Working in retail is probably not what I’d call my ‘dream job’. However, I’ve spent the last three years of my life working for arguably the dodgiest chain retailer (I’ll let you figure that one out yourselves, kids) in an inarguably shady part of town. As you may have been able to gather, I have witnessed some pretty hectic stuff. Much like that guy who does the Humans of New York thing, I’ve had the opportunity to meet interesting and delightful people each and every shift. Unlike that guy who does the Humans of New York thing, I’ve had to clean up pee. From people who are not children. Twice. Today, I want to acknowledge the wonderful life lessons that I’ve learnt from these characters.
Thank you to the guy that came in ten minutes after we’d closed who “just” wanted to a buy a barbeque. Which we keep locked up, in a storage crate, outside the store. To help this delightful stranger, I needed to find the key, unarm the door, unlock the crate, and then begin the time consuming return journey of moving a barbeque, alone. Barbecue Dude, I know I explained this process to you, but you clarified that it was only a barbeque, so it wouldn’t really matter that much if I worked perhaps another twenty minutes overtime to go fetch it. Thank you for teaching me how to put myself first in every situation: other people’s time is not important. Treat yo’ self.
Thank you to Python Guy for teaching me about the importance of spontaneity and living in the moment. Or if all that Dead Poet’s Society wank isn’t really your cup of tea: that illicit drugs and illegal reptiles look like a totally mental combination that everyone needs to experience at least once in their life. Because where would the fun in regular customer service be if you didn’t come into our store with a python wrapped around your neck, totally high off your face, on multiple occasions? But it’s not just me that ought to thank you; I think all our customers delight in your antics. You certainly do not exempt them from your engaging theatrics, at least. Instead, you approach these innocents while brandishing your snake at arms length and menacingly whispering, “It’s gonna get you! It’s GONNA GET YOU!” Shifts have not been the same since my manager threatened to call the cops on you, which as she highlighted, would probably expose your less than legal python situation. I will never forget you, O Captain, my Captain.
Thank you to Scooter Man for adding a dash more mystery and romanticism into my life. Until you got banned from our store for stealing, Saturday mornings were always tinged with the anticipation of your arrival. Having seen Lizzy McGuire ride around Rome on a red Vespa in The Lizzy McGuire Movie as a kid, seeing you glide into the store on your blazing red mobility scooter made me think that I should probably abandon Australia and go live in Europe for the remainder of my life. Each time was the same – you were here to buy a week’s supply of track pants – but I’d still be forced to lean in and listen to your softly spoken directions every weekend. It was a charming, albeit unsettling, routine. You may be gone from my life now, but the air of mystery that surrounded you remains with me. Why did you need so many track pants? How did you hide so many pants in the little compartments of your scooter? What happened to last week’s batch? (This is the answer I fear the most.) Most importantly, where do you get them now?
Lastly, thank you to the dudes who tried to steal a trampoline that was on display just outside our store. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t actually mean that we value this item any less. But I suppose you minimised the distance to your getaway vehicle in a very small way, so kudos to you, you master sleuths. Unfortunately, the trampoline was also unboxed and fully set up. This was less of a good idea: you did not get far. But thank you, Trampoline Guys, for being shining beacons of optimism and opportunism in our bleak, meticulously planned world. You have taught me to follow my heart; if I want a trampoline, I should just go for it. Carpe diem, people.