Life

#HMVisopen is trending and we can’t stop laughing at these bizarre stories from ex-employees

Posted by
Megan Murray
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With the hashtag #hmvisopen all over Twitter after Lewis Capaldi accused the store of going “bust”, we can’t help but have a giggle at these retail-worker-fails from those who worked at HMV in 00s.

As anyone who grew up in the 90s and 00s will recall, Saturdays were quite possibly the most important day of the week. Why? Because that’s the day we spent ‘in town’ with our friends. There, we’d spend ages considering the sugary wares on offer in Woolworths’ pick ‘n’ mix section, read the Argos catalogue from cover-to-cover, pore over the blurb of every single video in Blockbusters, pick up a milkshake from Maccy D’s, and marvel at all of the glittering trinkets in Claire’s Accessories.

Our absolute favourite haunt of all, though, was HMV. There are currently 114 HMV stores in the UK, and back in the day this purveyor of films and music was the place to check out the latest singles, try on oversized headphones, and keep an eye out for whoever you were messaging on MSN at the time. And it’s great news that those good times are back – just like the retailer itself.

But with all of that nostalgia sloshing around, you can imagine the fever-pitch levels of excitement when an ex-HMV employee decided to share her most ridiculous and hilarious anecdotes, dragging Twitter on a trip down memory lane in the process.

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Freelance comedy writer and producer Laura tweeted about sharing some of the strangest moments she had while working at the store, writing: “11 years ago I worked in a HMV store and it still remains one of the most surreal employments I’ve ever had. Here are some of the highlights:”

What follows is a spot-on depiction of the randomness of the highstreet in the early 00s, and frankly, how passionate people can get about CDs. From one chancer who attempted to get a refund on a box set because the storylines were “repetitive” to a woman who hated being physically compared to the queen so much she started a handbag fight, this is the Twitter thread that just keeps giving. 

Like the writer of a collection of short stories, Laura starts: “There was an old man who came in every week asking where the adult DVDs were. Every time you showed him, he’d grab his chest, yelp and pretend to faint, all in a desperate attempt to get one of the female members of staff to give him mouth to mouth.”

Another gem follows: “A colleague called in one day to say his mum had died. Rightfully so, they gave him time off with pay so he could grieve. Except one day an angry woman came in demanding to see the manager - it was this guy’s very alive mum asking why they weren’t scheduling her son on the rota.”

We particularly like the everlasting optimism in this tale: “Another guy came in every week to buy all the new singles in the UK top 40. He was about 85 years old and had been a travelling DJ since the 60s. He hadn’t had any work in years but wanted to purchase all the latest chart hits ‘just in case.’”

And, despite his illegal activities, we have to commend this innovative soul: “One bloke got banned because he kept covering his hands in blue paint and touching the CDs to try and get them for a reduced price as they were ‘damaged.’”

“One regular customer who looked exactly like the Queen bought The Priests album four times. On her fourth purchase I asked why she was getting so many copies.’How do you remember me buying them? Is it because I look like the Queen? Because I get very VERY angry when people say that,’” Laura starts before delivering a humdinger of a punchline. 

“And she did. One day another customer told her she looked like the Queen and she hit him with her handbag.”

And, as if we needed further proof that people get very passionate about their purchases, Laura added: “A man threatened legal action when he discovered that instead of a staff member ordering him in Candyman: the horror film, they ordered in the CD single of Candy Man by Christina Aguilera.”

A few of Laura’s followers identified with the struggles of working in retail, sharing some eye-opening (but thoroughly entertaining) stories of their own that we also think you’ll appreciate. 

“These are gold but if you wanna see the dark side of retail I challenge anyone to go work in a SPAR or LONDIS. Then you’ll see some serious shit,” Dad Geek replied. 

“When I started, my new boss showed me the panic button. He then informed me it didn’t work because it was too expensive to get it connected…When I asked what I was supposed to do in case of trouble he showed me a baseball bat. His instructions were ‘Make sure you pop em hard in the face. Don’t swing it or you’ll kill ‘em’.”

Before continuing with another anecdote that we wonder might be connected to the story of our blue-handed friend over at HMV: “There was also a time when a drunken marital dispute spilled over into the shop. The woman was covered in blue paint, thrown by her husband. She bought two scratchcards and left.” 

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Twitter user @WindyCOYS also had a tidbit or two to share (much to our glee), writing: “I loved this so much! It reminded me of my student days working at B&Q 18 years ago.

1. Children would fairly regularly do actual poos in the display toilets.

2. A customer once changed her baby on top of the rug display. Later, my colleague and friend was asked to move some rugs and got baby poo all over his hand.

3. This isn’t all going to be about poo, honest.

4. One of my colleagues had to make an Easter Sunday announcement about a lawnmower sale and in an act of defiance he started the announcement with ‘Good afternoon to our customers; Jesus died on the cross to bring you…’.

5. I would see a physical fight at least monthly. One time, a lady had stolen something on a busy Sunday and another customer had stopped her leaving. During the kerfuffle the thief somehow ended up at the tills, breathless, with one breast hanging out as we waited for the police.”

Not only are we dubbing this the best Twitter thread to ever happen into existence, we’re calling for it to be made into TV series.

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Images: Unsplash

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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