Friday, January 15, 2016

Thank You for Asking

The Macy's store located in our mall up at Big Flats is closing. That's big news here.  In fact it's so big that it was Breaking News the other day on our morning broadcast which irked my friend Mary considerably.  I can't remember her exact words, but it amounted to something like, "I can't believe with everything going on in this world, the closing of a store is breaking news!"   I tend to agree with her. Some things in the realm of information and news should definitely receive that distinction, but at times I scratch my head and wonder how other things make the cut.  Who decides what qualifies certain information to be deemed Breaking News anyways?

So back to Macy's.  I discovered the store a couple of years ago.  Well actually, it had been there all along, but I discovered its clearance racks a couple years back and was kicking myself for not walking through the doors earlier.  So when I heard the news that liquidation was starting this week, I headed for the mall.  A footnote here.  I rarely buy anything at full price.  I understand the principle of markup and know that overpriced items will eventually come down.  So I watch. And wait. And when the prices are slashed at no less than half with an extra twenty or thirty percent off, I hit the racks.  And that's what I did on Tuesday of this past week.

Tuesdays are relatively dead at the mall and the Macy's store was no exception, liquidation or not. There were shoppers and a few clerks attending them, but it already felt as if the life had gone out of the store. A couple of girls in cosmetics were chatting back and forth, and a few of the shoppers were conversing over pieces of clothing.  But it felt eerily quiet, a hush seemed to have settled over the place.  I carried a blouse to one of the scanners to check on the price. It was gone, already pulled off the wall.  Someone was certainly in a hurry to get this place closed up. And then it occurred to me. There was no music coming from the speakers.  Even that had stopped.

I was looking through some blouses on a long rack when I noticed a middle-aged woman wearing a name tag hanging a few items on the other end.  "Is this hard for you?" I asked her.  She looked up and after a moment nodded her head.  "Yes it is," she responded quietly.  And as she started to walk away she turned back towards me.  "Thank you for asking." 

I still think Mary was right.  In reflecting upon the horrific events taking place in our world, the closing of a store seems pretty small.  But to someone out there, it's anything but small.  I know nothing else about that clerk, how long she'd been working there or how much she relied on that paycheck coming in.  But I do know one very important thing.  She appreciated my caring enough to ask.