Posted by: tlnemethy | January 4, 2013

Working The Night Away

I’ve never before had the opportunity to do extensive customer service work. But since my travel funds were depleted considerably, I got a little part-time job working in a department store. I started the week before Christmas, just when the crazies and the desperate start emerging from the woodwork for last-minute presents. I’ll tell you right now that training during this season is the most stressful and you will get yelled at by customers. The first day of training, the HR manager told us every year when she hires the seasonal folks they always have at least one quitter before the end of the first shift on the cash register. This happens because a customer will yell at you while you’re flustered, with no regards to making a scene in public. You might be stuck on a faulty bar code or the computer freezes, the customer wanted a price check, but you scanned it into the receipt. Whatever. Bitches be cray around the holidays.

I picked up my first shift on a Saturday night, but I still hadn’t been register trained so I ended up folding shirts for eight hours. I’m pretty tidy, I actually do enjoy folding laundry, but this is like NASCAR speed-folding. And why is it that stores never fold like I do at home? At least I learned something useful from YouTube. Completely different style of creasing and presentation. I’m wearing my uniform colors, but also a jacket because the store is freakishly wintry, well that and it keeps customers from knowing I work there. Sure, every now and then a customer will be all, “could you tell me where the toddler tights are?” I have n Binky time.  And he needs his baba o idea. I’d assume in the toddler section so I point them in that direction with the, “I’m new.” They’ve already looked there. Sigh.

I’m supposed to be shadowing a girl, learning the ropes, so to say. We shook hands and she left me amongst the underoos and miniature person suit coats with a “color code and size the clothes.” Well I can do that at least.  The Christmas music is driving me insane, but at least it’s at a manageable volume. She shows up every hour or so to straighten a rack of leggings, but instantly it is destroyed again by the flocks of crazed holiday buyers.

You know that feeling when you look at your bedroom or your house and you just get frustrated seeing it in disarray, but in order to clean it you have to make it look even worse? I had that feeling. My OCD was amped up and I was getting more upset with every bin that spilled out carelessly unfolded bunny sweatshirt or ripped underwear packages missing a pair. I found a binky among the specialty socks and either this kid had grown adult chompers in his mouth or it was attacked by a wild dingo. There was nothing left to it but the ring and I hoped the kid hadn’t swallowed the rubber nipple end. Nothing like pooping that thing out in the morning.

My feet were killing me in my tiny thin-soled sneakers I’d owned since 6th grade. Time for an upgrade I s’pose. I’m rehanging some vampire themed furry-necked sweaters when I overhear this conversation:

Shadow Woman: Its been pretty busy tonight.

Mystery Employee: Yeah, but I haven’t seen any hotties. Bummer.

Shadow Woman: Well, I saw Daryl tonight, he spent like an hour talking to me over by the baby booties.

Mystery Employee: Is he still going on about being dumped by that girl? He’s like old enough to be her dad, at least. Well, he’s been eyeing you for a while, might as well make up your mind about him.

Shadow Woman: He’s good-looking, but I don’t know. I don’t want to date someone who still works here. So lame.

I wasn’t even really eavesdropping, they were just talking literally two feet away from me so I start laughing. The mystery employee turns to me with a gasp then recovers with her hand daintily placed over her heart. “Shit. I thought you were a customer.”

I just laughed creepily and wandered off with a feather boa. Totes making friends.

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