#387: Standing Alone

LeBrain, “Standing Alone” in front of Planet Helix, London Ontario

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#387: Standing Alone

When I first started at the Record Store, we worked alone. Everybody worked alone. The owner worked all the days alone, and then T-Rev and I alternated nights and weekends alone. I actually enjoyed working by myself. Nights were slow enough that one person could handle it, plus still get all the stocking and cleaning done. It wasn’t until later on that we brought in a second person on Saturdays. Until then, you could still close the store for 5 minutes to go to the washroom.  You could eat your lunch in the store because you didn’t have much choice.

The way to make an 8 hour Saturday shift go faster is to play music you love! Back then we were allowed to bring in the odd CD or tape from home to play in store. My sister made me a cool store play mix tape, with a lot of top hits by artists like Sting, Barenaked Ladies, and Bryan Adams. I had the idea that we could even make tapes monthly, in the store, to showcase hits without having to constantly swap discs in and out. We only had a single disc player. We never did do the monthly tapes but it was a neat idea.

On your typical Saturday I would leave the house around 9:00 or 9:15 am and walk to the store with a bag full of snacks, drinks and music. There were usually lots of “new” used arrivals to price and display. There were sometimes customers to call and let know that their special orders had arrived. There was always something to clean, a project to do, and filing to take care of.  When you were tired there were Spin and Rolling Stone magazines to flip through.

I would get busy and overwhelmed after lunch hour, but that would pass and I could take a moment to breathe again. The busy times weren’t the problem though, it was the 8-9 hours of standing. I told T-Rev before he worked his first Saturday alone that it was hard on the legs. He discovered what I meant! We didn’t have a chair. Well, that’s not entirely true. We had one, we were just not allowed to use it. It was used as a step-stool only. The first time you stand for a whole Saturday is hard but then you get used to it.

Feet get swollen and legs get tired. My method for dealing with it was ample stretching, and changing my shoes halfway through the shift. I don’t know why, but putting on a fresh pair of shoes helped with the discomfort. It provided a fresh bolt of energy. Much, much, much later on, when I was nearing the miserable end of my dark final days at the record store, I artificially maintained energy levels with caffeine drinks and sugary snacks. I was no longer working alone, but the fun was also gone.

Today I sit in a chair and get fat all day. It’s a trade-off for sure!

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13 comments

  1. Yup, worked in the standing posish for 9 years straight in Food Services. No seats! Now, I can sit all day and night and get fat at my desk. But, I try to move around – go for walks on my lunch break and after work. Still, I am not as fit as I once was!

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    1. Yes same here Sarca, walks at night, but the lifestyle change has had its impact! I also get to walk around when I do inventory checks in the yard, but the majority of my day is now seated which is a huge change!

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        1. I’d love to. Kids wear me out, but they love me for some reason. My friend Jason’s kids are very shy, but they love me because I love Transformers…we all went to a toy show on New Years and Jason’s youngest boy held my hand on the walk there…everybody was like, “Look…he’s never done that before with anybody but his dad!”

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  2. I worked lots of jobs that were standing room only. That kiosk in the mall, all standing. My wicket at the bank, all standing. Longest were the 12-hour swing-shifts (either 7am-7pm or 7pm to 7am, rotating every few days) in the factory, concrete floor and all heavy lifting.

    Never bothered me that much though, I like being on my feet. I’m a fairly energetic guy, and sitting all day sounds like a certain kind of death, to me. Even when I had to sit at a desk all day, I was up every 20 minutes or so, just to shake it up. You’re a brave man going to Taranna with me, I could walk all day. And when I go in May and June, that’s exactly what I’ll do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get up from my desk every 20-30 minutes minimum, I can’t sit still for too long.

      I got used to the standing. But the first time I did 8 hours sucked. And the first time I did 11 hours it sucked. And unfortunately 11 hours continued to suck, that was a very hard shift on my back and legs.

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        1. I get very cramped if I drive for a couple hours. Oh my back. But I’m a trooper, I don’t complain too much, I figure everybody hurts. Right Michael Stipe?

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