Back in March the Manager and all but one employee walked out of a West Lebanon store, and I was asked to run it day-to-day until a new staff could be installed. I jumped at the opportunity.
Overtime, millage, per-diem, plus a room at the Fireside Inn, which is an awesome old hotel, not some mildewed chain motel. I walked into a disaster.
The Manager had a grudge and stopped stocking 3 weeks before he left, leaving the stockroom looking like the warehouse in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I had a few others from other stores in other States, but we just couldn’t recruit help.
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Federal unemployment supplements. Why work, when you can sit at home and get nearly a double paycheck?
There was a debate at the highest levels regarding the possibility of closing the store. You have to realize, from the companies point of view, this was a perfect store. High volume, small footprint, between 2 anchor stores in a busy strip mall, on the town’s main drag. Yet they were discussing closure because THEY COULDN’T GET PEOPLE TO WORK.
It is going to be a rude awakening for some of them when the Federal $’s stop flowing, and they go to get their jobs back. For many, THEY WON’T BE THERE, because Covid crazy and lack of help forced businesses to close.
Perhaps THAT will finally pierce the cognitive dissonance.
While trying to save this Kobayashi Maru, I served hundreds of customers per day. A few stood out.
In the North Country, I had never seen a “Covid Karen” mask Nazi. Above the Notch, the lock-down was never militantly enforced. Only a few elderly folks, who had a real reason to worry, ever complained about mask compliance.
West Lebanon felt like I was in Beijing.
If your mask wasn’t perfectly placed, God help you. Customers would argue with each other and try to get us involved, but company policy was No Engagement (no YouTube video confrontations), just a mask sign on the door. I even got yelled at for sitting in my car, in an otherwise empty lot, smoking a cigarette.
That just would not fly up North.
Another customer that stands out was a lady in a BLM T-shirt. She approached me, and must have assumed my asymmetrical build meant that I identified as a member of a “protected class,” because she asked me, “Doesn’t it kill you to slave away for the Capitalists?”
I saw the T-shirt and decided to play along. I raised a fist and said, “Power to the people.”
She did a little happy dance, and said, “I’ve been SENT out here from Seattle. This place is too white, and we have to shake shit up.” I kid you not. SENT was the word, and the emphasis was hers.
A few days later I saw her again, this time sporting Antifa swag. She was escorting a group of 4 Latino men around the store. They had new clothes, shoes, hair cuts, and she was showing them items and explaining their use, including underarm deodorant.
Illegal aliens are being imported en-mass, into the interior of the US, aided and supplied by BLM, and New Hampshire is a recipient of a bit of this diversity largess.
I left that day and stood in the parking lot thinking. Looking around the lot, West Lebanon is Any City USA. Same stores, same restaurants, signs, gas stations. That place could be NY, NJ, VA, even Florida if you drop a palm tree by the cart return.
I headed North, wanting nothing more than a good meal at Fagin’s Pub.