Retail Blunder


Having worked for a large retailer for many years has given me an inside look into the insanity of working in a chaotic environment. The surreal things that happen each day are hard to believe, but, yes they really do happen.

I started writing a book a few years ago, about a group of people who work in a similar situation, only different. When I first started this project I thought, novel, now I think a series of short stories, about the store, may do it justice, and be more exciting for the reader.  Right now I don’t have a name for the book it self, but the title of each story stands on it’s own.

Since I’m new to blogging I’ve read that writing a post too long can bore people, and they stop reading. My stories will be split into different days, part one tonight, part two tomorrow…etc. What do you think, do people get bored if it’s too long? Feedback please.

With each story I write, I learn more, try to do a better job at editing and always try to add an element of fun. If the characters were ordinary, that just wouldn’t be me.


Walking through the doors made me nauseous as hell, and made me think of those bathrooms at the back of gas stations. Rusty door with a lock that doesn’t work, dim lightning, and a garbage can overflowing with used everything.

Poppers, was a chain of discount stores, thriving on the obsession the public had, with getting the best for less. It always made me laugh to think about that, especially when we saw some of the stuff that came through the back door. Then again, what came through the front doors didn’t look all that different either.

Every Wednesday we had a regular customer by the name of Tommy pays us a visit. He called him self “Old Tommy,” but we figured he couldn’t have been more than mid fifties. He was a skinny little man, slightly hunched over, and he could move faster than Brad the check out boy.

His claim to fame was being knocked over by a rampaging elephant when he visited the zoo as a youngster. He told the story on a regular basis, especially when children were present. Their eyes would grow as big as hubcaps and their mouths would drop open, releasing unpaid for jawbreakers. Tommy’s voice would lower to a hush just as he got to the part where the elephant stepped on him. Most of the youngsters listening would put their hands over their face and scrunch their eyes closed, for fear they might actually be sucked back to Tommy’s fateful day. The majority of customers shopping ignored him but the mother’s whose children were being entertained could not have been more grateful. Every one of us had heard so many different versions of the story we were never sure which one he was going to pick.

My favourite was the one where the hippo and the elephant were having a race and he got jammed in the middle on his way to buy feed for the flamingos. Go figure, who would have thought feeding the birds could be hazardous to your health. Barry, the store manager liked the episode when Tommy was on a field trip with his class. Out of all the kids, he had been chosen to help feed the elephants. What the zookeeper had neglected to tell them, was that the gigantic beast had cataracts and apparently thought Tommy was a large potato. Hilda, the largest of the elephants wrapped her trunk around Tommy and was preparing to sample him. Tommy screamed, the teacher fainted, and the zookeeper got the pink slip.

to be continued…


4 responses »

  1. That’s a great beginning!
    For me, there is a tension between writing something short that people are more likely to read and something longer that has more substance. I usually aim for 1000 words in my longer posts, with an upper limit of 1500, although I have done more on occasion. I think more than boredom, most people just don’t have time to read a very long blog post. I think installments are the best way. I’m looking forward to Tommy, Part 2. 🙂

  2. Hi Marilyn. To answer your call for feedback on the length of posts, personally I don’t mind how long a post is: the prerequiste, however, is the quality of what I’m reading. Too many mistakes, or writing that just doesn’t engage me, and I won’t make it to the end. I read to the end of this Tommy post. 🙂 Thanks for coming by my blog, by the way.

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