When I first started this, I mentioned that I was in a dead-end job. I sell booze, which in itself is never that interesting, especially when you take into account that I don't drink, can't smell and can only barely taste... seriously, I don't know why people take drink recommendations from me.
Anyway, it's a job that was never going to go anywhere and the pay is shit. People who stock shelves at night get paid more than me, and they don't have a $9000 fine hanging over their head every time they walk in the shop because some kid had a fake ID. But that's all alright, because this job was never meant to go anywhere, it was meant to pay the bills and fund a few projects while I did some personal development. It's paid off too, in the three years that I've been there I've made leaps and bounds, just not in any way that's quantifiable.
It's all coming to an end though, and I'm looking at moving overseas at the start of next year, most likely China, to teach English. With this in mind, certain things are coming into focus.
I had a guy walk in tonight and steal a bottle of wine. I saw him do it, he stuffed it into his over-sized jacked, I had a laugh with another customer about it before she left. He pretended to ask something stupid about some vodka and then made dash for the door. I tried to talk to him, I legitimately wanted to tell him that what he was doing wasn't worth it, but he bolted from the shop. So in the spur of the moment I called out "Run, Forest, run!"
People steal things all the time, it's not that big of a deal, I just grab some security footage and send it off to the cops. The cops love me, half the time I manage to get a photo of these people's ID's and I attach that to the report as well. The cops then just rock up on their doorstep and charge them, nice and easy. Occasionally I'll get someone who comes back in after they've been fined and they'll abuse me for reporting them, as though I'm in the wrong...
The thing is that booze is not a need, not unless you're living in a wasteland where you need it to sterilize a wound or something. I'd let someone go if they ran out with a loaf of bread or something basic like that, but I've got no problem with making a tape of someone stealing wine simply because they feel like a drink but can't or won't pay for it. The problem is though, once this kid gets caught, it's seriously going to fuck up his life.
Shop lifting sounds like a minor offence, but imagine every job interview he's going to have in the future. He's going to have to answer the questions; what he stole, why did he steal it and has he done it again recently? It's going to follow him around like revenge porn, and although I'm technically in the right here, I'm also to blame for this. The problem is though, if I let it go and he doesn't get caught then he'll just keep doing it until something really bad happens. Best he learns this lesson early on, there's a better chance of him righting his ways.
I just wish he didn't come into my shop and drag me into this situation with him, I'm only working this dead end job to pay the bills while I write.
And after that this woman comes in, crying, which happens often enough, and I ask her what's wrong. Turns out the car crash that I'd been hearing about all night had involved her husband, some young guy had plowed into him and he was at the hospital. I did what I could for her, which is not much since I'm a freaking night shift worker at a bottle shop, but I helped her out. I've been in her shoes and I've also been in her husbands shoes, so I had an idea of what to say, so she left well enough.
I've had to deal with some crazy shit in this store over the past few years. For about a year and a half I had a running transcript of the stupid conversations I had with people posted up on Facebook. I had to stop though, eventually it all just got too absurd to make a joke of it anymore. I've had customers skull whole bottles of wine right outside my door, a woman has asked me to knock her up, I've had a guy screaming at me for over twenty minutes because I wouldn't serve him, I've had to stand against three guys harassing a carload of girls, I've watched a truck crash into a traffic light, I've seen a kid get hit by a car, I've had multiple customers drink themselves to death, I've been one of the only shops in the area to not get held up in a crime wave...
I've kind of been trying to hide away from the world these past few years, working in the bad part of town and keeping to myself while I put some things together. The problem with the world is that you can run from it, but you can't hide from it, and it's usually pretty damn good at sneaking up on you. There has been some seriously crazy shit go down in that shop, and as much as I appreciate the chance to work a solid job, I'm kind of glad to be leaving.
I was in a bad way when I first started working there, and although I've still got a few things to work out, I'm doing a whole lot better these days. I'm not desperate enough to steal a bottle of booze, and I haven't been in car crash... recently. With all that in mind, as shitty as things seem at times, I'm actually doing pretty well. I've just got to remember that.
I am looking forward to getting out of here though, and this TESOL course is my ticket to do just that.