really appreciates the great benefits like being hosteled in a crude shack and being loaded up in a beater van with a dozen other workers for their weekly drive into town for a spending and drinking binge.
Book tangentially related to the profession: John Steinbeck (almost all of them), but in particular In Dubious Battle [link to product?].
Lopez: Sales Associate (Pushy Paid Shill)
Wage: Commission of 5% of the retail price of any item.
Of the remaining 95%, 30% covers the initial cost of the item, 10% covers the cost of transport, and 60% fills the money bin at the mythical placed called “head office”. Lopez, nor any of the rest of his geeky uniformed counterparts, have ever even seen this Camelot of Capitalism, yet they are constantly reassured by the henchmen bearing titles without “Associate” in the name (ie. Management) that it exists. They had better hope it does, otherwise, where do all of these poorly spelled memos and ridiculous ransom notes for “more money, now! Or else!” come from?
One more thing; if Carlos (who cares about his name anyways; what’s his employee number?) doesn’t make commission, some commies from the state claim that payroll needs to adjust him to some minimum hourly wage. After that, Carlos gets his cheque and hits the road – the company doesn’t need any deadbeats around on the clock who can’t perform on the sales floor.
-Sell warranties with a price point of between 25% and 50% of the cost of the item itself. If customers refuse the warranty, interrogate them and attempt to persuade them (using martial arts techniques) otherwise, up to and including the step of barring them exit from the store without a perfect purchase.
-Sell pre-orders for items soon to arrive in the store at a rate of one per every two customers. If customers refuse the pre-order product, interrogate them and attempt to persuade them (using outright lies and obfuscation as well as psychic and emotional manipulation) otherwise, up to and including the last resort of threatening to call their wife and reveal an illicit affair if they do not proceed with a suitable transaction.
-Refuse all warranty claims with a dismissive snort and a roll of the eyes in order to make it very clear that the customer is never right, and, as a matter of course, quite the idiot. If the customer attempts to make inroads through the use of “honey”, the associate is to immediately insult the customer’s weight and / or height and / or intellect.
The overall feel of the segment: Juan is obviously a skilled asset and a great team-player, but his disappointing sales figures (he was only able to swindle every third unassuming sucker rather than our target goal of all three) mean that he will no longer be employed with Big Box starting next week. His uniform deduction fee will be removed from his pay (high quality rayon and poly knit meaning a sixty-five dollar deduction, plus another forty for the chinos – hey! They’re nice chinos!). He can keep those, though – two for $105!
Cliched book suggestion: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. No, seriously.
The question is: Would he like a fabric warranty?
The Closing Credits
Keep in mind folks, this is just a sampling of the absolute wealth of depressing day jobs and nightmare night shifts at our disposal in the world we currently live in. When we say we are culturally in-tune and resource rich and yet we fail to exploit the abundance of sweat and suffering right before our very eyes, we are denying a cheap source of income and a great dramatic experience that so many viewers will love to connect to as well as to criticize.
It’s a no brainer, ladies and gentlemen. This is a real-world reality TV show that will make money (come on, you know you’d watch it, don’t act all superior!), further capitalizing on those who have already been capitalized upon, lending even more credibility to our worship of capitalism and the almighty dollar.
People will eat it up – I guarantee it!*
*line directly stolen from Victor, or as he calls it, his “sucker punch”. No such guarantee is implied nor guaranteed.