1953 Long Con.

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I rewrote this whole thing so many times. It’s really easy to slip into letting the cast argue like characters in a show as opposed to the way people actually argue. This kind of messy argument where neither party is sticking to what the issue is, or not understanding what the other person is arguing, is hard to maintain. That’s how informal disagreements are, but as an author there’s an urge to make both parties argue the way you want people to argue. Sticking to a topic, defining your terms, and that sort of thing rarely happens in a casual setting. Even in an actual debate they’re pretty rare. Ultimately though the goal is to keep both of them functioning as the imperfect beings they should be. The fact that Thomas is so loquacious doesn’t help. His verbal tsunamis dominate page space. But that’s how he is so that’s how it has to be.

It’s funny how far ahead of me people are still managing to get though. I can see which people think like Thomas VS the ones who think like Wes & it’s fascinating. Both sides have compelling arguments, which is ultimately the point of the whole thing. In the end you have to come to some kind of compromise that lets your mind cope with reality.

49 Comments

Missed that “D” in “standards” again, man.

I don’t understand why I keep doing that.

I think you’re just getting comfy with us.
And when people are comfortable, then they can just kick back, and lower their standars.
:D

Delude yourself in any way you see fit, but your coworkers cannot change the job’s quality. In other words, Thomas may have the best of friends, but the lot of them would be better off elsewhere.

Eh? They totally can. Of course it’s all relative, but I’d rather work at a mediocre place with a good team than at a place with great management but unlikeable people.

It’s also important to remember that they’re in a place where everyone knows everyone and where Nina can’t get the job at the library because of personal history despite being a perfect fit. They might be better off elsewhere, but they are here, so they might as well do the best they can – plus there isn’t any guarantee that if they applied elsewhere, they’d get the job. This is a guaranteed wage.
In addition to that, I refer you to the title of the comic. They’re all between the next thing, and that’s been addressed a couple of time in the comic.

LOL, I like how Thomas’ explanation for how he endures every manager that comes through is that he “get’s shit done,” and not that he’s “so unimportant and this store is so insignificant that the higher-ups wouldn’t even notice him long enough to consider it.” At first I thought he was just capable at conning people into thinking he was more than just a slightly skilled bullshitter, but this is starting to broach on straight-up delusion territory…

Having said all this stuff over the past week, however, I want it on the record that I am a huge fan of this comic!

Glad to know it. Disliking a cast member isn’t enough to get you excommunicated.

I kinda feel like you missed the point here. That’s EXACTLY what he’s saying. He does his job, and when Thomas is involved, shit seems to go bad less often. Ergo, he gets shit done.

If he was important, and the store mattered, he’d be promoted. He’s insignificant like a single gear in an engine: he’d only get attention if he fucked up. So he gets shit done, and by careful application of having a working relationship with most of the team he makes sure nobody else screws him up. He shows loyalty and friendship and in return they show the same.

To those who just don’t like him from the start, he talks at them until they either listen, or do their job without him so they don’t have to listen to his shit. The risk is there; they could try to sabotage him. But his seniority and the fact its ONLY going to be them that has the issue with him is going to make it hard to oust him that way.

Over time, they usually will end up with a begrudging respect for his position and realize that he’d be more risk than its worth to try and oust him. Either this ends up in them changing jobs because they don’t like it, or they end up warming up to him enough to be a mildly pleasant member of the team, ergo his goal is preserved.

Admittedly, this hinges on him being as shrewd and accurate as he thinks he is. Too much blunt control and he’s suddenly a kink in the chain of command, too little and he could lose security of his station. But as long as corporate doesn’t SEE his power being an issue or an asset, he won’t get promoted nor fired; after all, he’s a single worker at a single store. Corporate doesn’t look THAT close.

Worth noting that IMO this is a LOT of work to go through to establish job security and job satisfaction at a dead-end retail joint that isn’t going to pay more than minimum wage in a million years, but there ya go.

Oh and I forgot my name on the above. its on this one.

Thomas-and to a lesser extent, Carol run this store. Mike is either smart enough to realize that, and leave things alone (and ignore Thomas/Carol “fraternizing”), or he hasn’t realized it yet, and it could be a problem. Sometimes it’s kind of humbling to realize how involved I get with this comic. Glad soap operas were never this compelling.

I think I’d enjoy working on a soap opera, but I’m not sure they’re even a thing anymore.

Do you think my analysis is accurate? Or kind-of? Of course, it’s your story, but I think developed characters like these can kind of take on a life of their own. All the best to you in your endeavors.

I hate to just state things I know outright because it spoils telling the story in the actual comic. Your ideas are at least reasonable, but I don’t want to just tell you if you’re right.

I have a fondness for the “Encyclopedia Brown” books, but they are another example of people acting unlike real people. If you haven’t read them, they are low-stakes mystery stories where a 5th-grade boy named Leroy Brown (nickname: “Encyclopedia”) solves the mystery every time. You, the reader, turn to the back of the book to look up the solution; this is to give you a chance to solve it yourself. (Low-stakes: it’s never a murder or other violent crime, it’s a stolen baseball card collection or something like that. Maybe these days young adult fiction can feature people killing each other but these stories date back a few decades and were intended for kids to read.)

So often in those stories, Encyclopedia Brown says “Aha! When you told us your story you said ‘X’ but I can logically prove it must have been ‘Y’!” And every time the bad actor is immediately defeated by this. I know darn well that in real life the bad actor would just double down. “‘X’? ‘Y’? What difference does it make? I just messed up and said the wrong thing. You can’t prove nothing.”

Having worked through the decline and eventual death of a corporate chain retail, that aspect of Thomas is pretty relatable. He’s that guy who knows how everything works. Probably held most of the positions around the store, trained new people, averted various disasters with his range of knowledge. People like that are gold. If something happens, they are one of a manager’s lines of defense. Like triage, they can move to a weak point and reinforce it, then carry on elsewhere as necessary. There isn’t a true loyalty or sense of value though that comes from those above. The corporate mindset just doesn’t work that way. So you find your power through your worth, but also in what you know you can get away with. Like carrying around a gameboy in your pocket.

I will admit that it’s nice to see that some aspects of Thomas have stayed – the advice he gave Ed and his mindset on this has stayed the same, even though his viewpoint is slowly gaining positivity. It’s like seeing a glimpse of original Thomas from the monochrome pages.

This seems… uncharacteristically boastful of Thomas. Is Carol’s recklessness rubbing off? He’s usually made a point of not admitting this to those he’s not close to, and I don’t see it impressing Wes enough to achieve a desired end.

thats what i felt too. that Thomas is showing his hand alot more than i would think of him, especially to a red flag like Wes.
Throwing the dog a bone? Or he’s saying it more for Reggies benefit.
Or its a slip up and pride got a slight tug on him there.

Or “you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout and im tellin you why. Thomas is watching….”

I feel like Reggie is slowly starting to see the downsides of Wes. The satisfied expression he usually wears around him has been slipping – maybe because he’s going through actual growth, and he can see now where Wes’ limits lie. Reggie can see the sense in what Thomas is saying, he’s the one who suggested they ask Thomas about it, which at least means he appreciates Thomas’ viewpoints even when he doesn’t agree with them. Wes bulldozing through the wisdom Thomas is trying to give them shows off his negative aspects – and I’m starting to think that those two are going to fall out sooner or later (Reggie and Wes, not Thomas and Wes.)

The fact that Reggie has had any character growth at all suggests that Thomas may have been right all along. :D

Reggie has never appeared dumb, just ignorant and arrogant. Now that he has a little experience under his belt and is making friends, and girlfriends, he’s starting to lower his guard and show more of what he’s capable doing and being as a person. Basically, Reggie is the most dynamic character throughout the whole comic. :)

Thomas is right. Being a social center and manipulator takes a lot of work. I speak from watching it done not doing it.

Just gonna say, it struck me before you even said anything that it sounded like a genuine argument. I was legitimately concerned it might get colorful.

Sorry, I worry about stuff, too much.

However- I have to ask- are you going to end this comic, Jackie?
Because these are two tactics that some webcomic authors do, when they plan to stop a webcomic: 1) close down the shop where the characters work, and then 2) end the webcomic, for good.

I just really love you comic, so I’d hate for it to end soon. Whichever.

Well, I expect I’ll end it someday. I don’t know when. I mean I could potentially drop dead at random, but barring that it will be quite some time. Unless I can’t make a living doing it anymore.

Hey great! Thanks.
It’s just a thing- Templar, Arizona the webcomic, and Toys R Us, and Circuit City, had all stopped operations, so I was worried that other favorites of mine, like your webcomic, might also stop operations. Thank You. :D

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