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Retail and the Living Debt

Retail and the Living Debt

by Josh Watson, images by Luke Daniel / 28.07.2010

When money is tighter than a shark’s anus, the poor and desperate will wander the streets of Claremont.

If for some Christ forsaken reason you’re considering a career in retail, or you and your sparkly eyed retard friends have designed a range of T-shirts that are “bomb as fuck” then stop a second. Take a deep breath in. Reach over to the nearest sharp object; ram it into your neck. Repeat. This may seem harsh or at least overly dramatic, but I assure you that it is both cheaper and less soul crushing than working in retail.

To further cement the sharp-object-to-neck analogy, allow me to guide you through an average day in the gutter that is Claremont. I’ll try lay off the pretentious allegorical wankery but I promise nothing.

Typically I roll out of bed around 8am, try shrug off last nights hash induced hangover and head towards Claremont. I open Royal Vendetta’s doors and wait for the junkies and plastic milf’s to stumble in. Multiple species of personality seem to gather in this place, truly it is Mecca for the lost. The first junkie of the day stands outside the door, he tries to communicate that he wants to wash our windows so that he can feed his children, but all he can manage is to raise his bucket and offer a dead stare. I tell him to piss off and continue browsing hardcore porn on the computer.

Next a few schoolgirls race into the store. Schoolgirls don’t have any money so I stay seated and stare at the pussy getting railed on the computer screen. After a few years in retail it becomes pretty easy to separate the time-wasters from those who genuinely might purchase something. Eventually the schoolgirls tire of trying on clothes that they can’t pay for and leave.

After a few minutes, a coloured man in his early twenties walks in. I appraise his outfit: Evisu jeans, a Ben Sherman Shirt and Nike Jordan sneakers. I look at his hard and prematurely aged face. He reminds me of a shoplifter and quite possibly a meth-head. For some reason, shoplifters think that if they wear expensive clothes then they will magically blend into the upper class and be given the same level of trust. The bizarre truth is that most rich young coloured men prefer to wear suits (yes, this is a rash generalization, but if you expect to survive retail then best you embrace your inherent racism and polish your prejudices). So this idiot in my store is either an anomaly or has successfully managed to transform himself from a broke drug addled thief into a… broke drug addled thief in expensive stolen clothes. I stand next to him and start talking incessantly about the shirt he’s looking at. He looks around and realizes that with me in such close proximity, it leaves him little chance of stuffing anything in his underwear. He makes an excuse and bolts out the door. White shoplifters are the real danger as they don’t subscribe to a particular uniform or school of thought.

An attractive teen girl tentatively enters the store like a skittish deer. I greet her and offer my help but she ignores me and starts browsing through the skirts. She finds something she likes and comes to the till to pay for it. I greet her again and this time she’s forced to acknowledge my existence. We exchange awkward statements while the card goes through then she leaves.

Now thoroughly depressed by humanity, I step outside and light a smoke. For a while I just watch the ex-middleclass zombies walk around on stiff feet. The recession was like a viral outbreak that stripped the middleclass of its money and identity. The walking debt. Their brains seem to function on some sort of grey-matter-muscle memory causing them to wander in family hordes, browsing the same high-end boutiques that they used to buy from before the virus robbed them of their paper-thin personalities.

My sister, princess of darkness and co-owner of Royal Vendetta, arrives. While she is both the brains and the brawn of the business, I like to pretend that I’m the problem solver and head of the department of pseudo-creativity. We start talking about how dead retail is and how we should open a brothel with a meth-lab in the basement. While we’re discussing the practical aspects of prostitution, our friend Steve pulls up. I smoke another cigarette with him while my sister sells some jocks neon caps and deep V-neck shirts. Steve leaves and I’m about to head inside when I spot Him. Walking up Vineyard Road is an incredibly rare, potential, big spender. He looks like the offspring of Tom Ford and Mother Mary, his style more perfectly manicured than the pubic hair of Jenna Jameson. He eventually makes his way into our shop and I begin to verbally fellate him while he tries on a variety of items. He ends up buying much of what I recommend but I know that it’s owed more to the stock and his wealth than to my pathetic sales tactics. The current distribution of wealth is a bitch and I feel dirty after handling his platinum credit card.

It seems that most of the population has gone from poor to fucked before their sphincters had a chance to react. Massive corporate businesses are closing left, right and center, while those pig-headed enough to continue find themselves living off an unsteady diet of toast and dreams. I’m sure that, in time, things will return to normal and retail will recover – the milfs will be able to buy their hooker shoes and the junkies will score enough change for multiple fixes, but with the smoldering remains of the World Cup now upon us, I remain skeptical and stoned.

*All images © Luke Daniel.

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RESPONSES (57)
  1. Anonymous says:

    haha, i nearly shat myself reading the part about the school girls.
    solid shit.

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  2. Dom :) says:

    nice one josh!

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  3. Andy says:

    “if you expect to survive retail then best you embrace your inherent racism and polish your prejudices”

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  4. nice one says:

    “The recession was like a viral outbreak that stripped the middleclass of its money and identity … browsing the same high-end boutiques that they used to buy from before the virus robbed them of their paper-thin personalities.”

    f*cken brilliant!

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  5. Ryan says:

    Nice one dude! funny as fuck.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    shame. what a tough life life you have. out of bed at 8am, disposable cash and time for hash, your own boss, sufficient capital to start your own business.
    better stab yourself in the neck now, you’re the most unlucky man on the planet.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    There is no brighter future ahead.

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  8. Jade says:

    WTF:
    “…so I stay seated and stare at the pussy getting railed on the computer screen…”

    eeugh. Fucking gross loser

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  9. eddie cheddar says:

    you sad loser. i would normally suggest that you get a life, but you wouldn’t know where to start. all this teaches us is that during a recession the bored people are even more bored than before.

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  10. FMLYHM says:

    “I remain skeptical and stoned.”
    Articulate and Apt, who needs the light at the end of the tunnel anyway.

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  11. poppit says:

    “…so I stay seated and stare at the pussy getting railed on the computer screen…”
    Yes man.
    That better be saved to the desktop.

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  12. random says:

    nice one. well done.

    and thanks to anonymous number 2 (pun intended) for fulfilling our “hater” quota for the day.

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  13. Duranite says:

    loves eet. nice one weasel

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  14. anon-poo says:

    hater of whinging. i can live with that

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  15. scott m says:

    funny shit, well written

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  16. Ruan says:

    Nice article , couldn’t be more on the button !

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  17. Yusuf says:

    “The walking debt” – dig it!

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  18. BM says:

    Mint.

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  19. Po says:

    I like Jade

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  20. Pooh says:

    Love it !!! Good Job Squash

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  21. Tim says:

    @Jade – Fuck off you fruit, this is a brilliantly comical article and that statement just adds to the fun.
    @Josh – Nice one! most of your stuff is spot on but I love the way you put everyone in their places, the whole deep V neck thing made me lol.

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  22. nick says:

    exceptional – education not wasted (!)

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  23. Hilly says:

    Very entertaining! Well done Josh. Write some more!

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  24. Tyrone says:

    Josh, that was truly amazing, i expected nothing less!

    now write a book you dick!

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  25. Po says:

    Come now Jade sounds like a posh school girl. She didn’t like the porno refs. Think that description adds more to the realism than the “fun”. Play nice now.

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  26. anon says:

    Well written, but pointless as your parents bought that store for you and your sister because you’re too retarded (and have too many stupid tattoos) to get real jobs. That being said, Josh your writing is pretty good, stop smoking weed all day and being a lazy cunt.

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  27. Andy says:

    sucks when someone comes along with obvious insider knowledge and doesn’t have the guts to put their name on the post

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  28. Luke D says:

    Ah Josh.
    I’ve read this, about 4 times now, and it just never gets lame.
    “deep V-neck shirts.”
    yes.

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  29. Doctor L. says:

    This, adjacent to the “Hope Street” article.

    South Africa.

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  30. Andy says:

    glad you noticed… we do best

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  31. Doctor L. says:

    That you do, sirs.

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  32. josh says:

    @anon- haha, you are correct on almost all counts, but i will never stop smoking the doobi or being a cunt. thanks 4 the heartfelt praise.

    @Luke D- thanks man, ur pics are bomb as fuck- the wierd dirty lynchian landscapes made it. Yeah, there’s a V-neck and there’s the DEEP V-neck where the belly button is exposed.

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  33. Max says:

    I think this is the most positive response to an article to date.
    im jealous. ftw dude 🙂

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  34. Anonymous says:

    mmm..this oke makes even afrikaans journalists look plastic..
    can’t someone employ this budding journo-and save hime from a life in retail?!!

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  35. Jade says:

    haha i’m no posh school girl, and i don’t mind porn i just don’t like thinking of pussy being railed.

    i never said i didn’t like the piece – it’s a fun read, that line just makes me think you’re gross.

    @Po oh, and thanks Po xx
    @Tim you made me laugh calling me a fruit 😀

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  36. tim lester says:

    Brilliant article . . as useless as it was to me intellectually . . this arbitrary piece of trivia was both entertaining and time consuming .. well done and thank you 🙂

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  37. pussy says:

    wasup guys. just dropping in from a massive sesh of being railed to say i dig the clit out of this article.

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  38. Fan of Josh says:

    Haha at eddie cheddar how old are you?you talk about the economics then use the term loser.your the “loser “who took the time out to read this.dont YOU work?all this teaches us ….is that your a self opionated twat who thinks his thoughts count and has the nerve to try be clever with a dumb pun on Eddie Vedder.Or maybe your a suburb thug whos actually referring to money,I bet your spinning your fake dollar sign medallion right now.Eddie cheddar in the house!!!!

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  39. Dom :) says:

    ” pussy says:
    July 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    wasup guys. just dropping in from a massive sesh of being railed to say i dig the clit out of this article.”

    fuck that is awesome!!!!

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  40. Aléz says:

    brilliant.

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  41. Al Funk says:

    Awesome piece. Deep and disturbing but brilliantly honest. Classic one liner stuff. You got talent man keep telling how it is and how you see it. Jade i’m sorry you haven’t had your pussy railed in a while. Lol.

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  42. Teotwawki says:

    Brilliant!

    “eeugh. Fucking gross loser” – you’re right, this is more Beverly Hills than Herschel schoolgirl

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  43. Kimmé says:

    Dooode, your writing is brilliant and your observations are astute and caustic.
    Damn I shmaak your style. Tell your sis I say howzit

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  44. klan says:

    I agree that you writing is articulate and you have a great style but what the hell are you wasting your life for?

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  45. Trudy says:

    I love this shit Cape Town needs more people telling it how it really is and from the other side of the looking glass as well.Why is he wasting his life?What creative type ever had a regular 9-5 ?most are washed up pieces of shit ….and so we strive.WRITE MORE JOSH RAIL MY MANPUSSY

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  46. josh says:

    Damn, you fine peoples are making me way 2 moist with all these positive comments:)

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  47. Poppit says:

    @ Anon “Well written, but pointless as your parents bought that store for you and your sister because you’re too retarded (and have too many stupid tattoos) to get real jobs”

    hahahah – fuck you. Or have I ?

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  48. Anonymous says:

    @Jade. You don’t mind porn but you don’t like thinking of pussy being railed? Er, you must be into the ‘other’ stuff. You go girl!

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  49. BandGeek says:

    every article on mahala is written by these perved out losers who think all they have to do is write about fucking everything in site and that makes them a “Cutting Edge” writer… Get a life
    Josh,Max and Roger

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  50. Simon says:

    Articulate, yes but lacks substance. I think the world is well aware of the current recession crisis. All that artical taught me was that store assistants really do sum me up by what I wear when I walk into their shop.

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  51. Bwahahaha says:

    If you didn’t get the substance of the article you never will….and if that’s all you got from the article, well then i guess you’re one of the living debt, which would explain why you didn’t get it

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  52. Anreal says:

    Dry, slightly cynical … Old school journalism – i like it.

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  53. dwee says:

    astute observations creatively written… ‘An attractive teen girl tentatively enters the store like a skittish deer’ …i like your style… intriguing…

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  54. josh says:

    “every article on mahala is written by these perved out losers who think all they have to do is write about fucking everything in site and that makes them a “Cutting Edge” writer… Get a life
    Josh,Max and Roger”

    @bandgeek- its called a subjective interpretation of an otherwise mundane topic. Seeing as you have such insight into ‘Cutting edge Writers” why dont you post something for us to read? You’re obviously far more mature and talented?

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  55. Sean says:

    Outright bigotry and stereotypes (about coloureds) are coloured as creativity. WTF. (I am surprised no one else even noticed it. But then I am not surprised.)

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  56. Lúz Uko says:

    Firstly, I have to say that this is an awesome & very informative article.

    This is Priceless!:

    “The recession was like a viral outbreak that stripped the middle-class of its money and identity. The walking debt. Their brains seem to function on some sort of Grey-matter-muscle memory causing them to wander in family hordes, browsing the same high-end boutiques that they used to buy from before the virus robbed them of their paper-thin personalities.”

    But I come from the marketing point of view…

    I look at all of us smme’s suffering and I think that the reason for that is our branding, or lack thereof.

    Let’s put some effort into it (the branding), let’s innovate a little & let’s see what happens.

    & PLEASE.. Let’s try and not use sex too much to sell… Sex just makes the people look at your product/shop.. but it’s the branding that eventually wins the purchase…

    people would rather buy from NIKE, Markham, Puma stores.

    & I know that most of us & very concerned about the “street cred” of our shops.. but really?

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  57. Anonymous says:

    Racist asshole

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