In case you’ve been living in a cave, there are some strange people in this world. As a post retirement job, I worked for a large home improvement retailer – in other words, a magnetic Mecca for “different people.”
The second day on the job, I’m trying to help a husband and wife that are shopping for a replacement toilet. They can’t agree. They really can’t agree. They become annoyed with each other. They start screaming at each other. I left right before the fistfight. (This was not a situation covered during orientation.)
A sweet old lady walked into the appliance department and every other associate disappeared, leaving me to talk to her. She was even older than me, (yeah, it is possible, barely,) wearing a long blond Halloween fright wig, an Antebellum hat, and about three layers of mismatched clothing. She wanted to buy a high end washer and dryer. OK – except as I found out later, she lived in her car. I talk – and talk – and can’t get rid of her. I look for help to escape, but all I see is other employees snickering in the distance. In desperation to preserve my remaining sanity, I paged myself to “report immediately to the service desk.”
One day I’m outside taking a break, leaning against the cart rack. A guy comes out of the store carrying three landscape timbers that are each eight feet long. He securely straps them down – sideways – across the back of his Harley Soft Tail. (That’s a motorcycle.)
During another break in the parking lot, a guy comes out, unloads his basket into the back of his pickup, turns and as violently as possible, sends the basket careening in the general direction of the cart corral in the next aisle over. I’m thinking, “what a jerk.” But – there is sometimes justice in this world. As he backs up and turns to leave, the poorly aimed cart bounces off the corral, swings around, and with a little slope in the parking lot to help, rams into the door of his brand new Ford F350 that’s still wearing dealer tags. Even from 40 feet away, the dent was clearly noticeable. He never stopped, just gunned it and took off. I returned the avenging cart to the corral and gave it a “good boy!” pat.
I dealt with some of the high end custom home builders that occasionally brought by some “interesting” projects. On one high end house, there was a dedicated cat litter room off the kitchen with “people” access from a door into the garage. The “feline” access was through an electrically opened cat door in the kitchen wall triggered by the cat’s collar. Inside there was a motion detector to turn on the lights and an exhaust fan while the litter room was in use by the very pampered pet. Some people have way too much money.
Like all retailers, we had our share of shoplifters. Some of their schemes were pretty subtle. But – some weren’t. One day we had a ‘runner.’ A guy grabbed a high end portable tool set and took off for the door. Our policy is not to chase them – too much chance for a dangerous confrontation. Besides, we had more security cameras than a casino. So – we just call the police and give them the videos. In this case, it wasn’t necessary because as the guy ran through the door, he looked back to see if anyone was chasing him – and ran full tilt into a passing police car in the parking lot. Easy arrest.
Two guys in a pickup stopped by the outdoor tool rental display, loaded a high end trencher in the back of the truck, and sped off. All of it was on video, complete with the license plate. We called the police and they made a very quick arrest less than a mile down the freeway. It seems the guys had picked up a nail in our parking lot – and were on the side of the freeway changing the flat tire. A helpful patrol car had stopped behind them to keep traffic from running over them. When the license number was broadcast, the officers were looking at the truck ten feet in front of them.
This was the first time in my life I’d ever worked retail. If you’ve never had the experience, I highly recommend, for your mental health, that you avoid it like the plague!