Surviving Retail

Venue: The Point, 1013 7th St. NW

Remaining Performances:
Wednesday, July 21, at 9 p.m.
Friday, July 23, at 10:30 p.m.

They Say: “Money is the root of all retail sales, just like all evil,” say Pete Wright. He’s the retail soldier who offers humorous, absolutely true tales and observations from his 20-plus years on the storefront lines of capitalism.

Erin’s Take: Pete Wright‘s collection of anecdotes, compiled from his career in retail is cute, witty—and also kind of forgettable. Perhaps that’s because of the disconnected nature of his stories—there’s no overarching narrative. Also, I’m uncertain as to how he really feels about working in retail—he’s been in the biz for more than 20 years and continues to this day, and yet he definitely voices a good deal of ambivalence about the industry. That said, there are some amusing moments, too.

There’s no doubt that Wright is clever. Some of the highlights come when he’s strumming his ukulele and singing ditties. “Sometimes I got the minimum of wages/to get the maximum of rages.” He also sings about a former co-worker whose life read like a country western song—and he creates one for her, about meeting her husband while visiting her son in jail, only to come home one day and find her house looted and her husband gone.

Other stories include people trying on used dentures at a pawn shop, a woman raging about a package that didn’t arrive on time after she placed the order on Sept. 10, 2001, and something about a toy store. It’s kind of hard to remember. But Wright’s definitely got some good raw material, and with some honing, he could have a compelling one-man show.

See it if: You want to feel better about your own job.

Skip it if: You’re one of the customers Wright’s talking about.