The Road Between Halloween and Thanksgiving

Has been a rocky one.  I wouldn’t say rocky in a bad way, but they say that even good things can be stressful.  That said, I find myself looking at a Thankgiving where I don’t have to wonder what I’d say I’m thankful for.  Not that my family does that, or that I’m not thankful for things.  But it always seems trite to say I’m thankful for my family, my health, my friends.

This year, however, I am thankful that Black Friday is my last Black Friday as an employee (barring any unforeseen circumstances, of course).  I’m thankful that after two years of actually trying (and not just pretending to try), I finally heard the words “We’d like to offer you the position.”  I’m thankful that I’ve been given a chance to start a new adventure.

This is not to say that I haven’t been thankful that I had a job.  I know things could have been far worse.  But I can be thankful and recognize that something isn’t unhealthy for me.  And my job, while it got me by, was incredibly unhealthy.  I may or may not share why–without going into details, because I’m not interested in burning bridges or dragging anyone through the mud–but I do intend to eventually make a list as a reminder to myself of why this is a positive move.

Right now the future is uncertain.  I can’t say for sure that the new job will be the perfect fit, but my shrink says job interviews aren’t just the company interviewing you–you’re interviewing the company.  And I got a very good feeling about it.  But what I do know for certain is that if I don’t like it, I will have two things going for me.  1. Now that I’ve left one crappy job, it’s that much easier to leave another (I don’t mean that to sound flippant, just the facts). 2. I will now be getting experience outside of retail.  And that?  That right there is more important than gold.  It not only means that I’ll be more valuable, but it also means that I’ll keep learning.

And if you’re not learning, you’re not living.

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours…

My New Year’s Eve started at 5am and ended at 5am.  Awesome.  Now that’s what I call a party.

Beginning: I need to learn to let go.  I find it impossible to take a vacation from work because I trust very few people to do my job right.  Not that I think my job is hard or special, mind you, I just don’t think they have the time to care.  Before promotion I was doing two jobs–my old job and my current job.  I felt like I was doing it all the time.  You’d think I’d feel less stressed out now that I’m back to just one job, but I’m not.  At least not lately.  Communication has plummeted, and it resulted in me accidentally finding out I not only had to change the entire apparel department, but I had to mark down all the old stuff before the beginning of FM Jan (Jan 4).  So I got up at 5 to get as much done a possible, and stayed an hour late for the same.  I was actually able to call in the one person I trust, no matter how suspiciously, which meant I didn’t have to stay three hours late….  I will go in on Saturday for the markdown, meaning that I went from a 30 hour week to “holy crap, I can’t stay anymore or I’ll go into OT!”

Pre-Middle: I went to Target after work to get supplies.  Also looked for shoes and socks, because who doesn’t love shoes and socks.  Discovered these:

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Aside from being ridiculously cute… and clearance… and not in my size… They’re also lined with one of my favorite Alexander Henry fabrics of all time.  I know it’s hard to see, but I have proof of its existence outside of the shoe and inside of my stash:

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Must find those shoes…….

Middle: The best, best, best part of New Years Eve is fondue.  Everyone should do the ‘due.  I don’t care if it’s cheese, oil, or chocolate, it should be mandatory.  I do not, however, recommend combining any of those unless, perhaps, over the course of an entire day.  Certainly don’t attempt it in one evening.  I know this from experience.  New this year was tempura batter and parboiled potatoes.  When BILOSORD’s buddy accidentally added his potato to the pot without battering it, twice fried potatoes were born.  And eaten repeatedly.  I breifly considered getting more potatoes from the kitchen, but I figured we had to cut outselves off somewhere.  This is the first time that I can remember that fondue didn’t end with someone (me….) laughing so hard they (I….) cried.  We stopped because we ran out of cheese and potatoes.  And room in our stomachs.  We were all pretty tired, though.

I passed out on the couch after dinner, and I pretty sure after Rocket Puppy was sent to bed, Rocketdog passed out for a bit too.  I headed home, intending to go to bed, shortly after the ball dropped (…the tape delayed ball).

The End: When I got home, The Hippy IMed me to see if I had gotten his text message, and was apparently bummed that I didn’t respond.  What I didn’t know was that I hadn’t gotten the message, and thought he was talking about something entirely different.  Twenty minutes later, it showed up.  I decided the message couldn’t find me because I was driving.  I turned right, and it kept going straight.  Silly text message.  But what followed was one of the longest, most awesome philosophical discussions we’ve ever had.  “We’re going to be living together and sharing everything, so I might as well tell you what I believe.”  Which is not to say he hadn’t told me before, it was just a much deeper and livelier discussion.  When my alarm clock went off, I knew it was probably time to go to bed.  Call me crazy, but I’m a sucker for talking to him.  The first time we ever chatted with each other, I only got a couple hours of sleep.  I’m looking forward to not having to chat online (both of us hate the phone).

And now I get to go move.  Right now.  Literally.  Five hours of sleep!  wooooo!  Actually, I think I’m going to eat some potatoes first 🙂

Attack of the Returns

It’s not often I agree with Mary Hunt.  I read her mostly to learn tips on how to save money and also for the occasional recipe.  But The Return Right entry in her blog really struck a chord with me.

The jist of the entry is that returning things to retailers is getting harder.  Boo-hoo.  Frankly, at my store, returning is still far too easy.  People get upset because we won’t take something back from three years ago.  We have a 90 day return policy, which is, in my opinion, 60 days too many.  If you don’t have a reciept, you don’t get full price back.  Typically it’s only 50%, but it’s based on the most recent sale price.  Thankfully, we don’t have to think anymore; our computer automatically knows what the return price will be.  Nice.  However, our management is easily pushed over, and there are very, very few instances in which you will not be able to return something.

Stupid things we also take back:

1. Cut fabric.  Not just fabric we’ve cut, which either ends up as a remnant that we lose money on, or we waste time trying to find it’s home back out on the floor, but fabric that someone has cut a chunk off of and used.  We will not, however, take back fabric that has had shapes cut out of it.  Yes, people try.

2. Things without packaging.  Who would buy something without a package?  Oh yeah, no one.  Except maybe employees.  Maybe.

3a. (apparently) Cupcake holders that “just didn’t work out for me.  The cupcakes fell over.”  There was still chocolate all over the carrier.  Here’s a hint: Don’t turn anything with wobbly food products on its side.  Let me guess… You can only use sippy cups because regular cups just don’t keep those pesky liquids upright and off the floor when you tip them over… *eyeroll with facepalm*

3b. Fabric with wood stain and splinters in it.  Clearly used at an outdoor wedding, only to be returned after all was said and done.  Nothing says “I Do” like not even being able to commit to a wedding decoration.

4. Books, patterns, and other copy-ables.  Nuff said.

At any rate, I’ve always been a firm believer in owning what you purchase.  I also believe in paying for what you use and buying only what you can afford. If you can’t afford a video camera (or flowers, or fabrics, or candle holders), don’t have such an extravagent wedding or family reunion.  If you can’t afford tape or pens, don’t scrapbook; can’t afford clasps, don’t bead; can’t afford needles, don’t sew.

Wait… now I’m getting into shoplifting territory.

I don’t have much to write about except for work because that’s all I do.  I start my vacation in a couple of days, during which time I will be moving into my new house.  It’s utterly depressing having to pack.  Not because I’m moving, but because I don’t know where to begin.  I started throwing out garbage tonight, only to get depressed over how much of it is not garbage.  I also have a severe lack of boxes.  Luckily, tomorrow is a truck day, so we’ll have plenty of extra boxes laying around.

Do I really have to organize, or can I just throw stuff into boxes and hope for the best?  *grumble*

Create Overload

I’m beginning to think I have a serious problem. I have a bad case of the don’t want to do its. I keep thinking up a hundred different things I want to do instead of working on product for my No Coast/Handmaidens weekend or even Christmas presents.

I have four bags, ten cozies, and twelve wallets cut out and waiting for assembly.

I have no fewer than twelve presents I would like to make. In fact, I only have one present made and one cut out. Some of them are really quite easy.

And yet, I would like to make a hat, a skirt, a secret bag, homemade bagels, red velvet cupcakes… I keep saying, “after Christmas,” but the pull is ridiculously strong. So strong, in fact, that I’m writing this entry on my iPod from work.

It’s all I can think about! I can’t even focus on all the fabric I need to find a home for…

How far?

Recent events at work have prompted me to question how far a sales clerk must go to avoid giving poor customer service?  Is a customer entitled to hours of a clerk’s time?  Should the clerk (who is probably not making much more than minimum wage) be forced to become a customer’s personal shopper?  How about their interior decorator?

Should the customer be entitled to know when the clerk is working again in case she (*ahem* or he… this is purely hypothetical, after all… sure…) has any more questions or needs any more help?  If so, is it okay for the clerk to… fudge… a little on the hours she (or he….) is working just so she can be guaranteed some alone time?

At any point is it acceptable to say, “I’m sorry, but my schedule just doesn’t allow me to devote so much time to one customer”?  Should the clerk just suck it up and help the customer the best she can?  Other customers and obligations be damned?  Even if this customer is maybe spending $50 after taking up hours of my her time?

Would this customer’s behavior be more acceptable if it weren’t the Christmas season?  What if it weren’t during the time of year when the store takes in twice as much freight as “normal” and is having to work twice as hard to even pretend to find room for it?  Would it be more acceptable if the one clerk that has been singled out is the only one who is truly responsible for making sure the stock gets out on the floor?  Even when there are dozens of other clerks to choose from?

I guess I don’t really have the answers, or I wouldn’t even be asking the questions.  I know what I want the answers to be, but I have a feeling the “right” answers are opposite that.  Maybe the clerk needs to set up a sort of blind date system where she, regretably, receives a very important call partway into the interaction.

Retail employees should be given tips.  At least in situations like these.  Mandatory 20% gratuity.  If I’m she’s going to get in trouble because the work isn’t getting done, she might as well get and extra $10 out of it.  A thank you should be enough, but frankly, it isn’t.  And being told God put me into her life isn’t enough either.