One Friday morning not too long ago, I think I inadvertently surprised and, most likely, upset a shop employee. Honestly, I didn’t mean to do it.
I needed one or two inexpensive plastic containers for my beads. I wasn’t sure if the store had opened yet, but I decided to walk down there and find out. What I found were two ladies standing on the sidewalk in front of the store. “Is the store open?” I asked. They frowned, and one of them mumbled something. Uh, oh, they didn’t speak English. Or maybe they just weren’t speaking it to me.
I peeked through the door. The interior looked dark, so I figured the store wasn’t open yet. However, the lighting there is dismal, anyway, so I tugged at the door. Not locked. I pulled it open and saw a shop employee (SE) stacking up toys near the register. She frowned and told me the store didn’t open until 10 a.m. I was ten minutes early. I thought, Hey, if you’re not open, keep the door locked. I started to close the door, but she told me come in.
I walked in, followed by the women who probably just assumed they were included in the invitation. I don’t think SE noticed them standing behind me. She didn’t look happy to see them. I suspect that SE is probably well acquainted with them.
Supposedly, the store is one of those dollar-type places; however, items generally sell for between one and five dollars. Although I’ve found a few good things there (like inexpensive plastic containers), most of the merchandise isn’t the best quality. The displays are drab, dingy, and disorganized. And the place could use a good scrubbing.
The immediate neighborhood is composed of members of one ethnic group who, I would guess, are mostly low income folks. The store owners are members of another ethnic group. I would bet that the owners are not neighborhood residents.
The majority of the store’s customers are neighborhood residents. Every time I shop there, I notice one or two customers and/or their offspring tossing merchandise around or dropping it where it doesn’t belong. Their behavior always reminds me of the several times I worked at retail jobs and seemed to be constantly picking up discarded merchandise and putting it back where it belonged. That was a never-ending job.
I suspect that maybe, just maybe, the owners of the neighborhood store intentionally keep the store drab, dingy, and disorganized. Maybe they think the neighborhood residents wouldn't “appreciate” a clean store. No matter how many times the store was cleaned up, shoppers would just trash it again, and again, and again.