Dedicated workers are mourning the closure of music and video chain store Sanity, with one ex-manager revealing he loved the shop so much he even completed a shift after surviving a heart attack – before then checking himself into a hospital.
Sanity’s final two stores closed on March 27, prompting hundreds of employees and thousands of customers to share their memories from the shop floor.
Those employees can now freely reflect on their time since the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that CEO Ray Itaoui enforced on January 4 against staff has ended with the closure of all 50 stores.
Nick White, a ‘Sanity nerd’ and former manager of two of the country’s top performing stores, delivered a touching eulogy online after ‘a life changing 10 years’ with the company.
Nick White (pictured), a ‘Sanity nerd’ and former manager, delivered a loving eulogy online after ‘a life changing 10 years’ with the company
Former employees are now left with nothing but memories and nametags as the bricks and mortar store transitioned online
After almost a decade with the company, Mr White said he is grateful for the relationships and opportunities his time at the store provided.
‘I moved interstate, I visited and helped out in a few different stores, I even survived a heart attack and went to work the next day before admitting myself to hospital.
And it was all worth it.
‘I’m also proud to say that every day I gave my all to fulfill the Sanity Customer Promise that hung in every single store.’
The Sanity Customer Promise declared that staff will always satisfy the customer – whether by figuring out which movie a scene came from or finding the song a particular line comes from.
Other staffers left Sanity with a mixed opinion about the retailer.
One former employee, who asked to go by the pseudonym Bruce due to their NDA, told Daily Mail Australia that though the staff were great, it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
‘We learnt about the closures the same day as everyone did,’ Bruce said.
‘Channel Nine had already called my boss before Ray [Itaoui] had even sent out the NDA email.’
All staff were under NDAs as part of their employment contract, which Mr Itaoui reiterated by email on January 4 after the closure was announced.
‘Lucky they trusted their gut and told the reporters that they couldn’t discuss it or it would’ve been a bad day,’ she said.
Some staff found it hardest saying goodbye to the regular customers, who saw some staff as close friends who they could discuss pop culture with.
The Sanity Customer Promise says staff will always satisfy the customer – figuring out which movie a scene came from or finding the song a particular line comes from
Sanity announced it would close all its physical stores on January 4 (pictured, Sanity employees in Mount Gambier, SA)
During the final weeks of of trading, the stores went through phases of sales, starting at 50 per cent off and climbing to 75 per cent off.
Bruce said the dizzying number of customers rushing through the store to grab a bargain made the time fly by, with people ‘literally waiting for two hours’ in lines.
‘Some customers used to just come in and talk all day about their favourite show, which was nice if we weren’t busy,’ Bruce said.
‘They’d pretend they wanted to pre-order something as a guise just so they could talk about other shows, or give us recommendations for things to watch or listen to.
‘You could tell they lost a big part of their life by not having the opportunity to come down to the store and browse stuff on the shelf.’
The CD and DVD retailer closed the doors to its last two physical stores in Queensland’s Browns Plains, in south Brisbane, and Bundaberg, in the state’s north, on Sunday.
Sanity was a staple of most Aussie shopping centres for more than 40 years, boasting more than 200 storefronts around the country in its prime.
Sanity (above) closed its last two stores in South Brisbane and Bundaberg on Sunday after more than 40 years of business
Mr Itaoui said the shift in strategy was led by consumers’ recent preference to ditch physical media in favour of digital downloads