Special Sauce

A mish-mash of twisted thoughts from a fevered ego. Updated when the spirit moves me, contents vary and may have settled during shipping. Do not open towards eyes. Caution: Ingestion of Special Sauce may cause hair loss, halitosis, and a burning sensation while urinating.

9.03.2005

Why I care.

Aside from it being the decent thing to do, that is.

When I worked for Borders, I helped to open the store in Metairie, LA. I just heard that it has been severely damaged, and is closed until further notice. I hope, and yes, pray, that the staff evacuated in time.

The store had an inauspicious start, really. Stephee, you'll remember this story. (And if you know any information about the present situation, email me, eh?)

First off, we had tropical storm after tropical storm during the sort (the physical process of unloading about 4 squillion heavy-assed boxes off of tractor trailers, sorting them by letter, and then getting every damned book out of boxes, into categories, alphabetized, and training the staff. The whole process takes about 3 weeks. Our loading dock flooded repeatedly. We tried to see how fast we could unload a skid of boxes. (Fastest time? Under 1 minute, thirty seconds.) I sorted kids, reference, science, cooking, crafts/collectibles, and something else. It felt like the entire second floor was my domain. And I got sick. I had the worst cold ever, and completely lost my voice in the middle of customer service training.

Somewhere, there's a picture of me asleep on a gigantic trash bag filled with packing peanuts, during a 15 minute break.

It was one of the hardest sorts I ever did, but the store was beautiful. Our sections were pristine, the local staff didn't make fun of me too much for being hyperactive in comparison to their relaxed southern demeanor. They did mock the way I said "orange" though. Heh. I loved the trips we took for lunch, dinner, and on our days off.

Then came opening weekend.

And Hurricane Georges.

They'd been calling for evacuations for a few days, perhaps? Or at the least, warning that the storm was coming. The locals didn't seem to care, so I wasn't terribly worried. But Saturday came, and things looked a bit more dire. The store opened, but most of my time was not spent helping customers, rather, being on the phone with the airlines, seeing if I could get a flight out earlier than Monday. Several of us decided to get the hell out of dodge. I thought I had a flight for Sunday morning, and decided to go with another trainer to the airport on Saturday night. Somehow, I realized the flight was really for Monday night.

And this is the moment when I lost my shit. I trudged around the airport, trying to exchange my ticket, and having NO luck. And I cried. A lot. And did the one quasi-intelligent thing I could think of. I called my mom. In the middle of the night. And I begged her to find me a way the hell out of there, because I really didn't want to experience my first hurricane in the skyways lounge of the New Orleans airport. I was sick, exhausted, and freaked out of my mind. And somehow they got me on the last plane out of NOLA, into Dallas. The airline put me up in a hotel for a few hours, and eventually I made my way back to PA. I had never been so happy to come home.

The trainers that decided to stay behind ended up abandoning our hotel for the relative safety of the store. Some of the staff who lacked adequate shelter, ended up joining them. Together they rode the storm out, sleeping on broken down cardboard boxes, finishing off the store (Dedicated bastards) until the power was back on and the floodwaters had subsided.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of the folks I worked with back then, are still at the store. I hope everyone is safe, and will soon be accounted for.

2 Comments:

Blogger Steph said...

sauce,

i'll see what i can find out for ya. i THOUGHT you sorted there, but i couldn't remember. oy.

and i emailed you at the g account. *sob*

12:22 AM  
Blogger Special Sauce said...

And I believe that's the sort you sent me a pretty pretty princess kit? Or was that Connecticut? The other two, you were with me for-

I have to say. I really miss that shit. Still. The most hectic, tiring, stressful three weeks you'd go through, but it would SO be worth it.

I'd better shut it, before I break out into a chorus of "Memory" or some shit...

10:44 AM  

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