I worked for several years at a now-defunct bookstore, the name of which sounds roughly like "hoarders". I could write a book about the emotional trauma this place inflicted on me, but there's one story that sticks out above the rest. Mostly because the memory comes back to haunt me each & every Easter.
This bookstore was an anchor store in a shopping mall. We had a main entrance that led directly outside, so folks could come inside our store without having to actually enter the mall. At the back of the store there were doors that led into the mall. This is important for later.
So, it's Easter Sunday, several years ago, and our bookstore happens to be the only store in the entire mall with plans to be open. There are giant signs on every mall entrance declaring this fact. Those of us with the unfortunate luck of having been scheduled on that day (myself included), watched as countless people tried to enter directly into the mall, and only read the GIANT SIGNS after being unable to open the locked doors. Hell-bent on shopping, they would notice our lights on and scurry over to our windows to glare at us with pinched faces, as we prepared to open.
By the time 10 am (our opening time) rolled around, we had a large crowd waiting outside. We should have known something was amiss. In modern-day America, there is rarely a crowd waiting for a bookstore to open. I took my place in the music department, which is the section in the back of the store right where the mall doors were. We opened the front doors. The large crowd filtered in, and most headed right into the music department, right to the mall entrance doors, where they were greeted by another giant sign, explaining, again, that the rest of the mall was closed.
Because surely this was just some sort of witch-craft. Surely all of those GIANT SIGNS which they had previously encountered outside, explaining that the mall was closed were lies. They thought they were clever...that they had somehow discovered the "secret entrance" we were keeping all to ourselves. I watched, becoming ever more jaded as group after group walked up to the doors, only to act surprised that the doors were locked. I think that was the moment I lost hope that our species would ever have the capacity for critical thinking.
Then it happened. I was cleaning the music listening stations, and observed an elderly gentleman approach the doors. He stopped & stared at the "closed" sign in a bit of a slack-jawed manner. Then he approached me & asked why the doors were locked. I explained, in a polite way, the reasons. Noticing I was cleaning, he attempted to hand me his glasses and said "Why don't you clean these."
I made a skilled attempt at feigned laughter.
"Here is an Easter egg for your Easter," he said. I took the egg and thanked him, almost feeling hopeful that all was not lost.
That is, until he turned to walk away, and I heard him mutter under his breath, "I hope you choke."
Now, let's be clear. In retail, I've had basically every insult possible thrown at me, mostly by self-entitled people who lack the common understanding that I'm merely a pawn in the maze of corporate dictates. But this old man, well, he threw me a curve ball. I stood, holding the cursed Easter egg, while the old man got headed upstairs on the escalator & turned around to watch me as he ascended. After the shock faded, I walked to the nearest trash can and threw it away, as he watched.
These were the days when I was still a bit tender, so it took me a few minutes to get angry. Then I called my manager. She too got angry. We searched the store for him, but he was nowhere to be found. At this point I felt like I was in David Lynch movie...all that creepiness.
That is the story of my Easter trauma. May all of your chocolate-bearing customers also come bearing love.
--Ol' Callous Heart