Tonight was my second to last night closing at work. I haven't quit, but have made the decision to return to my old stock position. It's the right thing to do. I'll get a more or less set morning schedule, more time with Dean, and more opportunities to make plans that I can keep in an effort to keep my work life and social life even more separated than they are. It's a step in the right direction.
I've grown exhausted with cleaning up after the inconsiderate masses night after night, cursing under my breath and wondering why people just can't walk in our shoes. That's not what this post is about, though. This post is about how wonderful it is to say the word 'no.'
When nine o'clock hits, our doors are closed. We keep the gates open for the last few straggling customers to make their exit, but as far as letting anyone else in--not happening. It's up to one employee to start cleaning up the front of the store while keeping guard, making sure no further patrons enter the premises. I always fight for the opportunity to be that person.
I get no greater pleasure than telling a potential customer 'no.' When they start nearing our gates at 9:05, it's up to me to chime in, "I'm sorry. We're closed for the evening." I wait for the argument, I thrive on it. When they pipe up in response, "I need to just buy one thing, is that okay?" "No. No it's not. We're closed for the evening. We open at ten tomorrow morning." I light up when I see them walk away in disappointment, mad at themselves that they couldn't have been there just six minutes earlier. Inside I'm cackling, feeling no sympathy for the stupid suckers. Their bad, dog.
I had someone approach the gates this evening, bag in hand hoping to make that one return, clearly the last stop of their evening in retail hell. They broke the threshold, my voice preventing them from progressing any further. "I'm sorry, we're closed for the evening." "Can't I do a return?" "No, no you can't. We're closed. You'll have to come back tomorrow." "Are you serious?" she asked, surprised at my lack of willingness to bend. "Yes," I responded, "We are closed and you'll have to come back tomorrow." The disappointment on her face was enough to make my entire day at that nightmare worth it.
It's been a good ride, closing shifts. These little moments of power get me through. Does it sound mean? Yeah, a little. But if you've ever worked retail, ever had to deal with those last few customers who expect you to bend over backwards--I think you know where I'm coming from.