A Retail Rumble

As part of my somewhat interesting day-job work history, I spent several months working in a grocery store owned by one of the country’s largest retail operations. I have a ton of respect for anyone who works in this business and stays in it long-term. By no means is it fun. However there were several memorable moments working with a few comedians which I cherish.

On one particular evening, I was working the produce counter with one of the other full-time staffers and a local high-school student who was known for his basketball prowess. I remember being dead tired and exhausted likely from working several odd shifts in a row. This particular night these two clowns put on one of the greatest shows that I would ever see in a workplace.

The high school student was asked by our supervisor  to stack empty boxes on top of the cooler. So for the better part of a couple of hours this staffer was throwing boxes up on top of this large cooler. A few times I ducked into the back and would see this gradual building of columns of these empty boxes grow larger.  Several of these boxes were sitting right on the edge of the cooler. So they were within reach of most people walking by.

This other full-timer had been out working the sales floor and occasionally ducking into the back. When the part-timer completed his task he came out to tell me the stacking of boxes was complete. As he is doing this, Mr. full-timer comes out from behind the back door with a broomstick in hand. He looks at the part-time and tells him he is not done stacking boxes.

I knew what was coming.

The part-timer looked up in puzzlement, saying “but I just completed them”.

Mr. full-timer then raised the broom handle up high, proclaiming “you need to pick up these boxes”.

At this point all you see is the door flying closed behind Mr. full-timer and the arm raised high. Mr. part-timer was quickly following. A split second later I (as well as half the store) heard the thundering sound of several boxes toppling over to the floor. I remember standing there completely unsure of how to go about my next task. For several minutes I stood there frozen trying to get my composure. About 5 minutes later Mr. full-timer comes running past me, narrowly missing the bucket of mop water that was headed towards his head courtesy of Mr. part-timer, who barely missed running head-first into the Manager on duty.

Working retail is of course no laughing matter. Many people do it, many have done it. I salute everyone who has kept up with it for so long. Surely there would be a few stories like this worthy of a few book pages. I will wonder about the kinds of stories people could tell.


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