“Tales of a Scorched Coffee Pot” — B1

Jason McGathey
7 min readMay 11
desk area in healthy hippie manager’s office

The job sounds straightforward enough. They are a tiny chain of three retail outlets, specializing in natural and locally sourced products, for health minded individuals. Though Bellwether Snacks owns them, these stores have relatively complete autonomy, so long as they are profitable. Healthy Hippie Market doesn’t really have its own accounting department, and nobody inside the stores in this role whatsoever, but Edgar Lodge will be the closest thing to it.

It’s a position that hasn’t existed before. Edgar’s primary focus will involve going through every invoice, ensuring each item is charged to the correct department. Then to charge the correct retails on the products, based upon that department’s margin. He must also collect the correct tax rates on everything, and place these products in the correct departments for tax and EBT eligibility reasons, based upon some truly mind-numbing finer points of this fair state’s tax code. Still, it all sounds somewhat basic, just a lot of concentration upon tiny details and a baseline of standard math/accounting type knowledge.

He had turned in his application at the Palmyra store nearly a month earlier, during which time they’d seemed extremely excited and assured him they would call back right away; it was only this outrageous enthusiasm which prompted him to check in again on two separate occasions, because nobody from the store ever had. Each time a different management figure gushed forth with assurances that yes, they were still interested. Eventually, his application somehow wound up clear down at the Southside location — coffee stained, he is told, fittingly enough, and not by him for once — and they gave him a ring.

The afternoon he is hired, they explain that they had originally found someone else online, who called on the day he was supposed to start, to say this was too much of a drive, and that he wasn’t interested. That was three weeks ago. Prior to this, Teri Barnette, the IT person, was updating the prices and adding new items when she had time, when people emailed her such, but this wasn’t really an IT job and she was spread a little too thin to perform both roles. But sales were increasing and they needed to get more on top of things, and a whole lot more beyond that.