It was an exciting weekend at the art supply store. My co-workers in the framing department and I were huddled around one of the computers, trying to figure out some horror or other, when there was a sudden creak, and we all looked up into the Retail Apocalypse.

Like many stores, this one is arranged in aisles, with rows of tall shelving units covered in art supplies. Someone had overloaded and unbalanced one. After a few hours, it succumbed to gravity and fell over, whereupon the domino effect came into play.

It started two aisles over, and ended when a wall of picture hanging equipment fell on the framing department.

“Oh shit!” said coworker #1.

“Oh, FUCK!” said coworker #2.

“Whoa,” said Ursula, who hadn’t had enough caffiene yet to get excited.

Fortunately we were huddled around the computer at the OTHER end of the counter, so none of us died, but it took out a chunk of the counter. Had anyone been standing in any of the aisles in question, they would have been killed, probably impaled on dozens of little wire hangers, but definitely smacked lethally upside the head by metal sheets powered by hundreds of pounds of paint tubes. Perhaps a good way for an artist to go, but we would have been awfully traumatized.

Once we determined that nobody had been killed, we had to clean up a zillion tubes of acrylic and a whole lot of picture hangers, which meant that I spent Sunday laying out a display wall. (“You want me to what? Well, okay…”) I was engaged in this mindless but not-entirely-unsatisfying activity when the manager came around the corner.

“We can rebuild it,” he said, and looked at me with desperate hope.

“We have the technology,” I replied obediently, baffled.

“Oh, thank god!” he said. “Someone old enough to know that!”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’d only seen it in re-runs after school.

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