I’m a big fan of exerting as little effort as possible. Given the choice I’d rather walk than run, stand than walk, or sit than stand. But when it comes to public sitting of an upholstered nature, I’ll opt out due to my sordid experiences at AT&T. I started working there at the tender age of 19— just on the brink of the glory days, when touch screens and unlimited texting became a reality.
Even more glorious was that we each had a dedicated workstation where customers could drag up a chair for every member on their family plan. As with all good things, this came to an end after some corporate guru came along and informed our boss that “standing means spending” and banished all semblances of furniture from the sales floor.
The people revolted. Suddenly every customer to darken the doorway was suffering from fatigue, an aching back, or had an undetectable pregnancy and was threatening to sue if we didn’t provide a place to place their arse. Catering to the squeaky wheel is the lifeblood of retail so we’d eventually end up dragging a grubby old chair from the backroom. Our ailing customer would plop down in triumph and appraise us with a smug look.
But we were smug on the inside– because when it came to the question of chairs, the customer was not always right. We knew the bacteria-ridden and festering truth.
Those decade-old chairs were worthy of designation as an EPA Superfund Site. They’d been caked and coated with every type of nasty you can imagine and had never been cleaned throughout the years of sweaty buttcracks and unbathed bodies. The closest we’d ever gotten to a proper cleaning was after two brothers came in with a woman we’d assumed was their sister until they mentioned how they “shared” her because “it’s cleaner to keep it in the family.” Brother #1 did most of the talking because Brother #2 was distracted by the blood oozing from a gaping wound on his arm. We offered him bandages, paper towels, or a trip to the hospital, but he waved us off, proudly concluding that it was “nothin’ but a scratch” as he wiped it on the armrest.
By the time they left with their fancy new Razr phones, his blood had caked and dried over the other layers of stains. There was nothing to do but drag the chair outside the building, spray it down with off-brand Lysol, and leave it to dry in the sun. A few hours later it was back in the regular rotation of seating choices and no longer identifiable from the chairs that had been peed on or used as kleenex.
The following winter, on a blustery January afternoon, a woman came in to take advantage of an ad she’d seen in the paper. Her car was luxurious enough to pique our money-hungry interest as soon as she parked. She’d paid close attention to every detail of the advertisement and had shown up at the right place at the right time—she’d even thought to bring the ad with her. There was only one thing she’d forgotten.
Everything else was in order—her hair was perfectly coifed and she was donning socks, shoes, and a trench coat like she’d stepped out of every straight man’s fantasy.
We’d been through hours of training on how to respond in the event of a robbery, fire, or bomb threat. We’d even been briefed on how to handle civil unrest but corporate had failed to prepare us for the arrival of a grown woman who walked in without pants.
So we did nothing.
Our greeter signed her in on the waiting list and turned her loose to browse the displays. My coworker Jeremy was distracted from this free anatomy lesson by a particularly stressful phone call and didn’t notice her partial nudity until she’d been seated at his desk and greeted him with legs aspread.
The rest of us were crowded around the security camera screen in the back. We nearly wore out the rewind button after he turned to her then pushed away from the desk, launching his chair across the floor until it violently slammed into a cabinet. Without a word, he fled the scene and ran to the back, where we were waiting.
“Guys!” he gasped, “there’s a woman at my desk wearing NOTHING but a pair of black underwear!”
Sorry Jeremy—thats not underwear.
Have you ever had an unexpected encounter with another person’s nudity? What’s the grossest insider info you’ve gained from a job? Anyone else use a security camera as a source of entertainment?
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