The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Black Friday, Schmack Friday

Black Friday is, from my retail experience, a highly overrated, media stoked event. I'm referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving, the acknowledged beginning of the holiday shopping season, when peoples reaction to any trapping or suggestion of the upcoming holidays changes from, "What! It's not even Thanksgiving yet!" to "Yeah, I guess it's getting to be about that time".
Big box stores create their stupid Black Friday sales, marking a limited supply of coveted Items lower than the store's actual cost (it's called a loss leader)so that people clog up the highways with the other thrifty shoppers and line up the night before for the privilege of pushing through the doors when the store opens and inspiring recent headlines like, "Fisticuffs, aisle two".

At the toy store where I work things are a little different, a lot of people go out of town to visit family; people don't schedule a lot of birthdays that weekend, so no last minute party gift buying that make up a lot of our weekend business. Last weekend was A LOT busier than this weekend, since people kill two birds with one stone by delivering Christmas gifts during the thanksgiving visit.

That said, we certainly still get a holiday angst preview even if we don't get people tackle one another. This occurs mostly courtesy of the visiting grandparents who being asked for things that they can't even remotely relate to.

A grand father asked about a Gamecube game that was the only thing his grandson wanted for Christmas. Unfortunately, I thought might be out of print, "It's an really old game, at least two or three years".
"Two years makes it old?"
"For a video game, yeah."

For those not in the know, Lego makes a line of popular action figures called Bionicle. A lot of kids get obsessed with collecting every one when a new line comes out; from a parental perspective, the difference between them is mainly the six different colors they are. A grandmother had a list of the coveted colors from her grandchild, "He wants the red and blue Anika Bionicle."
I showed her where they were but she was skeptical, "But these are,'Inika' Bionicles."
"Yes, he must have misspelled it, there is no such thing as 'Anika' Bionicles."
"I don't know, he was pretty specific about what he wanted."
"This is what he's asking for, trust me."
"I guess I HAVE to trust you..." There's nothing like having to talk people into buying what they came in the story to buy.

Another came up to register with a small knight figure. "Do you have a box for this?"
I said,"No, we do't have gift boxes, we can wrap it, though."
"I think for this type of money ($4.50) I should get something, do you have any tissue paper for it?"
"No, we don't have any tissue paper either, but they can wrap it in the back of the store."
"You can't give me a sheet of tissue paper," he said incredulously; convinced that I was hiding something from him, for no other reason than random spite.
Eyeing the growing line forming behind him I said,"I'm sorry, but I can't give you what I don't have." He gave no response as I directed his attention to behind my counter with it's utter lack of gift boxes, shiny tissue or any gift wrapping accoutrements. "And I can't conjure one up for you."
"That will remind me not to shop HERE again."
I shrugged him farewell.
His daughter called to complain about me, "My father wanted to get a figure wrapped, and your cashier wouldn't do it. We spend a lot of money there, " which is a common reason people use at my store to expect the impossible and suspend the basic rules of human decency.

"The customer is always right," if you've ever said that without irony, you've never worked in retail.

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