My father has worked in retail for years, the past 30 or so in furniture sales. In the early 80's we were living in Western Mass and he worked at the Lay-Z-Boy store in West Springfield. He left that job and worked briefly for a company called Scandinavian Design in West Hartford and Long Island. It was like an upscale Ikea and I recall going to NY to look at houses.
I like to think that it was divine intervention that had him leave that company and save us from a life in the Empire state.
He returned to Lay-Z-Boy, but to a new franchise in RI. That was quite a trip from Ludlow, so he bought a small trailer, parked it behind the store, and lived out of that thing for 7 months or so. It was small, the next thing down was a popup and one of those probably would have been bigger once unfolded. I recall that it had a tiny "kitchen" and the "living room" doubled as the "bedroom" at night.
During the summer when I was out of school I'd go down and spend a few days in the RV, wandering around Warwick while my dad worked. Retail is tough on a family man: late nights and weekends are standard, so I learned to entertain myself. Dad's store was in a very busy retail section of town, near the intersection of two highways, two malls and too many strip malls to count. I'd pass the days walking down to the two malls: the Midland Mall (later renamed the Rhode Island Mall) was way better than the Warwick Mall, if for no other reason than it had two floors and a pet store.
I recall that the deli across the street had the best ham and cheese subs for $.99, though it was really $.90 worth of bread and $.09 worth of cheese and meat. Playing in the store after hours while my dad worked in the office was a blast, probably the best part of it all. I rode my bike a lot there as well, but it was just a BMX bike so I kept it local, spending hours upon hours in the parking lot trying to pull off tail-whips and cherry pickers.
The Warwick Mall has since caught and passed the RI Mall on the coolness scale, even though it still only has one floor.