I have this ritual when I get home from work; I have in my bookmark section on Firefox all of the sites I visit daily. And each evening I sit down, open the laptop and start hopping from one to another, reading to my heart’s content. Some are listed here on the sidebar, a nice eclectic group and I might add a few more at some point. In my control freak nature, I have my little method of going through them and just enjoying reading about others.
Some others that I read detail the lives of waiting tables. It was something I tried years ago and couldn’t do. See, I am a klutz and after being given a couple of tables, I dumped a huge tray of food all over the place. So my brief time in the restaurant biz was short and not so sweet.
I ended up in retail, worked at KMart for years and actually worked my way up through several departments, the floor and finally checkout supervisor/service desk. I had a ball working there, great people, laughs and most of the customers weren’t that bad. . . but there were times where I thought I would hurt someone for the stunts they would pull.
I have witnessed items being stolen only for them to walk back into the store trying to return them; electronics that were not purchased at KMart being returned (in fact, a major argument broke out between myself and an assistant manager who wanted me to approve the return–he was later let go for reasons not known to me); stolen money at the desk (I still can’t figure out how they did it) and of course the love lives of my coworkers, drama, drama, drama.
But I did like it and it was kind of cool because my grandfather had worked with several of the managers many years ago. When they realized I was John Smith’s granddaughter they all had stories to share and then they waited to see if I was just as hard of a worker as he was (I passed their test).
One Sunday (when the store didn’t open until noon) I was on a ladder, hanging Christmas bears on a chain from the ceiling. This meant that I was on the huge ladder that has a top step with rails on three sides. I am short, so I had to prop myself on one rail, lock my legs around the other two and catch bears and hook them into the chain. Some managers opted to do a soft opening on Sundays back then, through the garden center customers could enter and we would have one register open, but we were to focus on stocking. A man walked by, saw how I was perched and shook the ladder. A cohort, Daniel, grabbed the guy as I unhinged myself from my perch and flew down the ladder, yelling at the idiot. He thought it was funny, I thought about decking him.
I also used to get stuck climbing in the stockroom, looking for tvs, radios, games, etc., when someone wanted something that we were out of stock on the floor. At times, I thought it would be a great place to hide and avoid working but I could never bring myself to doing so. I stayed away from soft lines, our clothing department because that was hell. I did get stuck in layaway and let’s just say that I was glad that I was needed elsewhere.
When I transferred schools, I also transferred KMarts. Yes, I was that dedicated! The only problem was that while I had all of this experience and was a great worker, they would only put me on the register. Umm, I hadn’t been on that job in years and that was worse than layaway. Finally, the pharmacy manager plucked me from the dread of checkouts and put me to work in there. That was fun until I had to call the cops on a forger. And then I had to wait until the undercover guy came in to hand off the script to the pharmacist who did the transaction. They were immediately cuffed and shown to the nearest squad car.
But I loved that job, even the hours. The only downside was the holidays. People forget that those in retail have lives and families and no, we don’t want to stay open until you finish your Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. We are tired, worked horribly long hours and well, we just want to go home because the day after we have to smile and accept all of your returns. My first name is short but my last name? LONG. By an hour into my shift at the front desk returning everything the customers hated my name had turned into about eight letters and was one of the first before celebrities started going by J-Lo, Brit, K-Fed. . .you get my drift. I would like to believe that I started that trend.
When I got my first post college job, I realized that my salary wasn’t what I thought it would be and that it didn’t go far in terms of rent, food and other bills. So I got back into retail (and I had thought those days were behind me) and went to Ann Taylor at the local mall. It was close to my apartment, I just had to book it from downtown and on break try to eat something as quickly as possible. I loved the discount, I loved the work and the customers were better unfortunately the discount got me into trouble. I normally spent my paycheck on clothes as opposed to say, umm, food and bills. So it didn’t really work out for me until I moved home, got a different job and went back to KMart for six months in order to pay off debts and save up in order to move out of my parents’ house.
I sometimes forget about those days but when I read funny stories from the waiters, I tend to think back to my days dealing with the masses and smile. I still have my old nametag but I would rather forgo vacations at the moment than going back.