Monday, February 5, 2018

Closing Time-Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End

Once again, the unthinkable has happened.

The company where I am (well, WAS) a manager opted not to renew our store’s ten year lease. A few months short of a decade with this company, I find myself once again facing the challenge of looking for a new job.

The day I learned about the store closing, I was in NYC seeing the Christmas windows at Saks and Macy's, having lunch, doing some shopping, and was having a drink before getting on the train to come home. My phone rang and I got a message to call someone in Human Resources. Like the phone call I got when working at Wrinkle City, it’s never good when someone from HR wants you. True to form, I was told about my store and many others that would be closing in 45 Days. Besides it sucking to end the day like that, I left my only gloves on the seat in the bar. My hands stayed cold for weeks.

My store director and I planned the closing like the invasion of Normandy. We kept it under wraps until the official signs announcing the closing arrived the week after New Years. We told our clients, and directed them to our other locations. We packed supplies to be re-allocated to other stores on our downtime. We followed the company guidelines, and questioned all the things that the corporate office forgot about. We were good. Damn good, and finished a full day and a half ahead of the closing timeline. If we pushed a little harder, we could have closed even earlier than that. But for what? To be out of work a day earlier? So it sucks. Big time. And yes, I'm pouting right now, which only wine and chocolate makes better.

Anyway, it's been five days since closing. Five days to reflect on what I'll miss and what I won't:

First of all, I'll miss the people I've worked with over the years. OK, MOST of them. A few weren't cut out for retail. A couple were downright lazy. One even had a "peculiar" body odor, but heck, we were desperate one holiday season and needed bodies to cover night shifts.  Then there was the store director who quit the day before Black Friday-yeah, he'll never get a Christmas card from me. EVER. But the team we put together especially in the last 18 months or so was stellar.  I even got to check off a Bucket List item with one of them.

I'll miss some of our customers, like Janey, and Carmen and crazy Sivia, my Orthodox Gilda Radner who would actually sneak in on high holy days just to pay her credit card bill. I'm glad to be rid of the pigs, I mean, clients, who left clothes stained with makeup, inside out and on the fitting room floors for us to clean up. The ones who did it every stinking week, and never bought anything. I won't miss the people who expected us to take back clothes they wore most recently in "Saturday Night Fever" days because they lost weight, or gained it, or thought we gave lifetime warranties. And I can breathe easier knowing that I won't have the shoplifters, stolen identity thieves, and other deviants that could cure cancer if they put their minds to doing something legal.

I will miss the ever-changing seasons, the excitement of roll-outs and seeing new styles and trends. I won't miss working holidays, clopens (closing late at night, then coming back to open early the next morning), the summer of the mall bomb threats nor the security company calls at crazy hours.

True story: Thanksgiving night (the same year that store director quit), the security company woke me up to tell me that our store had been broken into. I drove like a mad woman 35 minutes to get to a store guarded with police like Fort Knox. Reviewing the security cameras revealed that a woman with a baby in a stroller was not happy that we opted not to open that night, and shook the doors SO LONG AND SO HARD that she broke the rod that secured the door through the floor. One more hard pull popped the lock. Thirteen people went into the dark store that night with the alarm blasting only to be stopped as they were leaving by mall security and the local police department. One guy actually told the cops that he thought "all the help was in the back on break".  And you wonder why I won't miss holidays and some customers.  

As organized as I was with closing our store, I have now created chaos at home. It's been a pattern over the last three job losses. When I was RIF'ed at the retirement community, I went home and immediately started moving furniture around in every room. Jobless after Superstorm Sandy, I had a floor full of soggy furniture and belongings to deal with-albeit not my own doing. Still, I gave away a nice baby grand piano that wasn't damaged for no real reason. This week, with severance paperwork signed, sealed and delivered, I've filled boxes with stuff to donate, to toss, to take to that new place to live...wherever that might be.There are sticky notes on every door in every room indicating what needs to be done.

I knew when I wrote my last blog that doors would be closing, and this was one of them. Selling this bear of a house is another big door. Although I've read that these life changes can cause people to actually die, I'm more concerned that Cosmopolitan magazine says stress causes acne as well as developing cortisol which turns into belly fat. I do not want to die with acne and pants that won't button. I have a sticky note on my closet door to that fact.

In "You've Got Mail" ShopGirl sent an e-mail to NY152 about her store closing. How I feel is not as dramatic as what she says, but it's close:

As a friend sent me at Christmas: Upward.


  1. Good news is that, as the President alluded to in his SOTU address, the labor market is continuing to tighten! In every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater benefit; those with a positive outlook toward today and tomorrow will discover it! Best to you, Barb.

    1. Thanks Ernie. Actually, I’ve already had 3 job offers. None are right for me, but you’re right, they’re out there.

  2. Wishing you skinny jeans and clear skin AND something spectacular that you haven't even thought about!


    1. That’s why I buy lottery tickets. Wouldn’t THAT be spectacular!!!


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