The Pin Job
I got an assignment from a temp agency this morning. After I slept in and listened to the voicemail they left. The assignment was to assemble pins and badges “from whenever you can come in until five.” As soon as I figured out what time that was, I went. I reported to a guy named Elton but who looks exactly like Grissom.
I like simple work. Filing papers, finding endless synonyms, stuffing envelopes, data entry, throwing newspapers at the same driveways, out the same car window. Stuff that other people like my husband would find tedious. This includes stuffing finished pins into tiny plastic bags after I’ve put the rubber backs on every one of them. It also includes stapling each bag and tossing it into a bin, and then counting each tiny bag and putting a hundred of them into a bigger bag.
Simple work includes the first step of the pin process, too: putting the decals onto each metal surface with a pin fused on the back. That’s harder than it sounds; the stickers are all really thin and pliable. I only got one chance to put each sticker on right. A round sticker on a round surface. No air bubbles and no holes from scraping the air bubbles. The edge of the sticker can’t be touching the edge of the metal surface or it won’t “go right”. It can’t be too crooked, this image in a circle on a circle. I was told that it doesn’t have to be perfect, that it can be just a little off as long as there’s a metal rim all the way around. And after my second tray, I got nearly every one with a gold rim around the sticker.
And after lunch, I was put on another task. My sticker-fastening skills were too lax, too “Oh, that’ll be fine.” Or maybe they just needed someone on the finishing/packaging job. Only three people stayed for the entire shift, you know. Today being Friday, the day everyone takes off. Everyone except the few proud pin assemblers.