Tie Died

Manhattan, 1972. Retail shopping CRUSH-week between Christmas and New Years and every New Yorker thought it his Constitutional Right to exchange every doofus clothing item he got for Christmas – or thought he got for Christmas – or got for Christmas around 1965.

I worked in Barneys, the World’s Largest Mens’ store and the cacophony of customer craziness was mind numbing. “Sir!”, “Sir!”, “Sir!”, “Pardon me, Sir!” “Sir!”, “Excuse me. May I get some service here?” “Sir!”,“Sir!”, “Sir!”,”Hey, Sir!” “Sir!”,“Sir!”,“Sir!”.

I think I can speak for the majority of the 1st Floor Sales Team when I say we hated them – hated every goddamn one of them who waved a crumbled Barney’s sales receipt at us. There were thousands of them – pushing, pleading, whining, yelling, DEMANDING!

The 1st Floor Team had a little pool going to see which one of us would snap first. I was the odds-on favorite.  I was already demoted from sweaters to ties for being rude to customers.

Working in the tie department was a nightmare! Barneys advertised that they had 100,000 different ties. I never counted them but I must have folded that many at least once a day. There were racks of ties – tables of ties – walls of ties – cases of ties – ties everywhere you looked!

It was about 9:40 pm – 20-minutes until closing – and the crowd had gone. I was exhausted and not exactly in a chipper Barneys mood. I was just mindlessly folding ties on the counter – minding my own business – when this businessman walks over.

“Uh, Sir,” he says, “I don’t see the tie I want here.” SNN…..

I slowly and painfully looked up. “Mister, we carry over 100,000 ties. I’m sure it’s here somewhere.”

“Nope. I looked.” SNNNA….

“Well, Sir, if you looked and didn’t find it, we must not have it. I’m sorry.” And then I started refolding my pile of ties. “Would you GO AWAY,” I thought, “JUST GO AWAY!”

“Well do you have any more ties in the back?” SNNNAAAAAPPPPPPP!

“The ties in the back? No – those are our really good ties. We save those for ourselves. We don’t even have to pay for them – and they’re great ties – but you can’t buy one. Sorry.”

“Are you being smart with me? I pay your salary, you know!”

“Really? Great. Can I have a raise?”

“I’d like to see your manager. NOW!”

“Oh sure, I’ll get him. He’s in the back with the good ties.”

I walked to the back of the store and kept on walking. The A-train stop was only half a block away. I never even bothered to go back for my paycheck.

One Response to “Tie Died”

  1. Joe Belle-Isle says:

    You were SO LUCKY! and didn’t know it at that age. All my life I have dreamt about being a multi-colored/paisley Tie Salesman. They could be made out of extra strong nylon instead of silk for chrissakes that REQUIRE tieing a knot. Then Rednecks could just take a multi-lead rope with hooks on the ends and tie it to their bumpers and hang/truck-lynch a bunch of those monkeys at the same time by surprise on Main Street every Saturday night. Make black and white colors you can’t go wrong with, to stay in style again.

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