I’m pushing my broom around and find a giant splat of brilliant orange vomit in children’s apparel. I don’t begrudge the customer for leaving without asking for a clean-up. If I had a sick child, my first priority would be his or her care, too. I’m simply impressed at how bright the vomit’s orange is. Picture a diet of nothing but cheesy-poofs and orange pop spilled onto a floor as white as a blank webpage.
Well, admiration never fixed anything. I stick a ‘wet floor’ sign on either side on the cosmic impact, blocking as short a section of aisle as I can, and off I go to get the mop.
It turns out it’s way over in Photography. (This is in the dark ages before everyone had a digital camera or camera-phone. Yes, even before fail compilations, back when the chief after-school amusement was throwing rocks at sabretooth cats. We lost a lot of good friends that way… turns out the cats don’t like having rocks thrown at them.) So, a bit delayed, I hurry back with a mop and bucket.
A woman has moved my wet floor signs and pushed her cart straight through the large splatter of cartoonishly bright vomit.
She’s moseyed right through the lumpy middle of it, taking little slow steps to maximize the number of disgusting footprints she is now leaving behind. All four of her cart’s wheels are leaving matching snail trails, too.
Big problems first: I tackle the chief splatter, with step one being to put the ‘wet floor’ signs back where I left them. Barf Lady gives me a stink-eye every now and again while I work. (Perhaps I’m supposed to apologize for failing to nail the signs in place?)
Eventually, I reach the last step: mopping up Barf Lady’s trail. She’s moving slowly enough that I catch up and start swiping up the prints as soon as she and her shopping cart wheels leave them. We make eye contact once, so I smile sheepishly and apologize, as if her inability to avoid tracking puke around is somehow my fault.
She says nothing, does nothing, except to sneer a little harder and turn wordlessly back to the tiny, adorable outfits hanging up — none of which she takes and most of which were still accessible before she moved the signs. Indeed, I plunk the signs as close to the vomit as I can precisely to avoid tempting customers into the splash zone.
Things are pretty awkward, but if I go do the stuff I’m supposed to be doing, Barf Lady’s pumpkin-coloured tracks will get stepped in and tracked all over. Instead, I keep mopping up her mess as she makes it, getting stink-eyes until her shoes and cart wheels mercifully run out. Then I rush off to resume the set list.
Boss was not pleased that I dropped my list to clean up the nuclear mess, but at least she didn’t mention a complaint from a customer. Perhaps Barf Lady was too stupid to lodge one, as well as too stupid to avoid stepping in a giant blast of technicolour puke?