Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Love Cuts Like a Knife

Love Cuts Like a Knife

Photograph via Flickr by pikimota

Editor’s note: Once a week, Laura Morton will use personal history to put a Craigslist ad into perspective.

The Story

A few years ago, I realized that part time work was the way to go. I’d been looking for temporary gigs, but it seemed like a steady part time job would work just as well. So I went to one of those job search websites and found an ad for work that catered to college students, recent graduates, and others looking to supplement their income.

Soon after I sent in my resume, an extremely perky girl phoned and asked me to come in for an interview. I asked what kind of company it was, if they were a placement agency, advertising, marketing, escort service, etc. She avoided any details, but said it was indeed not a placement agency, but a company hiring customer service reps.

I hopped on over there.

The building stood in a sprawling office park and the front doors opened to a large airy lobby with marble floors (good first impression). Then I stepped foot into the office, situated in the back corner of the third floor. Folding chairs lined walls that appeared to be made out of cardboard. Jane Child’s “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” cranked on a stereo that sat perched on one of those chairs. Clearly, I had walked into a Fortune 500 company . . .

I think my feelings of shock were obvious because the three people sitting in folding chairs answered my unasked questions: I was to fill out a form on a clipboard sitting on a table to my right. I plunked down and scribbled my information and waited until the manager called me and another girl back to his office for the pre-interview. He looked over our forms and asked what we thought our communication skills were on a level from 1-10 (I said 8, because really, I never know how to answer those types of questions). He thanked us and asked us to return to the folding chairs and wait.

And then the interview/application/lecture/infomercial/class began. One at a time, we were asked to come sit around the desk at specified angles and distances. Walking up there it dawned on me what the company was all about—yep, you guessed it . . . they were selling knives.

For two hours (seriously) we sat, answered vague questions, and, for some inexplicable, ridiculous reason, I took copious notes. The man leading the session cut a penny with a pair of scissors and gave each of us the opportunity to cut pieces of leather and rope with one of the knives he provided. We learned about where these knives were made (Virginia) and why they were much better quality than any other. And, like the idiots you can watch on any info-mercial, we talked about how wonderful the knives were and (literally) applauded their amazing abilities.

Throughout the demonstration, the manager randomly addressed questions to each of us by name, like “Laura, what do you think is the highest selling product?” When everyone turned to me, I stared blankly, not so much confused by the question but confused by what I was doing there at all. Luckily Simone, a young woman with thinning hair who was wearing a large sweatshirt, spoke up first so I let her answer for me.

Then the manager told us that the company had a “Comma Club” and asked Shelly what she thought that meant. Following a long pause (maybe she was wondering what the hell she was doing there too), Shelly answered, “People who make a million dollars?” That was the wrong answer. When asked why some of the sales reps might decide to keep the knives after they no longer worked for the company, Tracy answered “To kind of like stick it to ’em, like get off my back, or up yours?” I’m sorry Tracy, the answer the manager was looking for was, “because they like the product.” I don’t think any of us were on top of our game in there.

At the end of the lecture, the manager excused us and asked us to return to the folding chairs against the wall and to fill out yet another form. He told us he would call us in one at a time and tell us whether or not we got the job (based on eye contact, participation, posture, and if we smiled enough during the lecture). The form asked point blank if we wanted the job. I circled “No,” walked into his office, and after he saw the form he thanked me for coming in.

I wonder, though, if I’d taken the job, would I have the confidence of this gentleman on Craigslist?

The Ad

chicago craigslist > city of chicago > community > politics

RERE RE RE Re Rape of Media ( I can too spell )

How long have you been on Steroids?
Your Glock scares me so! I don’t have a Glock internet tough guy but my knife would cut you and your Glocky into little peices.
Good luck you little Prick!

The Response

Yes, I often regret missed opportunities.