Every year, my boss buys Christmas gifts for the office support staff, like the file guy and the mailroom employees. It’s always some newly-released CD that he buys ten copies of and then distributes. This year, it’s the Beatles’ “Let it Be… Naked”. And last year, it was the Rolling Stones’ “Forty Licks”. To me, this is a classic case of not knowing your audience, as the people on this short gift list are overwhelmingly Mexican-American. If my boss ever actually listened to the music that blasts from the boom box of the mailroom, he’d know they’d be more likely to appreciate a CD from [insert iconic Latin American recording artist here] than [insert aging British Invasion veterans here].
This year, he had me order ten copies of the Beatles’ latest shameless seasonally-timed repackaging of old material from Amazon.com. On Monday, the Amazon shipment came. Ten CDs. He immediately opened one up for himself, then put the others in the corner to wrap later.
Then today, the Amazon shipment came… again. Ten more CDs of “Let it Be… Naked”. He had me check online to make sure I hadn’t placed the order twice. Nope. Just once. Giggling with wicked, stick-it-to-the-Man glee, he tucked the extra box away and told me not to tell Amazon a thing.
It seemed a bit strange to me. Amazon doesn’t just re-ship orders that have already been filled. If they did that, why they’d probably be massively in debt or something. So I checked inside the first “Amazon” shipment. You’ll notice that this time I put “Amazon” in quotes. That’s because when I looked at the box, I learned that it was actually from Tower Records Online, a fact that would be obvious to anyone who performed even a cursory inspection of the package. There was a Tower Records invoice inside, as well as a couple of little inserts imploring him to purchase more items from Tower Records. Intriguingly, it came addressed to my boss’ wife.
Knowing my boss as well as I do, it was easy to piece this puzzle together. My forgetful control freak boss had told me via voicemail, which he sent at 11 o’clock on a Saturday night, to order the CDs from Amazon. Then, probably about two minutes later, he must’ve decided he couldn’t wait until Monday for me to place the order. So, he immediately commanded his wife to order the CDs from Tower. And then he relaxed, knowing the matter was taken care of and forgetting he had some loose ends to tie up.
So now he paid for twenty CDs, and he thinks he ripped Amazon off for ten. And it’s just as easy to figure out what’s going to happen next. Soon he’ll be giving away all his extras, parading around like Santa and making people think he’s just that generous. “Wow, how nice of you! You really didn’t have to get me anything!” He’ll get the validation he so desperately craves from ten unsuspecting saps.
And then his credit card bills will come, and he’ll realize what a colossal dope he was, but it’ll be too late to do anything but suck it up and eat the extra cost.
And I’ll hear him cursing and kicking the wall while a “fuck you, Phil Spector” version of “Across the Universe” plays from his office stereo.
The mailroom people will probably use their CDs as drink coasters, but from where I stand, this is the best Christmas gift ever.