Workplace Adventures: Overnight Shift
I got to the store and clocked in. Then I checked the bulletin board. There was a new schedule posted. It looked pretty normal, except for Saturday. That night, I was scheduled to work from 3am to 10am. I went to the assistant manager and asked her about it.
“Did you make a mistake with my schedule?” I asked.
“You have me scheduled to work from 3am to 10am.”
“Why? The store’s only open from 10 to 9.”
“We need to gear the store up for Christmas, so I figured we’d come in overnight and do it all at once.”
I tried to talk her out of the overnight shift, but she wouldn’t relent. So the following Saturday night, I went to bed early. Very early. Like 7pm. I couldn’t sleep, though, so I got up and drank some chamomile tea. I went back to bed and lay there for a couple of hours. Finally, I got into a nice deep sleep, only to be rudely awakened at 2:30. Then again at 2:39. I dragged myself out of bed, through on my clothes, and headed into the kitchen. There I had some coffee waiting for me. Thank God for coffeepot timers. I poured the lifebrew into a thermos and got in the car.
My work was just a couple of miles away, and there was no traffic to speak of. I got to the store right at three. I was the first one there. The rest of my coworkers, including the assistant manager, all straggled in over the next ten minutes. At least that was one upside of working overnight. No one seemed to care much about formalities.
We got into the store. Everyone looked like hell. Everyone except me. I felt like hell, but my colleagues kept telling me that I was bouncing off the walls. All of them decided to stay up late, instead of going to bed obscenely early. Around 4:00, they were paying the price. As the most lucid member of the staff, they elected me to go down to the 24-hour Krispy Kreme for some donuts and coffee. I was glad to get away from the Christmas decorations and all of the glitter floating through the air.
When I got back, the assistant manager had set up a boombox at the cash stand. At maximum volume, it barely echoed in the corners of the sales floor.
“I tried to get the sound system to play a CD,” she said, “but it only plays the discs that corporate sends us.”
“I’m not surprised,” I replied. “They probably use some kind of proprietary system to keep us from playing random CDs.”
We got back to work, this time in earnest, making a grand old mess as we went along. As much as I hated the overnight shift, I could understand why we would want to put the Christmas decorations out when there were no customers around.
It was a long damn night. We had to change almost every damn display in the store, and even with the Krispy Kreme and non-corporate music, we were all just barely functioning. Even as the most well rested person on staff, I was still falling asleep by the timer the sun rose. By the time my shift ended at 10, I was about to fall asleep again. However, instead of going straight to bed, I decided to meet up with my sister. We went out and had a nice pancake breakfast on Sunday morning. It was a good way to end a very long night. Then I went home and went to bed.