"'90s grunge kid Conrad Jacoby is on the verge of graduating from Hiawatha High. Eager to leave the nest and his alcoholic Vietnam veteran father behind, Conrad joins the workforce where he tests his luck at minimum wage jobs in food service and retail, building his savings and his backbone with the goal of moving out. Although Conrad is determined, he quickly finds that his sheltered Minnesota upbringing has not prepared him for the life challenges and difficult personalities he will encounter in this coming of age comedy."
The Customer Is Always Wrong
(excerpt from chapter 6)
I hadn’t even begun my first-ever job interview and I already wanted to run out screaming. Corcoran flipped the top page over on her clipboard and readied her pen.
“Ok, so ya don’t have any previous work experience, do ya?”
“Well, not exactly . . . but that’s why I’m choosing to begin my career at such a prestigious establishment as this, ma’am.”
Corcoran smiled proudly, then began the interrogation.
- “Where do ya see yourself in five years?”
- “What do ya feel are your biggest weaknesses?”
- “Can ya handle a fast-paced work environment?”
At 18, I couldn’t say my limited life experience had been incredibly challenging up until this point, but I managed to skate by on what I figured most people did in these situations—by bullshitting.
- “Oh, I want to be working HERE in five years!”
- “My only weakness is that I’m a people pleaser.”
- “I live for challenging situations!”
When the soul-crushing interview finally ended, she squinted her eyes and extended a greasy hand.
“Welcome aboard! We need help in the kitchen, so we’ll start’cha there.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Corcoran!” I said, wiping my hand on my pants.
“Please . . . call me Beth.”
“Ok . . . Beth.” I forced a smile.
I followed her to the back office as she unearthed a box of ugly uniforms.
“The job pays minimum wage. It ain’t much, but there’s an annual raise of twenty five cents.”
My heart sank as I was given my unflattering brown uniform with the golden ‘D’ on the right breast and a copy of the Durenberger’s “employee handbook.”
“Be here tomorrow at 10 a.m. That way ya can help out with the transition from breakfast to lunch. It’s chaos, kid, you’ll love it!”
I somehow doubted that. But at least I had a job, which was one step away from moving out. I swallowed my pride and smiled enthusiastically.
“Will do . . . Beth.”
“And don’t be late, young man! That’s my biggest pet peeve.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem, I live right in the neighborhood.”
With that, I went to leave.
“Oh, and one last thing!” Corcoran shouted.
As I got to the door, I turned to face my new boss.
“Remember, Conrad: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!”
CC Standish is a Seattle based author and musician who grew up in the Twin Cities. As a college dropout and blue-collar worker, CC has learned a lot about the importance of a work/life balance, using his spare time to write on the side. Born into humble Minnesota beginnings in 1977, at an early age, the arts were CC’s chosen path over school and sports. Oddly enough, ’77 also marks the year that Elvis died, Star Wars was born and punk rock shook the world.
Fun fact: “The Customer” contains several characters and titles named after streets, parks, landmarks, bands, folklore and politicians from around the Twin Cities.
The Customer Is Always Wrong is the first book of a planned three-part trilogy focusing on protagonist Conrad (CJ) Jacoby coming of age in his late teens and evolving into his early twenties. Stay tuned for the sequel—“Ramprats”—which is sure to entail more wild and wacky misadventures from America’s new working class hero!
*What would you be doing right now if you were not an author?
Hmmm…if I wasn’t an author, then I guess I would be just another failed musician/blue collar worker like so many other people I know. Honestly, I wish I had the means to write full time, but maybe someday. Until then, it’s writing on the weekends & making ends meet.
*5 years ago: what were you doing?
Five years ago, I had just moved to Seattle after spending the previous five years in Portland. I was fixing windshields for this horrible company & beginning a punk band with a couple cool people I met from an add I posted on Craigslist. The band didn’t last long & neither did the job, but soon after that I began writing “The Customer Is Always Wrong.”
*Do you have a certain writing ritual?
Kinda. I like to write in the mornings when I’m most focused. Being a night owl, I can’t write at night because I’m too distracted, so mornings are my designated time to write, typically on the weekends. For example, I have the second book of the series “Ramprats” all mapped out, so I made a goal for myself that I need to write at least two chapters a week. This way I can hammer the rough draft out by summer (hopefully) & have a finished product ready to be published in early 2017. Coffee also helps for motivation!
*What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
This is a question I am not too thrilled to find out about. I have yet to receive a poor review on Amazon or Goodreads (fingers crossed), so it would be interesting to find out what people didn’t like, didn’t get or simply didn’t connect with. Having a pretty thick skin, I would hope it just wasn’t the right fit for the reader, which would suck, but as they say – you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
*Is there an author you'd like to meet?
Stephen King. I’ve admired that guy for as long as I can remember. The rest are all dead: Bukowski, Vonnegut, Plath. Hey – I wonder if the lady that wrote Sybil is still alive?
*Biggest writing pet peeve?
I tend to be a very literal writer, so I suppose by default I like to read things that are more “in your face” compared to abstract. I think that’s why I read a lot of non-fiction shit. So a writer like Palahniuk drives me crazy. Don’t get me wrong – I admire his work, but I just read Diary & it took me like six months. It just never flowed right in my head.
*Do you read other's reviews of your books?
Yes. As a beginning writer, it’s fascinating to see what clicks & sticks with people. So far the protagonist in my book has been compared to both Holden Caulfield & Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. Not a bad start! I can’t say I had either in mind when writing, but hearing that perspective, I can definitely connect the dots. I suppose it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure for now, but I mostly read them to scope out what’s working & what’s not working so I can make adjustments for the next book in the series, if need be.
Fav Color: Blue
Fictional Character you'd like to spend the day with: Henry Chinaski
Fav food: McNuggets
Fav song and/or singer:
This is a tough one. I mean, after all: you’re asking a musician for his favorite song & artist. OK, here goes nothing…BTW this could change by next week.
Favorite song: Either “Donna” by Ritchie Valens or “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by The Everly Brothers.
Favorite artist/band: This is a toss up between Nirvana & The Ramones.
Guilty pleasure: I love nothing more than a big plate of nachos & a cold beer on a Friday night after working all week.