New Brunswick — When half of Future Shop stores across Canada unexpectedly closed this morning, employees were given one full hour to pack up their belongings, surrender their nametags and get their butts off the premises for good.
The remaining stores will eventually reopen as Best Buy, Future Shop’s parent company. The announcement was made at 7:15 a.m. that, while the stores’ closures were effective immediately, the employees were free to linger in staff rooms, and were even permitted to finish their first coffee and cigarette of the day.
At the store’s Fredericton, N.B. location this morning, manager Joe Thompkins made the abrupt announcement over the intercom at 7:17: “Attention all staff! You are now unemployed, but feel completely at liberty to browse the store, and your discounts will still be in effect for the following 13 minutes should you wish to purchase any consolation electronics. Note you will not be paid for this time. We at Future Shop care about your well-being, and will do anything in our power for the following 45 minutes to help you grapple with the loss of your job. Please feel free to take a Best Buy application from the front desk on your way out the door. Thank you.”
Longtime employee Brett Higgins, 29, immediately jumped at the opportunity to get the Samsung HDTV he’d been drooling over for weeks. “I can’t believe they’re letting us use our discount up until 7:30 a.m.,” he told our reporter while in the checkout line. “Unemployment will be such a great excuse to catch up on my shows. It’s really nice of them to give us so much time to deal with this.”
While Future Shop workers in the rest of the country are outraged at the news and taking to social media to voice their displeasure, the atmosphere is slightly different in New Brunswick. “It’s nothing new for us to lose jobs. It’s another challenge, for sure, but I’m honestly used to it,” said Jenna Roberts, 37, while emptying her locker. “I actually used to be a photographer for Brunswick News, and the Irvings laid me off without notice, so I applied at Future Shop since there are no other jobs in the province other than at call centres. I’m just grateful I can rely on New Brunswick’s flawless EI system … er … if I can pass the drug test, I guess.”
In an act of utter altruism, Best Buy executives have promised to take a glance at former Future Shop employees’ applications during the hiring process. “Yeah, we’ll probably give them a shot,” said CEO Rick Green. “Why not?”
All warranties on Future Shop products are now void.