TIMES I WAS ALMOST FIRED FROM THE GREENHOUSE - PART 1

Or how I was the greatest Home Depot flower vendor in history, during my freshman year of college
  1. My first day
    I meet my first coworker, a dumpy boy with a thick forehead, no posture at all and a lutefisk complexion. He's wearing an Insane Clown Posse shirt so I great him with the customary. "What is a juggalo? Let me think for a second. Well ... he gets butt naked and then he runs through the streets with a two-liter stuck in his buttcheeks." As it turns out, he was the boss's son and the shirt was a hand-me-down. He was not a juggalo, I was not a juggalo and this was an HR violation.
  2. The "Zin Bin" incident
    I'm told that we have "complete freedom" to design flower displays. This is a mistake. The floral milieu compels me to go full Zsa Zsa, constructing a miniature "Zin Bin" cabaret in which I display our new Zinnias. I illustrate several marquees featuring sexualized flower women with blossoming décolletage and fishnetted stems. However, our store was located in the middle of God's country Pennsyltucky. Church women were instantly offended.
  3. The time I duped teens into buying Salvia
    You can be a real botanical jokester if you understand how plant taxonomy works. Salvia is a genus, see, and somewhere, a group of kids tried to get high smoking the garden sage that I sold them.
  4. The time I got a girl's phone number
    But she was 80. Apparently, I was "getting their hopes up" and I should just let them "go in peace". I did nothing to attract this octogenarian's attention other than carry a pallet of begonias to her minivan, straining my string-bean arms into feeble, pea-sized muscles. I guess some guys just have "it", where "it" is "resembling a dead husband".
  5. The "Stevia Wonder" incident
    Stevia is probably my favorite herb. You can eat it right out of the terra cotta and it tastes like sugar. It's the best no-calorie sweetener, especially if you enjoy slight bitterness. I am a realist so I demand bitterness in all my sweet things. Either way, my "Stevia Wonder: Tastes So Good, You Won't Need to See" signage was brilliant, decorated with little leaves sporting thick shades. My boss found it "offensive".
  6. The geranium massacre
    I hate geraniums, without qualification. Every morning, these garish junk flowers would litter the pavement like freshmen on St. Marks. I'd have to hose them into the gutter, muttering about how they "took all the good water". By the end of the summer, we couldn't stand to look at them. We destroyed them all. My year-end review included the line: "Erik, you have both sold more flowers and killed more flowers than any employee we have ever had. I don't know if that's positive or not."
  7. The "African Queens" incident
    The less I say about this one the better. The contours are basically: african violets dressed as drag queens. Katherine Hepburn was involved and I was banned from making any more signs. I stood my ground, "What is this ... BITTER Homes and Gardens!?" Good one, Erik.
  8. The waterfall
    After a prolonged absence, my boss returned to find we had requisitioned all of Home Depot's waterfall kits -- 3 of them -- and converted the entire house plants section into an indoor rainforest. I was serving coffee and speaking in a made-up creole, mashing-up every vaguely Caribbean mouth sound that I could produce. The taste level of the whole enterprise was questionable.