Ask Andre @ Ooples Apparel

A blog by a former asst manager of Ooples in San Antonio, TX.

Ask me *anything* you want to know about the business and I will answer to the best of my ability.

Part of the #OoplesTruth Movement. www.OoplesTruth.org

Thoughts on California, Pt. 2 (The Truck)

CLARIFICATION: Let me begin first with a retconning of a term I used in the previous California post: “freight truck”. Apparently, “freight” is normally reserved for 18-wheelers only. I had my information wrong when I wrote my first post about the trip. Franklin was not driving an 18-wheeler or anything, they were driving the very large moving trucks that you can rent from Enterprise/Uhaul. In the Facebook “rebuttal post” made by Crystal she says “24’ Enterprise truck”. This is correct information; these are the trucks I meant to imply with the term “freight truck”.

With that said, I apologize for any confusion the erroneous term may have caused. The post begins below:

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Somewhere in this mess of interlinked Tumblrs I said “don’t even get me started about the day where the semi-truck full of books showed up.” This has been something asked about by readers of the other Tumblrs and since I was the employee who opened on that fateful day it was I who witnessed the event and really the only one who can tell its story. I’m going to do my best in chopping this day up into smaller pieces for easier reading.

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1. The Summarization of Events

When I arrived at around 11:45 AM I saw George (the landlord) screaming and yelling at this guy who was trying to park the 18-wheeler carrying the rest of the store’s shipment of books. Why Franklin didn’t just freight the whole damned thing in the first place I do not know. Anyway, the guy who was driving the truck didn’t know what he was doing (and I believe by this point Franklin was somewhere else) and this ended up pissing off George.

Somewhere in this mess I noticed Franklin. I believe he arrived late, and with Crystal. Me arriving before Franklin didn’t seem to sit well with George, understandably.

When they arrived, the truck had been parked and George, Crystal, and I believe a couple of volunteers were helping unload the truck. Franklin did little to no work and instead said he’d be “finding people to help out”. By this, he really meant “fuck around with Gmail open on my laptop and not do anything while Crystal, George, and the volunteers do all the work”. This made George beyond pissed off and he became very irate and tore into Franklin verbally on countless occasions. More volunteers showed up, Franklin straight up left the store to “pick up more”. 

Franklin agreed to pay one of the volunteers a meager sum of money and skipped out. I authorized Michael to pay this person if Franklin decided to disappear instead of being honest.

So, that’s the gist of it. Now here’s the individual portions.

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2. George didn’t like Franklin’s habit of not working.

Franklin forced Crystal to unload the truck. No surprise there, he takes advantage of her and treats her like dirt 8 days out of the week. What he wasn’t expecting, however, is that George wasn’t too thrilled to have a giant semi-truck in HIS parking lot for the entire day, and he was already pissed off from the incompetence of the guy who took 40 minutes to park the damn thing. (I do not know who drove the truck, I believe it was someone from the freight company.)

Prior to the ensuing outburst, George asked me why I wasn’t helping. I explained that I had an abdominal lesion and that I had doctor’s orders not to move heavy boxes. George was fine with that. What he wasn’t fine with, however, was Franklin’s habit of sitting inside and hiding. George become absolutely livid.

I have never heard a man swear so profusely. Literally — LITERALLY — every other word out of that man’s mouth was “fuck”. I am not kidding. George was stomping around inside the store screaming and yelling in Franklin’s face like something straight out of Full Metal Jacket. He was tearing Froghat a new one, hardcore. He was going all out with his insults with choice cuts including:

  • "Why don’t you fucking get out there and fucking unload your fucking books from that fucking truck you fucking piece of shit?"
  • "Why do you have your fucking girlfriend out there doing all the fucking work? Aren’t you supposed to be the fucking man here?"
  • "Get off that goddamned fucking computer and help me with this fucking truck. I see you on that fucking thing constantly. Get the fuck out there and fucking work!"

Every single time George opened his mouth he let out a string of profanities that would make a sailor blush, and he did this right in Franklin’s face in front of everyone for all to see and hear. (Shoe’s on the other foot now, huh?)

Franklin’s response to that was his trademark exasperated sigh, some idle complaining, and him insisting that he was “finding more volunteers”.

George eventually stormed out and would later re-appear in cycles of 20 or so minutes for the exact same transactions to take place.

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3. Franklin acts like a spoiled child.

Eventually, somewhere in the course of unloading the truck Crystal decided to take a break and made herself something to eat. She had some vegetarian meat patties in the store’s fridge (because Franklin seems to care more about a cow he’s never seen than the girlfriend he berates on a daily basis) and had lunch.

Franklin decided all of this “not working” he was doing worked up a major appetite as well, so he asked Crystal to make him a sandwich. I’m not trying to sound stereotypical sexist here, he actually asked her this. She said no and that “all the stuff is right there for you to do it yourself”. Franklin threw a goddamned fit and started yelling at Crystal because he’s just too worthless to make a sandwich on his own. She said no again and walked away; I could tell the situation with the truck had upset her.

He started throwing a fit right in front of me and started mumbling things to himself and opening/closing bags of sandwich stuff like a bratty child. Mind you, he’s done zero work and Crystal’s done everything so far so it’s not like he’s just so damned exhausted that he can’t even lift a finger. He just doesn’t want to because he’s an abusive twat.

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4. Franklin rips off a desperate volunteer.

Around the time this truck showed up is about the same time Hillary and I (and Ken and everyone else) were beginning to put together a pretty horrific picture in our minds regarding Franklin, especially after I had been keeping everyone on the same page with the events of the day so far. Franklin’s disgusting treatment of his workers would only continue to increase from here.

I don’t remember this volunteer’s name, but he was a lithe blonde-haired guy who showed up with some friends. He asked Franklin if he could have $10 for putting in 6 hours of work. According to this person, Franklin said yes. Of course he would, because he’ll say anything to get you to work and then once you’re done he’ll shaft you without lube.

At one point in the day this guy approached me and said he had some concerns that Franklin wasn’t going to pay him. I responded sarcastically until he explained that he only asked for $10 because he would otherwise come up short on rent for the month. As a person who ended up having to terminate a lease because I myself could not afford rent, this struck a chord with me. I told him that he’d be getting his money no matter what, and that if Franklin decided to be a little piece of shit and skimp out on him that I would personally pay him from the register.

Well guess what? Franklin abandoned the guy without paying him. I was told that Franklin purposefully waited for him to turn his back and then literally ran off so he wouldn’t have to pay. Michael, a now-former employee of the store who closed that night, told me he had to pay this person out of the register because Franklin wouldn’t do it.

How low of a person can you really be? THIS GUY WAS HERE SO HE COULD MAKE RENT AND FRANKLIN STILL PULLED THE “WHOOPS TOO BAD GOTTA GO HUEHUEHUEHUEHUE” ACT.

I confronted Franklin about this later and he said he didn’t pay up because the kid wasn’t “trustworthy”. Franklin insists that he checked up on him and saw him “not working”. I laughed immediately and pointed out the hypocrisy, as well as the lie because I was personally checking up on the kid myself seeing how he was doing because I felt bad for him (I brought him and his buddies waters). Franklin didn’t do a damned thing. I told Franklin that even if he was “untrustworthy” that $10 for 6 hours of labor is a good deal for him. He still insists that he didn’t want to pay him and got pissed off when I told him I personally paid him anyway.

Absolutely disgusting. Absolutely.

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5. Franklin avoids work by leaving the store.

By the time mid-afternoon rolled around I guess George was too winded from unloading and screaming to do much else, so he had quieted down. Crystal was still working, though, as were the near half-dozen or so volunteers that had showed up to help. A couple of people who usually volunteered at the store arrived but were not helping due to personal illness. Franklin still tried to coax them into helping, just like how he’d disregard my health as well.

Well, Franklin decides that he doesn’t have enough volunteers because he STILL doesn’t want to help unload his own truck. He decides to drive to Palo Alto to pick someone up, a trip that takes just about an hour to do. He also left the store at near rush hour.

Franklin is gone almost 80 minutes. When he arrives he’s brought a whole ONE PERSON back with him. He only picked up “one person” because the other people whom he was going to pick up arrived of their own volition while Franklin was gone. When he got back to the store he faked a “oh THERE you guys are!” faux pas. He literally went to go pick someone up whom he knew would not be home, just so he could waste time and blow it off as a mistake.

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6. Franklin starts harassing people for free labor on Facebook.

Franklin told me to post on the Facebook wall that they needed volunteers. I told him no, that he should hire a moving company to get it done quickly and professionally. He said he didn’t have the money and that “they’re charging us by the hour to have the truck parked”. I explained that if he’d hire professionals he’d end up paying the same amount anyways but at least it would get done faster and more efficiently than by bringing out a bunch of untrained people working for free.

He couldn’t see the logic in this and demanded I post a message on Facebook asking for free labor. I told him this was unethical and that his previous history of how he treated his volunteers would only make today be that much more obscene and vile. He muttered something, sighed, and then turned to his laptop where I observed him sending messages to what I can only imagine was any and everyone who was on his friend list from Facebook.

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Here’s a picture I snapped while Franklin was away trying to avoid George’s wrath. He had other conversations started with people but I didn’t click onto any of them because then he’d know I was accessing his computer and reading messages. He was doing this to multiple people, begging them to come help when these people have better things to do.

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7. Finally, Franklin just didn’t work. At all.

I was at the store for 7 hours that day (12:00 - 7:00) and that truck was there for all seven of them. I kept track of how much work Franklin actually did outside and of those seven hours he was out there “working” for at most 40 minutes. This breaks down to 9.5%.

Franklin spent over six hours finding ways NOT to work. At first he tried to say “someone has to watch the store”, but I grinned and said “nah man that’s me, I can’t lift boxes. You go do it.”

After facing George’s wrath for arriving late Franklin did a little bit of work and then I believe he feigned a call/message on his phone so he could come back inside and do some more not working by means of harassing people on Facebook and calling everyone in his phone’s contact list begging for free help.

Then Franklin decided to go “pick up” volunteers. He picked the longest possible distance to drive and decided to leave at around 4:30. He was gone for over an hour and when he returned he discovered that some of the people whom he had left to go get had magically already arrived.

Throughout all of this he harassed, abused, and demeaned everyone around him (even though he just couldn’t seem to take it when George was up his ass at the start of the day). He refused to pay the kid he agreed to give $10 to, the one who needed it for rent. He insulted Crystal and threw a fit when she wouldn’t make a sandwich. He got sassy with me when I told him I would not be using Facebook to solicit for slave labor and when I RE-explained that I wasn’t supposed to lift boxes and there was nothing he could do to get me to change that.

He hid on his laptop for almost the whole time and let everyone else unload his truck full of all of that bullshit yaoi he had been bragging about for weeks prior.

What a prick.

Rebuttal to Official Response

At the high risk of sounding like a petty mudslinger, I feel a pressing need to address the disinformation coming from the official page of Franklin’s business.

Rebuttal available here: https://www.facebook.com/ooples/posts/10151395336445986 (deleted)

http://ooplestruth.tumblr.com/post/50763861330 (mirrored)

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1. Minimum wage.

"There was, indeed, an employee who said to Franklin he/she wanted to work for server’s minimum wage ($2.09/hour) and get tips."

This doesn’t matter. Ooples is not in the food service industry, Franklin does not have the authority to pay someone below minimum wage so long as he is a legal company registered in the United States. Ooples Apparel is legally “Ooples, LLC”. They have proper paperwork filed with the Secretary of State and a business tax permit recognizing them as a retail store. Paying someone anything below the federal minimum is illegal.

"However, this person was not actually paid below regular minimum wage; Franklin just couldn’t figure out how to change the pay rate on the software we were using to keep track of hours."

Ignorance of how to use your own business software is not an excuse for screwing over your employees.

"Instead of using the dollar amount generated by the time tracking software, his/her pay was calculated manually."

Negating the fact that a lack of paper records results in people ultimately defaulting to the only available source (the “incorrect time tracking software” one), this claim is absolute bullshit. I have personally spoken to the employee in question who was paid $2.09 and she confirmed that she was never paid minimum wage. She was paid $2.09 because “it’s all Franklin could afford.”

Later on, this employee would eventually be bumped up to $7.25 however this was only because Ooples signed up with ADP payroll management services and underpaying someone would have been an immediate red flag.

Furthermore, I realize this is only a discrepancy of four measly cents, but as far back as 2009 (predating Ooples’ opening), minimum wage for servers in Texas has never been below $2.13.

Source: http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped2009.htm#Texas

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2. Displaying obscene material.

"It was no more macabre than The Nightmare Before Christmas and not pornographic in the least. The figure was obviously nude, but nothing at all showed, to the point that I couldn’t even tell whether it was meant to be a specific gender."

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Uh huh. Next point.

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3. Selling a modified PS2.

"Franklin took for trade-in an original model PS2 not knowing it had been modified. I could not tell it was modified either. In fact, nobody in the shop had any idea it was modified until Hillary and Andre told us it was supposed to have a disc tray instead of a flip top."

There has never been a model of PlayStation 2 released with an open-top lid AND a disc tray. The quality of plastic between the two halves was different, and because the console had been modified the little warranty sticker on the back of the system had been removed. All of these things are little red flags to look for when accepting console trades. Anyone who even considers themselves a retailer of legitimate used gaming merchandise knows to look for this.

"Comments to this effect were made: “That’s kind of neat,” “I wonder why somebody would bother to do that,” “How does that affect the price?”"

They acknowledged that the system looked unique and didn’t even bother looking up WHY it looked this way.

A simple Google search for “PS2 flip top” brings up the following website, which I quote below:

"The PS2 Flip Top cover allows you to use the Swap Magic Disc to play your import or backup games with ease - and without having to install any mod chips.  Introducing the new PS2 Flip Top - V4-V8 PS2 Cover ! Forget about modchips and play your legally backed up games with this no solder solution. Consists of the PS2 Flip Top Cover which replaces your original PS2 top cover.  You will require the Swap Magic disc however in order to play your import and personally backed up games."

So to recap, an unusual console came into the store. Negating the fact that you will not find a “Playstation 2 Console with Flip Top Lid” for sale on Amazon to get a general price for (hmm, I wonder why) they decided to continue with the trade-in, also not even bothering to even do a simple Google search to find out more about the item that just came into their store. So many people (the $2.09 employee because we spoke to her, Crystal, and Franklin at least) commented on this system yet no one could be assed to spend 30 seconds looking it up.

Selling consoles modified to play “backup” games in the white market is not permitted. You can sell the modchip and you can sell the service, but you cannot sell a console that has already been pre-modded. It’s a stupid guideline (because it’s easily circumvented), but that’s just how it is.

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4. Tax evasion.

"Having contracted employees is not illegal, and it is not tax evasion. "

It’s not illegal, however:

"Businesses often prefer hiring contract employees rather than regular employees. They are not burdened by labor regulations and do not have to pay taxes on them. When contract employees file taxes, the IRS views them as self-employed individuals."

Source: http://www.ehow.com/how_5731880_file-taxes-contract-employee.html

So in an effort to pinch more pennies to blow on erroneous garbage, Franklin decided not to list anyone as a hired employee. During this time as “contracted employees” we were issued paychecks at erratic times and these checks would frequently be difficult to cash. We were only listed as proper employees, and protected as such, when ADP payroll management took over control of wages at Ooples.

Their response continues:

"The problem that actually came up was that the employees didn’t realize their taxes weren’t being taken out in advance so that they wouldn’t have to pay them as a lump sum when it came time to file their tax returns."

So I guess your accountant also told you that it was okay not to communicate this completely unimportant tidbit to your employees? You pay people a piss-poor wage, pay them erratically, and even try to get out of paying them altogether and then give them one final dicking when tax time rolls around?

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5. Forgery.

"This one, I don’t know about, so I can’t comment on it."

No comments because it’s true and there’s no backpedaling. The signature “belonging” to Franklin on the ADP paychecks is not his. Franklin’s actual signature looks like the squiggle of a child who hasn’t learned to write his own name. The signature on the check is feminine and legible. That’s because it’s Crystal signing for Franklin. Franklin made the mistake of telling us this himself during one of our meetings.

Proof: http://shoeofallcosmos.tumblr.com/post/50751927549/forgery

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6. OSHA violations.

"I have never heard about any OSHA violations. Actually, up until this point, I had only heard of OSHA being for health care professions."

There’s a sign in the back room detailing workers’ rights, minimum wage laws, and OSHA. For years Franklin never hung these labor law posters up (which is illegal and can result in extreme fines). The only reason they were hung up is because ADP sent us some and I hung them up myself. I pointed them out to Franklin, that there were some information blanks he needed to fill out as the owner, and those remained blank indefinitely. They probably still are.

Ignorance of labor laws and the bodies that govern healthy and safe working conditions for employees in a store is disgusting.

"The only complaint I have heard concerned an employee being allergic to dust. This person had helped us out many times before being hired. Since I never heard any complaints at that time, I’m not sure that’s what this is even about."

The employee in question may have not been surrounded by dust when she volunteered and thus had no reason to bring it up. This is speculation. The point here is according to this employee, when she finally DID tell Franklin about her allergy he disregarded it and made her work anyway. Because of this, and according to this employee, she has physical scarring from hives at her hairline (Hillary allegedly has photographic evidence of this).

This next bit is just to drive the point home that Franklin doesn’t care about employee health. In February I had an abdominal injury that required medical attention. Turns out I had a small lesion in my abdominal wall and my doctor told me not to life heavy boxes. I communicated this to Franklin, he attempted to disregard it and blow it off, asking me “seriously?” in a sarcastic manner.

"However, as soon as Franklin and I heard about the allergy problem, he went out and got a duster to clean the place."

What duster? The one that a now former employee donated to the store? If there was a duster purchased, I didn’t see it. Not saying it doesn’t exist. We took the initiative and cleaned the filthy ceiling fans and the air filters for the sake of the employee, not Franklin.

The OSHA violations persist by means of having no way of cleaning up broken fluorescent lights (which contain mercury vapor), a potentially and likely overloaded second floor containing 18 tons of books, exposed wiring, and rampant water leaks and associated water damage.

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7. “The California Trip”

"enormous amount of bad luck"

No. Absolutely not. Don’t even try to throw THAT as a cop out. “Bad luck” is a fallacy and an excuse. Proper planning, a PAID STAFF OF WORKERS, and better foresight — all things that myself and others warned Franklin about ahead of time — could have prevented this.

"The California trip … was mostly poor planning"

Oh, okay. So Franklin decided to just drive across the country on a whim with mostly untrained and free labor. Sounds great.

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In summation, it doesn’t matter that people were asked to go as volunteers. You still have an obligation as a manager to meet their basic human needs.

I realize I didn’t address every point in the store’s response. I don’t want this to drag out like some bullshit “he said she said” competition. I provided sourced links where available to counter the incorrect information being provided by the store, and that’s all I intend to do. Franklin has pulled the “I’m not going to be at the store anymore” card in the past and it didn’t do a damned thing.

An important clarification.

Recently there’s been a few posts like this from the other bloggers. I would like to take a moment to come out of exile and pitch in my two cents on the matter.

Like the others have stated, Ooples is not the problem. Ooples as an idea — as a place — is not inherently bad. Having a hangout spot for geeks and nerds is great. I am not devaluing or demeaning the friendships that I know have started because a couple people met up at the store (but hopefully not meeting up for sex in a private room, yuck). I’ve made friends at Ooples, and not just with my coworkers; I’ve met some really fun and interesting people whose friendships I value immensely. Some of the first friends that I see on a regular basis I made at Ooples.

Ooples itself is not the problem. Franklin is the problem. In this flurry of posts and pictures and testimonials and reviews and admissions and everything else I feel like this was the one thing that got kicked under the rug: Ooples isn’t the bad thing. The owner is the problem.

This Tumblr exists because me and the other bloggers are out to expose the lies, deceitful actions, and abuse/mistreatment committed by Franklin. The customers have done no wrong (despite me admitting that I have vented about problematic ones in the past), the employees have done no wrong, and the other managers have done no wrong. “Ooples” and “Franklin” became interchangeable at some point, likely because he’s the business owner and it was an easy synonym.

Ooples is a great place if you take Franklin out of the equation and fix the things he’s messed up on. Things like the business’ location first and foremost due to the crime rate and homelessness. The stories of the shootings at the bars and the bums living ON the building are true. Ooples could have been something good, and according to a few people it WAS good in some fleeting moments in time. Unfortunately, with Franklin at the wheel he trashed something that could have been gold.

"Ask" closed for now.

I realize the name of this Tumblr is “Ask Andre”, however for the time being I am going to temporarily disable the Ask page for this Tumblr. Part of the reason is because there are already too many messages for me to keep up with, however the other side of the coin is a bit more sinister.

I do not like the personal attacks, especially the homophobic ones. Some of you, the kinds of people who have been sending me these remarks more than likely, are probably going to say something akin to “if you can’t take it don’t dish it out.”

That doesn’t work in this scenario.

I’m not insulting Franklin based upon his sexuality, hobbies, or personal preferences. Any insults thrown his way are grounded firmly in his treatment of the people around him. Me and a handful of other disgruntled people chose to blow the whistle on his flagrant abuse when it reached a level that we just could not keep quiet about any longer. Insulting me and the other bloggers based upon our preferences and lifestyles is unacceptable, immature, and disgusting.

This Tumblr expanded a little too quickly for my liking. I couldn’t keep up with it. My replies were not re-read and checked for overzealous bias or other remarks where I may have stepped out of line. I’m not even going to deny that I’ve overspoke here, because I know I have and I know for a fact if you comb this Tumblr you WILL find instances of me acting like an asshole and acting out of line. San Antonio’s Reddit has pointed out that I’m acting a little too antsy and I have to agree with them.

My actions and remarks on this Tumblr in no way reflect the intended behavior and mannerisms of the businesses and companies I represent who may or my not have a vested interest in this ongoing drama. I take responsibility for that.

I personally need time to cool off. I apologize to those of you who were genuinely curious about the store and its operations and who used the “Ask” page for its intended purpose. I have some personal stories and photos of the store that I would like to continue to share at a later date, and in the future I may unlock the Ask page again.

Until then, this week has moved far too quickly for me and I am calling it quits for now.

See you soon,
- Andre

addictedtomurder asked: What ever happened to those people who sold "Yaoi mountain" to him..? Did they ever get their money, or did he rip THEM off, too? Asking because $40,000 is a lot to pay for something that's just rotting in storage.

Actually I do not know what became of Franklin’s actual deal and business relationship with Digital Manga Publishing. I know that according to the contract Franklin signed (and then failed to keep track of during the trip resulting in it nearly being destroyed from being stepped on) that he is to pay two installments of $20,000 to the company in two pay periods. A week into the first pay period he was still begging for people to “invest” and give him money for the books.

Franklin claims that if he is unable to get the money that he can “just ship them back” but I believe he fails to realize that delinquency on his behalf will result in not only him having to pay outrageous freight fees (remember, this is 18 tons we’re talking about here) but likely also associated labor costs for loading and unloading the books as well. Additionally, depending on Digital Manga’s terms, there may even be a percentage restocking fee given the massive size of the order.

I don’t think Franklin understands any of this, he just thinks he has an easy out if it all goes wrong. He doesn’t have the money, and if he cannot pay Digital Manga for anything then they may even proceed with legal action if they choose to do so. Again, this is all hypothetical. I don’t know where he truly stands with the books, I just know that he’s pretty much sold none of them and that he was still begging for investors at one point.

Anonymous asked: From what I understand from someone who worked directly inside San Japan, the reason the relationship fell apart was because when Ooples was selling the pre-registration passes to the Con, they were pocketing the money for themselves. People literally showed up to San Japan with these little receipts that Franklin gave them asking for their badge, but San Japan said those weren't valid as there was no record of an actual payment to them. Ooples was kicked, now Nine-Tails sells the bagdes

That doesn’t surprise me at all, to be honest. Franklin does not have any means of record keeping or ways of designating pools of money for one specific cause or expense. It’s not that Franklin was intentionally pocketing the money, most likely. If this is the case and it’s why San Japan dropped Ooples as their representative it’s because Franklin was taking money for these passes and then spending the money on other unrelated things. When San Japan came to collect the money, more than likely it was not there (hence all the receipts you mentioned).

Either way, no matter what happened between San Japan and Ooples, they made a good call in moving their business to a more reliable establishment.

Anonymous asked: Hold up, so you are pissed off about people "drinking the flavor aid" in regards to not 100% believing your little rants but any time anyone questions your claims they're morons? Can't have it both ways buddy, when you start spreading huge amounts of liable people tend to question you.

We have photographic proof of the filthy condition of the store and its merchandise. We also have countless testimonials of Franklin’s treatment of his girlfriend. Even if you remove every single other thing I’ve ever said about the store and presented just the pictures and that evidence, there’s still enough to make an informed decision regarding the business.

I’m not really “upset” with people not believing anything. People are free to believe what they want. I’m a little perturbed at people who believe I have an agenda and overwhelming bias toward what are ultimately the root facts of this Tumblr and its contents. Underneath all the layers of sarcasm and scathing remarks is a collection of inherent truth about the store and the way it is run.

You can continue to shop at Ooples all you want. I just want you to know where your money as actually going since I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch it be pissed away in real time.

Anime Odyssey Update

Due to the growing complications in discussing the details of this convention (and conventions in general, apparently), I am going to cease answering questions about Anime Odyssey. The information that I have about the convention doesn’t seem to match what other people have, and further still there are other people who have different stories altogether.

I spoke about the convention solely based upon what I heard and what I knew (according to personal experience), the original intent of this blog. I don’t know if the information is incorrect, outdated, partially correct, or what, but there’s been so much confusion from all sides that I think it’s best that I drop Anime Odyssey from my Tumblr because every time I post about it I am sent corrections about it that turn out to be incorrect or only partially true.

On my blog I don’t post any third party conjectures unless I can confirm them because I am not in the business of spreading rumors. Because of this, information pertaining to Anime Odyssey has been incredibly difficult to authenticate.

What I do know about the con is that it was called EpiKon in 2012 and it failed to premiere. Franklin claims to be in control of Anime Odyssey, but I have also been told he is just the “sponsor”. Ooples controls all of the money for the convention and this is something Franklin has confirmed with me himself. The PayPal account on the convention website says “Ooples Apparel” when you try to make a purchase. Additionally, the convention’s domain name is also registered to “Ooples Apparel”. The people whom I have spoken to (in person) who are involved with the organization of the convention and its website speak to Franklin about the convention’s operations as if he were some kind of manager.

The most heated debate that has sparked here is in regards to convention volunteering. I acknowledge that volunteers are the backbone of any and all conventions and my posts that spoke critically of volunteering were not quantitative of conventions as a whole. My discussion about volunteers was a direct correlation between how Franklin routinely mistreats his volunteers and how I was concerned about how that was going to carry over into Anime Odyssey. Nothing more, nothing less. I am not insulting San Japan or any other convention I have “brought into this mess”. San Japan has its act together, there is nothing to criticize about them.

I don’t know who owns what. Evidence points to the Anime Odyssey event belonging to Ooples… yet I’ve been told numerous times that the convention staff claims otherwise. Regardless, no matter what the truth of this matter is, going into a partnership with Franklin for their convention was a very bad idea and if they intend to try again in 2014 I highly advise they partner with someone else instead.

Please, do not send me any further inquiries about Anime Odyssey or any further arguments regarding convention volunteering. They will not be answered.

Anonymous asked: Did he ever give a justification or reason for purchasing $40k+ worth of yaoi manga? I'm a definite fujoshi who even imports doujinshi from Japan and even I'm baffled. He can't really expect all that to sell?? (I can only think about how that money could've gone to something else, like Anime Odyssey or actually paying his employees.)

His justification for buying up all the manga was because he “got a good deal”. Simple as that; it’s his reasoning for a lot of bad purchases. It is also worth noting that he inquired about purchasing Toys Logic but their offer was way too high. Franklin claims to know a lot about yaoi (so much that he apparently forgot how to sell it in the process) and consistently said he’d be able to turn it around. Franklin told me in person that if he sold all of the manga at cover price he’d bring in $500,000. (As of my departure he shipped out one order, one month late, for $709.)

Franklin’s goal, according to him, is to become the sole distributor of Digital Manga’s publications. I believe he bought the manga for $0.40 per cover. Allegedly he was to also purchase the stock of one of his competitors in the yaoi market but he either didn’t have the funds or equipment (or both) to take that back to San Antonio.

You’re throwing down some hobbyist terms I’m not even familiar with, so I know you’re well read on doujins and the manga scene overall. If YOU don’t know what Franklin’s game is here, then… pshht, I have absolutely no idea either, haha. We tried talking to Franklin before the purchase was made. (This was back when we thought he was buying quality merchandise.) Time and time again we told him to make sure this was a good deal and that $40,000 was enough of a debt to sink the company given the way he runs the store.

He insisted he was correct and I guess fell into this personal fantasy of sorts. He failed to realize that if Digital Manga was willing to let go of their merchandise for quite literally pennies then clearly something is wrong. Digital Manga is either in dire financial straits and is looking to make some fast cash (this is entirely conjecture I don’t know their finances) or they are looking to print new stuff and they needed someone to dump all of their new-old stock onto, because that’s what Franklin got. Some of the boxes have their original shipping labels on them and are dated as early as 2007 and 2008.

As for your parenthetical addition, you’re absolutely right. There is an infinite number of better things that money could have gone toward, the straggling convention definitely being one of them along with, of course, better wages. It’s important to note that he goes for the cheapest route and in a sense this $40,000 purchase WAS that route because of the cost per book.

I’ve got some ‘splaining to do.

So, someone finally did it. Someone called my bluff and confronted me with things I’ve said in the past that are “disparaging toward anime nerds” and have asked me why I am in the business of serving anime nerds at The Flying Lizard. That was the one question I was hoping would not come up in this blog.

I’m not going to say I never said anything of the sort. I did. No backpedaling here. I’ve vented about particularly difficult Ooples customers before both publicly and privately. Not everyone who goes there is bad, it’s a small fraction who bother me, but unfortunately the condition of the store seems to ward off more affluent customers and attracts those who sometimes match the store’s image.

Yeah, I’ve vented and I’ve said some stuff. Specifically, I’ve ranted about socially maladjusted customers who literally cash their social security checks and use it to buy Magic cards and anime. I’m sorry, those social benefits are for people who need them to pay for their basic needs and housing. If you’re cashing a check that I have personally helped pay for as a taxpayer and are blowing it on Yu-Gi-Oh cards then I have a right to be angry.

I’ve also vented about people who do not maintain proper standards of hygiene. I feel that as a human being I have a right to express disgust toward someone who doesn’t know how a shower works. I don’t care how hard things are financially for someone, because for the duration of my time at Ooples I didn’t have a place to call home and was staying with friends until I could find a place to live. Financial problems? Oh, I know financial problems. Soap isn’t expensive. A stick of Old Spice costs as much as one card booster pack. The people whom I complain about can surely deal with one less pack in exchange for a stick of deodorant that’ll last for a month.

Moving forward, The Flying Lizard isn’t an anime store. It’s a novelty store and gift shop that happens to have anime merchandise as part of its inventory, and to be honest that small sector of the inventory is not my department. The store is also located in an affluent neighborhood. I realize that no matter where you go there is a certain “stigma” that comes with anime nerds, but by choosing to open the business in a cleaner and more upscale part of San Antonio we’re appealing to a new neighborhood that’ll cash paychecks instead of government ones.

My duties with the new business are in regards to records keeping and finances. I have a major role with the business, yes, but I treated it as a job opening that I chose to switch to when Ooples started to become unbearable.