Friday, March 13, 2015

Nike, the West Coast, and Money Spent

     Since the new year came ringing in, life has been a little hectic.  My job duties expanded for two months to include being on call seven days a week in order to meet the needs of the omnipotent entity known as Air Jordan (or maybe Nike, or is it professional basketball, or FootLocker, or most likely, just sneakers).  It was amazing to see and experience the obscene expense put forth to build "pop-up" stores custom-designed to showcase the most recent sneaker trends rolling out for the NBA All-Star game in NYC.  There were lights and mannequins and custom furniture and displays.  There were sneaker lotteries and high-security, undisclosed locations to store the footwear treasure.  My small part was to be ready at a moment's notice to run a missing piece or some crucial part into one of the many job sites.  Some days it was a constant stream of freight going in and out of the city.  On other days, it was 12 hours of watching the phone and waiting for it to ring.  The phone was not allowed to be left alone at any time, just in case.  The hours and days ran right into one another.  Seven days a week allows for a person to not even realize what day it is because the weekend never had the opportunity to lend context to the work week.  Who am I to argue, the meter was running and the customer was paying.
     And then, without ceremony, the game was over, the sneakers were sold, the hype was gone, and the stores disappeared.  Within a week crews dismantled the "pop-ups" and sent them to another happening spot.  The existing renovated stores were returned to their former mundane facades.  No expense was spared to make everything appear as if the glorious sneakers had never been there.  The whole amazing transformation back and forth took place in the dark of night.  It was quite a feat of sales magic.  And now it is over.
     Along the way, I had the opportunity to interact with several West Coast folks.  How different they were in there constantly happily apologetic manner.  They could not imagine how so many people crammed into the Tri-state area could be so angry all the time while running about in a seemingly endless quest to get somewhere.  The frigid weather was always a subject of great interest due mostly to the teams not even having the proper clothing for the climate here.  It was actually quite comical how, when stepping back for a moment, my warehouse team fulfilled almost all the stereotypical notions these people brought with them to our coast all the while being the coffee-drinking granola stereotypes of the upper West Coast.  The warehouse team that I worked with spent an entire month away from friends and family trapped in an unfamiliar city tethered to a phone and laptop, always on-call without a spare moment to even venture out to take in some of what NYC has to offer.  It seemed somehow tragic to be surrounded with so much and not be able to experience any of it.  We did have conversations about the differences between coasts and all the land between those coasts.  But those snippets were crammed between emails, phone calls, and freight runs and left more questions about the foreign territory out west than answers.  Perhaps a road trip is in order with the changing of the seasons.
     The job has ended.  The All-Stars are gone.  All the money has come and gone.  Everything is back to normal for now.  My life has been returned to its regular schedule. 

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