Jan 20th, 2008, 07:45 PM
Okay, I'll try to break out one more story. Not to get my crown back, but because this is just strange.
A few years ago I worked at an indie video store just outside of Ann Arbor in this little city with a bad water supply. The problem with this city is that it was close enough to Ann Arbor to eventually be enveloped by it thanks to urban sprawl. Before the sprawl, it was redneck heaven with tractor pulls and tons of farmland and houses that stretched back to the 1800s. After? It was still hickish but now had a lot of people imitating the rich people lifestyle as they saw it: tons of name brand clothing, expensive cars, expensive housing. Sadly, the income was nowhere near Ann Arbor levels. A fellow who moonlighted at the video store was a mailman by day and told everybody stories of how these big fancy houses with BMWs and the like were completely empty. One look inside would show a lack of furniture or anybody who lived there would put up or own. There was a TV, a chair, and nothing else.
This city--whose name I will not reveal for the obvious reasons--was essentially the epitome of pathetic yuppie excess without the money to back it up. And this included the mayor and the city council.
The reason the indie store was able to remain in business was due to two parts: we were the only ones who rented porn, and the head of the business was using it as a tax writeoff: we would only take in a hundred dollars of profit per night, even on the weekends. And everybody in that town, despite their newfound yuppie values and overt Christianity, loved the fucking porn. It wasn't even good porn, it was the cheapest that could be bought in bulk. But it was honey to a beehive, and that's how I made my bread.
Until one day when the Mayor's little snowflake of a daughter decided not to return a tape on time. For a week.
The charge was $20 and if nobody dicked us around with it, we would cut it in half. The Mayor, however, was one of those 'career professional women' who had the short annoying haircut and the business suit. She did not want to talk about this. She didn't even want to admit to it. She wanted it gone because she was the big bad mayor and she didn't think it was proper for someone in her position--as the mayor of a perfectly pathetic community--to pay for late fees. You know, because she was important and everything.
The owner of the business didn't give a right fuck what happened. The District Manager wasn't going to do anything about it. If it had to be sent to collections on principle, it was going to happen. So the letters of protest started: professional letters on the Mayor's letterhead, unprofessional and badly handwritten letters with vague threats taped to the door of our establishment, the whole works. Finally, the coup de grace. The Mayor walks into our store one day, tosses a letter on our counter, and walks out without a fucking word.
The letter inside was basically a typed threat (in businessese) noting how our business was now being investigated because of the rental of pornography to minors and various other shit. Because, you know, it was the mayor's daughter who didn't return it and since the Mayor was denying responsibility....
And this is when I snapped. The manager was my sister's boyfriend at the time, and I asked him if I could respond to this in a way that would benefit everybody involved. He agreed. And I set to my work.
A few days later the Mayor's office received a large package sent by registered mail. Within was a number of records we had since the business had opened. These were the records of every single movie rented and/or bought from our location since opening of every single member of the City Council, the Mayor, and various workers under the Mayor's employ that were unlucky enough to have their names listed at their offices. The movies rented were shown when they were rented and returned, how much the totals were, and the title of every single one in beautiful black and white. Also enclosed was a statement of our policy in regards to total compliance with the proper authorities in regards to situations such as these. We had the names, dates, and personal information of every single major person in power in that shithole city along with their rental records.
Guess how much of that was porn. No, rather, guess how much of that wasn't porn.
My final addition to this was on the letter itself. I'm sure such business types like that knew was cc: meant. As a final gag, I put in various email and snail address to the various news stations in the Detroit area who I knew would be fascinated with the story of the Mayor who tried to bully a small video store when her daughter wouldn't return her porn. And I was ready to send it, too, unless a deal could be made.
Her bill was paid off the next fucking day, in person. And the rest of the debts ran up by the city council just happened to get paid later that week as well. Odd that.