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.

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I'm a gay geek living in Seattle, WA.

2 thoughts on “US Military – Recruiting shoppers at Best Buy”

  1. I can’t get past the irony of you…

    …coming across someone so not wideawake while you were looking for a CD by such a group. Good story — it hooked me from the beginning.

    BTW — I suspect he was really into some kind of MLM scheme. I just don’t (Best?) buy that someone would tell you they were with the “military intelligence” that quickly.


  2. I’m rather surprised that you were approached for recruitment to Military Intelligence! They should know that your brains are superior to those currently in Military Intel. :)

    I remember when I was graduating from high school that I would get phone calls from the recruiters in whatever branches. Of course, my excuse would be “I’m deaf.” And that would pretty much end all conversations on the recruitment front without any questions.

    Now back to your thoughts, I do believe that the military is getting more “desperate” to find new recruits that aren’t “disenchanted” by the Iraqi conflict. They’re basically trying to find a new market by pushing their message out through other means. This means, pretty much, anyone under the age of 30 with a heartbeat. There was a newsbrief on CNN (tv) about the recruitment statistics for EOY 2007. That reminds me, CNN also reported on that the Selective Service was ready to “draft” people into service if needed to be called upon. That just sends chills up my spine for some reason.


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