Sears plunge prompts a memory post
Posted on December 27, 2011
So according to the article in the Chicago Tribune and most other media outlets Sears stock took a major dump and the Illinois-based company is closing over 100 stores.
When I was a teen I worked in a Sears, in Calumet City, Ill. (near the Indiana border). What a bunch of tossers I dealt with – and I’m not talking about customers. For awhile I worked in the paint department with a chap named Wayne who looked like a cross between a mentally-disabled Roy Scheider and a blank-staring Woody Allen.
Wayne had issues. He thought dogs were speaking to him. He said, “Liffey, dogs talk to me.” Our co-worker Grace, a middle-aged Mexican woman, didn’t help matters (and maybe started them) by phoning our department from an office and barking whenever Wayne answered.
Wayne had a wife and kid, who would eventually leave him, but I think he swung a few different ways. It appeared he had a crush on a friend of mine, Rich. He often asked when Rich was gonna visit the store and when he did, “would he be wearing shorts?”
Once I was doing stock and Wayne came in the back and said he couldn’t deal with customers anymore and wanted to go home. I threw an empty box at his head and he locked himself in the employee bathroom. A security guard talked him out and drove him home.
There’s a lot more of Wayne, but I’m saving it for a book (more on that in a future post).
I also worked with Mel, a fifty-something cross between Al Bundy and Det. Andy Sipowicz from “NYPD Blue.” He was a retail dinosaur. Back in the day Mel was the kind of asshole who worked a cash register with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Mel worked in lawn and garden and got more frazzled than he already was when he was by himself and surrounded by customers (he referred to them as “jags”). Before Sears switched to polo shirts Mel always wore the same short-sleeve shirt and brown flannel tie. His “slacks” were always coffee-stained.When he wasn’t at work you could find him drinking Miller at the local VFW.
Lots of Mel stories, but again, saving it for the book. Here’s a pic I took of him during one of his many, many smoke breaks.
Mel once inspired me to write a poem. Here’s a piece of it:
“Ten cups of coffee, in a day I’ll down,
I stand at the register, like a fucking clown…”
I also met one of my biggest crushes ever. Angela worked in hardware and was a skinny half-Mexican, half-Polish princess. A doll. Every time I hear Pearl Jam’s “Nothingman” I think of her. Same for a few Cranberries songs.
We once fell asleep together while watching the brilliant music concert video of “Wish” by the Cure. She wore braces and had lips that tasted strawberry.
I wonder if that Sears is one of those closing down. Meh…regardless, my stories from there will live on.