Thank heavens I have an hour drive home from the store. That is my 'decompression' time. My mind wanders to the events of the day and tries to put it all in perspective. It's a time to slow down and reflect on what actually transpired that day. Who said what... why they said it... what promises did I make to customers that I need to act on... what change do I need to get at the bank the next morning for the registers... does the Post Office have enough stamps to start the day... what time do I have to get up in the morning and what is the first thing I have to do at work the next day. On and on it goes. Sometimes an hour just isn't enough.
Welcome to the wonderful world of retail... during the holiday season. Chicklet Books is closing at the end of the month so we have the added stress of selling all of the fixtures and figuring out what to do with the left over inventory... all while keeping the store fresh looking... answering 100 questions... listening to customer's laments at us going... and keeping that gracious smile on our face. Not to mention that I just closed on my new house this week... which is also a major life stressor.
My store is a mess... my house is a wreck... I only have ONE Christmas decoration up... I'm going crazy. So what else is new?? Take a breath, I remind myself... keep smiling... don't let them see you sweat.
Finally I'm home. My bladder is screaming to be emptied of it's coffee and Coke, my mouth is yearning for the fresh minty taste of toothpaste, but my tired bones win the battle as I flop on the air mattress which has been my bed for the past 6 months. It is 8:02pm... I am dead to the world by 8:04... fully clothed.
Sometimes I cry all the way home. Sometimes I am just so dazed I can't even think. Sometimes I replay conversations in my head and wish I could have answered in a different way. To the customer that wanted a bulk discount for 28 books...and slyly mentioned that she would purchase a whole lot more if I charged her .50 a book... I should have screamed, "Are you 'f''-ing nuts? The books are already marked down to a dollar! Do you understand that I'm already losing money on your purchase? Do you understand that I could have... and SHOULD have returned the book to the publisher for a credit? But nooooooo.... I decided to be nice and give you all a bargain instead... and you want to only pay .50??? You un-greatful bitch." Instead I put a smile on my face and repeat my stock reply for this very question, "Sorry... no further discounts, unless perhaps you want to purchase a tractor trailer full?" She purchased all 28 :-)
To the man that waddled up to the counter, arms so loaded with all the top selling children's books that I could barely see his face and commented, "Now we'll see if you are really selling all of these books for $2 each."... I so desperately wanted to say... "Yeah you stupid moron, this sale has been going on for 2 weeks now and YOU were the ONLY one smart enough to choose all of the top sellers at a bargain price". Instead I pasted that never ending smile on my face and replied, "Perhaps you didn't understand the signs... the $1 and $2 books are on the BARGAIN WALL (as I pointed to the opposite side of the store where the signs CLEARLY mark the wall). The books you chose are discounted 30%". He huffed and puffed and left all of the books on the counter and stomped away... for me to put back on the shelves.
To the woman who watched as I added books to the BARGAIN WALL and asked, "If all the books are sold, why are you adding more?" I looked at her puzzled. She pointed to the small 'sold' sticker on the very tippy top of the bookcase... I wanted to say,'Look around you lady... we are going out of business. Did you miss all of the neon orange signs? All of the fixtures are for sale... this one is sold, but we need some way to display all of the books 'til the end of the month and instead of just throwing them on the floor for a 'free for all' we thought it best to just mark this bookcase sold and continue to use it". Instead... you guessed it... I smiled and replied, "That sticker means the BOOKCASE is sold... you may still purchase the books"... as everyone around is grabbing books to buy.
"Could you please suggest a book for my 10 year old niece off the Bargain Wall?" "Is there an Art Section... this wall is a mess I can't find anything." "Why did you mark all the books with a black marker on the bottom... now I can't give it as a gift". "Do you have 25 copies of this title?" "I was in earlier today and I bought this book off the Bargain Wall... it has a bent corner... can you find me another?" "Where are you moving to?" "What about the Post Office... we just can't live without the Post Office!" "Listen up folks! It's called a BARGAIN WALL for a reason. For $1 a book you don't get a fully qualified staff member to help you. We don't have nice orderly sections... It started out all in order, I can't control where everyone else moves the books to... besides, it's a WALL! Search... enjoy the excitement of it all..." I wanted to say. Instead... yup... I smiled and answered their questions politely.
Happy Holidays everyone!!!