Retail Horror Stories Vol. 1: The Needle
'It was just any other day in retail...'
Before I tell you one of my stories, I'd like to let ya'll know that I'm writing a book on all of my retail experiences, and would like to get it out there once it's finished, so I'll keep you guys updated on it. This here is just one of my stories that you can read about.
It was just any other day in retail; but then again, what is any other day when it comes to retail? I was working at Walgreen's at the time. My store was on the corner of Howard and Western on the North Side of Chicago. The area itself is something between a hood and a suburb. It's crazy.
Anyways, I normally worked the front register, but a few days out of the week, I worked the floor. I was usually the one who volunteered to clean the men's bathroom because 1) Nobody else wanted to do it, and 2) It gave me time to get away from customers, even if it was for only 15-20 minutes. I would do almost anything to get away from the customers because they normally interrupted my workflow, which is more a personal gripe than a complaint.
Regardless, in the men's room, typical messiness would occur. For whatever reason, piss would accumulate in this little corner a few feet back from the urinal. I guess the floor wasn't leveled, so the piss would flow into that little spot. How that happened? I still have no idea because the urinal was at least 2 feet away; so that had to be cleaned. Rarely, there'd be a toilet clog too, but that was normally fixable since we had some powerhouse toilets.
None of that was in any way a comparison to what I was about to witness. I go in the stall to either clean it, or just to take a dump, I can't remember, but either way, as I walk in, there's this bottom half of a cut-open Sprite can that's lying on the baby changing table. It was visibly burned on one end, with another end of it looking discolored, and a small ball of cotton in it. My worst fears had come true. There were speckles of blood all over the table.
To the right of it where the wall was, there was an E N O R M O U S blood stain. Good Lord, it was a lot of blood. I am not exaggerating. You ever seen that French movie Cache?
It looked like this.
It must've squirted out of dude's arm or something, or he just leaned up against it as he was trying to inject. Inside of the toilet was the other half of the Sprite can.
So being the Sherlock that I am, I figured there had to be a needle somewhere, most likely an insulin needle. The last thing you want is to leave something like that lying around. I checked around the garbage can, and sure enough, it was behind it. My guess is that he was so high, he couldn't bring himself to do anything properly. He left the place a hot mess.
So I had to go get some vinyl gloves and pull the Sprite can pieces out of the toilet. Since we couldn't just toss the needle in the garbage for health reasons, I had to get a manager to figure out what to do with it. As for the blood on the wall, the changing table, the floor, and the toilet, I had to bleach the ever-living hell out of it. For whatever reason, the blood stain on the damn wall would not come out. I know that blood stains are among the hardest to get out, but this shit caked on there, stained for days until someone finally scrubbed it out good.
You would think that in modern times, in the North Side of Chicago, in 2016 (the time that it happened), that everything would be fine and dandy. Nope. Not true. While I wouldn't consider the North Side as dangerous as the South or West, it was still questionable. Apparently, heroine will never fully go out of style, which blows my mind because it's such a nasty substance, and the method in which it's consumed is equally repulsive.
I hope I never have to clean anything up like that again...