Welcome To The Inconvenience Store

, , , , , , , | Working | June 8, 2020

While in college, I work from 5:00 pm to 1:00 am at a 24/7 gas station by myself. The person that works the shift following mine is supposed to come in at 12:30 am to take over the register while I count out my drawer and complete shift paperwork before clocking out.

Unfortunately, the person that most frequently works that shift tends to be fifteen to forty-five minutes late. This isn’t a major issue because, on average, it only takes me ten to fifteen minutes to complete my drawer count and paperwork, and if there aren’t any customers around, I can pull my drawer while I wait for my coworker to get in. 

One night, she calls me around 12:30 to let me know she is running late. She either overslept or had to mediate some argument between her daughter and husband; these were the usual excuses and I can’t remember which happened this time. At this point, she has to shower and get dressed before leaving her house and ends up not getting in until almost 3:00 am. This is annoying, of course, as I have homework to do and classes to get up for the next day. It also ends up causing panic for my roommate.

The store I work for has a strict no-cell-phones policy; if the cameras catch me with my phone I will be fired on the spot. I can use the store phone, but I don’t have my roommate’s number memorized so I have no way of notifying him that I am running late. I assume he’ll either be asleep or realize it is a case of my usual coworker issues. I am wrong.

Not long before my coworker finally arrives, my roommate realizes I am unusually late and attempts to call my cell phone several times. When I don’t answer, instead of looking up my store number, he looks up the number for the police department in town and calls there to have someone check on me. In his worry, that makes sense, but it causes an escalation of events.

I have established a friendship with several of the officers in town that work the night shift. As I am a young woman working alone at night, they make an effort to check on me at least once per night, more often if they have time, sometimes opting to take their breaks at my store to keep an eye on things.

This relationship, combined with the fact that my roommate didn’t think to mention he’d only called my cell phone and the officer that responded assuming the store was called, results in an officer I know well speeding into the parking lot with lights flashing just after 3:00 am. He parks in front of the door, runs into the store, not even closing his car door behind him, sees me safe behind the counter, and starts shouting at me, “Answer your g**d*** phone! Your roommate is worried! I have four squad cars on the way; what the h*** are you doing here?!”

He promptly runs to his car to call off his backup while my recently arrived coworker and I share confused looks.

It is nice to know people are looking out for me, but it certainly makes for a startling end to my very long shift. Moving forward, I have made sure to have my roommate’s number readily available and I have given him my store number for emergencies.

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