"Creatures of Habit" or "The Retail Sign of Winter"

Hmm, snowfall on the same day I got my new boots.
Everything's coming up Mason!

I couldn’t make out much through the far off windows from where I worked on Friday and I certainly couldn’t see the ground, yet the incandescence, the way the outside looked a little brighter told me all I needed to know and my giddiness increased.  I could make out across the 50 yards of retail jungle that outside our store front windows, the rain had turned to snow and instead of a drizzly, grey sheen, a soft, wet blanket of white surrounded us and marked change our seasons, one much more convincingly than the teaser storm we had a few weeks ago, was starting.  But even had I not noticed the weather via the almost imperceptible glow of snow reflected light, even had I not received a text from the county saying chains or 4 wheel drive were required in the Cottonwoods’, even had I not known the forecast called for snow, I still would have known it was snowing out from the frantic multitude of shoppers that were now coming in to buy boots. 

Pin drops could have been heard in my department over the last few weeks.  As the towers of boots I had to stack from our three-a-week replenishment trucks grew and grew, consumer need  for boots bordered on apathetic.  Customers might try on a few pairs, but rarely bought, sighting price or the desire to get “one more season” out of their old boots as a reason for not buying.  They would leave the assorted boxes abandoned for me to clean up and cram back in the warehouse like opened boxes of sweaters and slacks on Christmas morning.  Meanwhile, the ache in my wrists and fingers flared more and more from piling oversized boxes of heavy winter footwear high on shelves, ascending a stepladder like some side show act that spins plates… except these plates seemed to be made of lead.  I think the balance, dexterity and wrist strength combined with the spatial talent of efficiently compacting shelves should be considered an athletic event.  Hell, people are still doing that cupstacking shit; tell me “Elevated Sorel Configuration” isn’t worthy of recognition? 

Anyway, true to our civilization’s modus operandi of waiting until circumstances dictate action, there were the parents, looking almost ashamed as they told me they needed to get boots for their kid to wear to school.  There were the sneaker wearing masses who suddenly now realized wet feet aren’t fun.  And there was I with a warehouse full of shoes and boots that was a few days from reaching critical mass. 
Look, selling shoes isn’t rocket science.  I’m not trying to sound high and mighty here, (well, actually, I guess I am; otherwise what’s the point of having a blog?) but buying shoes isn’t rocket science either.  As much as we try to warm the planet, winter still comes around this time every year—and yet little Billy had to go to school with soggy kicks because in September and October you found some reason not to buy him boots.  If we were squirrels, we’d be dead.  Imagine us as a society of humanoid-squirrel mutants, driving our Subarus and Escalades around the forest, enjoying the fall colors, walking the dogs, taking our little humanoid-squirrel mutant offspring to soccer practice or tree-hopping recitals or playdates with a goofy moose, and while we’re doing that, wondering why all the bears are eating like it’s Thanksgiving dinner?  And why are the birds so busy making nests?  And what’s with that drop in temp… OH SHIT, ARE THERE ANY NUTS LEFT?

Now, did I wear boots to work Friday morning?  I’ll admit, I didn’t.  I have a walk of 20 feet from house to truck and from truck to work, so putting on the boots really didn’t bother me.  However, I found it somewhat poetic that the boots I ordered only last week just happened to show up on the day of the first decent storm.  Coincidence, or is Ullr smiling on me?  I thought smiling, but that hubris was crushed as my crippled, freezing hands scraped 3” of snow from my windshield.  Remembering gloves and an ice scraper may have been helpful.  Guess I’m still stuck out here with you squirrels.


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