Clerk Endures Fifth Humiliating Year

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Vol 31 Issue 17

Hippocratic Oath Under Review By HMO Board

ATLANTA—The Oath of Hippocrates, a cornerstone of medical ethics for more than 2,000 years, is under review by the board of directors of MedCare, Georgia's leading HMO, it was announced Monday. "It looks good on paper, but frankly, some of the phrases struck us as a bit extreme," said board chair Dr. Forrest Gabler. "For example, 'The health of my patient will be my first consideration.' While it's fine as a concept, when put into actual practice, it creates massive budgetary and liability problems." Another phrase from the oath under review is, "I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity." "That goes without saying, so we'd just as soon not have it in there," Gabler said. Scheduled next for review are the Merck Manual and the Bill of Rights.

Focus Group Reveals: 95 Percent Of Americans Would Like To Go Home

NEW YORK—Extensive focus-group testing results released Monday by the marketing firm of Hayes, Loesser & Falk revealed that an overwhelming 95 percent of Americans are sick of being asked questions and would like to go home as soon as possible. "We were surprised by the results," Hayes, Loesser & Falk vice-president Thomas Mondrian said. "Our focus-group data, designed to capture a representative cross-section of the population, indicates that 19 out of 20 Americans never expected the testing to go on for this long and want us to finish the hell up and let them out of the office." Based upon the new information, Mondrian predicted a major shift in corporate advertising campaigns. "In the future," he said, "you're going to see a lot more products with slogans such as 'Chevrolet: You Can Leave Now' and 'Hormel Chili Is Done Asking You Questions.'"

Clinton Calls For Big Bucks, No Whammys

WASHINGTON, DC—President Clinton echoed the hopes of a nation in his weekly radio address Sunday, calling for big bucks and no whammys in the U.S. economy. "No whammys, no whammys," Clinton repeated, referring to the mischievous red gremlins who periodically plague the nation's economy, removing all cash reserves from the Federal Treasury. "Give me those big bucks!" Clinton added that while steady, job-based economic growth is what the nation needs most, winning the trip to the Cayman Islands would also be a positive step. Some in Washington, however, criticized Clinton's approach. "The economy is unstable enough as it is," said U.S. Sen. Al D'Amato (R-NY). "The president is truly pressing his luck on this one.

Tell Me Now If You Don't Want To See My Penis

Listen, it's obvious we're having a problem in the communications department. In the future, you've got to tell me what it is you want right away, because otherwise I've got no way of knowing that you don't want to see my penis. I'm a pretty sharp guy, but you can't expect me to know how you're feeling all the time. Unless you tell me, I'm going to just assume that you want to see my penis.

The FDR Memorial

The new Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, dedicated last Friday in Washington, D.C., has come under fire for not depicting him in a wheelchair. What do you think?

Ask A Humorous Cartoon Cat

Petey Paws is a syndicated advice columnist whose weekly column, Ask A Humorous Cartoon Cat, appears in over 250 newspapers nationwide.

Rogue Smorgasbord Sates Seven

ASHEVILLE, NC—A rogue smorgasbord ran rampant through the streets of Asheville Monday, eluding police and restauranteurs for over nine hours and sating the appetites of at least seven area residents caught in its path.

New Bar To Feature 'Sports' Theme

PITTSBURGH—Area entrepreneur Andrew Wallensky is keeping his fingers crossed after Monday's opening of "Bleachers," a bold new bar centered around the highly conceptual theme of sports. Decorated with helmets, posters and pennants of such Pittsburgh-area teams as the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, the new bar is designed to attract those who might enjoy drinking and socializing in an atmosphere infused with the spirit of professional athletics. "What I've tried to do here is merge the fields of drinking and sports in a single place, a 'sports-bar,' if you will," Wallensky said. "My future is in God's hands now." For hours after the bar opened, beer-bellied sports fans could be seen tentatively peering into the windows of the strange new establishment, though none were brave enough to step inside.
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Clerk Endures Fifth Humiliating Year

CHELSEA, MI—In a formal ceremony Tuesday, store clerk Dean Rechler, 26, was honored by Shop 'n' Thrift store management for five years of humiliating, spirit-crushing employment.

"Dean, you are an unremarkable person with no vim or vigor to speak of," said Greg DeGaetano, Rechler's shift manager at the 24-hour convenience store. "Literally hundreds of employees have come and gone in the five years you have been here, with most able to tolerate only a few months before quitting, yet you have remained."

To commemorate his achievement, Rechler was given a photocopied "Certificate of Degradation," stating that he had successfully endured five years of cashiering, mopping and stocking with no benefits, paid vacations, raises or promotions. Though the unappealing document was described by Shop 'n' Thrift upper management as "suitable for framing," it was clearly fit only for hiding at the bottom of a drawer, which is where it now resides.

Following the five-minute ceremony, Shop 'n' Thrift regional manager Larry Eldgren instructed Rechter to "get back to work."

DeGaetano explained how Rechler will often work his third-shift in a stupor of pitiful, stoop-shouldered atrophy. He restocks the snack foods and beverages slowly, staring blankly into the distance like a zoo animal whose spirit has long been broken. Yet he maintains a civil demeanor toward customers for fear of reprimand from superiors.

In addition to dehumanizing, servile labor, Rechler endures daily reminders of his inadequacy in the form of deeply degrading lectures on how to properly mop, sweep and wipe countertops, not to mention the constant suspicion of theft every time his till is counted at the end of a shift.

Rechler is also regularly forced to submit to a Shop 'n' Thrift chain-wide policy requiring employees to wear a variety of embarrassing promotional and customer-service-oriented buttons. The buttons, which cannot be removed on pain of suspension without pay, include such soul-crushing messages as, "Ask Me About Two-4-One Hot Dogs"; "Be A Winner—Play Lotto"; and "Am I Smiling? If Not, Report Me Immediately At 555-4578."

Despite his long tenure at the store, Rechler is said to be of above-average intelligence, making his long history all the more humiliating.

"If he was mentally retarded, I would understand," said Gene Frey, 26, who worked with Rechler at Shop 'n' Thrift during the summer of 1994 and has long since moved on to dignified employment. "Then, maybe he'd be able to do the same dull thing every day for years and not go crazy. But Dean doesn't have a crippling mental disability—he's a normal guy who could be doing a lot better. I don't know how he can stand it."

Recent store hire Lisa Greene, 20, agreed. "It's so embarrassing that anyone would work here for that long," she said. "As soon as my band starts getting gigs, I'm history."

Despite all the notoriety, Rechler himself is unimpressed with reaching the five-year mark. "It's not like I'm going to work here forever," he said. "I was thinking of maybe going back to school or something."

When told of Rechler's remarks, co-workers stressed that he has been talking about going back to school for years and will likely never do so.

"Dean is a sad, sad individual," DeGaetano said.

Rechler's parents declined to comment on their son's accomplishment. "I have no son," said Helene Rechler, 56, before hanging up.

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