It was another night at the store. This was during a particular long stretch where my manager decided not to change up my schedule at all, which was good for me. This meant I could make plans ahead of time, knowing that I would be able to keep them. This also meant that I would see her very little.
During the times when we had enough people and the assistant manager was there to do orders for her, she would take a few days away from the store. When she did show up, mostly when she needed to make contact with the higher-ups, she was there during the early hours of the day. I guess it gave her a chance to get food from the grill in the back.
When not hidden back in her office on the phone, she was up at the registers doling out a list of things for us to do and buying snacks and cigarettes. That’s actually how I was trained on the register, by having her rotate constantly back to my window to check something out using various methods. I think she even had me check her ID for her Marlboro Gold 100’s, which I discovered were her favorites.
It had been about two weeks since I had seen her in the store. The only contact with her was hearsay from the other employees. I was standing up at the register, most of the way through the night already. Everything was pretty much done, and my coworker was taking his lunch. That’s when a familiar sounding hacking come to my ears.
The sliding doors squeaked open and she immediately locked eyes with me, as I stood listlessly against the back counter of the register area. She had times when she said she couldn’t sleep and would come into the store and do random stuff that needed doing. I had just never seen her before at 4:30 in the morning.
She made a quick comment on my easy-going stance, and then headed to the back of the store to see if she could scare my coworker. From the lack of any commotion, I suppose she failed. I think her raspy breathing gave her away.
Fast forward to a half hour later, and both my coworker and I are out there with her, bullshitting like usual. My coworker was a hard worker and always wanted to make sure she was pleased. He was my senior as well, and loved to delegate.
“Go make more coffee,” he said. This wasn’t the first time he had said that tonight. It wasn’t the second either. The first time he said so was when I was already on my way to do it. I had been working there for a while already; I knew how to go about things to be ready for the night. I guess as he spotted me heading in that direction, it triggered something in his mind to make sure that thing got done.
I wasn’t the sole employee to catch on to this behavior. My boss was also included in this joke. I step out from behind the register, and hear my boss’s raspy voice as if it was an echo. “Hey, go make coffee. Thanks” She beamed, and a threw a thumbs up back at her in the most sarcastic way I could muster. My coworker looked at her, puzzled.
For the remainder of the night, I heard the same set of instructions twice, until finally my coworker seemed to catch on. “Hey, are you making fun of me?”