Sunday, May 27, 2012

ethical traditions

I am very hard on myself sometimes.  I think I am prepared for anything, or at least prepared to expect anything, and then a customer request and reaction that I never could have anticipated throws me off.  Before I can finish that one complicated thing, 3 other little situations will arise and I'm sure I look like I'm freaking out while I try to make 20 people happy all at the same time.

Today was strangely trying, the sort of day I wish I could make into a Spanish game show.  People observe the feats of strength, problem solving, and tests of nerve from home (their side of the counter) and think it looks so easy.  I dream of putting some customers in the situations they create and throwing a tricky scenario at them.  And then remind them that they have 10 minutes.  Clock is ticking!!  If the cusotmer is displeased, they might tell all their friends a shittily exaggerated version of their story or threaten to talk to the clerk's manager and do their best to have someone fired!!

Now, when I complain like this, I do consider that other people's jobs may be equally difficult.  Just because they are not making change and stuffing merch into a bag doesn't mean they don't have to deal with clients' unrealistic expectations and condescending attitudes.  But I find a "pay shittiness forward" approach unacceptable.  Lying and veiled, shady intentions generally have an undesirable affect.

If you ever find yourself acting brattish and saying something like "I won't see these people again," or "I don't know this person, this CLERK," stop!  Because you don't know that for sure.  You are blending me into the background; I am memorizing your face and will never forget it, which is awkward when we meet as peers in public later.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

These things happen

- Kids running around with suckers or lollipops make me uncomfortable.  As a child, I was imbued with a fear of eating food on a stick while in motion.  It is a fear that has suck with me into adulthood, especially when I see an unsupervised and unwieldy tot dashing around with a Tootsie Pop in his face.  I have never yet seen a kid fall and get a sucker suck in their throat, but I do find sticky sticks on shelves.  Gross and annoying.

- Yesterday I saw a young woman remove and sniff her knit cap.  Then she doused it with the tester of a room spray we sell.  While I have definitely done similar masking, I would never dream of doing it in a enclosed, public space.  When she came into the store she seemed chic and confident; after I witnessed the spraying, I could only think of how that hat must smell.

- Sometimes customers will pick an area and nestle in for an extended conversation.  They are not there to shop or try out sofas.  The store is a substitute for a coffee shop.  I greet these people with my friendly "hello" the same way I greet all customers as that is my job and how should I know they don't want to be disturbed until I disturb them and get cold looks.  Often they will give me a dirty look when I just walk past them on my way to somewhere else, a preemptive move in case I am going to try to sell them something.  I don't care so much that people camp out to discuss their upcoming divorce, crappy bridesmaid duties, elderly parents, and other problems of the world.  I just wish they wouldn't be so weird and mean about it.

- Fabrics and many other materials fade in the sun.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Up the Bolt

Every time I read "Up the Bolt" in a fabric description, I giggle inside.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weiner Shaker

What not to do

Yesterday a woman and child (mom and daughter?) came into the store and went straight to the soaps and lotions area.  They used the lotion testers to lube up their exposed appendages and then shot each other playfully with the room sprays.  All 8 scents.  For several minutes.  Then they left the store, laughing.

The air was wet with the lingering scent cloud.  I walked close and my eyes began to water and my throat closed, causing a cough like what is brought on by lye vapors.  I do not even count myself in the "scent sensitive" category.

I get that they were playing and having fun, but I still think this was super rude.  They knew spraying each other with room spray as though it was a water pistol was naughty, yet somehow couldn't take the time to think about how their actions may affect others.

Hey!  I have a fun game!  When you go through your day, think about all the ways you are doubtlessly annoying other people!  The one with the shortest list wins!

Blame the Supermoon

The Supermoon made everyone super crazy.  Yesterday could not end soon enough.

How do we handle hours that we dread but must endure?  It takes strength to turn down the portion of your mind that senses impending annoyance and focus on doing one thing at a time and doing it as well as you can.  We learn to enter a working dream state where we do not watch the minutes on the clock, as their passing reminds us of the brevity of life and opens queries like "why am I here?".  No, really, why am I here, at work?  While we learn to cloud the passing minutes,  we also learn to instinctually sense certain times: lunch, that point in the afternoon when we eat a little piece of candy, and closing.

If you do it right, you can, with practice, have sweet, foggy memories of the day.  And you can do it all over again.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Working for the weekend

- It is really annoying when employees and owners of neighboring businesses park right in front of the store.  They are not parking in front of THEIR store and they don't seem to acknowledge the fact that they are taking prime spots from our customers (who could also end up being their customers).  It is just such an easy thing to do:  give the good spots to customers.  Why make it harder for them to spend their money at your establishment?

- If I ever get to retire, I hope that I have better things to do than pester stores about some faux flowers I bought 3 years prior.

- Recently I had some customers that were really trying to abuse a Gift With Purchase situation.  Towards the end of the transaction, they told us that they own a store in Canada.  This is another example of business owners using their power for evil.

- Birdcage themed bridal shower:  am I the only one that thinks this a little weird?

- Once in a while you have the uncomfortable experience of a customer remembering you and you remember NOTHING about them.  They greet you by your name, tell you how helpful you were, tell you where you were standing when you directed them to the toasters.  Ok, um, have a nice day!