Back in 2011, Funimation Entertainment started their own online retail website called Zstore. Zstore’s physical location was in a small town called Decatur, TX. I was fortunate enough to work there from 2002 to 2008. I started out as internet customer service, where my job was to answer everyone’s email questions and research the shows (i.e. getting paid to watch the anime), to eBay sales, to ending my time there as the shipping supervisor of one of the three warehouses. Working in a place that sales DVD’s, shirts, and toys of Japanese cartoons, there was a lot of time and ways to get into trouble and the people that worked there and myself were always finding new ways to make work a little more interesting.
One of the biggest sellers of Zstore were the action figures that would be released each season for Dragonball Z, which was the biggest show that Funimation had the rights to. We would sell thousands of these figures. Palets of figures would come in and we would ship them right back out. With that many action figures coming through the door there was a small percentage that would come in damaged – meaning the packaging would be crushed and unfit to sell. Normally those would be sold on eBay for a special price, but sometimes the packaging was too far damaged to sell and the toy was scrapped. Inside these action figure packaging would be three small plastic and orange dragon balls (pictured below). They were hard plastic and what the guys in the warehouse found out is that they did two things: bounced on the cement floors of the warehouse and hurt when you were hit with one of them.
Once we found out that they hurt and they would bounce on cement, the game became clear. Dragon Ball Dodge Ball was born. Every day, people would find dragon balls and put them in their pocket. They would wait for the right time and then send one sailing towards someone else. Once it hit and the ball started bouncing then anyone could grab it and use it later in the day.
One day, Oscar, Pete, and I were busy filling and packaging up orders to be shipped out. They would pull the orders that I printed out, I would in turn package them up and put shipping labels on them. We hit a lull as all of the orders were completed so we were taking it easy. That was when Oscar threw a dragon ball and hit me in the back. The next thing you hear is ding, ding, ding as the dragon ball started to bounce away. We all three knew what to do when we heard the sound.
There was a brief pause before we all started towards the runaway dragon ball. I was closest (since I had been hit by it), Pete was right behind, and Oscar was closing in fast. The dragon ball started bouncing and rolling toward one of the large warehouse racks filled with merchandise. If it made it under the rack, it would roll out, but I was determined to get there before it did. That was when I noticed the large, round metal pillar standing in between me and the dragon ball. I tried to stop, but Oscar didn’t. Oscar slammed into Pete, who slammed into me, who slammed into he pillar. We all three hit each other and I hit the pillar and we all were down for the count. Oscar sat up laughing, while Pete started to stand up. I laid there for a second and then started to pick myself up when I turned around to look at the guys.
Their faces stopped smiling and they started to ask if I was okay. I laughed it off saying that I was fine, just a bit disoriented. They kept staring. That was when I noticed the blood running down my face. My forehead had hit the pillar dead-on and I now had a cut on my eyebrow. I was fine, but I didn’t look it. All at once, we knew that I had to get cleaned up and get out of the warehouse without anyone seeing me. This wasn’t our first accident in the workplace and we had all been warned about goofing off and horseplay. So I walked through the back doors of the warehouse, Pete gathered my things from my office, and Oscar went to clock me out. I was able to get out without anyone seeing me and left work early to avoid getting in trouble.
When I returned the next day, everything was fine, except Oscar held up the runaway dragon ball. He had went and found it after I left the day before. In a second, he threw the dragon ball and it hit me in the arm. The game was afoot.
There is no mercy in dragon ball.