I have fond memories of retail, which is strange because retail is horrible, soul destroying work that exposes you to the very worst aspects of American culture and society. I worked for a now defunct (but then major) video game retailer in one of the busiest malls on the yellow and blue lines on the DC metro.
Let me paint a background picture.
My store number is one seven six. My identification number for logging into my register is seven seven seven three zero. It takes me 30 minutes to get to work, but it takes me 47 minutes to get home if I catch the train right as I leave work. If you purchase a game for $49.99 it will ring up at $52.24 after Virginia taxes.
The empty boxes sitting on the shelves are “guts” which is short for gutted. The game discs are sitting in a locked shelf behind me. I have a key for that drawer, even though I’m not supposed to have one. I still attempt to alphabetize the games on the walls, mainly because I’m the only one who knows how to alphabetize properly. Lately it’s more of a losing battle as some of my coworkers and most of our customers feel that you alphabetize the word, “The.”
On a wall in the back room we have polaroids of banned customers. There is a shrink wrap machine and a heat gun which I have never, ever used for personal purposes to return things as new to other stores. In this room, the walls are hidden behind shelves which are filled with inventory. Some of it leans towards the center of the room.
We are in an informal competition with the girls who run the Arden B. on the second floor. Every day we try to close a little earlier than each other. They are winning.
I know the bank girls on a first name basis, the tellers that give us our change. On a slow day, we’ll have thousands of dollars in cash for deposit that evening. On a good day, well, on a good day, the money is obscene. My register is never “short.”
The uniform is khaki pants and a black company shirt, although I get away with wearing a short sleeve button down black shirt from Banana Republic and a name tag. This is against company policy.
Also, my name tag does not have my real name on it. This is also against company policy.
I help open the store at 9am, on Saturday mornings. Counting the register and tidying up the store if the closers did a poor job. Tuesday nights after my day job, I help on the register and generally do a poor job of closing the store. Full Disclosure: I work Tuesday nights because that’s the day that new games are released.
I have some stories for you.