Friday, February 28, 2014

Adventure Time

I am a big believer in spontaneity. I believe in living in the moment, of having adventure, and of refusing to grow old. I applaud anyone who shrugs off the frowning opinions society places on adults, and  those brave souls who live life with the joyful abandon of a child.

Having said that, if you are a thirty-something year old male who begins a dual-wielding foam sword fight with your buddy in a store, if you start exuberantly hacking and slashing and charging with abandon, working up a sweat while lunging and parrying—for the love of everyone's blood pressure don't do all that down the glass decor section. Have the decency to carry on in the children's aisle like they do.

Don't make me act all bossy and take the swords away from you. I will do it!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Psychic Feedback

As a Customer Service Manager, I tended to run into disappointed customers from time to time who just need to vent. I can understand that. If you are unhappy with something, you often need an actual person to "hear you."

Having said that, if I am dealing with craziness, I am more than happy to call a store manager to deal with the issue. They have a better pay grade, and more experience. That is precisely why I was off to the side doing some menial task why my Store Manager was standing ten feet a way listening to the woman instead of me. Though, standing off to the side listening, I found the exchange spectacularly entertaining. For nearly ten minutes she gave my manager her honest opinion about the situation.

She was only partly upset with our store policy about returns without a receipt. Granted, she wasn't entirely happy that she had been given store credit, but no—her complaint ran deeper than that. She was upset at the store's lack of professional staff.

You see, when she had sent her husband to the store to pick up items she needed for a project, and he grabbed the wrong things, we should have known it. Our employees should have asked him what he was using the products for, and known to tell him what he, or rather, she actually wanted. We should have kept him from making the wrong purchase.

If reading minds were expected of my job, I am pretty sure I would have received training at orientation day. Word of advice? Don't send your non-crafty husbands to the store for you. If you do? Save the receipt.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Hobbits are Here?

We all have experienced it. We dislike it, and will avoid it every chance we get: Shopping with a cart that has a stubborn wheel. Sometimes, we even "test drive" a few before choosing an acceptable one. One evening, after rounding up the shopping carts, I found a particularly stubborn one. The front left wheel refused to rotate.

Well, enough was enough. I wasn't going to simply put it back with the others so that one frustrated mom, juggling three kids, a diaper-bag and merchandise had fight with it too. I was going to fix it! I climbed down and began to tinker with the wheel. That's when I found what was lodged in there—


Long, LONG strands of copious hair completely bound the wheel. Well that must have felt pleasant. Someone is walking around with a bald patch in an unusual place.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Not a Daycare.

(Note: I wasn't going to write about this incident, because  it could have just been a mistake. Parenting is hard, and God knows everyone just needs a hand every now and then. Sometimes when we are stressed we don't make the best decisions. It wasn't until the woman called the store back I felt safe to say "Yup, you aren't playing with a full deck right now are you?" Hence this post.)

My Assistant Manager answered the phone to find a woman crying on the other end. "Oh! Can I help you?"

"I am calling to complain about your cashiers. I just left your store a few minutes ago and I did NOT feel welcomed" ,was her choked reply. "They were so rude to me!"

"I am so sorry, what happened exactly?"

"I was in the middle of my purchase, and suddenly my four year old had to go the bathroom. So I had to take her! I told the cashier we would be right back and I left."

"Well, that shouldn't have been a problem, we can suspend the transaction and pick back up right were you left off. She was rude about this?"

"Well...(snif) she said something about the babies and the shopping cart, and I just didn't appreciate it."

"Um, babies Ma'am?"

"I also have a two year old and a six month old. They were in their seats and sitting just fine. We came right back."

"So you left your children at the register?"

"Well I couldn't take the cart with me into the restroom!"

"Well—that is true, but couldn't you have take your children out of the cart and into the bathroom with you?"

"No! That car-seat is heavy and bulky. I had to leave it in the shopping cart, and someone might have stolen it if it was just sitting there."

"Okay Ma'am, I am not trying to be rude here but I need to understand you. You were afraid someone might steal a car-seat, but not your child in it? So you left two infants unattended in our store?"

The woman's tone sharpened "See? This is what I am talking about! I don't appreciate these implications!"

"I am not going to imply anything Ma'am, I am just going to tell you we are not responsible for your children. Please do not leave them unattended in our store."

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Funny Valentine

"Are you the young man who is going to help me to my car?" She asked brightly.

"Yes Ma'am, are you all set?" I replied. The store was empty, and quiet. My coworkers were frantically trying to finish their duties so they could salvage what remained of their Valentines evening.

It was hard not to stare. She was better than any character I had ever read in a book, standing there in the flesh. Her neck brace held her head rigid, so she turned her whole body to take my arm as we stepped outside the store. February was still chilly that year, and a slight breeze tugged at her ancient wool, long-coat and her hair. It was her hair that captivated me. Perhaps being somewhere in her eighties, she had no idea it was actually a fiery magenta that radiated in tight curls from the sides of her head.  Or perhaps she enjoyed it. Either way, she had been wearing it for some time as the iron grey roots underneath were clearly showing.

"You are a nice man, to help me to my car. I don't get out much anymore. HE doesn't like to. Oh but we used to go out. We went out all the time! We used to go bowling. HE doesn't like it anymore. HE just wants to sit in his big chair and mope. Well, I ain't dead yet! I want to go out. I miss dancing. I bet you think I can't dance don't ya? Do you like The Weeber?" She suddenly stopped walking and turned squarely to me.

"The Weeber? Is it a dance?" I frantically began trying to think of old dances I had seen from the Golden Age of Hollywood. My grandmother had loved them. Let's see—there was the Charleston, the Big Apple, The Jive, The Jitterbug...what was the Weeber?

"No. You should know Weeber! EVERYBODY knows The Weeber. Justin Weeber?" That's when she began to screech out "Baby Baby Baby OOOOooh!" Like a robot trying to maintain its balance due to misfiring circuitry, she jolted and jerked to her song. She was going to throw a hip out. There we were, just the two of us in an empty parking lot. A woman older than my grandmother was caterwauling a pop tune and dancing all up in my business under the glowing lights above us. I suddenly realized that when I had wished for a Valentine that year—I should have been a bit more specific.


Note: Sometime has passed since that Valentines Day, and I have to admit one thing: When she danced I simply stood there. Granted, I was a bit dumbstruck, and slightly afraid she was going to hurt herself, but I actually opened her car door and stood there as she danced her way into her car—like an idiot.   I never saw that woman again, and I have often wondered what happened to her. Word of advice? If an ancient person suddenly breaks out in a dance, drop your absurd notion of protocol and join in. It doesn't matter if they are swinging old school, or twerking in the new, it will be an adventure. As she put it, "You ain't dead yet!"

Monday, February 10, 2014

Not to Sound Selfish, but That's Mine—Don't Touch.

It wasn't only that you stole up behind me, and reached around the chest-high wall of my register-booth to pinch my butt; It was also that you stood there laughing thinking it was funny. Seriously?

 I am glad you enjoy my store. I am glad you like me as a worker and often stop by to say hello and ask for my assistance with merchandise. I am not, however at your personal disposal. Just because I wear a name badge does not mean I am unqualified for normal human interaction. Now take your soccer-mom-goes-wild self away before I call security.

Oh wait—that would be me.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Actually, the Baby Talk was Preferable


It could pass for signing I suppose. The little girl was sitting on the floor next to her mother, loudly belting out nonsensical words like only a four or five year old can properly enjoy. Mom had reached that Nervana like state where it was all background noise. She was shopping for wall art and the child was still, so therefor she didn't need to be actually paying attention.

"WaaaddaaDDDAD BEEEBEE!!!" The toddler suddenly sang loudly.

"English please." Her mother halfheartedly said from behind the stacks of posters she was immersed in.

"Haha. I WUZ tawkin Egwish!" the child said proudly, "An I said 'he has a cat on his F*%#in' head!'"

Leave it to a child.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Subtle Scissor Sister

"There is a little lady in the store—" my Assistant Manager said to me, "I want you to keep an eye on."

"Let me guess, her head is covered in a dark blue turban/shower-cap thingy, she has a denim skirt and wearing black knee-high stockings?"

"Um..yes? What did she do already?"

"Nothing, other than talking out load to nobody as she entered the store."

"Well she made a point of jumping out of the isle and starting a conversation with me. She is watching the employees."

A major indication you have a shoplifter in the store is when a person keeps watching employees. Regular shoppers are there for the merchandise, and don't make it a point to keep an eye on store personnel. A person who seems more interested in us and our movements than product is automatically suspicious.

"Look, keep working on your project here," she told me, "but try to keep an eye out for her too ok? I'll tell the others."


Ten minutes later I found my Assistant-Manager livid. "Well, I guess we all didn't keep a good enough eye on her. I have someone personally 'assisting her' now!"

"Something happened?"

"The scissors from the fabric desk are missing."

"Oh no."

"Oh Yes! And so are some nice chunks of fabric that have been randomly cut out of bolts."