Strange ReTales: Ring The Alarm

The best laid plans, they say, often go awry.

That was actually Scottish poet Robert Burns who wrote that, but that’s neither here nor there.

Years ago, I had promoted up a brand new Assistant Manager. Mitch was a great salesperson, well organized, and a good leader, so he was an excellent choice.

None of what happened next was his fault.

Mitch and I both had codes for the alarm panel for the store. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I, the store manager didn’t have authority to assign alarm codes.

All alarm codes at all stores were programmed in by the district manager, my boss.

I had already given Mitch his keys, and that Friday our DM visited the store to program Mitch’s alarm code into the panel.

Except he didn’t save it correctly.

After closing up that night I promptly took the weekend off and went out of town.

Now, back then I didn’t have a cellphone.

Sunday night I get home to find the red light on my answering machine blinking furious.

I had over two dozen messages from Mitch.

Almost all of them were variations of “Lee! My alarm code doesn’t work! I don’t know what to do!”

In the background the alarm siren was howling at full blast in all of them.

quite a bit like this, actually

The final voicemail was a tired and harassed-sounding Mitch announcing “Lee, I’m locking up and we’re going home. Sorry.”