US Military – Recruiting shoppers at Best Buy

I was at Best Buy today getting a gift for my Dad (Fry’s CD selection is horrible). I was trying to find a CD by Wideawake when a nice looking young man came up and said something along the lines of ‘Hi, mind if I ask you a question?’. My first thought was that he recognized me from interpreting at Gateway which I nixed pretty quickly since people usually start those kinds of interactions with ‘Hi! I’ve seen you at Gateway!’ and proceed to talk to me as if they know me. My next thought was ‘must be a Christian evangelizing’.

I said ‘sure’ thinking I might get some entertainment value out of my trip. He asked, ‘Do you have any long-term plans and goals?’. I replied, ‘yes, of course’ thinking of the aforementioned Five Year Plan. He inquired further, ‘like what?’. At this point I ruled out him being an evangelical and had no idea where this was going but I decided to play along anyway. I proceeded to say that I worked at IBM and planned on staying with them for a while. He was asked if I was planning on staying with them until retirement to which I laughed and replied ‘hell no, their retirement isn’t what it use to be’ and he commented something about his friends at Dell being unhappy there.

Finally he came out and said that he was with the US Military Intelligence (I might have the name slightly off) but that I ‘seem to know where [I’m] going in life’ and that I ‘probably wasn’t interested in a career’ with them. I laughed just a little although inside I was having a massive guffaw moment and said ‘No. I’m gay – they don’t want me anyway.’ He had the audacity to say ‘you could just not tell them’ to which I replied ‘I have a few gay friends in the military who tell me their lives are a living hell.’ He muttered something about ‘ok, well, thank you for your time’ and walked off.

My thoughts:

  • Why is the military recruiting people in the CD section of Best Buy, are they that desperate?
  • Who are they targeting? Do I really look like a high school or early-college student?
  • The military? Are you kidding me? They’re sending even more people over to fight in the Second Vietnam.
  • I’m sure IBM pays a hell of a lot better than the US Military. I know for a fact that working for IBM is physically safer than working for the US Military. Why didn’t he just stop after I told him that I worked for IBM?
  • If they are wanting people bad enough that I could ‘just not tell them’ that I was gay, why the hell are they discharging gay linguists?
  • Interesting lead-in question though. Wonder if I had said no if he would have asked ‘want to get paid several thousand dollars to leave to your family after you get blown up by an IED?’. [ed: ok, that was crass and over-the-top but seriously, what kind of people are volunteering for military service right now knowing that our Commander In Chief has no exit strategy? How desperate do your circumstances have to be before you volunteer?]

BTW, Best Buy doesn’t carry CDs by the artist Wideawake.