Written by Samuel Vargo
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Sunday, 23 June 2013

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To get a little extra cash, I decided to take on a sales job at night - right after my usual nine to five gig. I wanted to buy this girl a ring with a jewel in it. To be quite honest, I wanted to steal a nice ring with a jewel in it.

I figured the best way to do this would be to get a jeweler's sales job. So I applied at several stores and after a month passed, Swearingen & Acme Jewelry Retail Inc. called me and I was given a brief preliminary interview. Later, they put me in this blank cubicle of a room, then threw what they called "The Retail Test" my way.

[I discovered later that retailers selling small expensive merchandise like jewelry oftentimes screen potential new-hires. One of the primary ways of weeding out the honest from the rogue element is through a battery of meaningless questions that oftentimes appear to be nothing more than twaddle. The same questions are asked in profusion, worded and then reworded in sundry ways. It comes across as absurd; as if the test was written by a criminally insane lunatic or by writers like Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Svetoslav Minkov, or Eugene Ionesco.]

The guy who interviewed me stared me down all the time I took the test. He stood right in front of me, as I sat at a little desk, leering at me as if I was a potential thief.

The test was about as long as a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I laughed out loud, left the room and took a job in a little booth in a pawn shop in my city's dismal and decrepit downtown selling shark teeth, Siberian tiger testicles, and pituitary glands of male gorillas.

Before I left the jewelry store, however, I snagged a copy of the test and walked out the door. The jeweler who was standing in front of me followed behind yelling, "Come back here with that test! That's our test! The contents of that test are our intellectual property and we own it! We'll have you arrested and then we'll sue you! Come back here right now!"

I just laughed, caught the bus that was speeding by, and snickered all the way home.

Anyway, here's the test. I hope you pass but I hope you have a sense of humor while taking it. If you actually read anything into this or take it seriously for a moment, get your head examined by a licensed professional, okay?

******************

You have 25 minutes to complete this test. Answer all questions honestly. Follow the directions! This is a standard retail test for Swearingen & Acme Jewelry Retail Inc. Try to answer all these questions as thoroughly as you can and be 100 percent honest! If you are not honest, we will be able to tell by the psychological imprints you leave with your answers. Do your best. Be cautioned - even if you don't get the job, the failing tests will be sent to the local sheriff's department.

1. Say you find a $5 bill laying in a snow bank during a blizzard. Would you pick it up and a) keep it, b) give it to the bum on the corner who is panhandling, c) conduct a thorough investigative search to find who rightfully owns this money and only after all avenues of investigation are exhausted, deposit this money into your savings account? Answer truthfully.

2. If you found that your best friend was stealing from the retail store where she works, would you, a) try to extort the money from her by threatening to tell her husband of the numerous lesbian experiences you and she have shared throughout the years? b) contact the local police department? c) poke her with a sharp stick until she begs you to take her to the emergency room?

3. If your uncle was found taking a little bit of money each month from the petty cash account from the company where he is employed would you, a) contact the National White Collar Crime Center? b) tell his boss? c) pour five gallons of gasoline on him and set him on fire? There is only one correct answer. Answer honestly.

4. If you saw a penny lying on the sidewalk, would you a) kick it into the gutter? b) pick it up and deposit it into your checking account? c) retrieve it and conduct a thorough investigative search to find who is the rightful owner of this humble, yet very important piece of currency? d) write a long complaint to your state or federal Congressional officials?

5. You and your date are walking down an alley in the inner city to your car, where you'll drive home to the suburbs where you both live after dinner and a movie. You hypothetically find 10 pounds of marijuana in the alley. Would you a) smoke it? b) contact the local vice squad? c) conduct a thorough and exhaustive investigative search to find which street gang this contraband merchandise rightfully belongs to? d) pour five gallons of gasoline on the pile, set it on fire and leave the scene so you won't accidentally inhale this narcotic substance?

6. Did you ever think of robbing a member of your own family?

7. Did you ever think of robbing a member of someone else's family?

8. If you entered a Roman Catholic church, found a statue of Mary, Mother of Jesus, holding a $100 bill in her hand, would you a) snatch the bill and run? b) Pray the Rosary and petition the statue of this eternally wise one to help you decide the "right" thing to do? c) Immediately use your cell phone to call the authorities? d) Find the parish priest, ask him to break the big bill and then donate $95 to the parish and keep $5 for a hot dog and a soda? e) write a papal bull to your Congressional representative?

9. Did you ever steal a small item from a department store, like a fishing lure, a fishing pole, a bass boat, or a gallon flask of Mogan-David 20/20?

10. Have you ever injected heroin into your body with a syringe? If not, have you ever smoked a cigarette? Have you ever chewed bubble gum? Answer yes or no to this, even if it's a 'yes' indicating you've only chewed bubble gum.

11. Approximately how many times in your life have you masturbated? This is not a multiple choice question. It's an essay. Be specific. Use an extra piece of paper to explain if you need extra space. Word limit: 7,500.

12. Have you ever beat up a) your girlfriend? b) your boyfriend? c) that obnoxious kid in junior high school who called you stupid names? d) the Avon lady? e) that homely librarian type at the bookstore? f) your television set? g) your drug dealer? h) your boss? i) your ex-boss ? j) the girl next door? j) your great aunt who's lying paralyzed in a nursing home across town?

13. Have you ever thought of robbing the bum panhandling on the corner?

14. Do you think that professional athletes are paid too much?

15. Do you think famous rock and roll musicians make too much money?

16. Do you think that haggard, 57-year-old woman who works the steady night shift at the Snow Co. Gas Mart near the interstate makes too much?

17. Do you think the clerk at the convenient store (across from the Snow Co. Gas Mart near the interstate), who works 55 hours per week and gets paid for 40 hours per week at $4.98 an hour, is paid too much money?

18. Do you think executives who own those nebulous and tenuous Internet-related companies make too much money?

19. Do you think those "Internet babes" who make $150 for flashing their vaginas at a camcorder for 25 seconds make too much?

20. Do you frequently "pleasure yourself" by watching websites owned and managed by those people described in question 18 and that feature the entertainment described in Question 19?

21. Have you ever thought about robbing a Salvation Army bin?

22. Have you ever taken a photograph of a dog?

23. Have you ever taken a photograph of a) a squirrel? b) a rabbit? c) a spider monkey sitting on a rock in a zoo? d) A great white shark iin the Pacific Ocean that is attacking & devouring a walrus, a sea lion or an actual person?

24. Have you ever taken a photograph of a small insect on a maple leaf?

25. Have you ever taken a photograph of a very small microbe, like a hydra or an amoeba, using special magnifying lenses or other devices attached to your digital camera?

26. Have you ever taken a photograph of your girlfriend or boyfriend nude, in a very compromising sexual position, and did you try to sell this photo, for monetary gain, to a pornographic magazine or website?

27. If you saw someone stealing newspapers out of a rack (a cold, metal newspaper dispensary), would you, a) help him carry the newspapers to his car? b) contact local law enforcement authorities after getting the thief's license plate? c) use a hard, swift, martial arts roundhouse kick to the thief's knee while he fumbles around with the newspaper bundle? d) write a long, detailed letter to your state and federal Congressional representatives explaining to them the criminal act you witnessed?

28. Have you ever been accused or indicted for stealing newspapers out of a newspaper rack?

29. If you saw Bill Clinton and what seemed to you to be the ghost of William Faulkner having a conversation in front of the local county courthouse, would you a) contact local law enforcement officials? b) go to the library and take out a book titled "As I Lay Dying?" c) accost the first black-haired fat girl you see? d) order "My Life," which is Bill Clinton's autobiography, over an online or a storefront bookseller?

30. If you saw a coworker stealing money out of the cash register, would you: a) contact local law enforcement officials? b) ask this thief to give you a couple of dimes, quarters of perhaps, "fins" (saying, snidely, in a clandestine fashion: "I saw what you did and I'll rat you out if you don't come up with the moola, Dawg." d) put this thief on citizen's arrest by handcuffing him to the beam holding the store's ceiling up, then contact local law enforcement officials?

28. Have you ever dreamed of taking a photograph of a) a horned frog? b) a bat or a raccoon? c) a little fish in an aquarium? d) an industrial machine that grinds metal with long, diabolical teeth made from gemstones? e) a car traveling down the interstate at a very unlawful 160 miles per hour while being chased by a whole squadron of police helicopters and FBI jet airplanes? f) a very good looking person without any clothes on his or her body?

29. If there was a drug test that used an autoclave to suck all the blood from your body, dehydrate this blood and then give the blood a thorough test for any narcotic substance you have ever taken in your life, would you agree to such a test?

30. Do you think the James-Younger gang (Jesse James' organized crime family) was a group of a) blood thirsty, murdering thieves or b) were they heroes?

31. You have approximately $10 and you want to buy a magazine. Which magazine would you buy: a) "The Catholic Exponent," b) "Readers Digest," c) "The Onion," d) "Mad Magazine," e) "The New Yorker," f) "How to Steal Anything You Want and Get Away With It," g) "Hot-bodied, Hard-bodied, Tight & Delicious Naked Sluts from All Over the Place," or h) "Soldier of Fortune" i) "The Spoof Online" j) "The Christian Science Monitor" k) "Everything You Want to Know About Lizards and Raccoons But Are Afraid to Ask" l) "Time" m) "Cracked" n) "How to Be a Stud and a Player" o) "LeBron James and all the NBA Lesser-Thans" p) "Real Rap and Hip Hop Created For Criminals, By Criminals" - Pick three and rank them in order of preference. Be sure to write a sentence or two on each entry, explaining your rationale concerning the choices you've made. If need be, and you have oxymorons or paradigms involved with your decisions, write a 4,000 word essay on each such conflict of choice - explain succinctly each conflict and go into detail about each resolution. Be specific. Remember there is a time limit on this test. It may seem like 25 minutes is a very long time but actually, you only have about 20 seconds to complete each test question.

32. You and your date have just left a movie and you're walking down a dark alley. Amazingly, you stumble upon an abandoned semi-tractor trailer rig filled with gold and precious gemstones taken from a mummy's tomb in Egypt. Would you, a) stuff as many of the beautiful, priceless trinkets into your date's SUV as you could? b) contact your local law enforcement authorities? c) find some plutonium and blow up the tractor trailer rig?

33. Do you sometimes daydream about money falling from the sky?

34. If you saw Patrick Buckhannon and Howard Stern involved in a serious, deep conversation in front of the county courthouse, would you: a) contact your local law enforcement officials? b) be a "Budinsky" and try to weasel in on the conversation? c) ask both of these celebrities for their autographs? D) ask Mr. Stern, - in a very polite but a very assertive tone - to set you up on a blind date with one of the "HOT" babes who are always decorating his TV/radio/cable-stable show?

35. You and a friend are out for a drink at a quaint little pub. To your amazement, you find a quarter lying on the floor. Would you: a) look around, and when nobody sees you, reach down and pocket this quarter? b) contact your local law enforcement authorities? c) conduct a thorough investigative search and try to find out who this money belongs to? d) pour five gallons of gasoline on this silvery speck of currency and try to blow it up? e) write a long diatribe about this atrocity and mail it to the National White Collar Crime Center?

36.. Have you ever dreamed of taking a photograph of a little tadpole in a stream?

37. You are taking a walk with your pet dog. You happen, by chance, on an abandoned railroad where you find 150 box cars filled with money, gold, diamonds and very, very expensive time pieces. What would you do? Explain on a separate sheet of paper if necessary. Remember, don't try to write a papal bull, objective correlative (rooted in subjective argument), passion play, legal tort, or a mezzotint. You simply do not have enough time to do so in 22 seconds.

38. Have you ever been arrested for loitering in front of a a) hot dog shop b) nuclear reactor c) public restroom facility d) religious bookstore e) the county courthouse f) the county crack house g) a sorority or fraternity house h) steak house i) integrated steel mill j) shopping mall k) the mayor's girlfriend's house l) maximum security prison. Explain. Use a separate piece of paper, if necessary.

39. You and your family visit the Grand Canyon. To your amazement, you look down and it's only five feet to the bottom because the entire canyon is filled with rubies, emeralds, $1,000 bills and expensive time pieces. What would you do, a) contact local law enforcement officials? b) contract a fleet of 18-wheelers to haul these expensive trinkets to the warehouse that you'll buy in about a half hour, which is conveniently located in back of your house? c) sing a few Irish pub songs and shake off the fact that the Grand Canyon just ain't as deep as it used to be?

40. Have you ever taken a photograph of a goldfish in an aquarium?

41. Have you ever dreamed of taking a photograph of a goldfish in an aquarium?

42. Your fishing buddy informs you that there is a place to fish, although it is illegal to fish there, where the smallest fish ever caught was a 200-pound Northern Pike. Would you risk your good reputation both as a fisherman and a citizen to try your luck at catching a 400- or 500-pound fish with a long snout and sharp teeth?

32. If you accidentally did take a photograph of a gold fish in an aquarium, would you think of selling it to a pornographic magazine like ""Naked Sluts from All Over the Place"?

33. If there was a truth serum that sucked all your brains from your head (but later a medical team used sophisticated gadgetry to put them back into your skull, intact), and this truth serum could tell us every lie you ever told and every dirty thought that ever passed through your brain, would you drink the serum? Explain your reasoning and conclusions in essay form. Use several pieces of paper if necessary. Do not write a sophisticated argumentative diatribe, mezzotint or complicated essay using graphics. You simply do not have the time in 20 or 22 seconds!

45. If you accidentally took a photograph of a gold fish in an aquarium, would you sometime think about mailing it to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.?

47. Congratulations, you're done!

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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