Sal Story #3: Magazines & Chains

No sooner had I gotten settled into my new desk when I heard the infamous call that would soon plague my subconscious. “Katelin!” Sal yelled for me. I could hear him from behind the two elongated french doors that were the only barrier between his office and the rest of the design team.

I suppose I should break down the anatomy of the 9th floor as it will serve as the backdrop for most of the essays going forward. Sal’s office was, as stated, closed off from the larger design room that overlooked a busy Manhattan street. Had it not been a chamber of work, the large bay windows were gorgeous, about twenty feet high with frosted panes to block out the sun when it was midday. The main room housed 8 desks, with a closet winged off the opposite side of Sal’s office. The closet doubled as an office for two people, which is only something you could pull in NYC.

Sal’s office had one other entrance. Adjacent to the french doors, there was a small side door that faced his personal secretary of five years. And across from her was a small kitchen/print station/restrooms. Behind her was a stairway leading up to the other offices, with wall windows making it easy for those on the floor above us to see what was going on below.

Back to the story. I quickly scanned the room for some sort of verification that I was allowed to walk into his office and that he had indeed called my name. Everyone was busy in their own tasks, a sign that the shouting for an employee was and would be consider commonplace in the future.

“I need you to manage my magazines. It’s ridiculous. Candy is supposed to ensure I have every new copy the day it comes out, and just look at them (there are nearly 45 magazines strewn everywhere). Then people come in and steal them. I need my own set. I shouldn’t have to share them with design.”

“What would you like me to do?” I ask.

“I don’t know. Figure it out. Chain them to my desk, I’m tired of them walking away” he says. On my way out, he mumbles something about getting those pretty clear sleeves like they have at the doctors office.

I walk outside his office and shut the doors. I begin my quest of online searching for ‘magazine slipcovers’ and ‘chain links.’ About twenty minutes later, I hear him exclaim (out of nowhere), “I need that done today!” Since no one is looking up, I assume this is a continued conversation between myself an him. I grab my satchel and head out into the then unfamiliar city to find office and industrial supplies. I find the slipcovers and buy them. After four or five stores, I wind up in Home Depot on 5th Avenue self-cutting a chain. On my way back to the office, I realize the chain will not fit through the slipcovers, so I find grommets and a hole punch.

When I got back to the office, Sal was nowhere in sight. I was sweating profusely from three hours meandering through the summer heat but got right to work. If it weren’t for the occasional European oversized magazine, it all would have fit perfectly. I hooked them, one by one, to the chain that I then linked literally all the way around his desk. He came in when I was wrapping up the project. Any sane person would have seen that A) this chain was going to do damage to the desk, B) this was a piercing noise to the ears every time it moved and C) Removing the magazines even for himself to read was quite a chore. But, as he discovered that day, I am very literal. He looked around quickly and with a small smirk made a ‘hmmf’ sound in approval. I had won his favor.

About a week later, I no longer heard the rattling chains nor saw them ever again. No doubt he had screamed at some lowly intern to remove the ‘filth’ from his desk once it got in the way of a stack of incoming magazines.

I remember calling a girlfriend from the street explaining my chore for the day and feeling like I had envisioned my forecasting role slightly differently.

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