Experiencing a Robbery and Relative Privation

Well, it’s finally happened. I can just about say I’ve experienced all the cliche things you could probably imagine a convenience store owner can go through. On January 30th of 2016, my store had gotten robbed at gun point. Before you ask though, I AM OKAY. DON’T WORRY. I’M NOT SUFFERING THROUGH TRAUMA OR ANYTHING. I really am okay.

Okay so with that said, let’s continue with what happened.

Right around 9:30pm, thirty minutes before I would close the store, I was helping out some regular customers at the register. Nothing out of the normal until a white man of approximately 5″ 8′ (approximately 172cm), medium build, wearing one of those newer design ski masks comes up to the cash till with a gun pointed towards the two customers that were in the store and telling them to leave. He then directed his gaze towards me and demanded money from my till.

I wish I could tell you that I did something amazing and kicked the guy’s ass but it went just as you’d expect. There was something that felt off about it.

The criminal seemed a bit agitated as he was trying his best to rush me as much as he could. I believe the whole robbery was planned as he seemed to know the layout of the store fairly well. Not only that, he most likely did not expect the two customers to be in the store. As such, he probably felt pressured to leave as quickly as possible. Despite this, it seemed like he was going through a script. As I was attempting to grab some money out of my till, he then told me I only had five seconds to give him the cash (promptly sliding the hilt back to assert more pressure onto me).

After finally giving him a wad of cash, he reached over to my side and grabbed some extra cash and then left.

Of course, me being the mature person that I am, went outside of my store and yelled that I was going to kill him at the top of my lungs. To be honest, I think this really helped calm me down.

It was an odd experience to be honest. When you are faced in a situation where you feel like your life is on the line, you can literally sense an intent to kill/harm from the person who is threatening your life. That whole time I was being robbed, I didn’t feel that sensation at all. Most of the time, these people don’t want to injure anyone (but obviously if you force someone in a corner, they just might). Not only that, I’m pretty sure this guy was also a regular at my store. He seemed so familiar (I can only see his eyes but that can say plenty enough).

So naturally afterwards, I called the police and the two customers that were initially there came back to check up on me which was nice. Since they were also there, they gave their part of the story (which was kind of hilarious as they both were saying how “evil” the guy had looked when he came in). Since they were also there, they were able to give their statement in regards to what had happened and they were able to leave.

I can’t help but re-iterate just how odd of an experience it felt. It was as though I was detached from that whole event. I did feel a shiver but I wasn’t sure if that was because of the fear or from the adrenaline of me wanting to hurt that robber. Either way, despite having these shivers, I was very calm. The police officer who had arrived first had actually made that comment and was authentically surprised at how well I was able to assess the situation and help them get an idea of where to go and who it might have been.

The situation felt a little ironic in a way due to what I was reading prior to the robbery. I was reading up on something that a cosplayer on instagram was going through which could easily be summarized as a creepy guy commenting on her picture. It wasn’t as though this cosplayer in particular was complaining up a storm at how bad her life is because of these kind of creepy people, however there were a lot of people who were supporting her and saying how it’s sad that she has to go through these kind of people. There’s another person that I follow who goes through a vast number of retarded people who are transphobic/homophobic, etc.

I’ve always felt that their exasperation towards these situations to be rather dull and meaningless as it’s something you’d have to expect. I honestly hate to use the fallacy of relative privation, however I always felt that I genuinely had it worse. I own a convenience store for crying out loud. I go through a large number of losers who practically beg for one pack of cigarettes on credit because they are incapable of budgeting their money properly (and then calling me a bad person after I tell them I can’t do that). I have customers that try to haggle the price of a product and then tell me I’m a bad person because I don’t try to sell them a product at their budget. I have customers that are just turning 18 purchasing cigarettes and getting addicted to scratch tickets. I have customers that steal from me, do queer things in my store, get mad at me for dumb reasons… I have customers that I just generally do not like. As such, their “problems” look like nothing when compared to what I have to go through IN PERSON.

Now I get it. When you reach a certain amount of followers on the internet, you’ll get that group of people who are just bad crops. After a while, it can certainly get overwhelming with how many people say the dumbest things on your page/instagram profile/blog, etc. When exposed to a toxic community for a long enough time, it can affect you mentally and inevitably physically (due to the stress). Despite knowing this, I can’t help but feel a bit of disdain towards these people. I’ve lived through a rough life where I had gotten picked on, lived poor, and had little people I could rely on. So when my family got to the house that we currently reside in, I can’t help but feel that working in the convenience store is a trip back to the past where I’m amongst low class people who honestly aren’t worth my time.

Sure there are some great customers (one of them where I have actually exchanged phone numbers with, which is extremely rare for me to do) and I love their company. However the amount of rude, crude, unintelligent, entitled customers just overwhelm the amount of good by a huge landslide.

This isn’t something I can easily get out of either. This is a business that’s supposed to help support the family. The business is only capable of having me and my father work. Slowly but surely, the business is starting to make enough to where we can reasonably hire another person. It’s because this process is so frustratingly difficult that I can’t just leave to work somewhere else or do my own thing. This also brings me back to the $15 minimum wage thing that started a while back. While the post I had written about it is severely outdated now, it really hits a bit further home now that I have my own business. If I were forced to pay $15 per hour, there’s no way I’d be able to hire anyone ever.

I’m digressing, however my point is that I’m aware of the situation that I’m in and I definitely do not want to be a part of it (I never really did want to). While the adventure up until now has been… interesting, to say the least, I feel that a new chapter needs to happen. The hardest part is how to get that chapter started? Perhaps I should venture towards ideas on how to earn a bit more money on the side.

Oh well. With that all said, I’m just glad that the customers that were in my store were safe and that I came out of it unharmed. I hope it never happens again.

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