Thursday, December 30, 2010

after christmas shit storm

I am the sort of person that does what they say they are going to do. I really pride myself on that. The problem with this in the retail world is that sometimes you have to wait on other people. So, sometimes I tell a customer I will check on something and call them back, but it takes awhile because i have to ask the person that will ask a person who will perhaps have to call China and get an answer.

Customers! Do not assume I forgot about you. I probably did not. I have just been running around all day, trying to find a moment when I could call and pacify you and your inquires. And if it is bad news, I am probably trying to aim for a time when you will be a work and I can leave the bad news on your voicemail so you can take your initial anger out on the phone and not in my ear. I will take your second wave anger thank you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

christmas eve

Tonight I am sad. Here I have been exasperated by Christmas and now that it is over, I dread this day off. If it were an ordinary day, there would be no problem, but it is Christmas. I should be spending it with loved ones and participating in rituals.

I got off work at 4 today. We close early for Christmas Eve. I do not go home for Christmas. My family lives just far enough away that I think it irrational and foolish to spend hundreds of dollars driving and or flying for hours in potentially dangerous weather only to turn around immediately and come back so that I can work the next day. The first 6 or 9 years that I did not go home didn't really bother me too much; I had boyfriends or borrowed families to entertain me. But the older I get, the more it saddens me and being saddened makes me depressed.

I have had a series of reliable but inflexible retail jobs. As one of the "flexible" workers, I mean it when I say I will always work; I fear asking for holidays off because it is usually frowned upon.

So I don't go home for Christmas. It's not really an option. And when I finally get the break I wanted from the Christmas bustle, I am filled with anxiety and dread. Why don't I change my life so that I can visit my family more? Why don't I make a family here? Why doesn't anyone love me? Will my meal I am preparing for tomorrow to take to my friend's house be tasty? Who will take care of my cat if I die? Why can't I remember to take those sweaters to the dry cleaners? The next 42 hours seem long. I cannot wait to get back to work. Work. Safe, predictably crazy work. A place where I know my place and little accomplishments feed me.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Are we there yet?

- Someone called from Canada looking for a certain type of popcorn toppings. It was during an insane part of the day. We didn't get to his call in time and he hung up. SORRY.

- People love to call and ask for very specific cookware and when you don't have it, they talk about the piece that they have had since they were married in 1947. And they love to go on and on about how they can't believe they can't find it anywhere and how great it is and I just want to get off the phone because I have so much to do besides listen to them get nostalgic on their double boiler.

- I get REALLY annoyed when people come in for an application and are sassy and demanding. Yesterday a young man asked if we were hiring (we are not) and I gave my "I don't know whether we are hiring right now or not, but we always accept applications and we do keep them on file" answer. Then he got all bitchy and wanted me to "find out" if we were hiring and get back to him. Fuck off dude. Look around. I am BUSY because it's CHRISTMAS. I don't have time to help your princess self. Applicants: when you go in to a place looking for a job, pretend you already work there. Act like a co-worker and not a crappy customer.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas countdown

- I have mentioned my dislike for candy canes before. Here is another story (from my co-worker) to confirm their evilness. Customer was buying a candy cane. Somehow, during the transaction, the candy cane broke. The customer started to throw a fit. My co-worker tried to calm her by saying she would simply go get another candy cane. The customer heightened her pouting, exclaiming "that was the last one in that flavor! It's ruined!!" and stormed out. Yet another Christmas fouled by broken candy canes.

- Customers get nicknames sometimes. Especially ones that might stick candles down their pants in an attempt to shoplift.

- There was a customer looking at our gingerbread men cookie cutters. She was not happy with our selection. The ones we carry make "fat" cookies, like, the gingerbread men are pudgy when they are baked. "I guess I will just have to cut them twice!!" she said. But then I was contemplating that logic. If you are going to use the cookie cutter after they cookies are baked, why wouldn't you just make a big sheet of cookie and cut them instead of rolling out dough, cutting the gingerbread men, baking the individual cookies, and then recutting them, making sure they are aligned with the original shape? Is she that dumb or was she just trying to make me feel bad for not having the svelte cookie man that she wanted?

Monday, December 13, 2010

christmas cuts

When there is a dispute over who is "next" in the masses that mob the counter, I leave it to the customers because anyone I would choose would be wrong. "Who was next?" This usually works well. Sometimes I KNOW someone is next and I have to step in and say "this person has been waiting." The amazing thing is that grown ups will just take cuts anyway. Like this:

There is a line. I establish that a certain person is next to have my attention/be rung up/whatever they are waiting for in LINE.

Someone comes up with a "question," usually prefaced with "quick."

As they take up my time with an increasingly complicated situation, I maintain eye contact with the person that I have said I would help next. Hopefully they understand my glances (this person is CRAZY! Can you believe what is happening??)

Then I either help the crazy as quickly as possible to get them out of everyone's way or pass them off to a co-worker when they become available.

I love it when the person that was waiting says something catty. ME-YOW!

christmas music 3

this one makes me sad . . .
I know how it is to not go home for the holidays.

christmas music 2

and this sweet one too!

christmas music 1

Songs that get stuck in my head

Sunday, December 12, 2010

sickness part 2

One benefit to this sickness/work combo is that my appetite is greatly decreased. We have been busy enough that I have had to miss or shave several breaks during this holiday season. I will note that no laws are being broken; if someone is supposed to get a 10, they DO get one, but at my work we are allowed to pee and get a little snack and some water every couple hours. It is like a cigarette break for non-smokers, which, now that I think about it, is the staff right now.

I am one of those people that likes to graze during the day. I eat every 2 hours or so. It is the only way I have found to keep up my energy and never dip into those pesky low blood sugar freakouts. But being sick, I have very little appetite! How convenient since I am running around, no time to chew and then check my teeth for bits of food!

My sickness has reached the sneezy runny nose stage, which, combined with the occasional hacking cough, makes me feel really fucking gross when I have to talk to people. Regardless, it was great to be the sample lady today. I put out the candy without breathing on it and got more time away from people to blow my nose and cough into my elbow until my eyes bled.

I am quite ready to be done with sickness. There are holiday parties to attend!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

in sickness and in health in retail

I am sick. Oh yea. I still go to work. This is America. I do not have sick pay and it is the busiest time of the year. This is THE TIME to work.

I am in denial about sickness when I am at work. If someone says "gawd you sound awful," I qualify it with "I don't feel sick. My throat is just a little scratchy." If I feel a hacking, lung crunching cough coming on, I think of an errand that will quickly take me off the floor so I can go die in a corner, compose myself, and return.

The day is passed by trying to move and speak in ways that will not disturb my throat. If I can keep it subdued with constant sips of water and a perpetual lozenge, then maybe no one will think I am a diseased grossy.

I answered the phone the other day and the person on the line said my voice was sexy. I guess if I turn at least one person on with my fucked up voice, I have conquered sickness.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy holiday highlights

-Best phone call of the week: the young woman that called our 800 number and asked what sort of "risqué" gifts we might have for a bridal shower. Unfortunately, we do not carry anything intentionally penis-shaped and the cute aprons I suggested were not what she had in mind.

-Just when I think I'm ok, that I've got it all figured out, something like FLAMELESS CANDLES will throw me into a spiral of doubt and wonder. Where am I what are shoes, planets, light, sand, why am I here, do birds hate me, is clear a color?

-There are still some people that get a sick pleasure from slow business. They want to draw out this recession as long as possible so they can mope about how tough it is. I had a customer yesterday that came in during a lull and, looking around, said (tsking and shaking head) "It's not very busy...." BITCH! I barely got a chance to pee this morning because it was so busy. I told her that she was there during a slow moment. Most people are excited that we are busy. And when I tell them that we actually had to HIRE PEOPLE, they almost die of happiness. We are putting people to work! Shopping at our store helped some unemployed people get jobs! YEH! Getting off on a bad economy is not cool anymore. If this is your thing, may I suggest getting a disease and boring me with details about that instead.

-A young woman lost a glove in the store today. She asked me if I'd seen it. I said no, because I hadn't. Then she said "well someone in the store must have picked it up because I have only been here here and here!" Like... are you accusing the staff of stealing one of your lost gloves? Why the hell would we want ONE of your gloves? AND lost means you don't know the location of an item; this is different than knowing that it was stolen.

-The other day a young mother answered her child's inquiry of my actions (fluffing pillows) with the response "Oh, she's trying to look busy." The top of my head almost blew off. Due to my years in retail, I cannot stand a saggy pillow. I am constantly fluffing pillows because they MUST ALWAYS BE PERKY. I fluff pillows all day at work, I fluff pillows when I am shopping in other stores, I fluff pillows when I go to friends' houses, I fluff pillows at home, alone, because the pillows MUST BE FLUFFED. Customers, you will not know when I am "trying to look busy" because I will actually look busy. I will be doing Important Paperwork or some such thing. The whole point of busy work is that it look real. But fluffing pillows! That is never busy work. It is what keeps the earth spinning.