The holidays can become an adventure when you work in retail. It’s never dull, always busy, can be exhausting, at time joyous, at times sad, it’s never predictable while always planned and always one holiday ahead of everyone else.
I’m planning for Thanksgiving while everyone else is buying Halloween candy. I’m storing Valentine’s candy while many are buying Christmas wrapping and hanging stockings. I’m always on a clock that is, way ahead of everyone else. That is why, at this time of the year I stop short, take a deep breath, and take a good look around my life. I make sure that I am not letting the Holiday pass me by. I almost let that happen to me this year. I had to remind myself of the meaning of Christmas. I had to remind myself of what was important.
I was running around the store one day, focused on the task at hand, when I was stopped by an elderly lady…”can you stop and help me young man?”, she asked. I stopped short, at first annoyed at being interrupted, then my fake smily face kicked-in, “yes what can I help you with today, Mam?”, I asked. “I’m sorry to bother you but I’m a little confused, I can’t remember what I came in here for, and I’m embarrassed, but I really don’t want to leave empty handed…I can’t afford the gas to make another trip here for what I should have gotten in the first place, please help me”, she begged. It was my turn to be embarrassed, for my fake smily face, it quickly turned to a real smily face, along with a red face to go with it.
Thinking quickly, I responded with, “Thank-you!”. She was now more confused. Thank-you?..Thank-you?, I could see the wheels turning in her mind. Yes, thank-you, you just reminded me I forgot to wear my other name-tag. She was still confused, she looked at me like I was crazy. Yes Mam, I’m the designated personal shopper today and you are going to be my first client!
Now I will need to know a little about you so that I can best assist you. What’s your name, do you live here in town, I asked? I was rewarded with her name, and a long story of how long she lived here in Titusville, and how much she loved it here. She told me of her recent visit to the local hospital, and how well they had taken care of her. She told me how sad, her son that lives in California was,… he was not able to come be with her, and how he had suggested she get some night lights for her hall-way so that she not stumble in the night, as she makes many nightly trips to the bathroom. We walked as we talked. I pointed out how we had decorated the store for Christmas, I commented on the different new night lights we were selling in the store now-a days, as I placed one in her shopping cart. We strolled by the Hallmark cards looking at a few, she mentioned how she had forgotten her son’s birthday the week before, while she was in the hospital, and we found just the perfect card…one she was sure he would have loved, and we placed it in her cart. We had a good laugh about some of the others.
I talked about my family, she talked about hers. She told me of her fond memories, of her late husband, and how their favorite time of the day was the morning cup of coffee they talked over, and how she didn’t have one this particular morning….she was out of creamers, the same kinds we had on sale this week, by the way. We headed over to the coolers and got her a pint. We made our way to the check-out, I told her how much I had enjoyed chatting with her and how happy I was that she had gotten everything she had come for. She started to pay for her purchase, but I informed her today’s purchase would be on me, she eventually conceded and left happily on her way. I’ll never know, if she did indeed get what she came for, all I know is I got everything I needed.