When in doubt, blame the clerk: my life in retail

Thursday, July 11, 2013

a thank you

Last week, I was talking to a woman in the store and introduced her to a product line that matched her described needs.  I priced items out for her and helped her understand the options.  She was very excited and it seemed like it could be a potential sale, except that she was from out of town and it would not make sense for her to buy it from us.

She seemed to feel bad about not being able to buy from us.  Though it was slightly disappointing, she was very pleasant and I was glad to be helpful.

A few days later she called to let me know that she would be buying the product elsewhere, but she really appreciated my help and she wrote a positive Yelp review for us.  I thought this was a very sweet gesture and a nice way to compensate for not being able to buy from us.

It made my week and reminded me that there are so many good people out there.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

smoking is cool and sexy as hell

I am terrible at guessing people's ages.  I had these customers today who were, on the generous side, middle late thirties, but could have been fifty because, as I said, I think I am bad with ages.  Guessing ages would be so much easier if people didn't have habits that effect the aging process, like smoking.

The couple was pretty cute and put together with stylish clothes and a rockabilly undertone.  But the magic was broken when the woman in this couple spoke.  She had the gravely smoker's voice and a persistant phlegmy cough.

I don't know exactly why, but the smoker symptoms totally depressed me and made me glad that I don't smoke.  DON'T SMOKE!  IT'S NOT WORTH IT!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Part of working with the public involves telling them where to eat.  Tourists or people who don't get out much ask for recommendations, which is perfectly natural, but causes me stress.  I have been in their position and I know what they expect.  They want to know some little secret.

I remember once being somewhere and hungry and the area seemed so lively and full of potential.  It felt like there had to be some yummy, reasonably priced little restaurant with a friendly staff and fresh, real food where all the cool locals ate.  We went into a cute little boutique shop and asked the young, hip staff where we should eat.  The clerk's bored response, backed by her dead eyes, was "I just always go to Subway."  Back out on the street, we bravely asked a stranger.  "Subway.  Quiznos."

Telling people where to eat stresses me out because if they don't like it, I fear they will judge me and somehow hold me accountable for their experience.  It's a ridiculous fear, but it motivates me.  I usually have a couple answers on hand.  First, there is the restaurant that I always recommend because the food is consistently good and I know the owners.  If they press me for more ideas and are annoying, I recommend the wildly popular restaurant with the mediocre food.  If they ask for me ideas and are not too annoying, I recommend a restaurant that I really like, but only if I know I won't be going there myself anytime within their possible visit.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tree of Life

Have you seen this cutting board from Totally Bamboo?  What stoner came up with that?

"It's like a chunk of tree, but it's made from bamboo.  And the tree rings will be made of really tiny animals.  And we can call it like, the tree of life, cause it'll remind people of like animals and life and the earth and stuff."


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Day Fever

- I don't usually care too much if people have bad hair, but today there was this woman who had butt length hair and it was nasty:  parched, scraggly, and faded to the same color as her elbows.  It was beyond dead.  I actually had this fantasy vision of me running up behind her with scissors and hacking off 8-10 inches of gnarly hair and then she turns into a Pantene commercial.  But in actuality, she looked around with her old boyfriend and then left.

- On Saturdays, the store really gets poked and prodded.  Saturday is family day and people who never go shopping come shopping.  They touch EVERYTHING and they don't put anything back where they picked it up, even if it is a distance of 6 inches.  They eat in the store like they are at their table and gulp down our complimentary coffee, sprinkling all surfaces with sugar and being hush about spills.  They lounge in the sofas while they make out or talk on the phone.  They rub their greasy heads onto pillows, their greasy necks on scarves and their dusty feet on any mat that is near the floor.  This is a day when Floor Models are made because the merchandise gets the most action of its life.

- There is a lady I hate.  Well, not hate, but am deeply annoyed by.  I have had encounters with her at numerous places and she gets under my skin every time.  I was walking the floor and caught sight of some adorable shoes out the window.  I skipped over to get a better look and saw that the shoes I loved were being worn by the woman I sorta hate.  So I think I have to sort of hate those shoes now.  What a bummer.

- Parents, I acknowledge that it is a lot of work keeping an eye on children, but letting them destroy merchandise is not cool.  Your baby chewed  on a book because you were too lazy to get up and grab him.  No one is going to want to buy that book now.  It is not harmless gnawing.

- Sample food is gross.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

not yet

Lately I've been going through my notes that I make to myself and it is all things I've thought and written about before, at least once and maybe more.  It made me wonder, "HAVE I SEEN IT ALL?"  But as I am still able to be horrified or delighted by people's behavior in my store, I remember that the repetition is part of the craziness of it all.  And it is impossible to see it all since I am not God or the Internet.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

How To Poop At Work

1. Scope out all possible bathrooms.  Sometimes the closest one is not the best; you can run into co-workers or echo farting noises out into hallways.  Some of the best bathrooms are tucked away in ugly closets.

2. Carry a scent masker.  Matches are great, but the burning smell can alarm some people.  Room sprays work, but super floral or perfumey ones annoy people with scent allergies.  A natural, essential oil spray is great because it smells like aromatherapy or some gentle cleaning.  Some people may still have problems with these scents, but more people will be okay with citrus essential oil spray than fake lilac spray.  

3. Eat properly.  A diet rich in fiber makes for efficient poops that eliminate the need to camp out with an US Weekly farting for hours.

4. If possible, poop when you feel it.  If you work some place where extra bathroom time can be a problem, use the diarrhea excuse.

5. Though it is wasteful, the "double flush" method is effective for odor control:  Flush IMMEDIATELY after pooping, then again for the paper.