Rock Out With Your Stack Out

Back by popular demand (and despite Brad's bitching and whining about how hard these are to write) is the T.S.F.T.P.F. series! Woo!!

In this episode, we see a much-truncated version of another actual event that happened to me. And as it turns out, I already wrote a pretty good story about the full incident for a Creative Writing class a couple years ago, which I'm posting right below. It's a lengthy read, but I'm confident you'll find it worth your time.

(By the way, our villain's full name is Adam Hude. I hope he googles his name and finds this.)


I work at a relatively large department store, in the electronics department. It’s a job I’ve done too long, and when that happens, you tend to accumulate stories. And when you’re a guy like me (translated: a sarcastic asshole with a knack for pissing off the wrong people), you tend to accumulate some pretty ridiculous stories. This is one of those.

Now before I go any further, I need you to understand that I did NOT make any of the following story up. I am actively trying NOT to embellish this story. It’s important that you remember this, because the story gets pretty ludicrous pretty quickly. We good? Alright.


In retail, when we find ourselves with an excess of a product, we will often display it on the sales floor in an organized pile which we call a “stackout.” It’s among the most menial tasks you can be assigned at a store like the one at which I work, but it’s usually hard work, because you have to lug tons of product from a stockroom (the room in which stock is kept, if you will) onto the main sales floor, and then arrange it in an aesthetically-pleasing fashion.

One autumn day, my manager James asked me to do a stackout of some boom boxes we had in the stockroom. I said no problem, collected the merchandise in question, and stacked it out. Took me about an hour, start to finish. I asked James if the stackout was okay, he told me to move a couple things around, I did, and I went home. I literally finished the stackout, cleared it with my manager, and hauled ass out of there. This timeline is important.

I came in to work the next afternoon for my shift when Daniel, one of my coworkers, pulled me aside and said that my assistant manager Adam had been asking people about me all day.

“What do you mean, asking about me?” I gave Daniel a quizzical look, since I had just clocked on and had no idea what the hell he could be talking about.

“Well apparently, he had a problem with the stackout you did yesterday,” he had a burgeoning smirk on his face that I figured was going to lead to some kind of punchline. That’s just kind of the way Daniel rolls. Sadly, this was not going to be a very funny joke (at least, in the moment).

“Stackout…? Oh, you mean the boombox thing? What, like I stacked it out wrong?”

“Noooo, apparently Adam sees something inappropriate in the way you stacked it out.”

I blinked. “I don’t follow.”

Daniel sighed and shook his head. “Well he seems to think that he sees… a penis in it.”

Yes, you read that right. Apparently, according to Adam, if you were to look down at my stackout from the ceiling, it resembled a penis. Which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I guess he was afraid that all the birds and dragons that shop at our store would find it offensive and complain. Apparently, he even drew a diagram of the stackout in question that was quite elaborate. He believed that the main, um, body of the stackout resembled the wang, and that a smaller stackout a couple feet away from it represented the projectile spewing forth in all its glory.

But I need you to understand, dear reader: not only did I not commit the crime in question, but this thing could not have looked less like a penis if it tried. It was literally a stack of boxes in the middle of an aisle; nothing more, nothing less. I promise you, he was just imagining the whole thing.

Predictably, none of the five employees he asked saw the penis, according to Daniel. So I rolled my eyes, chalked it up to Adam being Adam, and went back to work.

(Now, full disclosure, is this something I as a person might do? Sure. I’m something of a wily trickster, and I’ve been known to try and slip practical jokes past management. Clearly, my reputation preceded me here. But listen, if I had tried to pull off this stunt, I wouldn’t have half-assed it. This thing would have been elaborate. It wouldn’t have looked like a penis from a bird’s-eye view; it would have looked like a penis from a human’s-eye view. It would have been 6 feet tall. I would have gotten a water fixture from the garden department and mounted it on top and everything. There would have been no doubt as to the cock-ocity of this stackout. But alas, I didn’t do it and Adam was just imagining it. The fact that no one else that he asked saw the dong in question only makes it more hilarious. Back to the story.)

But then when I was walking the aisles, helping customers, being the model employee that I am, I noticed that my stackout was gone. I looked around, thinking he had moved it, but it was nowhere to be found.
I got back to the stockroom, opened the door, and sure enough, there was that dang stack of boomboxes, back where I’d found them yesterday. He had actually taken my stackout down because he believed it was cock-shaped.

Now I was starting to get mad. It’s one thing to try and make me look bad, try and get my co-workers to throw me under the bus, try and stir up shit against me. But Adam un-did an hour’s worth of hard work because he imagined something that wasn’t there. I was hot. Like, hotter than usual, I mean, ladies.

So I went into the main electronics stockroom. Adam was at the top of the stairs, doing some manager-type stuff (translated: holding a clipboard and trying to look busy).

“Adam! Did you take down my stackout?” I yelled as I barged in the door.

“Um, yeah,” he stared down at me, clearly taken aback by my aggressive tone.

“And WHY would you do something like that?” I was baiting him now, daring him to confirm what I had already been told, silently begging him to say the words out loud: because it looked like a penis, and I am threatened by stacks of things shaped like other things.

He didn’t bite. “Because it was totally inappropriate and it needs to never happen again.”

I shook my head in disbelief. “I’m sorry, you’ll have to humor me here… inappropriate how exactly?” I could feel my rage boiling just below the surface, and it wasn’t going to take much to set me off at that point.

“Don’t play coy, you know exactly what you did.” Well, that was it.

“Are you FUCKING crazy?!”

I’ll break in here. At this point, Adam got a shocked look on his face, then turned around to walk away. But I was already bounding up the stairs two at a time (no small feat for a fat kid), wheeling around the corner, and getting right into his face.

“Listen, I don’t know what it is that you think you saw out there, but I can assure you that I only did what our manager – your boss – told me to do with this stupid stackout. You’ve just undone an hour’s worth of work based on a hallucination! Whatever you believe I did, I didn’t do.”

“You know and I know exactly what you did. I’m not playing games with you. What happened out there was completely inappropriate, and you’re just trying to get out of it.”

I was now two inches away from his face, nose to nose (this required I lean down, since he was a tiny, insignificant little shit of a man.)


“No, and you need to go home.”

This might shock you, but apparently retail managers don’t cotton too well to being asked if they’re fucking crazy (whether or not the distinction applies in that case).

Oh, I was livid. I was about a second away from cold-cocking him right there. But then I remembered that I enjoy my weekly paycheck, so I just stormed out and went home instead. And now, not only was I furious about being accused of something I didn’t do, but I had also lost a day of pay over it.

So I went home, played some video games, and cooled off a bit. I decided that I wanted Adam’s douchebaggery addressed, but I didn’t want it going to HR or anything like that. If HR were to get involved, my otherwise-awesome workplace would be scrutinized to uncomfortable degrees. I didn’t want my cushy, don’t-do-a-lot-and-get-paid-for-it job to go away because I wanted to make my asshole assistant manager uncomfortable. So I figured I’d get to work early the next day, pull James aside, and let him know what happened so we could get it dealt with.

I clocked in to work the next day, went to the department, and immediately picked up the phone to call James.

“Photo electronics.”

“James, it’s Trev.”

“Oh hey, are you here already?”


“Have you already clocked in?”

“Um… yeah.”

“Oh. Well alright, you better come upstairs.”


This wasn’t good. I went upstairs to the managers’ office, but James wasn’t around. I went looking for him, and he poked his head out from, you guessed it, the HR office. Shit.

So I went in, and of course he was sitting there with our HR lady. Fantastic. I sat down, she asked me how I was doing, and I said I was alright. She said that they had gotten a "colorful" passdown note from Adam the previous night, and they wanted to hear my side of the story.
So I took a deep breath and started rattling it off just like I’ve told it here, until I got to the climax (heh) of the confrontation.

“ …and so I asked him if he was, um, bleeping crazy,” I winced a little bit, having to parse my language in mixed company.

The HR lady had been taking furious notes the whole time and not contributing, but at the point she looked up from her legal pad. “Um… I need to know what the ’bleep’ was.”

“Um… really?”

“Uh, yeah.”

And so, sitting in that cramped little office with my manager and HR person, I said out loud that I asked my assistant manager if he was fucking crazy. Not one of my more comfortable moments.

I finished the story, and she put down her notes. James, to his credit, totally backed me up on the whole thing. He said I had done exactly what he told me to, that there was no phallus hiding in the stackout (and hopefully nowhere else in the department. Ba-zing!), and that he had no idea where any of this would have come from.

HR lady basically told me that insubordination is an offense with punishment up to and including termination, and that there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room. Since it was just the two of us in the stockroom during the altercation, there were no witnesses to corroborate either of our stories, so probably nothing would happen, but I needed to control my temper and go through the chain of command when there’s an issue. I nodded and smiled and pretended it wasn’t all a load of bullshit until she finished her spiel.

She also mentioned that this wasn’t the first time Adam had had issues dealing with employees, and that it was something they would address, which made me feel pretty good about my chances of beating this. They sent me back to work and told me they’d be getting back together with me soon.

I finished my shift that night without event and went home. I came back in two days later, curious as to whether they’d actually talk to me about it immediately or let me stew for a while. But sure enough, James called as soon as I walked in the department and told me to come upstairs again.

I went up, but he wasn’t in the HR office. This time he was in the store director’s office. I hadn’t been nervous up to that point, but when I saw them in there, I started to get concerned. Store director’s office is serious business, and now I wondered if Adam had made up something to make the whole thing seem worse than it was. I would have to be cautious.

But I got in there, and it was just James and the HR lady again, but this time they were sitting in the comfy chairs around the director’s desk, chatting and laughing. I was confused.

They told me to sit down, so I did. HR lady went through the same speech about insubordination, and yelling at your supervisor, potential termination, blah blah blah. Then she told me, without really telling me, that Adam was, in fact, fucking crazy, and that I had nothing to worry about so long as it didn’t happen again. The issue was effectively dead.

And rightfully so! This gentleman tried to accuse me of committing the lamest “crime of the century” ever, publicly humiliated me, and tried to get away with it scott free. Far as I was concerned, he owed me an apology.

I got up to leave, thanked the HR lady for her time, and turned to walk out, when James told me to wait for a second. He sat me back down to talk a little more, and I did, instantly on guard again.

“What’s up, dude?” I eyed him, slightly worried.

“Oh, you’re not in trouble or anything. I just wanted to thank you for the incredibly awkward position you just put me in.”

I chuckled slightly and nodded, “Hey, thanks for backing me up.”

He waved his hand. “Please, Adam was way out of line. But now I need something from you.”

“Okay, shoot.”

“You’re a leader in the department. The guys look up to you, they follow your example when you do things. But I need you to work harder to actually be a leader. That means not spending all your time leaning on the counter not doing anything. That means not playing video games on the sales floor. That means making sure everyone gets their chores done, even when no one wants to work.”

I pursed my lips and nodded. “Yeah… yeah, I can do that.” But then he dropped the bomb.

“Let me ask you a question. You ever thought about going into management?”

I was taken aback. Think about that for a second: 48 hours previously, I was getting sent home for swearing at my boss. Now I was being asked if I’d considered moving up the ladder. I could only imagine the damage Adam had done to his reputation with these hijinks.

Of course, I told James no way. My company treats their management terribly. But the fact that he even asked made me grin on the inside. In fact, I was so happy about the whole thing, I didn’t even ask about getting my pay back for the day that I got sent home.

I just wish I could have been a fly on the wall for the conversation where Adam sat in that cramped little office, with his boss and the HR lady, and sniveled, "But it looked like a penis! I swear!" while they stared at him bewildered. That image will warm my heart until the day I die.

But man, I was still pissed at Adam. That asshole had crossed a line. It was now abundantly clear that he was singling me out, and I would be forced to react accordingly. I would spend the next six months not speaking to him. I would only acknowledge his existence if he addressed me about something work-related, and even then I would only speak to him in monosyllabic terms and grunts. If he tried to talk to me about something not work-related, I would walk away. To put it politely, I hated his fucking douchebag guts. I just had to bide my time, because he would be gone soon enough. But I would have to keep my nose clean, because I knew he would be gunning for me doubly hard after this. What I didn’t expect was that an opportunity for sweet revenge would present itself at some point.


posted by Trev-Shyeah @ January 9th, 2010, 12:39 pm  |  4 comments

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PerfectSephiroth, January 9th, 2010, 1:25 pm

Sweet revenge?

I smell a Part 2 coming very soon...

lol peenas stak

LegolianM, January 9th, 2010, 2:54 pm


Amber (Guest), January 10th, 2010, 1:54 am

I can't stand the suspense!

Jazeki, January 12th, 2010, 3:59 pm

I hope you got an A when you turned this story in. I wonder how he got the idea that it was a bird's eye view of a penis. That alone is fucking crazy.

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