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When I Learn How to Fly You’ll Be the First to Know.

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*Disclaimer* No innocent customer service employees were harmed in the production of this blog.  Only the lazy ones, no just kidding.  I have had a few retail and customer service jobs, so am well aware of how crummy they are treated at times.  I try really hard to be patient and kind with the front line staff.  They often take the brunt of customer complaints and general lack of patience.  Often, when mistakes are made by co-workers, it effects everyone on the team/department.  This retail experience was one of those examples…

I have been on a search for new furniture, specifically a dining room table.  This search has dragged over years, mostly because of a tight budget and the fact that most of our funds are now drained by the need for various baby gear.  I am even willing to get second hand furniture, but it has to fit in our tiny space and be in better condition than what we have.  I had my eye on a new 5 piece table set in my local department store.  Recently the price dropped for a two day sale, from $399.99 to $199.99!  Oh I wanted that table! 

 On sale day I walked over to the store and found that they still had one left, but the box was perched on a tall shelf.  At least 7 feet high.  That was a strange place to put a box that, according to details printed on the side, weighed 50 KG .  I had two issues; I needed to measure the box to see if it would fit in my hubby’s car.  Second problem; there was a man already standing under the shelf, staring up at the same box I was eyeing.  I didn’t know how long this man had been waiting.  I knew better than to try and look for an employee to help me with measuring.  I had worked in this store and knew that they were under-staffed in early morning hours.  I marched off to the hardware section to find a measuring tape to borrow, then grabbed a ladder to help with the reach.  Once again I thought; ‘Why would they put this box up here?  Anything over 70 lbs is supposed to be on floor level’.  I set myself up in front of the shelf, climbed up, and measured as best as I could as it was still out of reach. 

The Waiting Man was now sitting on a stool and reading a paper, looking out the corner of his eye once in a while.  Just as I was finishing my calculations, a store employee, I’ll call Joe came down the aisle.  Joe didn’t seem bothered at all by my borrowed items from the hardware department.  I guess he is used to customers taking things into their own hands.  I heard him tell the Waiting Man that he was unable to find the lift that would get the box down from the shelf.  The Waiting Man asked if he could buy the table set and come back when it could be rescued from its perch.  Joe said he was sorry but they couldn’t hold Door Crasher items.  Waiting Man was done being patient; “When I learn how to fly you’ll be the first to know, but I have been waiting here since the store opened an hour ago for you to get this box down!”  Joe apologized and wondered out-loud if a fellow employee was pulling a April Fool’s prank, by putting the box up that high in the first place.  The humor was lost on Waiting Man

I couldn’t stick around to see the resolution for this sit-com.  I had to start work soon, and I had recieved a text from my hubby.  It wasn’t the news I was hoping for…the box wouldn’t fit in our trunk.  As I was unpacking boxes at the home decor store I work at, I had a light bulb moment.  When break time came, I went back to the Department Store.  The ladder was still there, no surprise to me.  I found something to poke the box and climbed up.  *POKE POKE* Haha, the box moved.  It was EMPTY!  Which means it was the DEMO box.  The poor schmo that had been stuck putting that DEMO together, couldn’t be bothered to mark DEMO on the box before putting it out of reach.  April Fool’s indeed.  I wondered what the Waiting Man would have to say about that bit of news.

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Stranger Danger

For someone who never really had the nerve to speak up about anything for most of my life, things have really changed in the last year.  It is easier to talk to strangers than it is to people I have known for a long time.  I find myself talking to strangers more and more everyday.  Not just behind the privacy of my computer aliases, but in line ups at stores, coffee shops, and random places that my wander lust brings me. It used to be that I would stand stoic in line, waiting for my turn to be next, sometimes grumbling under my breath at the hold-ups.  I used to be able to stealthfully slip into stores and get my purchases home with little attention being drawn to me at all.  Now, I feel like I need to have a little more patience and to put on a happy face during shopping trips. It’s not that I am in any less of a hurry now, or have less on my mind.  I feel like everyone is watching the crazy lady with the cute kid to see what she will do next.  Paranoid?  

The biggest change in the last year and a bit?  For those that don’t know me, I am usually wrestling with an 18 month old while loading and unloading a cart, loading bags, handing over coupons, and paying the cashier.  And then if the totals come up wrong, hold on for another endless wait for correction, or worse yet, be sent to another line up @ the service desk to get your OWN money back.  Phew…excuse the mid-blog rant.  The physics of shopping have changed, so I have had to change too.  It is almost impossible to travel unseen or unheard in public places when you have a baby.  And the odds seem stacked against you for even the simplist of outings: 

1)A stroller or cart loaded to capacity, almost impossible to turn a corner without being Hercules. 

2)The Toddler screaming for the snacks on the shelves or in the hands of other people nearby.

3) The mommy brain that won’t let you remember what was on the list you left on the kitchen counter.

4) Getting on or off a bus with a fully loaded stroller and traversing 3 foot high snowbanks so carefully carved by the plows, and hard packed by the cold.

5) I forgot what I wanted to write for this one…

That being said, I can choose to let the frustrations come out and bombard the people who happen to share my personal space.  Or I can try to put a humourous spin on the situation.  The talking to strangers factor can sometimes pay off.  And generally I find that a smiling baby brings out the best in people, and somehow gives them the desire to be friendly in a situation that could be stressful or irritating.  Yes, I know there are people who claim to hate children, I have met many over the years.  I’m not addressing them today.  A smiling baby also distracts people when you cut in front of them in line.  Talking to strangers has become a newly learned social skill for me.  Apparently it’s not too late to teach this old cat some new tricks. Now if only I could remember what my closing point was supposed to be.