I had my first melt down at work last week. A full year in the month and I managed to hold out this long. I survived the Christmas season, I survived nights of angry, unhappy, and vengeful people. I don’t normally post about my miserable experiences in retail, but this story must be told.
I went into work feeling good. It was going to be a good day. In fact, it was a good day. I was in full humor and ahead of schedule for my closing duties. So what made this incident so special? It was the last hour. One could say this woman tipped the scale, but it would be more accurate to say she kicked it over and then stomped on it for good measure. At that point, I just stopped caring–about her, about retail, about chores or customers or the last hour dragging by like a lame sea lion. I got her out of my line, and I made it. As soon as she was gone, I couldn’t hold it together any longer, but it wasn’t like I could run off to an empty aisle to compose myself. No, I had a whole rush of last-minuters to contend with. Now this is why I hate retail–no one noticed. I have been deathly ill, I have been falling asleep on my feet, I have been in shaking in pain, and now I have been in the middle of an emotional melt down, and no one noticed a damn thing even though they had front row seats to me falling apart. Well, one woman noticed.
I finally got to the last customer. I’m wiping my eyes on my sleeves and trying to sound cheerful and pleasant, because the show must go on. This little Hispanic woman lays her items on my counter. I ring them up. I go through my standard speel. She starts to pay for the items. But then she stops and says to me,
Oh, you have allergies?
… … …
“Yep,” I told her. “I have terrible allergies.” Damn, awful allergies. Every damn day.
Fanny T Crispin