At 5:00pm EST, I, Kat Richter, quit my day job. “It’s been a pleasure,” Head Boss said as I handed over my keys to the change drawer. That was, presumably, my cue to say, “Likewise,” but of the many phrases I would use to describe the past six months, “a pleasure” is not one of them. Instead, I mumbled “Thanks” and headed to the break room to clear out my locker and say my goodbyes.
My last day including two pseudo-celebrity sightings: the CEO and the new General Manager of The Shop from Corporate (who spent the afternoon lecturing Head Boss on the arrangement of the yarn section. Did you know, by the way, that Vanna White has a yarn line? Well she does, and according to the new GM, all the “Vanna’s Touch” labels must be lined up properly to face the same way at all times, thereby gracing the knitters of South Philadelphia with one thousand tiny Vanna’s and her airbrushed smile).
“It’ll never happen” I told Good Cop when he relayed the news of the visit. “Is he insane?” It is hard enough to keep the yarn in the correct bins, let alone lined up properly. Even if the evening cashiers manage to get everything cleaned up after the shoppers have had their way with things, the skeins get up to dance in the middle of the night spending dusk till dawn jumping across the aisles from one bin to another.
The eco-friendly yarn brands are particularly troublesome. I’ve caught them hurling themselves from the top shelves by the dozen (although, given that recycling is a foreign concept at The Shop, I cannot fault them for their suicidal tendencies).
“He’s from somewhere down south,” Good Cop explained. So not insane after all —worse. A southerner!
For those of you unfamiliar with the eccentricities that comprise the great American South, think “Gone with the Wind” before the abolition of slavery: all “Yes ma’am,” “No ma’am” and shining, sparkling plantation homes. If Scarlett O’Hara had deigned to knit, you can be sure Mammy would have kept her Vanna’s Touch properly arranged.
Although the world of “Gone with the Wind” has, well, gone, the American south still says “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am” (and then goes on to populate Congress with ignorant, xenophobic, war-hawks but at least they say “Please” and “Thank you”).
And despite the obvious linguistic connection between the American South and South Philadelphia, they could not be more different. As I shook the new GM’s hand and smiled my best, “Yes, I LOVE working here!” smile, I couldn’t help but relish the fact that he is in for a very rude awakening.
Oddly enough, as I clocked out for the very last time, I found myself somewhat sad to leave. I had devised a brilliant and elaborate plan for the torching of my regulation polo shirt but then I realized that one of my co-workers could use an extra for those days when doing laundry is just not an option. And even though there was a brief (alright, not so brief) time when I hated everyone and everything about The Shop, my six months in retail have expanded my horizons.
I will have to pick up another job eventually (in fact, I recently interviewed for a position that might uplift rather than destroy my soul, so fingers crossed…) but in keeping with the Scarlett O’Hara theme “I won’t think about it today. I’ll think about it tomorrow,” because tomorrow, I leave for London.