Thursday, December 23, 2004

Last Minute Shoppers Scurry Home With Their Treasures...

A few years ago, I took a part time job at the maul. At CHRISTMAS.

Yeah, I can hear your collective gasps. Scrooge McAmes? Working retail at CHRISTMAS? Oh dear.

It was an experience let me tell you. I can't remember the name of the store, but it sold Native American knick-knacks, tapes, jewelry and t-shirts. The people who ran it were from Jersey, where they operated a similar store at one of the beaches. They carped continously about shoplifters. The woman who was mostly my boss was a freak about keeping the glass on the displays clean.

I didn't learn very much, retail wise from them. I mean, I came in at 5:30, and left at 9:30, and thats pretty much it. "May I help you with something?" was my spiel. Even though I am rather well versed (if I do say so) in jewelry, turquoise and beads, that wasn't necessary. It was a fairly brainless sort of job. Lots of standing around, or straightening up displays.

I very much enjoyed one particular group of customers. Last Minute Guys. Most of them were men, looking for something for their mothers/wives/girlfriends, and had no clue what to get. I was always happy to lead them, like retail sheep, thru the store, showing them things that might help them out of their dilemma. I'd chat them up, find out who they were buying for, and what she liked. Then we'd go on a tour of the store. They were much more receptive to the shopping experience if they had a friend or an ally. A chick who they could consult with. 8 out of 10 times, they bought a couple items, not just one, and left happy. I loved it.

The Last Minute Guys were the easiest to spot. Big eyes, completely lost look to them. Abso-fucking-lutely no CLUE what they were looking for. Overwhelmed by the whole CHRISTMAS maul experience. All they know is they'd be in a world of shit if they didn't get something for hunny. I had great fun with that. It was cool to help a clueless person out, and send them off with a spring in their step, knowing they were finished with that chore of finding THE PERFECT THING for their loved one. That CHRISTMAS, I got more heartfelt "MERRY CHRISTMAS" wishes than I had before or since.

I was kind of sorry when January came, and they had their closing for the year sale, and they packed up and left. Back to Jersey to gear up for the tourist season. They did invite me to come down to the Jersey Shore and work that store for the season, but I deferred, what with having a real job and all.

I wonder if I treated that job as a lark because it wasn't my sole source of income or because it wasn't the usual office job situation that I was used to.

I don't know if I'd work at the Maul again at CHRISTMAS. It seems a little different now. But maybe thats just me.


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