Last we left my final week in retail, the registers failed, the guns were down, the intercom system only half worked and some guy named John was trying to figure out where the water was coming in. I changed the names to protect the terminally stupid and honestly forgot who John was supposed to be. Could be an amalgam of several different people. Does it really matter?
As I pointed out before it rained a lot in my last week. I may have undersold that. They were torrential downpours. Lots of flooding. It was fucking biblical people. I saw dolphins in the street and sharks in the sheets. At one point we all heard a terrible, booming voice fill our hearts and minds and threaten to hold our heads under until we all stopped struggling. It also swore a lot. I mean a lot. My point is that it rained.
We had phantom leaks everywhere. There were half a dozen places on the upper floor where you heard a steady dripping noise, but saw no water. Yet. You knew it was coming. Right off the bat we lost an entire table of sweaters to a steady drip that was probably working on the problem all night. Those sweaters were pretty ugly and not in the “Hey, you guys! Check out my ugly sweater!” way. They needed to go, so I guess the weather did us a favor there.
And then there was that moment when we all heard a loud crack and then a thud from somewhere above us. It wasn’t like that time someone accidentally dropped a cast-iron pot on the upper floor and those on the lower floor honestly thought a part of the building collapsed. No, we were already on the upper floor.
So, last we left John, he was somewhere in the building trying to locate the source of a mysterious leak. He was found, standing on the upper dock, staring at a slow leak and a tiny puddle. It was not a mystery at all. Just put a fucking bucket under it and move on with your life.
And the lower dock was half-flooded. Racks of clothing were hovering precariously over the puddles, threatening to reach out, touch something soggy and thus ruin any ability to sell it. When we’d left the day before, there was a large stack of boxes filled with clothing that needed to be shipped out, smartly placed on a pallet, but also up against the wall.
The exact wrong wall. Those boxes were nothing but a pile of soggy cardboard and clothing. A mess that, sometime during the night, had decided to morph into a blob that poured through pallet’s slats and touch the floor in heavy, wet clumps.
All you had to do was look up and see the waterfall coming in directly from the roof. John, the idiot, didn’t bother to notice that the leak was coming down in a part of the lower dock where there was no upper floor, just roof. In all fairness, he did usually call out on 4/20.
If anyone ever asks you why you think retail is failing, the correct response is not Amazon or online shopping. No, t’s because I worked there for six years and tanked the whole enchilada.