A true tale by Joey
A lot of my life is lived at the Co-op. I work full time and do all my grocery shopping right here at the corner Eighth and Main. I’ll while away ages of my own free time talking and browsing in the Co-op’s cozy aisles. Sometimes it feels like I never leave--and I really don’t mind! One fateful night taught me, though, that there is a limit to how long I can spend here: the night I was locked in the Co-op.
CNFC used to have Owner Appreciation Days when all our active owners would receive a 10% discount. As the ownership coordinator, OAD always involved a lot of work for me: I had to make sure that everyone’s accounts were up-to-date—owners entitled to a discount would receive one, and all our lapsed owners would not. Updating ownership accounts usually took an hour or two, sometimes longer if I’d been falling behind (which, of course, I had on the night my story takes place).
The night in question was a Thursday in the summer. Thursdays in the summer usually take me out to the Farmers Market, and I don’t return to the store until after 9:00pm. I unpacked market materials, counted out the cash box, and cleaned myself up a bit. I didn’t get started on my ownership duties until after 10:00.
Around 1:00am, bleary-eyed, achy backed, and utterly exhausted, I finally finished working. I clocked out and went to leave through our back door, which I expected to be able to open from the inside. Much to my alarm, it was locked. The cleaning crew we were employing at the time must have locked the deadbolt after they left for the night. A deadbolt to which I didn’t have the key. I tried the front door—no luck! I returned to the back door—still locked! The thought dawned on me: I was stuck.
Being alone in the Co-op isn’t the all-natural bacchanal one might imagine. I frantically paced the store searching for escape routes. I looked in our loft, hopelessly, for some secret way out. I considered exploring the building’s crawl-space, but its nick-name of “The Spider Hole” kept my curiosity in check. I indulged in colorful language at a volume entirely inappropriate for business hours. I debated the ethics of putting some snacks on my employee tab and making a night of it (I decided against). I scoped out all the best dark corners and office furniture for sleeping.
As I was rehearsing the dialogue I planned on having with Friday’s opening crew (who would be opening the store in just four hours or so) I remembered that I had one final hope: my new manager, Dylan, was working overnight painting a mural at the Naked Lounge! I crossed my fingers and called the coffee shop. I was excited to hear the phone ring once, rather than going straight to voicemail. My enthusiasm dimmed by the tenth and had entirely evaporated by the fifteenth ring. I ready to hang up when Dylan answered the phone. Fortunately, he was more bemused then frustrated at being interrupted at two in the morning by an employee held captive by the Co-op. It didn’t take long for Dylan to stroll on back to the store and set me free.
I’ve never been happier to be out of the Co-op. The short walk home seemed like a wonderful hike after the evening of frenzied pacing through the Co-op. My bed seemed more comfortable after being compared to our break-room couch. My refrigerator…seemed a bit empty. I probably should have bought some snacks while I was stuck in the store.