Saturday night, New England was hit with anywhere from 4″ to 18″ of snow. The plaza where I work contains a chain bookstore and a chain decoration place and there was talk of closing early because of the weather.
But the higher ups at each chain said “see what the other stores do.” To put it simply, if one store closed, then we probably all would have closed. Nobody was willing to make the decision that would send employees home safely, so we all stayed open in the hope we might make a sale. Several times I looked out as the night wore on and counted cars, I’m fairly certain they were all employee cars. I think we went more than two hours with nobody walking in the store.
The next morning I was back and our store was scheduled to close at 8 p.m. The last sale of the day was just before 2 p.m. But we spent the next few hours straightening what had already been straightened and putting together gift boxes. At some point I gave up trying to keep busy and we just talked.
But here’s the problem: We’re stuck in stores waiting for people too stupid to stay home where it’s safe during a snowstorm. We risk our lives to get to work because somebody might go shopping and find our doors closed. Perhaps we would all be safer if businesses weren’t open and home was the only place to be.