It’s been months and months since I have fallen ill, corresponding with the decision to stop letting customers use my personal pen to make notes or write checks at the register. I rarely got sick before I worked in retail but shortly after I started I kept having various health issues that just wouldn’t stop. I suspected it was exposure to customers, raw meats and blood and relatively unsanitary conditions from shared keyboards, phone handsets and other equipment.
A few weeks ago I got sick again resulting in a short hiatus. It felt like it was the same sort of respiratory and intestinal affliction I always got when customers used my equipment or I failed to clean the keyboards and phones we all share. This is an illness we all share at some time or another and you can actually track the progress of it moving through the store like WHO tracks disease through the members of a remote village.
No telling how I got the old familiar germs but some weeks ago one customer hacked and coughed directly in my face and I could feel the warm death-spray spatter into my face. Of course my first reaction was a surprised “What the hell, dude!” The anger followed nearly immediately and I let the guy have it. He was not at all apologetic, just stood there and refused to respond or meet my gaze. To make things worse I had to assist him in entering his store club discount card and payment in the point of sale pad since it seemed beyond his faculties. The fact that he carried more money on him than I see in a month and had a wallet full of high-end credit cards did not help my mood any. I really hate it when stupid people make more money then I do.
I expected the worst and a few days later I started feeling poorly and then lapsed into horribleness. Fever, intestinal problems and the sensation of drowning in my own mucous lasted about four weeks total. Medicine did little to help and merely allowed me to keep on my feet, though one customer called the corporate office the complain I wasn’t very upbeat and nice to her. She was apparently oblivious to my near-constant retching, coughing and difficulty standing without shaking. Don’t people have anything better to do?
I guess it’s also possible I got sick from the equipment but I doubt it. Some time ago the liquid sanitizer we used on the equipment was replaced with a gel that isn’t suitable for wiping on keypads or phones. The glass cleaner we now use may be a poor substitute but I’m pretty fastidious about cleaning the gunk off my work spaces. So I’m pretty sure it was the jerk violently assaulting me by splashing his yellow/green lung fluids in my face that got me sick but ultimately…Who knows?
While the illness didn’t cause much pain it did leave me exhausted by the end of the work day forcing me to ignore the site and place on hold various To Do projects. Curiously, during my hiatus of a week or so when I was not posting I received more followers, links and “likes” to the blog than I did during the last four months of regular updates.
And that hurt.