Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Fools in Love
I drove into my 2:30 shift expecting the tent to be completely empty of all people. I was wrong about that. There were a few souls sprinkled here and there. The merchandise on the other hand. Whoa! Ha! Yeah. They were done for. The first thing I noticed was all the empty boxes and crates pushed off to the side and away from the tent. It was like watching the recession of a mans hairline. The merchandise was lush and full the day before and then the very next day there were noticeably missing chunks.
Marco and...dang. I can't remember the girls name, but they were the only two in the tent when I arrived. There was nothing to do, so I made myself comfortable at the helium tank and started blowing up balloon bouquets and doing some light cleaning. Did I mention how hot it was? It had to be about 80 degrees that day. That's all fine and dandy when you're not forced to be outside in the dry heat. My 20 fl oz of Aquafina only got me so far. I took a few sips here, placed the bottle in the cooler, took another few sips there trying to keep hydrated. But it didn't matter how many sips I took. My throat still felt like I had cotton balls packed in there. We had a huge umbrella blocking the sun from our eyes while we rang on our single register, but the entire time it was there it was as if it wasn't there at all. It was hot and dry out. No umbrella could protect our little bodies from the heat I felt lingering from the brown webbed umbrella.
Remember how I said there was a few people sprinkled here and there? Well, they started piling up by the masses. You would have thought we were giving away free gold bars and Oprah scented roses with million dollar shopping sprees to Godiva by the way people were acting. The entire time I thought to myself while shaking my head, "Fools in love".
The day didn't go entirely smooth for me either. I ran into a huge road bump an hour or so into my shift. So I was there ringing up this lady just as I rang hundreds of people before her and the one thing you wouldn't want to happen happened. The cash register had a seizer and turned into a vegetable. I felt like the world was closing in on me. There I was, the only employee in the tent on the only cash register within a thousand feet of the building and expected to ring up dozens of transactions per minute and my cash register goes to calculator heaven. I looked around and the line literally snaked halfway around the tent and the middle of the tent was packed with fools seeking after work Valentine's gifts. I took a deep breath and did what I do best. I blocked out anyone who wasn't standing in front of me, took my phone out of my pocket, and dialed 480-555-5555.
"Hello, thanks for calling the grocery store, how may I help you?"
"Hey, this is 'Krissy' in the tent. Can you send the manager out here for me? The register died."
While in the midst of my wait, I waited, and waited. I felt the stares of every single person standing in line. I caught a few people looking down at their watch. I could have died right then and there. That was the worst feeling I've ever felt; powerless.
Not too long after my manager came out to "man the register" this tall skinny black as tar black man walks up to me while handing me his merchandise and says to me, "There's five people over there doing nothing. They should be over here helping!" I stopped what ever it was that I was doing and stared him in what I thought was his eyes. He was wearing reflective sunglasses. All I seen was myself in the relfection of his sun glasses talking to him. I said right back to him as nice as I could, but also being condescending standing with my hands akimbo, "There's only one register." I guess he did the mathematics in his head and realized what I said to him made sense. Otherwise, how could five other people help me on one register? Hmm...Exactly. They can't. The five people he was referring to was the store manager, the floral manager, the floral delivery guy, Marco, and Tyler (Tyler is a girl). She's a Service Clerk (bagger) she's not authorized to handle a register noway. They were all in the refrigerated trailer putting the remainder of flower bouquets together. The man I rang up after him was telling the tar man goodbye like they were old pals. I asked him, "Is that guy famous or somethin?" because he drove of in a shinny black 2012 Mercedes Benz. The customer told me he coached for some baseball team in Texas. I don't care who he was. He was too arrogant for me.
After paying my dues to the register, Marco finally made is appearance and took over for me. There's this one guy I would never forget. While I was off in my hot corner blowing up balloons, this nicley dressed male walked up to me and started asking me about some flowers and why they looked dead, can the water be drained because he has to lug it home, whatever whatever. The vase that the bouquet of flowers were arranged in was in this red and white mosaic type two foot tall champagne glass. This was one of the higher end vases that 80% of the cheap fools walked past. But not this fool. He wanted it bad. So I took the heavy ass vase, walked it over to the trailer to ask the store manager about the condition of the flowers (meanwhile, Tyler was laying on a stack of boxes below the trailer. She just at that moment while walking towards the tariler, fell backwards and was half way broken into tears because of her embarrassment. Ooops! Someone wasn't watching where she was going. I heard a hand full of people laughing at her about 30 feet away from the tent). The manager told me the name of the flowers, how they are supposed to look the way they do, and that they were actually blooming. Honestly, they looked like they were dieing. But after she told me what she told me the physical appearance of the flowers started to make sense. I relayed the message to the guy and proceeded to pour the water out of the two foot champagne glass.
"Is there any quicker way I could get out of here?"
I've been giving out generic answers all day to people, so my natural response was, "Uhh...Not really." Looking at how long the line was. "Unless you went inside" I quickly thought it over with myself "But then again I don't know how busy it is in there" Light bulb moment. "You know what? Yes there is." Realizing that I'm a cashier and that I can just simply hop in any register I wanted. "Come with me. I can ring you up inside."
"Are there any cards out here for daughters?"
"No. There's a limited selection out here. But there's definitely a lot more inside."
As we walk in the cool building, I see that there was more people inside than it was outside. "We can go on register 3 when you're ready" and he went to off to aisle 16 to get his Hallmark greeting cards. While I was waiting on the man I stood at U-Scan with Brock.
That boy is really something else. He was running around like he was a chicken with his head cut off. He hates running U-Scan with a passion. I on the other hand, was standing there cool as a cucumber touching the touch screen computer while the alarms were sounding off like it was nothing. I love U-Scan. It's like second nature to me running eight registers at once. I don't know how I do it. Just like I tell all the other employees, I like it over there. It's like a game trying to keep all the alarms from going off. After five minute or so the man finally came back with his two cards and we proceeded to register 3. I felt like I was cheating the system. But I really didn't care. I liked this guy because he was being polite. I rang up his $89.99 two foot champagne glass full of flowers, his two mini boxes of chocolates, and his two cards. He payed for his order. While I was handing back his receipt I told him, "You saved sixteen cents. Have a nice day." As we both were walking towards the exit he handed me a $10 bill. I was slightly hesitant to take it because I know we can't accept tips. But I said, "Fuck it. It's free money". Took the bill, told the man "Thank you."and again "Have a nice day" upon his exit.
I walked back over to U-Scan to pick Brock's brain and asked him if he wanted to trade positions again. Of course he tells me "Yes!". I don't know why I thought otherwise. I went back outside for a few to assist Marco until he told me that he he'll be leaving soon. I looked at the time "6:28" it read. I thought about Brock inside and about how much I didn't wanna be outside anymore.
"Don't hate me. But I'll be right back"
I grabbed my water bottle out the cooler and ran through the crowded parking lot like I was on the High School Track team again. I literally bolted out of there. I saw my manager and began talking to him while I was out of breath. I asked him if it was all right if me and Brock traded positions again.
"I don't care. As long as someone is in here to run U-Scan."
"Cool! Thank you so much." And I bolted to U-Scan.
We switched off and that was that. My night went smooth and so did his.
I was scheduled to get off at 9:00. But since Brock was out covering my shift I had no choice but to wait inside on U-Scan while the tent was being cleaned and cleared out. I literally stood on my feet for 8 1/2 hours that day. No breaks. No lunches. No food in my belly. No notthing. All I had that day was a bottle of Aquafina. I'm not trying to starve myself or anything. I just simply didn't have anytime to eat. Finally it was 9:45 and Brock ran to me from wherever he was.
"Thank you so much. I really appreciate what you did for me today."
"You're welcome. And I appreciate what you did for me these entire three days."
Brock is my new crush. I'd do anything for him. And from the looks of it, he'd do anything from me too :)
I thought that interacting with Brock and receiving a $10 tip for going above and beyond was the highlight of my long day. I was wrong. It was my Papa Clint.
I walked in the house and greeted everyone with my usual, "You miss me?" Nana and her husband Sylvester jointly and enthusiastically greeted me with, "Happy Valentine's Day!" I laughed with my back to them scowering for food, digging through the giant chocolate box, and thinking about my day. "Yeah. Happy Valentine's Day". After finding eatable goodies, I placed my plate in the microwave, and walked towards my room to get out of my work clothes. Nana and Sylvester was sitting on the forrest green microfiber couch watching the 70" inch flat screen TV. As I walked past them, Sylvester stopped me and handed me a mini box of Russell Stover's chocolates.
"Happy Valentines Day!"
"Oh you was serious?! I thought you were playing" We all laughed. "I wasn't expecting anything. Thanks!"
I was out of my mind in shock. That was the sweetest thing anyone has done for me in a long time. Just then I had an ephany. Valentine's days wasn't necessarily for your other half. It's for family memebers too. Apparently, Sylvester brought all the women in the family chocolates for that international joyus special day. That would explain all the chocolate treats that was laying around on the kitchen island.
Not a bad day after all.
Facebook Status 2/14/11: "