Tomorrow, on September the 13th 2011, my Borders store will close for good.
Of course there were days I dreaded going to work and wanted to pull my hair out, punch every customer in the face and do nothing but go to sleep in a ball in the back room. Those were the days I told most people about. Today, just once, I want to write a tribute to the good memories.
Borders was my first retail job. I had many fond memories of the store long before I worked there. My mom and I would stop by every month after orthodontist visits and I would spend all my money on manga and books. The early teen years being turbulent at best for most of us, these trips to Borders were one thing that I could always look forward to. This carried on for years. I cried when a hurricane flooded the store several years back and I happened to drive by right afterward, when they were throwing the ruined books out. Luckily, they reopened and carried on.
I began working there over two years ago. A terrified, shy little newbie who was stricken with anxiety on the best of days. On my first day, upon hearing I was new and just learning the register, a woman smiled at me and told me not to worry, that I was doing a great job. I have no idea who she was. She probably doesn’t remember me, but I definitely remember her.
But my coworkers were the real treasure. They were what made the job worth it all that time.
There was LiteraryGuy who was by far my favorite, he was so sweet and funny and made me feel welcome right away. He was the kind of person who feels like a friend from the day you meet him. I always looked forward to working with him.
There was PoliticalChick who was rather chilly and guarded with me at first (whereas she was always joking and chatting with the other employees) up until one day when we were sorting inventory together and I commented in passing about my opinion as a lesbian on the topic we were discussing, and for some reason after that day she began talking to me like she talked to the others. I loved to make fun of romance titles and fangirl about Harry Potter with her.
There was ApathyStoner who could be amusing and infuriating to work with at the same time. He did barely any work and tended to be a jerk sometimes, but at the same time he loved animals and would have very excited conversations about the most esoteric of subjects. He was also the person who told IdiotBoss to hire me.
There was SurferBoy who I would hang out with behind the counter and we would squeal about kittens and Harry Potter and baby animal pictures in magazines together, there was PhotoGirl who liked to trade war stories of life in retail (she had some great tales) and then there was RomanceWhore who was always up for making dirty jokes and making fun of Twilight together. Sure I had a few horrible co-workers (PrissyJerkass and IdiotBoss were two. One of my crowning moments of awesome was taking down PrissyJerkass during an argument.) but making fun of the bad ones with my cool co-workers was absolutely worth it.
Even when Borders is long gone, I’ll remember sorting books in the stockroom and stopping to read the backs of each one so it took me forever to finish.
I’ll remember bitching with my co-workers about our boss and corporate.
I’ll remember playing Find-The-Worst-Romance-Title. (The Playboy Sheik’s Virgin Stablegirl will always be my personal favorite.)
I’ll remember the time I sold a book to a wanted murderer who was on the run from the police.
I’ll remember the day I had to go in back and punch boxes because a customer made me so mad, to the day that a customer came in with Christmas cards for all of us.
I’ll remember PoliticalChick screaming across the store to change the CD whenever a Miley Cyrus song would come on and RomanceWhore making me laugh until I cried from her jokes and LiteraryGuy and I talking about writing and favorite books for hours.
And I’ll remember discovering a very funny book called Retail Hell, which led me to a website full of awesome people I’m proud to claim a place among. ;)
Farewell Borders. You gave me my first step to going from student to working adult. You helped me learn to put anxiety aside, helped me to appreciate what working people go through, and introduced me to a lot of people I may never speak to again, but will always remember with a fond laugh. As far as first jobs go, for all my bitching, I was pretty lucky.