No good deed goes unpunished. The customer is always right. I try to avoid clichés, which is easier than avoiding conflict. But sometimes the conflict comes to me whether I’m looking for it or not. And sometimes it finds me in the worst possible place; a place that I had no problems with in the past, but suddenly decided to have one with me.
Trolls will troll. People are going to say, “Well you must have done something.”
Because one thing bullies need is a reason to push people around. And that’s just what happened at Remember Salem, or as I once lovingly called it, The Harry Potter Store.
Allegedly, Remember Salem is the only licensed retailer of Harry Potter merchandise in the United States. I learned this from the gentleman who gave me the local discount, when I was visiting Salem whilst living in Danvers almost five years ago.
Since starting this blog, I’ve made no bones about airing my grievances. I’m not unique in this. So many bloggers do just that. Some of them even make their living doing this and really I’m just trying to make myself heard. Usually retaliation comes in the form of anonymous trolling, but every now and again a person who is in less of a position than I am to criticize will give me their “Come to Jesus” lecture, including a list of personality traits they decide that I need to alter, which they will list in an ascending order of what I assume is meant to be shame.
But I’ve never had a negative thing to say about Remember Salem, because all of my encounters with the shop have been typically pleasant.
As I said, twice, the old owner gave me the local discount on the soda, even though I hadn’t been living there for more than a couple years by that time. I bought Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews there. I bought my sister a scarf from that shop for her tenth birthday. I routinely and openly praise this shop to my friends on Facebook and Twitter.
On June 8th, I went into the shop to browse. Maybe buy another bottle of Butterscotch Beer. You know, like what I’m drinking in this photo.
This new guy who hasn’t owned the place for that long, or if he has owned it for long, he is a far smaller oversight than the much larger gentleman who used to be owner of those two shops, walked right up to me and told me I needed to leave. The shop isn’t closed. They’re getting ready to give one of their tours. He just tells me I need to leave and I ask why.
“Because I don’t want you here.”
“Well, I’m just here to browse,” I said.
“I don’t like your presence here.”
At this point I reminded him that I’ve never stolen from them, and I’ve purchased merchandise here before. His employees were just sitting at the counter. I’ve never met either one of them and they weren’t people I was familiar with, so probably fairly new, or recently hired.
“You need to leave, or I’m calling the police,” the owner repeated.
“Okay,” I said, calmly. “Please do.”
“Get out of here right now, or I’m going to.”
“Okay,” I said. “They’re not going to arrest me right away. They’re going to get my side of the story as well as yours and you’ll have to explain to them why you want me to leave.”
This exchange goes for a while. The guy did not leave at this point. Out of nowhere he says, “A year ago you had a problem with one of my employees.”
“I don’t recall that,” I said.
“Well, now you need to go.”
I’m really trying to remember any negative encounter I’ve had with this shop. Again, the two employees at the counter are not people I recognize. This is a small shop with barely more than a few people working there in more than a week. I walk past this shop all the time.
At this point I should also point out that Essex Street has a very large portion of the transient population walking in and out of these shops. The police log is full of reports from “undesirables” being escorted, arrested, or asked to leave properties in or around the Peabody Essex Street Mall.
So, thinking this might be a case of mistaken identity, I asked the owner, “What’s my name.”
“I don’t care what your name is,” the manager replied. “Get out of here, or I’m calling the police.
“Sir, I will gladly wait for the police.” I said.
“I’m going to kick your ass when you come out of this shop,” he muttered.
“Did you just threaten me?” I asked.
“No, I promised you. That’s what I can do in this town.”
“Well now I insist you call the police,” I said. “Because you’ve just threatened me with assault.”
About five minutes later, the manager disappeared. The employees, who remained at the counter, kept telling me they would call the police, which I now insisted they do since their boss just threatened me. The male employee said, “If you leave right now, I’ll tell the police you just left. I don’t need to know your name and I’d rather not know it.”
“Well, when the police get here,” I said. “They’re going to know my name and you will too. And after this I doubt you’ll forget it.”
The police finally showed up. I showed them my ID, which they checked. They could not find the manager either, but the employee just parroted what he was told about an alleged negative encounter with an employee.
By the way, I walk past the shop all the time. I see that scrawny little manager several times, up and down Essex Street. At no point in the past year or so that I’ve been aware of his presence has he told me to stay away from his shop. I was actually there a couple of times in October. I even brought my family in there while they were visiting the Salem area.
It’s very telling that he didn’t stick around to talk to the police. After all, he’s a Salem business owner. What does he have to hide from them? I just feel sorry for the poor employees who were left alone, while I remained on the premises, waiting for the police. I mean if I was a dangerous person, this guy just left them high and dry to deal with me.
Fortunately, in spite of what my blog trolls think, I’m not a violent and unreasonable person, as evidence by the fact that I stayed and spoke to the police, gave them my information, and left without a fuss afterward. I certainly didn’t threaten to harm the owner, as he threatened me.
Now, the real work of magic will be if anyone who reads this blog will ever set foot in that shop again.
According to Tim, the owner of Remember Salem, he was not aware of this incident. He believes his employees may have lied to him. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt since I certainly know what it’s like to have dishonest coworkers, however, until Salem PD advises me on how to respond to Tim’s request for more information, I am going to hold off on responding to him.
He made a friend request on Facebook. Because I don’t want him to be the victim of harassment by people on my own Facebook who may be moved by my experiences, I have refused the request.
Read his other comment here: https://nathanielleseancrawford.com/2016/10/02/the-next-book/#comments