A lot of people think they’ve had the worst day, ever. A lot of them will sigh as they sit down exhausted, reaching for the half-empty whiskey bottle on the table, and say to you “Man, what a day. What a fucking day.” Some people may in fact have actually had a somewhat bad day.
Well, these people don’t know shit. Let me tell you a story about yesterday, Thursday 1st October 2009. The 100% official, swear-to-god, worst day, ever.
It all began with the arrival of a package from back home. Jess and I have a wedding to attend here in Sydney, you see, and I cleverly left all of my formal clothes back in Perth. My parents were good enough to attend to my needs and send them over, but in my infinite wisdom I left it until the last minute, and indeed told them to send the wrong trousers.
With the wedding on Saturday, there was no time to get them to send over the correct ones. We decide to quickly run out to Target and get some new trousers, foregoing showers in our rush to do so. It is quickly warming up to be a stinking hot day, and my nose responds appropriately by deciding it is going to drip relentlessly throughout all of it. We are tired, sniffly, unwashed, sweaty, hot, and probably coming down with a cold. And we’re only just getting started.
We have organised to meet up with Sarah, Saturday’s bride-to-be, at her house. She is going to hang out with Jess and keep her company while I go into work three hours early (to what is only a three hour shift in the first place) to organise my cash-register login details and learn how to use the thing to actually sell products to customers. I am led to believe this is an important part of retail work. I am told this will only take about half an hour.
Thanks to Target, we are able to pick up pants quickly and easily, and then pick up Sarah. We are late and stressed, but that’s okay. A quick tour of her house follows and then we are off to the shopping centre in which I work. I leave the two lovely ladies in the food court and saunter off to work, arriving on time and expecting to jump straight in to training and learning.
Instead, I find that the assistant manager who organised the whole thing is off sick. The actual manager is on the phone, just back from holidays, and continues to be on the phone for about fifteen minutes while I kill time in the store. When I am actually able to speak to him, he professes confusion and says he is trying to organise my login details now, but it needs to be done synchronously with an IT Guy in head office and that said IT Guy may not be free to do it for up to an hour.
Enraged, I ask what “it” actually involves. It turns out I am just going to have to speak to the Guy to provide a password for my cash-register logon. I say that this is crazy: if I just need to talk to the Guy on the phone, he can call me on my mobile anytime, and exit the store saying that I will be back when my shift starts. By this time it has been forty-five minutes and absolutely nothing has been done, though I have taken a peek at my upcoming hours for October – which were promised to be “pretty intense” due to the school holidays, only to discover that October sees me working a whole six extra hours, in total.
Sarah needs to get back to her house, so we take her home. Once we get there, I receive a frantic call saying that I need to be back in the store because the policy is that I need to speak to the IT Guy on the store phone, while being physically located in the store. Jess and I swear violently and leave Sarah’s house to go back to the shopping centre. On the way back, I flip through the Myer gift registry for the Saturday wedding (something else we left until the last minute). Once we get to the centre, I toss the registry on the dashboard in the car and forget about it. This is important.
I head into work, still with over half an hour until my shift is to start, and begin to finally learn the things I need to learn. Jess waits around in the store for a while, and then decides to go down to Myer and grab some gifts for the wedding from the gift registry. The layout of the shopping centre means that Myer is about a ten minute walk away. She makes this journey only to realise that I have left the gift registry in the car, and hikes back again to accurately inform me that I am a cocksucker and she is going to go read in the car, and get gifts later.
When she gets to the car, the growing heat of the day has made it fairly uncomfortable to be in, even in the covered carpark. She reads for a while and then decides to use her laptop, which uses its blast-furnace like heat output to turn the inside of the car into a tiny sauna. Sweating in rage, she flees the car and decides to head down to Myer again. When she finally gets there, she discovers that Myer’s catalogue is mind-fuckingly insane and the products on the gift registry either do not exist, are wildly more expensive than listed, or are available, but only in damaged boxes.
Meanwhile, at work, I have actually sneezed so hard I split my lip open along some sort of geostructural fault line. It bleeds profusely and continues to bleed for about two hours, or almost all the remainder of my shift. Combined with my running nose, I am being slowly driven insane. My shift ends and I flee the premises towards Myer. It is 8:30 PM and the shopping centre is closing up. I trundle towards Jess at top speed.
We meet up and she regales me with tales of shittiness, while I continue to apologise profusely for leaving the gift registry in the car. We realise we are both hungry, and decide to get some corn-in-a-cup (it’s delicious, and nutritious!) from the nearby corn store, only to be informed that the corn store is out of corn – in fact the last corn-in-a-cup was just sold to the customer before us. We turn to the bubble tea place a few metres away, and desperately ask to order bubble tea. Unfortunately, they are out of pearls and in fact, they only just sold their last bubble tea.
By this point every second word coming out of our mouths is a furious expletive. We rage over to the food court and get in line at KFC for some “Mashies”, because we both want to try them. Unfortunately it appears that KFC was staffed exclusively by vacuous morons that night, as we were left in line for ten minutes and completely, blatantly ignored by no less than four counter staff before being served. In fact we were ignored to the point that the lady who queued up behind us was pulled out of the queue up to the front counter and served ahead of us.
In keeping with the pattern established today, the woman orders Mashies. In fact she wants a large one. And it just so happens that there was only enough left in the warmer to fill a large box. Jess ragequits the queue. I stand there out of spite, forcing them to serve me and make up an entire fresh batch for me. This takes another ten minutes.
We finally get our Mashies and head back to the car. They’re not even very good. In fact they sort of taste funny, but I am fucking ravenous as I have not eaten since 2:00 PM and scarf down all of them. On the way home, we remember that we need to get petrol, and pull into a service station.
Jess goes to fill up the car, only to realise the pump has malfunctioned and backfired, soaking the side of the car, the ground and her skirt with petrol. A lot of petrol. Things just keep getting better. I go inside to pay, while she heads off to the service station toilet to try and dilute the petrol with water and wash as much of it off as possible. I pay and head back out to the car, only to receive a surprise phonecall from Jess: “You know how this is the worst day ever,” she says. “Well, I’m locked in the fucking toilet.”
Locked in the fucking toilet.
I run inside to the counter and explain the situation to the clerk, who throws me a key and says something about “they’ve been having trouble with that door”. Taking the key, I run over to the toilet and try to open it. The key doesn’t fit in the lock as it has been damaged. The handle won’t turn, and the door barely gives. Jess and I have to shout to hear each other as trucks are barreling by on the road ten metres away. Eventually we are able to communicate that there is no fucking way to unlock this door, and I just begin repeatedly yanking at it, trying to force it open. Empowered perhaps by adrenaline, or a dreadful resentment at the universe, I wrench the door open, mangling the lock beyond repair and freeing Jess.
Taking the key back inside, I try and explain what happened to the clerk again, who only shrugs and says “Yeah, that door is pretty broken”, explaining that they reported it to head office weeks and weeks ago but nothing has been done about it. This does not exactly placate us but there isn’t really anything we can do, so we storm out, to finally go home.
Once we get home, we finally sit down and relax for a few hours, thinking that the day is finally over. But the fates have one last surprise in store for us: when I go to return Jess’s mum’s bank keycard to her, I can’t find it. Anywhere. We search the room, the car, the driveway, the garage. It is nowhere to be found. Up until now were starting to come to terms with the day, as all the shitty things that had happened had only affected us. But now, on top of all this, we had lost the keycard.
We pile into the car and drive out to the service station, thinking it must, surely, have come out of my pocket during my frenzied wrenching of the toilet door to free Jess. The clerk we talked to before has gone home and the new guy doesn’t know of any cards that have been handed in, and we can’t find it anywhere searching around the grounds of the station.
Desolate, and truly fucking infuriated, we return home, only to find the keycard lying on the floor under a pile of clothes.