Welcome To Hell’s Nightclub

Ladles and Jellyspoons!  I give you 36 seconds of the Guitar Center in Times Square.

(h/t @jodyavirgan)

Can you imagine working there? Let this be a worst-job-in-your-life themed open thread.

69 replies
  1. 1
    Betty Cracker says:

    My worst job: I was a waitress at Pizza Hut off of I-75 near Gainesville, FL. This was back when servers were required to wear brown polyester uniforms and visors. I used to contemplate suicide every time a church bus pulled into the parking lot or when a charter disgorged dozens of touring retirees. On the other hand, I got to keep all the expired personal pan pizzas from the lunch shift, which made me popular in the dorm.

  2. 2
    dan says:

    Yeah, horrible. Who would want to be surrounded by beautiful musical instruments all day?

  3. 3
    gogol's wife says:

    I’ve never had a really bad job. But my first job was filing reports at USDA: Meat and Poultry Inspection, Kansas City, MO, on how many bug parts were allowed in various foodstuffs. It was an eye-opener.

  4. 4
    AndoChronic says:

    Thanks Tom, needed a laugh this morning! We have four Guitar Centers here in the Twin Cities but none of them approach this circle of hell. The Roseville location can get close sometimes though. I asked a guitar rep. once how he deals with it, him being a gigging late night musician and all, and he said that you just get used to it. However, I’m sure he was just being polite as not to offend his customers.

  5. 5
    Scamp Dog says:

    @dan: you either didn’t play the video or played it with the sound off.

    I’m hoping that the video is a project of some sort and not an actual, typical moment at the store.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    Via jwz, a dollhouse for the unusual child in your family:


  7. 7
    raven says:

    Besides the US Army, nightshift at the Champaign post office as a “mail handler”. Twelve hr shifts for 7 days, one day off and back at it. We were the return point for the Columbia Record Club.

  8. 8
    Phantom 309 says:

    @dan:Yeah. Who wouldn’t love the chance to make Mitt Romney richer?

  9. 9
    BD of MN says:

    My worst job was back in the 80’s. I was home for the summer from my first year of college and called a temp agency (out of laziness, I guess…) and they sent me to a plastics manufacturer. They were making those vinyl VCR tape holders and I was supposed to pull the extruded pieces off the production line, snap them together, and box them up. I went home after my first day, had a fitful night of sleep dreaming about being chased around by a giant plastic-spitting monster, and called the temp agency first thing the next morning and told them I wasn’t going back…

  10. 10
    BudP says:

    Well, Guitar Center used to be great before Bain Capital bought it.

  11. 11
    gbear says:

    Last time I was in a Guitar Center to buy musical equipment was to buy two new cymbals for my drumkit about 25 years ago. Every cymbal sounds different so you have to try a shitload of them and then hope they’ll sound right outside of the store with the rest of your kit. I really hated buying new gear. I was in another Guitar Center a couple years ago to buy headphones, and I was glad I knew what I wanted when I went in, because there was no way to try them out, no help available, and the store vibe was incredibly irritating.

    The family owned music stores I went to in my teens and twenties were cool places and it was fun to talk with the sales reps. Even a HUGE store like Marguerite’s Music in Moorehead, MN was tons cooler than the Big Box (in all the wrong ways) stores like Guitar Center are today.

  12. 12
    🚸 Martin says:

    Guitar Center sells headphones. Someone should remind them of that.

  13. 13
    MattF says:

    My worst job was working for a truly awful person. Made me careful about future jobs.

  14. 14
    MomSense says:

    Um in my little house I have three boys, 7 guitars, two keyboards, a bass, a drum kit, multiple amps, and two violins. The only thing that saves us is that they have good taste in music.

    Worst job was working at the front desk of the hotel that served the white house press corpse when HW was on his summer vacation. It was also pretty fascinating.

  15. 15
    jayboat says:


    I learned once to NEVER, EVER take a job without a face-to-face interview. I was living in Newport Beach and accepted a job in Charleston with just phone and email correspondence. Whoopsie! Husband and wife owners of a small business were two of the most despicable humans I have ever had the misfortune to meet. He hired me to run the biz so he could stay home and day trade all the livelong day. Wife was very unhappy and guess who she took it out on?

    They did pick up the moving tab that got me back to the south, but it was hardly worth it. I still haven’t washed all the slime off 15 years later.

  16. 16
    gbear says:


    It was also pretty fascinating.

    You really don’t get to leave it at that. We want stories!

  17. 17
    Poopyman says:

    @MomSense: Please do share stories!

    My first job was during Christmas break at the Downtown (Pgh) flagship Kaufmann’s Department Store. In the toy department. Did I mention it was Christmas?

    My worst job was a midnight – 8:00 shift as a waiter at a Sambo’s (I kid you not) Restaurant in a college town. Got all the drunks after the bars closed. Lovely.

  18. 18
    MomSense says:

    Runner up was when I waitressed and we would get bus tours who would come in for their lobster package lunch. A whole bus would empty and we would serve them lobster, steamers, and corn on the cob. Most of these people had no idea how to eat a lobster. They would all put their bibs on (we just give these to people from out of state so the locals know to keep their distance) and then the chaos would start. I did get really fast at shelling a lobster.

  19. 19
    RandomMonster says:

    I guess I’ve been pretty lucky in jobs. I suppose the worst was a summer after college printing t-shirts: inhaling more acetone fumes and vinyl ink off-gassing than is probably good for a person.

  20. 20
    stickler says:

    Worst job? Insurance company: auto claims adjuster. Talking to angry people all day who “never saw the other guy” because “he must have been going too fast!” Or who wanted $3,000 for their classic, totalled Pinto (this was in the early ’90s). Oh, and we had to wear suits, and white shirts — no stripes, no colors, or you were sent home to change. This for an office-cubicle job where I never met a claimant face to face. Muzak in the morning until work started at 8:00. No coffee at your desk or you were “extending your break” and making life worse for those who “played by the rules” …

    After one month into a two-year stint at the place I was keeping a “Why I Quit _____” file, into which I was putting crazy memos, claimant rants, and general Office Space-level stupidity. I still look at that file every now and again, when my current job gets me down.

  21. 21
    MomSense says:


    Ok, here’s one. It was my intro to this group. There was a CNN reporter (who didn’t last long because she asked a question we all knew about but everyone else never mentioned) showed up with her daughter who was probably about 11 and going through the awkward phase. They were in line checking in in front of another reporter (I think ABC at the time but she is now at CNN). Awkward daughter backed up and bumped into the other reporter who then started yelling at the girl. Mom then confronted this reporter and it got ugly. I had to step in. A little later one of the salty wire service photographers came into the back office with a flask and gave me the rundown on all the personalities and the whole purpose of the WHPC. He was one of the coolest guys ever.

  22. 22
    beth says:

    Trust me, working at Chuck E Cheese is a circle of Hell.

  23. 23
    🚸 Martin says:

    @beth: Yeah, I don’t think anyone would question that.

  24. 24
    Sourmash says:

    Sealing blacktop driveways. Caustic materials, dirty, hot, smelly, running from job to job, eating Mickey D’s in the truck from one job to another, boss who had it turned to 11 the whole time, and all my co-workers were former drug addicts and dry drunks who were now born again Jeebus freeks and NEVER stopped talking about how lucky they were to be working and thankful to my asshole boss and telling me all day about how much Jeebus loved them. The only breaks were prayer breaks. It was like a nightmare…except it was real.

  25. 25
    WereBear says:

    @Betty Cracker: I was a waitress at Pizza Hut off of I-75 near Gainesville, FL

    I’ll see ya and raise ya: I was a waitress in a buffet restaurant. A quarter was a “good” tip. But I was fifteen and forced to get an illegal job, so what the hey.

  26. 26
    Bob says:

    god-o-mighty, a Slash poster at 0:25. When was this video shot?

    Worst job, hands down, dusting the machines in a flour mill. Constant dust.

  27. 27
    Mike in NC says:

    Have had more bad project managers than bad jobs: clueless, paranoid, micromanaging assholes. Many days I wanted to show up for work with a shotgun, machete, and baseball bat.

    That said, worst job was as a supermarket customer service rep during the Great Recession when I couldn’t find a real job. Nobody over age 21 deserves to work low paying, no benefits, depressing retail jobs. Welcome to the South.

  28. 28
    big ole hound says:

    Worst job. Chipping ice off the foredeck of a destroyer while on Antarctic patrol. Seas breaking over the bow, temps in the teens and killer whales in sight and this was summertime. Operation Deep Freeze was no fun but we did get “medicinal” brandy after chipping duty. This was to reduce weight so our bow would keep rising up in bad seas and not dive under.

  29. 29
    gbear says:

    This is going to be way too general compared to everyone else’s gripes, but the worst job is 30% of any time spent working for any architect.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Walking back into the 9th ID HQ building returning from lunch wearing a uniform with crossed flags on it and seeing the Division Operations officer who called me over and proceeded to start yelling at me because the radios in the “second most important communications platform in the division” were not operating properly, his voice naturally growing louder as he proceeded, and people in the HQ building looking out the windows wondering what the hell I did to set him off.

    I wasn’t going to point out that I was, at the time, the division wire officer, not the division radio officer…and besides, the staff signal people have nothing at all to do with the maintenance of Headquarters and Headquarters Company vehicles and their communications gear.

    But I was wearing crossed flags, and was available.

    Also, to be fair, he only went into such rants with officers he liked, so there was that. The ones he did not like he treated with silent contempt.

  31. 31
    bliekker says:

    god-o-mighty, a Slash poster at 0:25. When was this video shot?

    Slash is on the cover of this months Guitar Center magazine/sales booklet, so I figure it’s pretty recent.

  32. 32
    Josie says:

    @MomSense: That first paragraph sounds really familiar – the three boys. all the instruments, including drum kit – but mine leaned toward metal, pop and r&b. I can sleep through anything.

  33. 33
    PurpleGirl says:

    One of my jobs late in college was typing, assignments came through the Dean’s office of my college. One job was typing for Nicholas Nabakov (Valdimir’s cousin) and that was pretty interesting. But one weekend I was typing for some professor from the college (IIRC, from the Classics Dept.). One of the worst experiences ever — the guy began to lecture on how not to stutter and on how stuttering is caused. (I’ve stuttered since childhood and have been through several different therapies.) The next day I told the Dean what happened. The Dean apologized to me.

  34. 34
    bliekker says:

    I used to work in an autobody shop with a coke-head owner. And then he got sober and sanctimonious; it’s difficult to say which condition was worse.

  35. 35
    Gene108 says:


    I am not up on my CNN trivia. What is the question every one knew the answer to, so they did not ask?

  36. 36
    raven says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: “Old Reliables”. We provided Signal Support to you!

  37. 37
    satby says:

    Undercover dick working a hospital drug smuggling case. My cover was that I was a drunk and my “job” was as a nurses aide (which, since I had been to nursing school I was at least competent at). Nurses aides have difficult, poorly paid jobs to begin with, pretending to be one while spying on a suspect really sucked.
    On the other hand, my investigation did clear someone who was innocent, so there was that.
    edited to correct spelling on “aide”

  38. 38
    MomSense says:


    Had to do with extra marital dalliances.

  39. 39
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:


    god-o-mighty, a Slash poster at 0:25. When was this video shot?

    It’s Times Square, right? My guess is that it was shot at 7:00 AM. Tomorrow.

  40. 40
    shecky says:

    That’s pretty much how I remember Guitar Center sounding in the 80s when the Sunset Blvd store was the only one I knew of. Only more hair and spandex.

    And what the fuck is with the revisionism of mom and pop music stores? All I remember of those were surly owners who wouldn’t let you try any instruments except for the Peaveys, which were always overstocked, and wanted to charge 50% over list markup for things like guitar strings. I shed no tears.

    Truth is, unless you live in a place like L.A. the best selection and prices on brand names in any brick and mortar stores are likely to be found in mega stores like Guitar Center. As goofy as those places are.

  41. 41
    Ruckus says:

    Worst job I had was because my immediate boss went from a jovial heavy drinker to a mean alcoholic when the company shafted him, in a meeting, in front of the entire company. The worst day of the worst job? I answered a customer email he forwarded me and asked me to answer. When he found out I had done that he came over to my cube and started yelling/swearing at me. Had to go out to my car and beat on the steering wheel till my hands bruised to avoid finding some large object to beat him about the head and shoulders with. Problem was at my age finding a new gig was a major issue. I finally did. One of my very best days ever was walking into the CEO’s office and giving notice.
    I’d say, echoing @raven: that getting the radiogram that I was getting discharged from the navy in 4 days was real close to beating that, as a good day after years of, this sucks donkey balls.

  42. 42
    RSA says:

    My worst job wasn’t that bad, even though I could probably make it sound that way. For a couple of summers in college, I worked for the county on one of the crews responsible for maintaining sewer stations. I’d have to show up at 5:30am, if I remember correctly, and we were done by 3:00. Most of the time I just mowed the grass outside the stations we drove to, all day long, but sometimes I’d have to go inside to help. Typically this meant climbing through a manhole and down a ladder to stand near (or in) puddles of human waste, holding tools and listening to the permanent workers bitch about… well, about everything. I took long showers afterwards, but I’d still imagine smells all around.

  43. 43
    Ruckus says:

    @big ole hound:
    That sounds worse than forward refueling under way in the North Atlantic above the Arctic Circle in winter on a destroyer. Without foul weather gear because the ship didn’t want to spend the money out of ships funds. Got yelled at by the XO for wearing a wool scarf my sister had made during one said refueling, offered to trade places with him(using my best salty sailor language) and never heard another word about it. We didn’t get medicinal brandy, you lucky bastards.

  44. 44
    Ruckus says:

    On reading the first line I wondered what undercover dick work in a hospital was. Hand jobs under the sheets?
    It was clear later in the story btw.

  45. 45
    demz taters says:

    @jayboat: The worst jobs I ever had were in dysfunctional family workplaces. Add to the mix that these are the ones who seem to have the sense of entitlement that comes from seeing themselves as “job creators.”

  46. 46
    gelfling545 says:

    @beth: I have always assumed that would be the case.

  47. 47
    Neddie Jingo says:

    Hilarious… I just now got back from Marty Fair’s luthier shop outside Purcellville, picking up my Martin from a minor repair. To get there, you almost need 4-wheel drive, and you start hearing banjo music about halfway up the mountain from the highway. The place itself smells like sawn lumber, wood-glue and happiness. Marty makes his own line of bespoke guitars, each one more beautiful than the last, and they hang on the walls of his shop like museum pieces.

    That Guitar Center vid only reminds me: there’s a reason I fled the city.

  48. 48
    Neddie Jingo says:

    Hilarious… I just now got back from Marty Fair’s luthier shop outside Purcellville, picking up my Martin from a minor repair. To get there, you almost need 4-wheel drive, and you start hearing banjo music about halfway up the mountain from the highway. The place itself smells like sawn lumber, wood-glue and happiness. Marty makes his own line of bespoke guitars, each one more beautiful than the last, and they hang on the walls of his shop like museum pieces.

    That Guitar Center vid only reminds me: there’s a reason I fled the city.

  49. 49
    Citizen_X says:

    Regarding the video, and comments related thereto: Jesus, people, it’s a busy music store. People play instruments there. If you don’t like it then, come back when it’s less busy.

    Of all the lousy job stories here, you don’t see any former music store employees chiming in, do you? Probably because, in most cases, it’s a much better gig than chipping ice off a deck off frigging Antarctica.

  50. 50
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    @MattF: I hear ya. My worst job had a boss who was a raving sociopath who lied, screamed at people, changed his mind constantly, and never missed a chance to try to interfere in employees’ personal lives. He was also embezzling – from a homeless shelter!

    After that job, being a CPS worker is only moderately stressful.

  51. 51
    shelley says:

    I’ve been pretty lucky. The closest to bad was working in the kitchen in a restaurant down at the Jersey Shore. In a very hot kitchen during a very hot summer, and knowing the beach was only two blocks away. But the beach was only two blocks away, so at the end of my shift there was always a mad dash.

  52. 52
    Neddie Jingo says:

    @Citizen_X: It’s Times Square, man. It’s never less busy.

    In theory, you’re supposed to be there judging the tonal and other qualities of a particular guitar or amp, right? How you’re supposed to get any kind of accurate reading of that with tourist dudes waving their guitaristic willies around on all sides of you is beyond me.

    I’m with Tom in the OP: Pure hell. Not so much for the workers, who can probably inure themselves to it with a thinly veiled contempt, but for the poor bastard who’s actually trying to buy a guitar.

  53. 53
    maurinsky says:

    Our local Guitar Center has headphones so you hear none of that sound. The sound in the video didn’t bother me one bit, though.

    Worst job I had was actually a good job with a terrible boss. It’s the job I still have! The day my terrible, micromanaging, controlling and PERFECT boss told me she was going to stay home with her kids, I almost jumped up and down for joy. (She’s actually a lovely human being, I like her very much, but she should not be anyone else’s boss… and I feel a little bit for her kids).

  54. 54
    Xenos says:

    I moved in with a friend in NY for a few weeks back in ’90 or so, and went to a temp agency to get some short-term work. They got me a one-month gig working for the water board, answering the phone. The water board had just doubled everyone’s water tax, and made it retroactive for a year. They could not get much work done because every property owner in the five boroughs was calling to vent their spleens.

    So I got to answer the phones for a month and listen to people complain. Not much fun, but not really that hard of a job, as I soon learned to give out the office numbers of the city councilors who voted for the retroactive tax hike.

  55. 55
    randomworker says:

    I worked for this mother/daughter team one time. Mother sat in a big office filing her nails (seriously) and the daughter was never there. Guess who did all the work? I was young and kind of dumb and I didn’t realize they were not paying FICA until it was too late.

    Another one was punch press operator. 50 ton Bliss with zero safety equipment. It had all been disconnected. The owner looked like Mr. Burns(Simpsons). And acted like it, too. I quit after two weeks when I almost got my hand caught.

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @demz taters: Hmmm, I’m thinking that this has “Bluth Corp” written all over it. Except there is no Michael to moderate the crazy.

  57. 57
    cmorenc says:

    Literally – digging ditches the summer between high school and college, for a small-town sewer-pipe installation project. This was in southern heat and humidity. Yeah, mechanical equipment removed the bulk of the dirt, but that left a surprising amount of it to be done by hand to get the grade right and initially bury the pipe deep enough so backfilling mechanically wouldn’t dislodge the pipe alignment and connection.

    I’ve also washed dishes in restaurants, which though messy and uninteresting, is nevertheless one of the better short-time gigs to get through a momentary stretch of being broke, despite the nominal low pay. Precisely because the job of diswasher is so essential and often hard for management to keep filled, they’ll feed you as much as you want of whatever you want except the real premium high-cost items, and often will be willing to set up a cot for you if you are willing to work the late shift.

  58. 58
    WaterGirl says:

    @Poopyman: Sambo’s in Champaig-Urbana? Or was it a chain? What years did you work there?

  59. 59
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:


    They got me a one-month gig working for the water board, answering the phone. The water board had just doubled everyone’s water tax, and made it retroactive for a year.

    I believe this requires a “waterboarding” reference.

  60. 60
    John Revolta says:

    Actually sounds better than some of the bands I used to see at CB’s……..

  61. 61
    debbie says:

    I worked at Filene’s Basement when it was actually in the basement of Filene’s in Boston. They would lock you in an island where you were surrounded on all four sides by women shoving sweaters at you and shrieking, “I WANT THIS NOW.”

  62. 62
    Tehanu says:

    Never had a really bad job, luckily, but did have a couple of weird ones. First job ever: counter girl at a dry cleaner/laundry on a military base, where I learned that majors were a major pain in the ass, because either they were going to make lieutenant colonel and were uptight about it, or they weren’t going to make it and were pissed about it. Lt. Colonels OTOH were really nice. I also learned that you can starch fatigue uniforms until they stand on their own. The other weird one was in the psychology department library at UCLA, where I learned that 99% of psychology professors are crazy. Even the nice ones.

  63. 63
    satby says:

    @Ruckus: LOL, guess I should have worded that better. BTW, an amazing amount of male patients did try to get handjobs by pretending they needed help with urinals.

  64. 64
    WaterGirl says:

    @satby: I laughed! What did they say? You need to grip it harder so it doesn’t get away? If I rub it this way, it helps me pee?

  65. 65
    M. Bouffant says:

    Anything requiring contact w/ human beings, especially “retail.”

  66. 66
    Ben says:

    My current job at a foreclosure law firm. Trying to find another job ASAP…

  67. 67
    steverinoCT says:

    My time as mess cook, AKA “crank”, in the Navy. Submarines are small and specialized, so few seamen; everyone new did their turn at crank. I hate manual labor, and this was long hours of scrubbing decks, loading stores, washing dishes by hand for the 140-man boomer crew. I woke once in my bunk moving my hand along the deck; I had been dreaming I was loading stores into the deck locker. I finally got the hang of rapid dishwashing when I only had a few weeks to go; even now I am a whiz. I was not the first to be pulled from cranking to the division, though I had been at it longest; my incessant whining led them to leave me at it a while longer.

    It sounds petty now, but man, at the time it sucked. I started when leaving the shipyard on trials, so double crew plus yardbirds, extra-long hours, and my “bunk” was a foam mattress doubled lengthwise into a ‘V’ and slid athwartships between the missile tubes. Just throw your pillow inboard and slide in pulling a blanket with you. When the ship rolled, and subs are not stable on the surface, you were stood on your feet and then your head, but we slept.

  68. 68
    russell says:

    it’s like heavy metal john cage

  69. 69
    Mom Says I'm Handsome says:

    I was a gofer in a bowling alley in the early ’80’s, when bowling leagues were still in vogue and cigarette smoking was practically required. I’d spend seven hours shagging beer bottles, emptying ashtrays, and spraying that spray into rental shoes, and my friends would make me take a long shower before they’d hang out with me after my shift.

Comments are closed.