Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered

Not Very Closed Minded: The Finale

, , , | Right | March 8, 2021

Our branch is closing down for good. The staff were notified of this a good two months or so before the closing date, and we were quick to start advertising this to the public. Our front glass windows and doors were plastered in “CLOSING DOWN” signs, we held several sales to get rid of as much stock as possible, and we made sure we mentioned this in person to as many customers as we could. In the run up to the store closing, we had so many conversations like this it made my head spin.

Customer: “Where are you moving to?”

Manager: “We’re closing, not moving.”

Customer: “Oh. So when are you reopening?”

Manager: “We’re not.”

Customer: “I know, but you’ll be open again somewhere, right?”

Manager: *Sighs*

Some variation of this happened several times a day, to the point where I actually had to step into the stock cupboard for a moment and stifle a scream into my shirt. A day or two before we closed, a young customer was pushing through the sea of customers grabbing things from our heavily advertised “CLOSING DOWN” sale.

Young Customer: “Hi, I was wondering…”

He pulled out a resume and slid it across the counter to me.

Young Customer: “Do you guys have any jobs going at all?”

Me: “I… we’re… We don’t have any jobs left here ourselves.”

He blinked and looked around the store in surprise.

Young Customer: “Oh! You’re closing down?”

I thought the worst of it was over when the fated day finally arrived and our store officially closed for business. I showed up that morning out of uniform, just like the rest of the team. By the time I got there, it was about nine am and whatever was left of the sale stock had already been boxed away, leaving masses of empty shelving units. Cardboard boxes were scattered everywhere. Posters and signs were in the middle of being taken down. Workmen were in the process of taking apart the counter — literally dissembling the entire counter — which meant the tills and computers had been disconnected and removed. A large white van was parked outside the front doors, which were propped open so that the workmen could carry things in and out.

Naively, I had faith that anybody passing by would see the white van, the workmen, the signs plastered in the windows, and the bone-bare interior of the once-bustling store, and come to the sensible conclusion that maybe — JUST MAYBE — we weren’t open for business. Oh, no.

A customer wandered in through the open doors before pausing and looking up in surprise.

Customer #1: “Oh. You’re not open?”

Me: *Sitting on the floor taping up a cardboard box* “No?”

Customer #1: “Oh. I only wanted [Movie]. You haven’t still got it, have you?”

Me: “You’re kidding.”

He left, still looking bewildered. Customers #2 through #4 arrived in the same manner, wandering cluelessly in through the doors before acknowledging that we maybe weren’t able to serve them.

I was growing increasingly frustrated with the sheer stupidity of each and every person who did this, and as I no longer had my job to worry about, I was rapidly running out of patience. One of the services the store used to offer was a trade-in service for pre-owned DVDs, CDs, and games; the standard exchange was for cash or store credit. Yet another customer wandered a few feet into the store before stopping.

Customer #5: “Oh, you guys actually did close.”

Coworker: “What, you didn’t think we would?”

Customer #5: “Well… I mean… I wanted to trade in these DVDs.”

She held up a stack of movies.

Customer #5: “I know you’re closed, but can I still trade these in?”

Coworker: “Lady, we literally don’t have a till to put them through. We can’t give you anything for them and we’ve got enough overstock as it is!”

Customer #5: “Can I just give them to you, then?”

Coworker: “No!”

We were all so tense by that point, because we couldn’t just shut the doors to keep the idiots out; the workmen needed a clear route to carry heavy objects in and out. My manager got so fed up, though, that he grabbed a rope divider we used to use to rope off our upper floor and stuck that in front of the doors, figuring he’d remove it if the builders needed to get through.

Barely twenty seconds after he’d roped off the door, a family of about five people suddenly clustered into the doorway, trying to push past to see into the store.

Woman: “What’s happened here?!”

Me: “We’ve closed.”

Woman: “You’ve closed?! But we came all the way from [Area barely ten minutes away] just to shop here!”

Younger Woman: “When are you reopening?”

Me: “Oh, my God.”

The woman started grabbing at the divider as if she was going to tear it open.

Woman: “We came all this way and you’re closing? We wouldn’t have wasted a trip if we’d known!”

Me: “We’ve had signs up for months.”

Manager: “It doesn’t have to be a wasted trip; you can come in and help us pack up.”

Woman: *Spluttering angrily* “I don’t want to pack up! I want DVDs!”

My manager just started laughing and turned away from them. I went upstairs at that point because I just couldn’t bear to witness any more stupidity that blatant for the rest of the day. Apparently, several more people tried to come in while I was up there, and by the time the doors were shut and I came down to help with the cleaning, I’d lost count of the people who tried to tug the doors open. Even now, years later, just thinking about this gives me heartburn.