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!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holiday Memories 2006

Another Christmas in retail gone by. It might have passed on the calendar, but this marks the beginning of my least favorite part of the holiday: the returns. Starting off a conversation with," We have a problem," or "You're gonna hate me but...", does not point to a peaceful resolution. Pavlovian conditioning instantly raises my defensive shields.
Anyhow, this isn't about now.

Overall, things went a lot smoother than the memories of Xmas past, But the long hours were a stone bitch. Doing anything, even things you like, for 12 to 15 hours a day will drive you fuck nutty. It's obvious that not that many people read my holiday shopping tip posts, but sitemeter already told me that already. But still, people were surprised we were busy and shopped for their kids with their kids.

Do a lot of stores close Christmas eve? It seems like an economically retarded thing to do, since at that point boiling desperation will make anyone buy ANYTHING. But, every year, I always have tons of people ask me if we're open on the 24th.

Anyway, this is the one story I have from this season.

As I mentioned in the tips, the only time you should get in line to go to the register is when you're truly ready to pay. Any questions will be far better answered by one of our top flight salespeople, not by the busiest, least mobile person. On top of that my self imposed register exile has also left me as one of the least knowledgeable people there.
It was Saturday the 16th and we were at the craziest moment of the busiest day of the year. All registers blazing we were rocking not unlike a hurricane. A lady came up with about $350 worth of stuff and had a question about one of her purchases.
"What is the age and weight limit on the Wobble Deck?"
"I don't know.", I answered, and I honestly didn't. I knew it was a deck that you wobbled on and for some reason needed 2 C batteries, and that was IT.
This wasn't good enough for her, "Can't I ask a question at the register?"
I repeated myself, admittedly a lot more tersely,"I Don't Know!"
My boss finally got her attention (he'd been standing there the whole time); before she turned to him she said, "You don't have to bark at me!"
She had a lot of shit and couldn't carry it all, so I helped her take it out across Treacherous Connecticut Ave.since we normally had people drive around to the back to take stuff out. It was my way of silently apologizing for my "barking," but she wasn't staying very silent.
"You know, if it wasn't for your boss, I would never shop here again; you were really rude to me. I know you guys are stressing out, but that's no excuse."
"Well you asked me a question that I didn't know, and you thought I was trying not to answer you."
"There are nicer ways of doing it." It never occured to her that if she just believed when I answered her question originally, none of this unpleasantness would have occured.
I explained," thought I might have upset you, that's why I'm taking this out to your car instead of having you drive around like we have everyone else do, to make it up to you."

She softened up a bit, talking about how people lose the christmas spirit and it's zen or something; the filter of my seething anger wouldn't let much into my memory.
In response, I said, "I guess working 15 hour days, six days a week has kind of made me lose that." as I loaded up her Mercedes Benz SUV.

I wanted to walk home right then and there, but there were hundreds more people waiting for me.
Post script: That lady's check bounced. It was the first time my boss ever laughed getting a bum check, because he knew this story.
He asked me, "Do you want to call her about this?", with a broad smile.
If I thought I would get any satisfaction out of it I would have.

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