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11 August 2002 @ 02:05 am
"Attention mall shoppers...FLEE!! FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES!!"  
Well, maybe that wasn't the actual announcment I made, but I was tempted, let me tell you. As Melissa said today, the great thing about working at the mall is that you always have a story to tell. Today was possibly the craziest one yet.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the epic tale of "Fiasco at the Crystal Mall (or, The Day We Evacuated the Food Court.)"

Our mall is currently getting an Abercrombie and Fitch, and the construction has been causing a bit of noise now and then, but nothing too serious, so work has been done during mall hours. Today, somehow, the people at work hit a water main, drenching the construction site, and dripping down the to stores below. This was just the beginning of the woes.

When this happened, it triggered the alarm, which in turn triggered the sprinkler system. In one of the stores below the construction, The Disney Store, not only did the water come down through the ceiling, one of their sprinkler heads blew, drenching them in even more water. Most of their merchandise was ruined. When the fire department got there, they closed it off with yellow tape and everything. They won't be open for days. Anyway, we've now got two flooded stores and another closed due to bad leaks and crumbling ceiling tiles. But our adventure doesn't end there. Oh no.

Now, when the sprinklers go off, they go off everywhere in the mall. The sprinklers haven't been used in some time, and so the water in them smells kind of funky. Down in the Food Court, workers were getting sick from it, and told the firemen there that it smelled like there was a gas leak, unaware it was just the water. The fire department's response? Evacuate the Food Court. They told security, and security told me. Make the announcement. They didn't tell me what to say, just to do it. So, I said:

"Attention mall shoppers. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are temporarily evacuating the Food Court. This applies only to the Food Court, and the rest of the Crystal Mall is still open for business. Thank you."

It's like being the one person on the Death Star telling the crew to abandon ship. "The Death Star will explode in 5...4...3..."

Over the next hour, I continued to thank customers for their patience, opened the Food Court to employees, then to customers. Phones are ringing constantly with calls from the fire department, the mall manager, the operations director...you name 'em, they called. Plus I had to deal with the irate employees who didn't know what was going on demanding to know where their air conditioning went (it shuts off when the alarm sounds). Some woman locked her keys in the bathroom of her store. I told her she'd have to wait for a few hours before security could even get to her.

In the end, my shift at the mall finished, and I left. Tomorrow I get to see if there's a sequel to this little tale. Until then, that's my mall story for the day. Thank you, and good night.
Mood: adventurously tired
Music: The Pixies - This Monkey's Gone to Heaven
S0n of N00n: What koala?bibble on August 10th, 2002 11:54 pm (UTC)

Mellen: Ecstatic Fayeabsentmammoth on August 11th, 2002 12:02 am (UTC)
At its best...fucking with capitalism ^_^
(Deleted comment)
S0n of N00n: hmmm...bibble on August 11th, 2002 12:40 am (UTC)
are you kidding? word is that it wasn't an accident at all, and donald was nowhere to be seen...
Laudrelaudre on August 11th, 2002 01:05 am (UTC)
This reminds me of my days in retail :).

I'm sure you've heard of the Danbury Fair Mall. I don't know if you've actually been there, but Connecticut's a pretty small state, and people come from White Plains to shop at the Danbury Fair Mall.

Anyway, the reason it's called the Danbury Fair Mall is because it's built on the former Danbury fairgrounds, which was swamplant. Back when the town council was deciding whether or not to allow the mall to be built (which was before I lived in Danbury, and possibly before I lived in Connecticut -- I'm not sure when the mall was built), the people who opposed the mall put bumperstickers on their cars that read, "I don't support the mall, and neither does the ground."

Obviously, the mall got built.

Less obvious is the fact that it's sinking. A few inches every year, IIRC. Think the guy who owns the castle in the swamp in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. One of the mall employees told me that it's going to be underwater by sometime around 2089 (though that's likely about half urban legend). It is true that much of the mall is below the waterline (it's sort of like a basement, where you dig a shallow well and then try to keep the water out), including the maintenance rooms and whatnot.

You may start to see where this is going.

Summer or so 1999, IIRC. Big, massive rainstorm; at the strip mall where I was working (I was working for the Shack at the time), our parking lot was covered in about three inches of water. I was worried that the brakes in my car would stop functioning; fortunately, I'd parked in a shallower section of the parking lake, and was able to make it home when the district manager called us and told us we could close early.

Unfortunately, the Danbury Fair Mall didn't fare so well.

The generator room ended up completely flooded. The mall was shut down for two or three days.

Our strip mall store was at the next exit off I-84 coming from New York. This meant all the traffic that went to the mall store, normally, instead came and visited us.

I did around $4000 in personal sales that day. And around 100 tickets. Those are Christmas numbers.

And, of course, most of the mall employees were sent up to Southbury, which was as dead as ever, so that they could clean. And, of course, when they finally consented to send our store (that was understaffed to begin with, before we were flooded with customers) an extra hand, they sent the newest employee that they had down to help, and he somehow managed to completely miss it whenever a line formed at the counter, because he was off in a corner unloading boxes.
Commodore Lunchmeatsninjer on August 11th, 2002 04:09 am (UTC)
Hahaha, Tara and I saw the Disney Store closed and she's like "oh wow they closed!" and I'm like "well yeah, EVERYONE goes out of business, duh!" Ah well. You and Brandon were nowhere to be seen. Bastards!

I here I might see you crazy kids tonight after I watlz my metaphorical Matilda through New York! Much excited now!
Pat Bradpatbrad on August 12th, 2002 08:05 pm (UTC)
Be aware that IF I had my copy of Choke on me right now (finished all of an hour ago...beautiful), I would have countless quotes and references to fling upon your commercialized soul.