Thursday, August 6, 2015

S Mart

 There was a store in Anderson called S Mart.  It was located near a shopping center on the outskirts of town.  The store sold mainly women's clothes which were made at the Stone Manufacturing plant in Greenville.  Some of the clothes were factory seconds. 
 I needed a part-time job after school, so the Dean of Students got the job for me.  He was an older man named Dr. Lawton.  He was also very kind.  My job there was the Director of Maintenance.  I was the only employee doing that job, which is why I was the Director.  The store had several employees, mostly all women.  The manager of the store was a man, who must have been ex-military, because he was very strict.  My duties consisted of mowing the grass outside of the store; sweeping the inside of the store; and whatever else. 
 I also found that his business practices weren't quite kosher.  There was a woman in the stockroom whose job was to sew designer labels into the clothes.  She had labels from Belk, Neiman Marcus, JC Penney's, and other stores. 
 I had been working there for about 10 days, when my manager told me that I needed to wax the floors after closing.  He showed me the large vat of wax in the stockroom.  I had never waxed a floor before, and he didn't give me any direction.  So after the store closed, I went to work.  I have never been very good at reading directions, and apparently the directions on the vat said to mix the wax with water.  I didn't see that, and I pumped the wax from the vat into a container and poured it onto the floor.  Yes, it smelled, but I thought it was supposed to smell like that.  I took the mop and spread it out over the floor.  I completed the task and went home.  The next afternoon, I reported for work and expecting a pat on the back for a job well done.  That didn't happen.  The manager was livid.  He fired me on the spot.  It seemed that they couldn't open the door to the store that morning, because I had put so much wax on the floor that the door was sealed shut.  So, they went to the loading door at the back of the store.  The smell was so bad that it made some employees sick.  The manager said that the floor was so sticky that it was hard to walk, and he asked me if I had cut the wax with water.  Of course I hadn't.  They had to take all of the clothes out of the store and clean them, and then strip the wax off of the floor.  They were closed for several days.
 I went back to the store to get the money for the last few days, and the manager refused to pay me.  I reported that to Dr. Lawton, and he took me out to the store.  I was due money for 10 days of work.  After some discussion between him and the manager, I was paid a portion of what I was owed.  For a few months after that, I would see the manager around town.  He would never speak to me, but his face would get real red, as if his blood pressure was going up.  He scared me.
 S Mart closed up a few years later.  They were investigated for the sewing of the labels.  I wonder how the investigators found out.

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