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The Kayak And The Sinking Feeling

, , , , | Right | July 31, 2022

When I was in high school, I worked for a midsized retail company. My particular store was located near a state park and got super busy during the summers.

On one such busy summer afternoon, a couple came in looking to buy a kayak. The kayak was brought around to the front of the store, so it was all ready for them to purchase and go. Right as it was time for them to check out, we got hit with the lunchtime rush, and the entire checkout area was crowded with customers and staff.

All of a sudden, someone realized that the couple was taking off into the parking lot with their kayak.

Coworker: “Hey, did they pay for that?”

Front End Supervisor: “No, I didn’t see them come through any of the registers.”

My manager happened to be hanging out near the front, so he set off after them into the parking lot. Apparently finding themselves caught in their ruse, they surrendered the kayak and took off.

My manager came back with the kayak. Usually, this would go straight back to storage or display, but it was still super busy, so instead, he just puts the kayak upright in our returns section which was a couple of shelves at the far end of the registers.

We continued checking folks out and trying to clear the crowd. Folks were a bit grumpy and looking to get out of the store, and we were all just scrambling to keep up with everything. The front-end supervisor was running back and forth getting prices and returning damaged or rejected goods. As she went to return one such item to the return section, she knocked into the kayak.

I was in the process of checking out a customer but looked up when I heard a loud bang and crack. The kayak was now resting against one of the giant panes of glass that made up the front of the store. The whole busy storefront collectively held its breath as we looked at this enormous kayak resting against the front window. And then, suddenly, just a couple of seconds after the first crash, the kayak broke through the window, completely shattering the enormous pane of glass and falling to the ground.

My supervisor looked absolutely dumbstruck and terrified while everyone else just looked on in shock. Luckily, no one was injured, and not much was damaged aside from the one window, but I’ll never forget how a couple of attempted thieves did far more damage than they might have ever imagined by trying to make off with an entire kayak during a busy summer day.

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