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That time I interviewed at Sam Goody

Goody got it.  Remember that ish. 

For those born in the 90s will have no idea what im talking about but its still a fun read...

The year was 1996. It was late winter i believe, and i was graduating high school that year.  I had some small jobs here and there but needed money as I now had a car and had some minor responsibilities like paying for my own gas, eating at Burger King and buying 40's in Newark for the weekends.  Shit was tight.

I was way past my grunge look and had evolved into the skater / raver stage -- ya know that one that had GIANT pants that can fit your head at the pant bottom openings and shirts that were 5 sizes too big on purpose. People would know these type of pants as JNCO jeans.  At the time, they were not mainstream and only worn by EDM people, skaters and wannabes like myself.  Well i would not say wannabes as i was a pretty decent rollerblader.  (For those born in the 90s will have no clue that rollerblading was actually a cool thing to do.  There were cool tricks and grabs and slides.  It was a good time and I was pretty good).

At the time music was my world.  I loved all kinds of different music (today its just Justin Bieber and pop) and showcased my fancy music band stickers all over the back of my 1989 red Hyundai hatchback that i bought for 500 bux.  The polish mobile for sure.  I remember not too long before that the movie Empire Records came out and I thought OMG what a phenomenal place to work at.  So I thought the next best thing would be Sam Goody.

Sam Goody was like the cool hip music store chain of that time.  It was a cool place to go and "browse" for music -- much like you today on Spotify (totally showing my age).  Anyways, I went to the Clifton store, filled out an application and went home with hopes and dreams.

A couple days later, i got a phone call.  Let's not forget the year is 1996 so there was no cell phones.  That phone call was like legit through a land line and they probably even left me a message on my answering machine -- yes an answering machine.  Cray cray. 

My interview was scheduled and i was ready to roll.  I remember thinking what I was going to wear.  I had 0 "dress" clothes in my closet.  Just super long t-shirts with crazy images on them, ultra big baggy pants in which every single pair had the bottoms cut to make them look bigger and more raggedy, and not one dress shoe -- only running shoes and Cons.  Then I thought of the atmosphere that was Sam Goody.  You had the freaks, the nerds, the 90s hipsters.  I got this i thought.  So i went ahead and wore my khaki JNCOS, which were actually the least baggiest of the bunch, a white t-shirt and a very large brown sweater over it that had a cute woven pattern sown in it that i got at Salvation Army for 3 dollars.  I went with a pair of bad ass New Balances  that so did not match my outfit. Perfect!

To finish it off, i wore my metal bead necklace that I probably stole from the chain that connected to the pens at the bank near my house.  My hair was just above shoulder length and carefully parted in the middle and shoved behind my ears -- and slightly greasy.  I was ready.


I walked into the store perfectly on time.  I asked for blah blah (don't remember his name.  We will call him Bill).  Bill approached me.  At first i thought it was some dork that we made fun of in high school who now found his purpose in life -- manager at Sam Goody.  He was what your typical manager who never made it looked like.  Glasses.  A wannabe hip haircut that was similar to mine but 6 inches shorter.  And that outfit, oh that outfit.  A light silk dress shirt that was carefully tucked into his pleated khaki pants with his brown braided belt that just screamed Gin Blossoms.  His shoes, that were probably purchased at Marty Shoes at a substantial discount, screamed DORK at me.

He says "Hi.  I am Bill"

"Hi.  I am Danny.  Nice to meet you"

We had 3 seconds of small talk and he tells me to follow him to his office.  I have been to this store a 100 times and don't remember a back door.  Beastie Boys blasted loudly from the speakers above me as I followed. I smiled.  I got this.

We went into a small room.  You can tell this was his pride and joy. His own office. His Mom was probably so proud.  These are things I definitely though at the time.

He does the whole "How do you say your last name?"  I go through the routine and make the joke that it sounds like Manishevitz but i'm not Jewish -- totally thinking that was acceptable.  Oops.

He sorta laughts and then gets right into it.  "So why do you want to work at Sam Goody".

I go into my Oscar speech {cue music} about how I have worked at delis since I was 14 and wanted a change. I love music and thought this atmosphere would fit me perfect.  Some shit like that. {uncue music}

He says some shit for a few minutes that managers are supposed to say and then goes "You know some advice for the future.  You may want to dress a bit nicer for an interview" out of nowhere.

Da fuq just happened??  I say quickly "Yeah but its Sam Goody" and with a smile.

He says "Yes but this is an interview" with a smirk that can give Joffrey from Game of Thrones a run for his money.  "It's no big deal.  Let's move on"   Strike one.

He starts to ask me random questions. I was not listening at this point. Instead I am thinking how I want to bitch slap this clown and how awesome my outfit is.  

I wake up.  He asks me "So Danny, if you were to work here what kind of music would you suggest to customers."  I think ok he asking my music interest.  Cool. 

I tell him that "I love a large array of music and that i listen to mostly Techno (now EDM),  the Beastie Boys, Tribe Called Quest, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Phish, Pennywise, NOFX, Face to Face.  Oh I am a huge huge classic rock fan as well (thinking his old ass can relate).  I LOVE the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Jimmy Hend.." 

He interrupts me. 

"Danny we do not play any techno here.  This is not the Limelight"


I stare waiting for a laugh.  He doesn't.  Strike 2. I am confused as you are. Yes.  This really happened.

"Oh ok.  I mean i would not play that here anyways. Its just something that i.."

He interrupts me again and asks me something that throws me off guard that i will never forget.

"Danny, if you were working here and an elderly woman asked you for help, how would you talk to her"

Thinking back to this question makes me feel like how i can only imagine Donald Trump feels when being asked if he is ever wrong: just utter shock of how ridiculous this is.  Its like entrapment!   

Without thinking I say the following words  and I quote:

"Well I would certainly speak very very slowly to her and ask her what it is she is looking for.  I would then walk her to what it is she is looking for. I would make sure that I am speaking loudly as well so she can hear me." 

The words seemed sooooo right at the time coming out of my mouth.  In fact, maybe until 10 years ago it just seemed appropriate to answer this ---- in all seriousness as i was --- ridiculous question.

He pauses and looks at me.  I was about to keep going about how I would hold her hand if need be. 

He says "Oh well I hope you would speak loud, clear and be helpful to all customers; not just elderly people.  Here at Sam Goody we treat all people the same."  Strike mutha fucking 3.  I almost say  out loud "Strike Mutha Fucking 3"

I felt like I was being Punk'd before Ashton Kutcher even existed.  I just looked at him, smiled and said "Oh yeah. Your right"

Obviously there was not much left of the interview and we did our thank-you-so-much-you-are-so-not-getting-this-job handshake and goodbyes.   We walked out of the room together.  This story is so not over.

For reasons unknown, I thought, in my stupid half polish head, that if I bought a CD it would show my love and support for the Sam Goody brand name.  And so I left that secret room where dreams are broken and moved to the front of the store to see what new CDs are trending.  God I wish I remember the name of the CD that I thought would soooo help my chances of landing this job after the worst interview that this jackass has ever given.

I find what I want and bring it to the counter to pay.  The cashier who had funky color hair and an eyebrow ring --- because its fucking Sam Goody --- rings me up.  She tells me the price and i take out my chain alien wallet that i had so dangling down to complete my outfit and realize that I am $1.50 short.  I look at her and say "oh I am a little short".

She looks at me in despair as if she heard what just went down behind closed doors.  I look back at her and say something like "is it ok" as if i already landed the job and they can just take it out of my pay. 

She looks at me. I look at her.  Then she yells Bill.   Ponyboy comes to the front and looks at me and smiles.  She says "He's a little short".  He asks how much and she tells him.  He goes "ahhh let em go.  Its ok" as if the job was totally mine!  I got this!

"You may be seeing him soon anyways" Jaime, the 'How Do I Talk to an Angel' singer from 90210, tells the girl at the counter with the bright red hair and eyebrow ring that works at fucking Sam Goody!  

"I got that mutha fucking job" is what i tell myself and everyone afterwards while drinking a 40oz of the real deal Coors Light behind Vinny's house at 'The Wall'.   

It's safe to say I never got a phone call nor did i ever go to that store again.  5 years later that store would close. Had they hired me they would still be open because I am that AWESOME.  I can only imagine that Bill is now working as a TGIF manager somewhere in North Jersey.  Nice tie braaaa.

Morale of the story:  I did look pretty awesome in that interview outfit.



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