My obsession with retail did not only just begin in my early 20’s but indeed when I was only a wee lass of 5 or 6. In the late 80’s early 90’s the technology was obviously not as advanced and for my parents or grandparents to pick up a simple prescription at their local Eckerd’s or Walgreens was not the quick 30 minute wait it is today, but instead could take up to what felt as if several hours of tortuous waiting.
Luckily in that less technology led to less social media, leading to less obvious mom-shaming in your face day in and out, which meant more freedom for me to roam the aisles. As one would predict I would always find myself gazing upon a fixture wall of cheap multi-colored plastic, produced in Japan, and up-priced by 800%. The aisle would be in total and absolute dissaray, and my heart would skip in eager anticipation. The toys were not my concern, the merchandising was. I took great delight each and every visit, each and every time organizing the aisle. It would drive my mother nuts, “that’s someone’s job,” she would urge. Perhaps they sucked at their job, perhaps they anticipated my bi-weekly arrival, whatever the case I was in Heaven.
Today when I walk into a store of disarray I feel it through my entire being, the urge, the want, the craving, the need. My husband will look over to me already knowing where my mind is, “It’s not your job.” My pulse quickens, my arms fill with chills, and my fingers began to twitch so eagerly that I have to place them in fists or if conveniently available my pocket. Even if I can restrain my hands, my mind is left to wander. My eyes are lustfully gazing down the rows and rows of disorder, just urging me for a quick taste, perhaps straighten an item here, fold a T-Shirt there. There becomes a systematic plan that begins to formulate of how I could flip this store in a day. I am suddenly overcome with nostalgia for the years that I served as a traveling manager, going to stores and offering them a facelift and a series of helpful strategies for success.
Going home to Midland is when I’m at my worst. Why work retail when you can roughneck for 40k, 50k, or possibly even 100k more a year? It is difficult to find employees at all, much less your pick of the litter. Every store I visit there looks something like this. This picture in particular is not taken during a Black Friday, or Saturday rush. But instead this picture was taken on a lazy Tuesday afternoon in October. I want so badly to help them, but the issue is one that I ran into myself as a district manager with all West Texas stores. But,despite the struggles, these moments do always make me take a moment to ponder my path, and the direction my life is presently taking.
Submitted to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge
Originally Posted August 27, 2016