Finishing the seven-stretch

When I finished my shift at the store Sunday night, I looked at the manager on duty and declared, “I just finished my seven-stretch!”

I do believe I may have coined a phrase. For me, at least.

I’ve heard my co-workers call it something else. I may have used that other doozie, which ends at a place where it’s plenty warm, myself.

The blue days, all in a row.

The blue days, all in a row.

The manager smiled and wished me an enjoyable day off. Been there, done that.

Corporate schedules everybody this long and winding working patch, always after the one weekend we get off each month. Oh, retail. Because it’s part of the split-days-off week, there’s only one day off for the initial recuperation. Then it’s back to the store for three days of labor before that second day off.

Now, I know I’m not the only one working my way over through such hurdles.

In fact, back when I covered music for the big daily, New York State Fair time used to mean a 12-day stretch of coverage for me. In the 1990s, when the late, great Joe LaGuardia was booking acts at both the free-admission court and paid-ticket grandstand through the regime of several fair directors, I’d attend the 4 p.m. concert at the court, hustle to the press building to write and file my review from my laptop, and then make my way to the grandstand for the 7:30 p.m. show. That review had to be filed from the press building — a mile hike from the stands — by midnight. A tight deadline, always.

At the end of the fair, I’d be mentally exhausted. Hey, I was in my 30s and 40s, and sitting down during the shows, listening to music and thinking.

At the end of the seven-stretch, I’m physically pooped. I’m 58, always on my feet, stocking, mixing paint, walking the aisles, listening to customers and thinking.

Which do you think would get you more tired, the state fair concert run of 12 days, or working the store for seven days? What’s your longest stretch of work days? How do you re-energize yourself?

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26 thoughts on “Finishing the seven-stretch

  1. I’d rather the store than the fair. The store is much more organized and you re helping people all day. I’ve always loved retail and ran a bakery store by the time I was 14. People arrive with expectations and when you can meet or beat those expectations they leave happy. There is nothing as rejuvenating as making hundreds of people happy per day. There will always be a few who will challenge you but that is a chance to improve their day and yours.

    I’ve worked a lot of different shifts over the years. I find the night shift containing the hours from 2 am to 4 am to be the hardest. I always tried to put a coffee break there somewhere. Ha! Everyone else is like a Zombie at that time so you have to watch out for them as well as yourself.

    You’ll gradually toughen up Mark and will be knocking off shifts with ease pretty soon. 😀

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      • Ha! It can be a drag Mark but night shifts have their positives. I ran 5 nights a week from Moncton to Halifax and return for a few years. It is peaceful and much can be accomplished (in your case it would be stocking shelves or building displays or receiving transports). You never have to take time off for any appointments, there are far fewer bosses around and you can set your own pace. You can establish a routine that can be comfortable for some. Personally I like the rough and tumble of interacting with customers at random times. 😀

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      • Yes. That shift is best for some people, Paul. I, like you, am too social. Today I color-matched a piece of vinyl siding perfectly on the custom computer for a nice-daughter-mom customer pairing. Made my work day.

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  2. I’m with you Mark. I have worked a lot of physically exhausting jobs in my life, but The Store just about kills me on a daily (or nightly) basis. Also at 58, my recovery time takes much longer. Advil is my friend! Looking forward to some articles on our upcoming “100 Days Of Hell” the store’s busiest time. We’ll really have to stock up…….on aspirin.

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  3. Having worked retail for years, I must say, I worked a lot of days in a row. I have no idea. I know that at least two summers I worked every single day in July. We opened at 7 and closed at 8 though, so it’s not like I had crazy shifts.

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  4. I give you credit, Mark. I recently had to drop from 5 workdays to 4 – with no weekends – and some weeks (like today), I only manage 3 days due to my chronic illness. My job is not particularly physical except when I have to walk from the parking ramp to County Hall. Probably your much more physical job will keep you younger longer, once you grow accustomed to the schedule.

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  5. Wow, what a schedule. I think doing the journalism is a rougher schedule and you really can’t leave it at home like you can at retail. That being said, it’s more of a passion thing, almost a labor of love. The best to you Mark.

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  6. you have a lot of sympathy from me – good to have pay though 🙂 When I was teaching we would work a couple of Saturdays – but hey you must be tired out so stop reading this!

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