No ounce of prevention to look at here


‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving
And all through the ditch
Sat an old lady’s car;
How the corporate office did bitch!

A couple of months ago, a former employee of the store drove his car into the ditch while he was pulling in to start his graveyard shift. He was stoned at the time – hence the adjective ‘former’ before the noun ’employee’. But everyone who works or shops at the store realized that it could have easily happened to someone who was stone cold sober. The ditch is quite deep, there’s no guardrail blocking it, and the lighting is quite poor in the parking lot. My boss put in a call to the corporate office the next morning, suggesting they okay the funds to put in a guardrail and/or better lighting so it didn’t happen to someone else. They declined to acquiesce. I was going to blog about the incident at the time, but “E” (The Cute One) kept forgetting to bring me her digital camera so I could upload the photos of the tipped over car…and being able to see it was half the battle.

Well, last Wednesday night, it happened to someone else: an elderly lady – a regular customer at the store – who was most definitely not stoned. Fortunately she wasn’t injured, either. The place was pretty busy at the time, and several of our other regular customers helped her out of the car and into the store. I wasn’t working that night, but I did pop in to get some milk just after it happened, so I can tell you firsthand that everyone in the store was extremely concerned about her well-being. She sat in the office for awhile to calm down, where she was waited on by my boss. He gave her a cup of hot coffee and a hot dog (which I suppose could actually be considered abuse…but I digress), made some phone calls for her (to her invalid husband and a tow truck) and arranged for her to get a ride home. Then he called the corporate office to let them know about the incident, requesting -again! – a guardrail and/or better lighting. The answer was another resounding No.

The car sat in the ditch for well over twelve hours before the tow truck came. Although this is a very small town, the store is situated on a major road, so thousands of commuters were able to see this monument to our corporate office’s miserly lack of concern for its customers’ and employees’ well-being. One of these commuters was a photographer for one of our local free weekly newspapers. The most recent edition came out yesterday, and this picture was sitting prettily on the front page (yes, I blocked out the name of the store. It might be a shitty, minimum wage job, but I need it right now):

Caption: The ditch in front of the [name of] station has claimed another victim. The old guard rail along the ditch was removed when the station went under construction and has yet to be replaced.

So, yesterday my boss had to make yet another call to the corporate office, informing them of this rather unpleasant local publicity. He also made another request for a guardrail and/or better lighting. Their response was yet another No. Then they called the newspaper demanding a retraction. Turns out there’s an inaccuracy in the caption; to wit: The guardrail was taken down long before last summer’s construction.

I think they should seriously consider spending the money they’re saving on guardrails and/or better lighting on a good P.R. firm.

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About R.J. Keller

R. J. Keller is the author of Waiting For Spring. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and created episodes of the writer-centric YouTube series, Inside The Writers' Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. She co-hosted Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran from 2011-2014. She lives in Central Maine with her family, where she enjoys gardening, collecting geeky memorabilia, and watching other people cook. View all posts by R.J. Keller

11 responses to “No ounce of prevention to look at here

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