Thrilling Tales of Retail Hell, Part 2

Since part 1 was foul, I’ll tell a less hellish story this time.

It was 1989 and I was in college at NYU and working at a video store in the Village called The Video Store (yes, really). It was originally a small home grown chain of stores called New Video but some corp from the Midwest bought it out and re-named it. It wasn’t bad as retail jobs go and getting free access to the entire video library was a nice perk.

For several months I had this regular customer, a woman of about my age who was smoking hot. I would always chat her up and she was charming and friendly. Of course, she had a boyfriend.

She came in one day and was clearly upset. It seems she and her boyfriend had broken up. Turned out she had been dating one of the Beastie Boys (MCA, IIRC) and renting on his account so now she needed her own. I thought, “Ah ha, here’s my chance.” But of course you don’t want to ask a woman out when she’s just broken up with her boyfriend.

She continued to come in and rent and we continued chatting. One day one of my co-workers said, “You’re getting pretty friendly with Heather.”

“Yeah,” I said. “She’s nice; I like her.”

“Did you see her in Drugstore Cowboy?” he asked.

“Uh, no. She was in that?”

“You didn’t know?” my co-worker laughed. “That’s Heather Graham. She’s an up and comer.”

In my defense, Drugstore Cowboy had been her only role of note to date and in fact she was a year younger than me. I never did ask her out though and probably should have. She almost certainly would have said no (she later dated James Wood, who was old enough to be her dad; ew) but it would have been worth a shot. I think she moved shortly thereafter because she stopped coming in. A year and change after that she showed up on Twin Peaks and I thought. “Cool, she’s got a shot at a career.” Yeah, you could say that.

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