In a former life, I used to be Al Bundy

During my youth I used to work in the shoe department of a well-known chain department store. Everyone (yes everyone, no I’m not being overly dramatic. EVERYONE) that knew me could not believe I worked in shoes, near feet. “Married” they would say, “you hate feet. The thought of feet makes you break out into a cold sweat. Ack the horror!” I would smile and say, “OMG, INO!” (well maybe be not, this was before text messaging ruined the English Language). Actually for the most part, people don’t mind putting their own shoes on. I would usually help with baby shoes. I love little chubby baby feet. They go great with celery & blue cheese dressing. I also didn’t mind helping out my elderly customers because that’s how I would want someone to treat my Grandmother. Incidentally, I did have a Grampa like gentleman once tell me he had a really big penis. Can I just make note that although I was sitting on one of those shoe stools at crotch level, I DID NOT LOOK.

Straightens by halo & flicks dust off my shoulder.

Anyhoooo, there was a rite of passage for newbies. Her name was “Jane”*. Everyone that worked in the store knew who she was. Jane would walk through one of the many entrances and the phone chain would begin. The Jr. Dept. would call Misses & Mens. Mens would call Accessories & Shoes; Misses would call Childrens and Lingerie. Shoes would call the Home Dept. and they would call Customer Service. This scenario would play out many different ways depending on which door she walked into. I started sometime in the Fall and managed to survive my first Black Friday, Christmas and the day after, the dreaded day of returns, before I had the pleasure of meeting and waiting on Jane. It was slow; I was working with two long timers “Sarah” & “Ted” when the phone rang. Sarah answered the phone, swore and made a phone call. I noticed Sarah & Ted huddled near the stockroom door, but didn’t think anything about it as I finished waiting on the only person in the department. It was then I heard her; she was screaming at her grandkids to hurry up and get to the Shoe Department. With fear clogging my throat, I looked around for my coworkers; the people that had trained me and helped me get through Christmas by coming to my rescue whenever I needed help. They had disappeared like they were in a David Copperfield act; I was left to fend for myself.

Jane had ass length long black hair and never ever ever used her “indoor voice”. She had come to get her 3 grandkids shoes for Christmas. I probably spent 1 1/2 hours waiting on Jane and the grandkids, bringing out at least 25 pairs of shoes. As we were finishing up she’s yelling at the kids to sit down, be quite, shut up. The ironic thing was the kids weren’t really doing anything bad and I told her that. Unfortunately for me the conversation went something like this:

Jane: I’m so very sorry these kids are being bad.
Me: No apologies necessary; they’re fine.
J: I really do apologize for this, I know you’re not used to this kind of behavior.
M: Really, they’re fine.
J: I know little black kids never misbehave when they’re in a store……
M: (chuckling) I bet my mom would disagree. I’ve heard quite a few stories about my behavior.
J: ….. no, I doubt that. I know that little black kids know there’s not much money so they’re always on their best behavior so they can get anything at all.
M: ::blink::

After checking Jane and the gang out, I found Sarah & Ted hiding in the very back of the stockroom. We all had a good laugh about how those BASTARDS, lovely people threw me to the crazy ass wolves. Later, Sarah asked me why I wasn’t angry or offended. I explained that sometimes the ignorance is so pathetic that anger is not your first reaction. It was something more like amazement that she thought she was complementing me**. Plus, I was now officially part of the team and I couldn’t wait to INFLICT share Jane with the next new person hired (which I did).

I had other run ins with Jane (including one at a grocery stores years after I left the shoe department), but I’ll save those for another day.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent (and by innocent I mean me. The bitch is PSYCHO).

** Don’t get it twisted, if she had ever crossed the line, I would have schooled her, real quick.


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