I half-expect a Radio Shack employee to step out and wave me in. Seems like a slow day for them, it would encourage good customer service practices among other employees. Meandering down the sidewalk towards the front door I glance down the lane and still see no cars. The eerie isolation is starting to penetrate the haze of my hangover. It’s not a weekday, true. But, especially in this town, there should be folks wandering around still drunk from the night before. Hoping the cashier will not continue to disappoint me, I enter the store.
No cashier. I’m looking for a panel marked “battery” or “cell phone...” Ah. “Wireless accessories.” I start fingering through the plethora of chargers and find one similar to my own. I start opening the package to make sure the plug fits my phone. It does and I go to pay. Not too picky today. Price doesn’t matter when you are nursing a headache. Still no one. Under normal circumstances I might politely wait here for a while. But today my knees are shaking from my stomach's lament. I sit the charger on the counter and walk towards the back of the store, looking for anyone. All the doors are open, there’s a very small office and a bathroom doubling as a supplies closet. For a moment I am grateful I don’t work at Radio Shack.
I have never stolen anything in my life. If I was to steal something, I would make it count. It would be a ’65 Chevy Impala or a laptop or credit card fraud and go on a shopping spree. I’m not going to start my life of crime by stealing a measly phone charger. Exhausted and queasy, I rip the charger out of its cheap (yet surprisingly sharp) packaging. There’s an outlet coming out of the counter near the register and I plug my phone in and turn it on.
Searching for service…
If I had brought my watch I would take a look at it now. In a very ladylike, not to mention hygienic moment I rest the side of my cheek on the cool glass counter. Ahhhh. Almost as good as not drinking the night before, right? Wrong, body. You don’t know what’s good for me.
I check my phone again, but it is still searching. Yeah, I’m not going to wait around for this. Time for Starbucks.
I walk out of the store, leaving my phone still plugged in behind me on Radio Shack’s counter. Turning my head down the business park’s sidewalk I see Starbucks’ glass door wide open as usual. I turn into Starbucks and upon walking in I see no one.
While there is no explanation for the emptiness at Radio Shack, somehow it does not unsettle me as much as this. I have never been here alone. There are always at least two baristas behind the counter and on most days the place is packed.