I used to work footwear in a sportswear retailer in Scotland.
There we were, straightening up shelves, making sure the place was tidy, and getting ready for closing.
I was taking the excess stock into the storeroom, when i smelt it. The ocean.
Too bad we’re landlocked in glasgow. Something wasn’t right. As i got to the back of the storeroom, I could feel the smell getting stronger. I got to the back and there was nothing. Smell wasn’t there. I went to the window and opened it. No smell. I thought this was weird, so I closed the window and turned around. The smell was back.
I’m fighting back tears, as the fishy smell grows into the most obnoxious stench i’ve ever come across. My radio screeches and i almost jump out of my skin.
It’s my coworker, j, asking for a pair of shoes for a customer. I grab them, with my face buried in my shirt and walk out. I found the source of the smell.
Sitting, waiting on his shoes, in full on wellies and a yellow flourescent jacket, was a fishmonger. My god, the smell permeated the entire shop and dug itself deep into my soul.
I fight through the smell towards the man and hand off the shoes to j. It’s quiet so i hang around as well to lend a hand if needed, holding back retches. As if the smell wasn’t bad, what came next was forever burned into my memory.
He took off his wellies to reveal a pair of bright pink feet, with large chunks of skin hanging off. I wanted to scream. We had a policy, where you can’t try shoes on without socks, so we sell a cheap pair of 50p socks so you can try shoes on. As we go to frantically explain this, he jams his foot into the shoe he’s trying. This would mean he has to take them even if they don’t fit, because we can’t sell them due to a health hazard.
Thankfully, he loves the fit and decides to take them. We allow him to wear them out if he likes, so long as he takes the box to be scanned for payment. He pays and on the way out, he decides to leave his wellies in the shoebox beside us. I chase him down and give him it back. He wants us to dispose of it, but we can’t. Our policy is to let customers leave the shop with their old gear. Avoids liabilities. He”s understanding, and off he goes, to enjoy the world and pollute some other poor souls airways.
We all gather at the farthest point in the shop to get a breather and have a chuckle about the smell amongst ourselves and a couple of customers. Nice enough guy, but he left a wee bit of an impression.
We get back to closing up, and not 5 minutes later, the smell returned. Mr Fishybreeks is back, but not so jolly, now. He wants to exchange his new shoes for another pair. We tell him we can’t but he persists. We have to alert our supervisor, who (i giess just to get rid of the guy) says it’s fine to do so, and asks for his reciept. He hasn’t got it. We clock on, he hasn’t got the shoebox either. We ask where both are, and he says he”s thrown them in a bin. We just flat out tell him we can do absolutely nothing for him. He just walks out and we never see him again.
TL;DR: Fishmonger almost suffocates us, reveals unknown horrors to us, leaves happy, comes back mad, leaves mad.