Tag Archives: harry potter

Leggo…At Least I’m Not Preggo.

14 Nov

Yesterday I spent a nightmare of an hour shopping for baby stuff in Walmart. I walked into the store, which always seems to have people identical from the zombie extras in Shaun of the Dead shuffling about, with my friend’s baby gift registry printed out and the items already highlighted and color coded based on cuteness and my current level of generosity. There was no way, I thought, that this could go wrong: I had a list with pictures, UPC numbers, brand names, and I was full from dinner and wouldn’t be distracted by food. Then, after taking five steps inside, I stopped dead in my tracks, my heart started palpitating and the fluorescent lights suddenly became blinding as I realized that I had no idea where the baby section was in Walmart. I couldn’t even begin to think of where I needed to go.

Maybe it’s near the dog food, I thought. Dogs, babies, smelly overpriced food…same thing, right? Wrong. It turns out that baby section is, like everything else in Walmart, completely hidden and has absolutely nothing to do with what the signs or even the employees say. You know how the stairwells in Hogwarts liked to randomly change and the students had to hope that they ended up in the right place? Walmart’s kind of like that. I’m pretty sure the aisles change at random and you just have to walk around aimlessly until you find what you need.

After twenty minutes of walking around, I finally found the baby section nestled in the middle of the clothing section. After pushing past tons of clothing racks with the scent of cheap dyes of third world countries wafting in the air, I stepped through the fabric and, like Lucy walking through the wardrobe into Narnia, arrived in the land of baby things.

scared baby

The same expression I had when I saw the baby section

It was godawful. I began grabbing articles of clothing at random only to realize that everything was labeled by months, and I had managed to pick out all 3-6 month items. Feeling defeated, I pulled out the list and began reading through it again:

Dino pajamas Guess how many articles of baby clothes had dinosaurs on them? Everything.

12 pack assorted heirloom socks Seriously, what kind of Walmart did she shop at? There were barely three packs of socks here.

12 pack Gerber newborn bibs Only found online. Figures. Seriously, why 12 of everything? How many babies is she really having?

Long sleeved newborn mittens Obviously she was joking with this one. What kind of baby wears mittens?

In the midst of shopping for items that I never even knew existed (for example, what is a “gown” for babies, and why couldn’t I find one? What kind of baby wears a gown/robe? Hugh Hefner’s?), the store was full of screaming kids. My chest started hurting a bit, and my breathing quickened as I realized that I needed to temporarily escape, and fast, if I was going to ever finish shopping for this girl’s baby, so I went to the safest place I could think of in Walmart: the wine aisle.

If I can't find baby things, how is Jessica going to do it? Srsly.

Drastically unlike the baby section, the wine aisle in Walmart is always easy to find. It’s the only section of the store where there aren’t any hillbillies loitering around. Somehow, the lighting always seems more romantic, there is a soft cherubic humming in the background and an old man who looks like God usually walks by, nodding and smiling in my direction as if to tell me that, yes, all is well in the world.  After perusing the aisle and picking out a cheap wine that was ironically called Lucky Duck, I walked back to the Top Secret Hidden Baby Stuff Section, found one item on her list after twenty minutes of searching, and just decided to wing it and picked up a few other random baby things. The highlight of my epic shopping excursion occurred when I was walking up and down the pacifier section (which has like so many nipple shaped things, some of which say “orthodontic”..are babies wearing braces? What?) clutching my bottle of wine and shakily reading the list while a young couple with a baby stopped to stare in my direction. I was tempted to push it one step further and ask them if they knew where the coat hanger section was.

Forty minutes later, I was in my car with my baby crap and completely done. My breathing was back to normal, my arms had stopped bleeding from the zombie shoppers who had bit me in the store (kidding, biting only happens at voting booths) and I had thrown the stupid gift registry list out. I drove home, threw the clothes in my closet where I couldn’t see them, and plopped down on my bed with my glass of wine and Gourmet Lollipop. Then I took my birth control pill.

One Blanket to Rule Them All

12 Aug

I will be the first to admit that I often intentionally prolong conversations with customers, while on the sales floor, because I really would rather avoid my work and gather material for this blog . Lucky for me, my lack of ambition seems to be paying off.

Halfway through putting up sales signs for the week, I was approached by what appeared to be a normal, slightly balding 40-something woman out shopping and avoiding the summer heat. She stopped me as I was entering the body care aisle and asked me about a particular body wash. Lucky for my customers, I am a shopaholic and have pretty much tried every product in my store (sans the Fleet Enemas and hemorrhoid cream) so I was able to give her an accurate description of a body wash that she was considering. She then decided to slowly stroll by the other body washes and ask my opinion of those. Looking for a way to avoid my work, I gladly volunteered my superb knowledge of overly-priced bath products.

She was everything I wanted in a customer: kind, soft spoken, a good listener, not overly demanding and not smelling of urine or that horrible bath powder stuff that elderly people use in place of real showers. Despite what appeared to be a perfect customer, I found myself once again being tricked by my failure to recognize crazy even if it’s right under my nose–a trait that allows me to become attracted to paranoid, neurotic or slightly mentally challenged men without fail. While I was talking to this woman, you see, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was delicately and subtly stroking something that was folded up and resting on her right arm. Was it a small dog? A baby? A rabbit foot for good luck? Nope. It was a blanket.

That’s right, a blanket. 

The sequal to this book is called "Hello, Snuggie!"

This woman, I realized, was standing next to me and talking very normally about body wash all while stroking a blanket (which was very neatly folded, I might add) with such an amazing amount of tenderness. After noticing that, it took everything in me to not mention what appeared to be a very serious Linus Complex. What would happen, I wondered, if I grabbed the blanket from her and started running? I could see it playing before my eyes: the remains of hair on her balding head would be swept away by a violent gust of wind as she dropped to the ground and began crawling, in Gollum fashion, towards me while hissing “My precioussss!”

In all honesty, the woman was very nice and most likely had an anxiety problem that I can only hope is lessened by her blanket-stroking technique. It went down, however, in the list of the craziest and most random things I have ever seen customers do. If anything, I bet she totally invented the first Invisibility Cloak and she’s been shoplifting in our store, snatching up every body wash, for years. We may never know–that is a secret to be kept between her and that special cotton/poly blend of fibers.

After two weeks, I return to retail. Chaos ensues.

14 Mar

Oh crazy customers, how I missed you

In the past two weeks, I had a temporary vacation from the world of retail. And, while I did enjoy experiencing what not working during the weekend felt like, I also felt terribly bored. All I could really think about during my weekends was what I was missing. How could I live a week without the drama of crazy customers? How was I going to function without witnessing a shoplifter or getting yelled at by super rich women who get kicks out of using coupons even though they probably cut them up with kitchen shears from Williams-Sonoma? I realized that after working in retail for almost six years, I have been somewhat conditioned to expect a certain percentage of drama and craziness in my life. And without it, well, life just seems so boring.

Last weekend, I was finally called into work. As I walked into the store, I breathed a sigh of relief: employees were standing off to the side bitching out customers under their breath, my boss was walking around and emmiting the typical American Psycho aura that he always seems to give off, and customers were setting off security alarms. In the words of J.K. Rowling‘s oh-so-profound last sentence in the Harry Potter series, all was well.

For like ten minutes, at least.

After that, it was as if our store had been punished for letting me back in. In a matter of an hour, the paper in our digital photo kiosk ran out, two people were caught shoplifting (one of which was a particularly gutsy customer who power-walked out of our store with a gift bag full of items), there was a consistent line of at least six customers at any given minute, and as I was running to the back of the store to grab a can of tuna for an elderly customer, I was asked by two different people to let them into the restroom. After I came back to the register and dealt with the line of customers, I turned to my co-worker and said, “Jeez, why is it so busy?” He gave me a weird look and replied, “Um, it’s always busy on Sundays. Remember?”

It seems that I really had forgotten what working in the store was like. After having a wealthy customer throw money at me and then ask me if I had counted it correctly, I realized that customers weren’t as kind and kooky as I had remembered them to be. At the end of that Sunday, my forgetfulness also caused me to scan in the magazine credits and seal them up into the envelope without putting the shipping label on. After telling my co-worker that I needed to open up the sealed package in order to get the shipping label still in there, she began cutting it open. As I was ringing up a customer, I heard her laughing. Not only had I managed to seal up the envelope with the shipping label still inside, but I had also managed to put fifty sheets of price adjustments in the envelope as well. I wonder what the magazine company would have thought if they had received those in the mail! My co-worker then turned to the customer I was ringing up and said, “Better count your money when you get it back. She’s not all here tonight.” She then proceeded to run off, still laughing, to tell our shift supervisor. I was not taken seriously for the rest of the night.

All in all, being back at work after the two-week respite allowed me to sink my teeth back into the healthy dose of chaos and craziness that I had been missing–even if a portion of it was entirely my fault.

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