Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The radio bit

A few weeks ago I was at work; slinging taquitos, ordering what-nots and hoo-jiggers,
checking customers, etc... my usual duties as the Ass. Manager. We were in the middle of the regular morning rush when the phone rang. Ah, Terry, thought I... what does he want? He's probably going to remind one of us to send the gas competition or to keep the coffee trough fresh. I picked up the phone and answered with my stock phrase - "7-Eleven Oak Street". I was mildly surprised when someone who wasn't Terry said "Who is this?" in a fairly commanding tone.

Normally I find this fairly rude, to have my identity immediately demanded by the caller, but for all I knew it might be one of those corporate fuddy duddy's calling for something or another. So, after I gave my name, the caller wanted to know who else was working. "Ryan and Vicki," I replied. At the mention of Vicki's name, I heard some snickering in the background, and my hackles rose as I began to anticipate some sort of prank phone call. "Let me talk to Vicki," said the caller, who then proceeded to qualify the request with "We've got somebody on the line who has a crush on her."

Ooo...k. So I gave the phone to Vicki, wondering what all of this was about. I knew that Vicki was married, so I thought this was decidedly odd; especially considering that Vicki is in her 50's and probably closer to 60. Not that it would have been out of the question for Vicki, at her age and married, to have a secret admirer, but this method of revealing ones self seemed a little puerile. So, I handed the phone to Vicki and proceeded to get back to whatever I had been doing 30 seconds before. After about 30 more seconds, Vicki handed the phone back to me and said, "They want to talk to you again." I exhaled in exasperation. I had become fairly certain that whatever was going on was some kind of prank, and I didn't have time for games like that on a busy morning while trying to order, check customers, make coffee, etc.

I took the phone from Vicki and said "Hello?" The voice on the other end said, "Hey man, we've got a guy on the line who wants to ask the girl who works mornings out on a date." By this time, the store had begun to fill up with customers and I definitely didn't have time to waste playing infantile games with strangers, and after making this clear to the caller in no uncertain terms, I immediately hung up. I thought about it for a bit, and decided that whomever it was probably just wanted to get Vicki to believe she had a secret admirer. It was probably some punk kid who thought it would be funny to prank call a 7-Eleven; someone just retarded enough to be unaware that prank phone calls had been obsolete since the early 90's when star 69 and caller ID had come into ubiquitous use by pretty much everyone.

I wasn't surprised at all when the phone started to ring again. I picked up the phone and immediately hung it up. Five seconds later, it rang again. This time I just let it ring, and nobody else tried to answer it either because we were just too busy. It rang and rang and rang, and it just kept on ringing and ringing and ringing. I was becoming quite exasperated by about the 20th ring, when it finally stopped. Then, about two minutes later, it rang again. I glanced at Vicki, we both rolled our eyes, and she answered it. After they exchanged the usual pleasantries, Vicki handed me the phone again. "7-Eleven on Oak," I answered. This is how the conversation went:

Them: "Hey man, put the girl on who works mornings."
Me: "You just talked to her."
Them: "He says that's not the girl."
Me: "Look, I already told you that I don't have time for this. We're busy."
Them: "Come on man, he wants to ask her out on a date. Have a heart. You're live and on the air, man."


By this time, I'm beginning to figure out what's going on; that it's a radio station calling and that somebody has called the radio station - somebody who has noticed Leah, the girl who usually works mornings, and is trying to get her attention by calling in to a radio station, and in turn, getting the radio station to call the 7-Eleven where she works so that he can ask her out on a date, live and on the air. Well, as my grandpa used to say, I just seen red - that is, I got extremely irritated:


Me: (finally realizing the situation) "She's my girl."
Them: "Come on man, have a heart. Put her on the phone."
Me: "What? No. This is my girl you're talking about. I don't want some stranger asking my girlfriend out on a date."
Them: "You're live and on the air dude. Have a heart, man. Give her the phone so he can ask her out."
Me: "How many ways do I have to put it? She's my girl, ok? It isn't going to happen. Now quit calling because we're too busy for these kinds of shenanigans."

And I hung up. They didn't call back after that. However, about 30 seconds after that last little exchange, a cop came into the store and asked if that was me on the radio just then...

...Ok, I was sure it was a radio bit. I told the cop, "Yeah, it was me, and they were trying to set my girl up on a date with some guy who called in." The cop laughed and said something else and then left. After that, curious people came in out of the woodwork. Everybody wanted to know if that was me on the radio and was the morning shift girl really my girlfriend... yeah, that was me; yes, she's really my girlfriend. I think the guy who made the call even came in, because when I explained for the umpteenth time that yes, she's my girlfriend, he seemed disappointed as he looked down and shuffled out of the store. Also, one customer gave me a description of the guy who had originally called the radio station, and this particular guy matched the description he had given of himself on the air.

Later I became curious as to what radio station it was that had called, so used star 69 and got the number. This is the conversation which ensued:

Me: "What radio station is this?"
Him: "It doesn't matter."
Me: "What?"
Him: "You missed your big chance, so it doesn't matter now. You don't need to know."
Me: "What big chance?"
Him: "It doesn't matter now because you blew it."
Me: "What radio station is this?"
Him: "You can't get your chance back dude, so just forget it. You blew it."
Me: "I don't know what chance you're talking about. I'm just curious as to what radio station it was that called the store."
Him: "I already told you, it doesn't matter. You blew your chance."
Me: "Ok, what chance did I blow?"
Him: "It doesn't matter. You don't need to know now."


By this time I've figured out that the chance he's referring to is having the store advertised on the radio, which by the way, I could give two hoots about.


Me: "You mean the chance to set my girlfriend up on a date with some random Joe Schmoe on live radio? Excuse me if I don't exactly jump for joy."
Him: "You could have told us it was your girlfriend. But no, you just kept hanging up."
Me: "What are you talking about? I told you she was my girl. Several times."
Him: "No, you didn't."
Me: "Yes, I did. Several times."
Him: "No you didn't.
Me: "You're lying! I can't believe this..."
Him: "Well, we have the whole thing recorded, you know."
Me: "Play it back then, right now so everybody can hear it, because I distinctly remember you telling me that I was live and on the air and it was right after that I told you that she was my girl -"


He hangs up on me and they won't accept any more calls from me. Well, that's the end of that, I thought, except for the deluge of customers coming in all day and asking "Is this the 7-Eleven that was on 97.1 The Eagle, the Lex and Terry show, earlier this morning?" and "Is she really your girlfriend?" To which I answered, "Yes, this is the store, yes, she's my girl." I must have answered that same couple of questions 50 times that day. At least I found out which station it was that called, and even the particular morning show.

Later I noticed a message on my phone. I'd had the ringer turned off because the night before I was at church, and I'd forgotten to turn it back on. Anyway, the message was from those schmucks at the radio station. They wanted me to call back the next morning at 6:00 am for another radio bit. Well, I was tempted to, just so that I could get in a few words edgewise now that I knew exactly what was going on, but I couldn't because it was just Leah and I working the next morning... if there had been a third person, I could have spared the time. So, I guess their show had to survive without me.

However, we had customers coming in all that next morning telling us that Lex and Terry were talking all kinds of crap about me, saying that Leah wasn't really my girlfriend and that I just didn't want anyone else going out with her because I was too chicken to ask her myself. I also heard reports from various customers that I was too chicken to call in to their show. Well, radio guys are known for doing that kind of thing, as they get their ratings by bashing others while seeming unbashable themselves. That's cool, whatever earns them a buck.

It was definitely an interesting thing to happen to me though, and now the entire Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, along with every radio station in the United States of America which carries that show (it's syndicated nationwide) knows that a guy named Ash is dating the cute morning girl at the 7-Eleven on Oak St. in Denton, TX.

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