Tag Archives: blind

Love is Blind, and So is Retail

4 Oct

Has it been a long month or what? Despite my best efforts, I have been so busy going to school, studying and reading for all my classes, going to group project meetings, and working that I haven’t been able to do much at all. After having a conversation with my boss, my hours have dropped significantly, which means that I have more free time to write on here, get more sleep, and possibly not go insane.

So, my manager hired a new guy at work whom I was finally able to meet yesterday. He seems to have a good sense of humor and likes to joke around, so I think he will fit in with our team of complete crazies perfectly! While he was ringing up my stuff, (I saved around $10 thanks to coupons and employee discounts. Working in retail has made me an awesome shopper!) he complained and told me that he was sick of working already. I said, “Well you only work until ten, so it shouldn’t be that bad.” And he rolled his eyes and replied, “Yeah but if you’ve been working five…consensual….err…days in  a row, it’s different.” And I said, “Consecutive?” and I heard the two customers behind me in line cracking up. Being a smart-ass has always earned me brownie points! Welcome to the jungle, new kid!

In retail land, it is already Halloween and Thanksgiving. Right after Halloween is done, it will be Christmas. In retail, special holiday items (such as candy, decorations, toys) are sent to stores at least a month or two in advance, and these shipments are immediately put out on the sales floor. Why, you may ask? Because even if Halloween candy is put out a month and a half before the actual event, people will buy it. Working in retail and experiencing so many holidays early can sometimes make me feel like I’m in a constant time warp.

The thing I hate most about experiencing holidays in retail is having to decorate the store. Since I have recently moved to a new store and am amongst a very large group of veteran employees, I think that this may be the first year where I am not asked to decorate the store and, let me tell you, it feels great! Apparently I give off an artsy (as well as hippie…I don’t know where people come up with these things) vibe, and at my old store I’d always have one of my managers come up to me and say “You seem artistic…you are going to decorate the store!” I would then explain to them that I struggle to even cut a straight line with scissors. They always seemed to think I was just having fun putting myself down until they saw the actual results of my “decorating”: uneven streamers, gift-wrapped boxes that a blind amputee could probably do a better job on, and various mishaps which involved me standing on the counter to hang something up and almost falling off or hitting someone else. Due to several bad incidents with box cutters, I am officially banned from even using them anymore. Yes, I am that clumsy. With that being said, if you ever walk into a store that looks as if it was decorated by a toddler, it was probably done by me.

Speaking of clumsiness, I had to do something that I have never done in my entire life before yesterday: I had to assist our loyal blind customer around the store. And let me tell you, the experience was most unpleasant.

You see, I am not really a touchy-feely sort of person. If I don’t know someone well and they even pat me on the back, I feel uncomfortable. Occasionally I have had certain senile elderly lady customers go all lezzy on me by touching/holding my hand while I am trying to help them or patting my cheeks and telling me how I am lucky to have such “young skin”. On the outside I try to just laugh it off, but on the inside I’m simultaneously screaming, crying, and running in circles.

When our loyal blind customer–we’ll call him Eddy–comes in, one of us usually stops, walks out from behind the register, and he holds on to the person’s arm and shops around the store with them. Eddy actually lives right next to our store, so he usually walks (with his cane) all alone. Yes, sometimes he falls outside. It’s okay, though, because he’s usually drunk twenty-four seven (I don’t blame him), so he doesn’t feel much.

Yesterday, Eddy came in and I was working with a shift supervisor and Mr. Consensual (the new guy). My shift turned to me and said that I would have to help him shop. I started shaking my head and mouthing “NOOO!” at her, but since she needed to supervise the new kid, I had no choice. Since I am not comfortable with strangers touching me, I had always managed to avoid helping Eddy shop in the past, but for once in my life I was left with no other choice.

I walked out from behind the register and tried to pretend like I had helped a blind man shop a million times before. “Eddy!” I said as I tapped his shoulder, “How ya doin’?” He told me he was doing fine and dandy, and he told me to take him to the “adult section”, which, of course, is the booze aisle. So he held onto my arm and I started walking in my usual fast pace until I realize that, duh, blind people kind of need to take it slow. So I slowed it down and, about ten minutes later, we finally made it to the alcohol aisle. He had me pick up a large jug of that nasty vodka that comes in the plastic containers, and we set off to the front of the store to have him get rung out.

I was actually pretty proud of myself for handling the whole “assisting a blind man” ordeal. Well look at me! I thought, I’m being like the most awesome employee ever because I am helping a handicapped person to shop. Where’s the local news photographers? This is totally a Kodak moment! So there I was with a grin on my face, ignoring the tight grip of Eddy’s hand on my arm, and as we were traipsing to the front of the store, I must have turned at an odd angle, because I heard a crashing noise. Guess what? I had walked Eddy right into a watch display because I wasn’t paying attention.

The watch display, luckily, did not come crashing down, but it did violently swing from side to side. Eddy, being the jolly drunkard that he is, laughed it off and said, “Oh haha! I must have taken a wrong turn!” I looked up to see my shift and Mr. Consensual hysterically laughing at me. Feeling completely mortified, I was tempted to ask Eddy if he could let me have a shot of his cheap vodka.

And that is why, my friends, clumsy people should not be allowed to do anything out of the ordinary when it comes to retail. Whether it is wrapping boxes or assisting blind men, there are just some things some things that I will never, ever, be able to do.


Cracks in the Foundation

28 Aug

Since I will be going back to my university in the following week, I figured I would try and attempt to make another post. It’s crazy to think that maybe one day, if I am lucky, I will be working on marketing for the exact same kinds of products that I ring up at my job every day. Working part-time and taking senior-level business classes is going to be tough, but I am going to try my best to continue updating this blog.

I haven’t had as many crazy customers come into my store lately. Either that, or I am just becoming used to being around weirdos all day. About a week ago I had a customer do something that I have NEVER seen done before. She was a cute little old lady, probably into her late eighties, and she came up to my counter looking very disoriented. She bought a bottle of foundation that, I may add, was very Lindsay Lohen-esque in the fact that it was five shades darker than her skin tone and very orange looking.

Side note: I am truly terrified to become an elderly person just because of the many cosmetic horrors a lack of good eyesight can do to you. I’ve often felt compelled to keep industrial-strength tweezers near my register just so i can help pluck the million wiry, grey hairs sticking out of so many women’s faces. I’m seriously starting to wonder what kind of hormones are in the foods we eat considering the general abundance of facial hair that seems to be appearing on everyone now. Bleh!

Anyway…back to the crazy old lady. So she buys the foundation and she leans in and whispers (well, I figured she was trying to whisper but it seemed pretty loud to me) “I don’t know what’s wrong with me today…I’ve never felt like this before.” I smiled my token “retail smile” and gave one of my token general responses which probably went along the lines of “Hmm, I wonder why!” And she stands off to the side and begins twisting the top off of the foundation, and she pours a generous amount into the palms of her hands and just starts smothering her whole face in cheap, orange foundation while I am ringing up other customers. I even asked her if she wanted me to let her into the restroom so she could see a mirror, but she insisted that she was fine. After putting on what seemed to be half of the bottle, she turned to me and asked if it all looked okay, and I just smiled and nodded. Poor woman. When I was little, my mother always told me that it was in bad taste to put on lipstick or even look in a mirror while in public. Putting on foundation in public, however, is taking that piece of social etiquette to a whole new level!

Our loyal blind customer also walked into a wall outside our store a week ago as well. He lives really close and assumes that he can get along just fine without someone assisting him. He has a great sense of humor and was laughing about the whole thing, but the customers who witnessed the fall were very concerned. They seemed to be even more concerned when they noticed that all he bought was three bottles of cheap vodka. So, did he walk into a wall because he is perpetually drunk, or did he walk into a wall because he is blind? Or both? The world may never know.

I think it’s really amazing, by the way, that so many people with handicaps are able to shop on their own. I love the fact that our store is home to so many of these people and how we all go out of our way to make sure they have the most comfortable shopping experience ever. I remember the first time I ever rang out a person in a wheelchair by themselves and I asked them if they needed a bag, and they just gave me a dirty look. Whoops!

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