mannequins, madness, and a moment of truth
I’m a longtime New Yorker with a deep passion for this mad City that embraces every kind of outcast and turns them into celebrities and club kids. Today I was wrestling with a sticky Board issue while walking from Times Square to my office south of Macy’s and I passed a tiny store with a big sale on tights.
Not above a little impulsive shop-therapy, I decided to stop in. There were two employees busily tidying the shop. The non-binary cashier was spraying Windex on the shiny stainless surfaces and wiping them down with paper towels. The manager, a young woman with bobbed dark hair and a surprising lack of piercings or tattoos, was pushing a mop around the floor, putting it down, picking up bleach wipes and swiping at various displays and surfaces. I paid little attention to their industrious tidying, immediately spying a pair of antique bordello-print stockings with a lovely rose pattern in a dusky wine color that were in my size and only $9.
I brought my find to the sales counter. The two employees continued cleaning without a pause. I stood there. I went on my phone to check work email. I responded to two urgent matters and still the people were cleaning. I cleared my throat. The woman finally acknowledged me with a deep sigh.
“We will be right with you,” she said. “We had a bit of a crisis just now.”
My attention snapped from the Board issue I needed to solve to the fact that the employees were still cleaning….everything.
She leaned on her mop. “A touristy woman just walked into the store and flung an entire cup of coffee all over all the merchandise.”
“We’re a little traumatized,” her non-binary cashier said. “It’s a lot.”
“Did she say anything?”
“Nope. Just opened the door and threw coffee everywhere.”
“It’s everywhere,” the woman sighed. She lifted a pair of white denim capris from a display. They were splattered with tan stains. Everything, I suddenly noticed, was splattered with tan stains. Coffee dribbled down the smooth plastic thighs of the mannequins. It pooled on pedestals. There were tan spots inaccessibly high…