Wednesday, April 28, 2010

And the races are on!

Hamster Derby day has come and gone once again, folks.

Let me explain. Our store puts up a "derby" for hamsters to race in bi-annually. We set up four tracks in the middle of the store, and the contestants run their hamsters in heats. The kiddies love it.

Somehow every year I seem to get suckered into it. This was the third Derby that I've run, and every time I run it it gets more and more hellish. Let's look back at previous years, shall we?

October of 2008. It was me...and Amelia (one of our groomers). I glady let Amelia take over the bullhorn as I watched anxious seven year olds jockey for positions on the track. We set the tracks up in the only spare area of the store at the time - right in front of the cats to be adopted. I watched as the cats licked their chops, and probably contemplated consuming said rodents in a variety of delectable ways.

And that, World, was my first inkling that this derby thing? Was a steaming shitload of trouble for us associates. I looked around as the parents of the precocious children screaming at Fluffy to win glared at me. Apparently, the space was too small for them to satisfactorily videotape little Timmy's victory.


So, fast forward to October of last year. We moved the derby to the middle of the store, in order to provide more room. Twenty minutes before the race started, we realized our General Manager (a loveable, cantankerous bastard) had THROWN OUT THE PRIZES. We watched as parents and children gathered with their chisel-toothed monsters darlings and took their positions in the track (luckily, the GM had shelf-yanked some prizes for the kids).

We made an error in the scorecard. You see, they couldn't make an easy and simple way to determine who would move on to the final races - oh no. After a few very convoluted minutes of staring at the roster-board in disbelief (and, in my case, terror), we announced that the last race would have to be redone.

Do you know what terror is, World? Terror is a fully-grown woman getting all up in your face screaming because damnit, Mittens was the winner and this was all some conspiracy to discredit her. Obviously that bitch Cinnamon's mother paid us off - what type of operation were we running, anyways?

So, it was with some trepidation that I was totally forced into persuaded by my coworkers to host this year's derby. We were holding it in April because the geniuses at corporate decided that this year we were to run two derbies. I hid the boxes that held the track and decorations - so as to avoid any accidental discarding. I painstakingly touted the derby to customers, and tried to psyche them up for the big race. Clipstrips were hung, signs were placed, and we had over 35 people signed up for the big day.

I should have taken the light-bulb that almost fell on my head as an omen when I was grabbing the supplies out of our stockroom. I, foolish human that I am, ignored it and hummed a light jaunty tune as I practically skipped to the sales floor.

I self-congratulated myself on a job well done as I linked the track pieces together, fully expecting this year's derby to be easy and carefree and wonderous for adults and children alike. I watched as children introduced their little fuzzy creatures to me, and I made the appropriate 'ohh'ing and 'ahh'ing sounds. And so, I began to call names for the first heat.

Only one child had shown up for that heat. I crossed out the other three names, and called some more. It turns out that half - that's right, half - of our contestants didn't show. It worked out for the best though, since we were able to do four heats of four. The winners were clearly called, and I had thought the show a success. Until one of little Jellybean's fans called out that we had made a miscall. He shouted that Jellybean was the rightful winner, that we made a mistake. Obviously Jellybean couldn't have been in second place - oh no. Jellybean was a true champion, a racer unparralleled by none.

As I stood there and watched as he berated my coworker, I thought to myself - what does it matter?

I mean, really. These people are loosing sight of the big picture. That person was so wrapped up in his own little world that he hadn't even seen the other hamsters cross the finish line. I kind of feel like we do that a lot in our own lives. I feel like we're all so busy trying to get to the finish line that we're not looking at what's happening all around us to others.

It's a lesson well-learned.


  1. Indeed! Great insight can be gained from all sorts of weird things...even racing hamsters! When I read that I couldn't help but to laugh. All that chaos, though terrifying for you, seems so appealing to me! I would love to be there in the middle of the fiasco and just grin at all the panic. I'm sorry, maybe I just can't relate! Anyway, wonderful post, I had a good laugh and a good amount of insight gained!

  2. lol, if I were a bystander I would probably think that it was the cutest thing ever. and I LOVE people-watching. While I do enjoy a good bout of chaos every once in a while, I don't like it being part of my job :P Glad you liked it!

  3. I love the hamster racing! We have only raced turtles haha

  4. who names a pet "Jellybean"? srsly.


Because I'm needy.