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Monday, December 17, 2012


With the holiday season in full swing and numerous tv commercials urging people to part ways with their money, I have been thinking a lot about my days in retail. I worked at a very high-end mall in one of the ritziest parts of the city of Denver. In fact, it was so highfaluting that it is referred to as a Shopping Center - nothing so gauche as a mall in this neighborhood! Working in this area, I learned that what I had long suspected was true. Having money does not equal having class. It just equals more disposable income.

One of my funniest stories of mall life, however, has nothing to do with the holiday shopping crush. It happened in the summertime. I was driving to work one day, lost in my thoughts. Apparently I sort of checked out mentally when I was sitting in a left-turn lane at a red light, because the driver behind me honked. Oops. I pulled into the intersection, and then it happened. I heard a man yelling, "Get out of my way, you stupid effing female canine!" Then he drove into the side of my car.

The people who had honked at me were devastated. They felt that they had caused my accident by honking at me, which simply was not true. It was the person who drove through a red light that caused it. In fact, if I had gone into the intersection earlier, he would have crashed further back on my car. It would have gone spinning and probably hit other vehicles as well. Suddenly people were coming from all over to help me. An off duty fire department EMT was taking his kids to a nearby water park, and had decided to take a slightly different route. He got into the back seat of my car and held my head still while we waited for the ambulances and police to arrive.

I spent a few hours in the hospital trying to convince everyone I was not suffering from a concussion. In between times, I was picking crumbs of car window glass out of my back and, surprisingly, my underpants. I had a moment of hilarity when I told myself it was a good thing I had put on clean underwear in case I got into an accident. I went home on the condition that I would not work for a few days and would see my own doctor. Guess what? Resting at home is not so fun or restful when you are hurting like heck. Oh, well.

Armed with some muscle relaxers, which I had never taken before, I went back to work a couple of days later. My coworkers were happy to have me back, and were concerned for my well-being. So were my dear friends and mall-neighbors at Godiva Chocolatier directly across the way. But my coworkers also seemed a little testy. "What's up?" I asked them. I soon found out. As I mentioned earlier, this was a very ritzy shopping center. In fact, any new construction for shops that were opening soon was supposed to be done at night in order to avoid bothering the clientele. But the high-end clothing store that was going in directly next door was under construction during the day.

It wasn't just the noise. Our products were falling off the shelves from all of the pounding on the other side of the wall. This is when I learned that even prescription drugs can make you brave and stupid. I had had it. Not only were customers in our shop and others being disturbed by all of the noise, they were also being dive-bombed by products that were literally flying off of the shelves. I stomped over to the plywood construction wall and started banging on the door. Boom, boom, BOOM! Yes, kiddos, I was really angry. The door was opened by a big, tough-looking construction worker with a nail gun in his hand. "Listen," I said, "Construction is only supposed to happen here at night! Our customers can't hear a thing that's going on in our store! And all of that banging is shaking the products off of our shelves! You need to stop, and you need to stop now!"

I turned around and stomped back to my workplace. The construction noise went away immediately and completely. But I was still hearing noise. It was my neighbors at Godiva, laughing and applauding me. When I went back to my coworkers, they were amazed at my bravery. I pretty much blew it off until my drugs wore off. What had I been thinking? I had been yelling at a man at least six inches taller and seventy-five or more pounds heavier than me. And he was holding a nail gun. A loaded nail gun. Thank goodness that I had the factor of surprise in my favor! 

As I recall, we never heard another peep from the crew next door, and the time leading up to their shop's opening was uneventful. For a brief time, my foolishly brave behavior was the stuff of legend in our little section of the mall. My last few muscle relaxers did not result in any more erratic behavior or the potential of a nail in the backside. But they sure were good for a few laughs!