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What I call the worst job I had. You see on the internet the saying people don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses. This job was that for me.
I can’t remember the exact start date but it was around late February of 1993. I got this job through the employment office from Bryant And Stratton after I graduated. Since I worked there it has be sold many times, twice to Six Flags.
Darien Lake is a theme park in the Town of Darien in Genesee County about 45 minutes away. It usually opens part time in April for a high school senior overnight. It usually closes in late September.
I was hired to be the second games technician. The park had multiple areas of games set up. Some had prizes some were just for fun. There was an old time saloon shootout where you just shot some moving targets. Then there was you were a moving target and were shot at, some people call them batting cages. There were remote control cars and boats to drive around a small pond. Others were more like carnival games where you shot at, squirted or otherwise hit a target and won a prize. There was also a game room with video games, skeeball and a claw game. We didn’t touch the video games but I did learn how to set up the claw so most people lost.
In the interview I was told the job was 48 hours a week with a lot of overtime. About a month in I found out we were all considered exempt employees and wound not get paid for over 48 hours but once the park opened we would be expected to work 60+ hours. This included the people running the games. They were usually under 18 and had been doing this job for a few years.
There was a boss, another tech and about 2 dozen people running the games. The months prior to opening were used for set up and dewinterize everything. That year there was a new feature built. It was a giant pool with 4 boats with cannons you could rent and shoot tennis balls at each other. The pool was lined with cannons you could rent to shoot at the boats. It was not very popular after opening.
It was relatively easy work but the other tech was rather dumb and disorganized. The boss never said anything to me it all came through the other tech. There were multiple silly issues that should have been easily taken care of but were put off or done in an odd way.
Another thing we worked on was the mini golf on a hill. There was nothing to repair but we did need to blow leaves and dirt off the course every couple of days. This would be scheduled for after opening.
The game where you squirt water at a target to move a clown head was always having problems because the carnies would adjust the speed of the clowns so they could choose who won. Then they would over do it and you could tell one was set wrong. This was not an honest operation at the time. The usual people there were ok but the one had a twin sister at a game at the far end of the building that would outright lie if there were any issues and only told the other tech when something broke.
About 3 weeks after opening I got fed up. This was the middle of May. We had radios to call the boss or each other but neither of them would answer. So, on the day I decided I was done at the end of my shift I dumped the radio and the keys in the office. We were supposed to take the keys home each night. I had spent an hour calling the 2 of them but neither would answer. After dumping everything I walk towards the exit. As I got there the other tech found me and asked me to come to the office.
I went to the office and told him I was done and we had nothing to talk about. He completely ignored what I said. He instead starts telling me of some issues around the park. One was that 4 of the remote control cars took a month to get fixed. I reminded him that I told him what we need to do but he ignored me and waited 3 weeks to do as I suggested. He mentioned the day I spent in one of the boats. I reminded he that was under orders of the boss because no one wanted to ride the boats so no one would shoot at the boats. There were several people everyday that were stuck in the boats. This went on for about 30 minutes.
He finally tells me I don’t have a job and asks for the keys. I point to them on the desk and tell him that’s where I dumped them before I left. He gets mad because those are supposed to stay with us. It was then I told him again that if I had planned to come back I would have but I was done with the place. It was crazy that after I quit he spent all that time trying to fire me only to get torn apart.
In the months I was there I spoke to the boss about 3 times. The other tech barely spoke to me either. Then they didn’t seem to understand that I quit.