Birdbrains

Smooth Exit 4

Hey, watch out for those doors. They’ll jump out and getcha.

At the end of last week, the owner made a curious request, signalling a possible about-face from his current stance of wanting to close the store. He asked me to break up the single store fixture, a long series of connected gondola shelving units running down the center of the shop, and move the now eight-foot segments against the windows to make shorter aisles and open up more space for him to move his helicopter flight school into the space (not kidding one bit about this).

So, yesterday and today, I accommodated his request. In the process, I exposed two raised power outlets in the center of the shop space. I placed the fixtures over them to minimize risk of Shopper, well, death. In exposing them, I had to find ways to cover them up without taking away too much space for the Shoppers to navigate the shop. (They’re quite poor at that kind of thing.)

Over one, I placed the small cylindrical speaker my future mother-in-law bought me for Christmas a couple of years back, which I had been using to play the in-store music so that the Shoppers would shut their annoying traps about it being so quiet in there. (Seriously, quiet is good. What’s wrong with quiet?) Over the other, I placed this wire news rack, sent to us years ago by an industry magazine publisher to display their product.

As I looked at it, silently guiding Shoppers around it like a traffic cop, I chuckled. A few times. Why? Well, because of the similar way in which I used it back before the building’s renovations. Allow me to explain.

Back then, we had almost exactly the same footprint for the shop. The only differences were the doors and stock rooms. The only one worth mentioning here is the front door, two massive sliding glass doors, which slid behind massive pane glass windows. Well, apparently, this opening was too ambiguous, too poorly defined for my Shoppers. Far too often, they’d glide right into the glass like little birds. Cold days, when I would make the opening smaller, only made the problem worse. I knew it was only a matter of time before one of these little birdies smacked into it hard enough they’d go flying right through the glass.

To combat that, I moved some stuff around in the shop to signify where the doors ended and the entrance began, because the thick aluminum frame wasn’t enough of an indicator. One one side, I placed the flight cases (think big briefcases for pilots to transport their instruments and charts, which they really don’t carry anymore now that charts have gone digital); on the other, I placed the news rack.

It didn’t work.

They still smacked into the door. Honestly, I should have expected it from a creature so unobservant as the Shopper, which doesn’t even notice signs, which are put there to inform and aid them, on the door at eye level. They’re basic, predictable creatures.

So, I stood over this news rack, in the middle of the room, for a minute or two, smiling and chuckling, listening to them smack into it in my head. Ah, memories.

-The Retail Explorer

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