Tales from Retail

I love my job. I do. It’s so weird. Well, it feels like it should be weird. I guess it isn’t. I personalize gifts, so I make even more people happy than I did when I worked in pizza. Although few as happy as kids when they answer the door to a pizza driver. That’s fulfilling.

I have some awesome customers. Today I got a hug from a girl who ordered a watch for her boyfriend. She loved it. The other day I got a hug and a kiss on the cheek from a woman for whom I did three sets of dog tags and a flask. I guess cheek-kissing strangers is what they do in Oklahoma? I was only six when we moved away, so I don’t recall that being a thing.

I do have some slow customers as well, but the worst are the people passing by or just looking. If I had a nickel for every person who asked directions around my little-ass mall I wouldn’t need a raise. I wish I could put up a sign.

But here are some recent gems:

  • Do y’all do tattoos here? No. No, we do not. And frankly, dude, if you’re that hip to getting tattoos from a mall kiosk with no autoclave in sight, I don’t really want to get near you.
  • What’s an 8×10 album? There’s no way to answer this question without sounding like an asshole. No way.
  • I was calling to inquire… Okay, this was on the phone, but still. There’s no need for all that. You’re not calling about a job opening, you’re asking if we do engraving. Just ask. By the time you’re done stumbling over that intro, I could have already answered your question and gone back to what I was doing.
  • The Coach House Gifts guy. People stop all the time to ask where a store is, if a certain store is in the mall, if there’s a store that sells whatever item they’re looking for. But this guy. He asked where Coach House Gifts is. I told him they closed a few years ago, because they did. He showed me his smartphone, with the address of the mall and the phone number to the store. I reiterated that they closed. He went to go look because he’s at the right address. A few minutes later, he stopped and asked again. They’re still closed. I told him to go look at the map by the entrance, because it’s not on there. He wandered off again. A few minutes later, he stopped and asked again. This time he added that their phone’s disconnected. That’s because they’re closed, dude. Closed forever. He got mad and went to continue the search. Now, I don’t mind pointing left or right, mostly left, toward the bathrooms, but if a store ain’t here, it ain’t here. No amount of asking will change that. I also don’t answer to throat-clearings or hey.
  • The klutz. Some people are clumsy, it’s true. This was a first, though. A guy walked into our five-foot-tall easel sign. It’s a big ole sign with a bright picture on it. I have no idea how he missed it, but he walked into it hard enough to knock it over, and kept going without a word. I picked it up and thanked him. His response? It just fell.
  • The drooler. A grown man and his friend were eyeballing the knives in the glass case, and he drooled right on it. Now, I have nothing against drooling when you can’t help it. That’s fine. I don’t care. Every day I work I see people with disabilities walking around with their caretakers. Some of them drool. But this guy immediately sucked the rest of the saliva back into his mouth and wiped his chin, and his buddy laughed at him. Then the two of them hurried off. So I’m guessing he’s not normally a drooler. But come on, man, you could have swiped off the case while you were wiping your face on your sleeve.
  • The ones who think I’m furniture. When I ask how are you doing today, I mean it. If you’re having a shit day, I’ll listen and be nice to you. If you’re having the greatest day of your life, I’ll high five you. But when I ask, please answer. It’s great that you’re just looking, but that’s not what I asked. I ignore people who do this. Not that they notice.
  • The high-fiver. He was a gem. Just a couple of teenage boys walking up and down the mall, daring each other to attempt to high-five strangers. Of course I high-fived him!

It is fun, though, even with all this. Except for the people who think that twenty minutes is too long to wait.

Adventures in Retail

So remember when I was a seasonal engraver in 2012? And how I had a blast? I went back for the 2013 Christmas season, and, conveniently enough, after I quit my other job, they needed someone to stay on after the holidays. Yay!

It’s so funny to think of shy little old me as a salesperson. It’s kind of like when I first started delivering pizzas. I used to be too shy to even order pizza on the phone. Look at me now! I haven’t made my sales goals every single day I worked, but I’ve made my weekly goals, so it evens out.

Of course, I still get to do engraving, which is the best part. I’ve engraved two marriage proposals in the past month. How cool is that?

It is a huge change from seasonal, though. There’s no shift overlap, so I’m almost always there by myself. Most of my time is spent dusting or twiddling my thumbs. The mall is nothing like it used to be.

It’s still fun, though. Almost my entire work history is food service and healthcare, so there are some glaring differences, like sales. A year of sales here is less than two months of pizza sales–and a day’s goal is less than an hour, most days.

And there’s wandering through the deserted mall when it’s time to go.

It’s much nicer without all the people. And I’m home by 930!