Category Archives: Working Retail

Sharp as a box of ball peen hammers…

I am woefully behind with my comment answering and blog reading because work at The Shop has been crazy-busy and work with the engineers has been insanely busy. I am tired and losing my sense of humor. Don’t do anything interesting while I’m away, ‘k?

As we all know, I will be leaving the ice cream shop. My last day will be Monday which also happens to be a major American Holiday – Memorial Day. For those who don’t know, it’s a three day weekend and many Americans go on vacation. If the sun shines, they all want ice cream. If we get very lucky, the four days at the end of May carry the month finance-wise, so we all pitch in and work our asses off so vacationers eat their fill of ice cream and fudge and pay our wages. It’s a fact of Retail Life that I have accepted.

Dave is in a bind to replace me. I don’t quite understand where all the unemployed people are – talk around town is that “no one” can find a job and “everyone” is looking for more hours. You would think that we could have our pick of replacements. I mean, it’s a clean job (no toxic materials to work with, no fish to clean, no hazardous weather conditions) and you get to eat chocolate and ice cream any time you want. Perfect if Retail is what you’re looking for. It ain’t Rocket Science, fer cryin’ out loud!

What we get are flakes, idiots, the very young (and dumb) and people who aren’t even remotely suited to retail. Sigh.

The latest is Rachel. She is young. She is ignorant. She has a major problem with blurting out inappropriate things to the customers. She asks inappropriate questions of her co-workers. I spent three hours with her on her first day and wanted to stab myself in the eye with a spoon before she finally swanned out the door.

Srsly. This girl has some kind of major disorder. The issue is, is this disorder real or self-imposed.

Haley (the sweetest girl you could hope to work with) wanted to scream after three hours with her. She had a list of grievances as long as her arm that had to do with Rachel’s outbursts and ignorance.

Enter Mom. Dave scheduled me to work with her on Friday. Fine. I had a plan. Dave and I had a talk before anyone else arrived. I told him that she needed to be schooled and Haley is not up to the task. Dave felt that Rachel would not respond well to a male authority figure. Her (former) home life sounds like a nightmare, just from what little I’ve heard about. Her uncle basically rescued her and brought her here from Washington.

Anyway. Dave agreed to let me have free rein, I told Haley to ignore anything she might see or hear while her shift overlapped with Rachel and I went to work.

Thank you so much, Mom, for your excellent training! With your speech just before I started the job at The Inn (do you remember?) fresh in my mind, Rachel’s training began.

First thing, I made it clear that she is to keep her mouth shut and listen to what I’m saying. Then she had to look me in the eye while I was talking and while she was responding. I was very specific about what she could and could not say to the customers – it should be Common Sense, but this girl has NO boundaries. At all. Nothing is too personal to share with someone when you’re scooping their ice cream. Srsly?

Next we dealt with her hair, which was hanging in her face, and why we wear what we wear in food service. She really had no idea. Or she’s a great actress. How does a person get to be almost 19 years old without noticing these things? She says that she’s had “a few” jobs, all of them in food service or retail, and she doesn’t know these basic things? WTF?

I quickly sussed that she responds well to my putting my hands on her hands and guiding her with feel. That sounds strange, but she wants to mash, squash, slam, and just generally be brutal with her hand motions, which breaks a lot of expensive cones and will eventually lead to her cutting off a finger with a sharp knife. What’s the name of people who respond best to touch of all their senses?

Turns out the girl ain’t dumb. She can add, she can reason, she can remember, she is amazing at comparing this thing with that thing and making them equal.

She has a problem with being told to complete step A, then B, then C, and finish with D. She wants to jump ahead, but we can deal with that.

No one has schooled this girl in Public Manners, neatness, or pride in her work. She is more eager to please than a Labrador pup who has just learned to fetch a ball, but someone has beaten her down so far that she can’t help but wiggle and pee on herself (figuratively speaking.) Training her started to look like a training session with Sabu.

Tomorrow will tell if she retained anything from Friday. If she didn’t, or if the mouth diarrhea comes back, I may just give her a smack-down to save my sanity.

I ain’t cut out for this sort of thing, but I find I kinda like the challenge…


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Oh, no he didn’t!

This afternoon the shop was empty when a man walked in with his 7-year-old daughter.

“Is your bathroom this way?” he asks, pointing.

“Yep,” I replied.

“Watch her while I go in there,” he says.

Instantly I am irritated because nowhere on my forehead does it say, “babysitter.”

“Why? Is she going to start breaking things?” I archly ask.

“You never know with that one…” he says as he rounds the corner.

Uh-huh. This ought to be good. The kid was fine, if a bit talkative.

He spent the next ten minutes in the bathroom while I seethed with resentment that a total stranger would command me to watch his evil spawn. Those days are long over for me, folks, and I will not be volunteering for nanny duty. Especially as a “favor.” Take note now and don’t even ask.

When he came back out (no, I didn’t hear water running, so I’m guessing he didn’t wash his hands) they ordered ice cream. As I was scooping up their order, I could smell the unmistakable smell of Man Poop. Oh, fuck. Wafting around the whole store. Gag.

He paid for the ice cream and tossed the nickel change into my tip jar and off they went. No Thank You, just walked.

Much as I dreaded it, I had to check the bathroom to make sure it wasn’t as dirty as it smelled. OMG is the only response to the stench in there. No, he didn’t turn on the fan. Gack!

Thankfully we have an Industrial Strength exhaust fan in there or the shop would have had to close until it aired out. Yes, it was that bad. At least he managed to hit the hole and I didn’t have to hose anything down. That would have ruined my day.

Why is it that men can’t turn on the fan after using the restroom? The switch is right there next to the light, which they seem to have no trouble operating. It seems like such a simple thing to do.

Also, why is it that people come into my shop to leave their horrible stench? It happens often enough that I wonder if people schedule these putrid trips so that they don’t have to smell themselves at home. I mean, really?

At least turn on the fucking fan!

And tip the woman who has to clean up after your rude ass.


Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Working Retail, You're kidding


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It doesn’t rain but it pours…

Wednesday was very interesting. An odd quartet of events may have changed my plans for Summer. It went like this –

I emptied out the storage unit and brought everything back to Towanda, put out the awning for the first time and settled in for a relaxing day off.

A clothing designer in LA emailed me about my angora rabbits.

I randomly came across your website while searching for the best process to dye my angora yarn. But what got me super excited was the fact that you have your own bunnies – as I have been looking for someone who has angora rabbits – and creates yarn from their ‘fluff’. I prefer to live a vegan life style, but as a fashion designer, there are certain fibers I am completely in love with and have a hard time letting go of. It is my hope to find a ‘bunny ranch’ that provides their rabbits with an awesome, cruelty free life- and proves me with awesome yarn! Do you still sell angora yarn?

Huh. I don’t recall ever advertising finished yarn, but the interwebs is a big place so maybe I did. End result is that I will be spinning up some samples for her to see if I can give her the quality she desires for “embellishment on some haute couture style dresses.” I’ll be charging her a pretty penny, too.

And then I received a response to an ad I placed to sell some of my sewing magazine collection (20+ BWOF if any of you know it) and when she asked what I wanted for them I found myself inflating my original price because all of a sudden I wasn’t so hot to let them go. She paid. Happily. Crap. Sent them off yesterday.

And then Sabu and I went to the dog park. We were alone for about half an hour when an older couple drove up and two ginormous white dogs squeezed out of the back of their minivan. Oh, shit! I had been told stories about this pair of dogs and was warned to leave right away if I didn’t want my dog bullied and perhaps injured – the dogs are wild and their people have no control over them! I mean, I heard the same story from at least four different sources, so I was worried.

I put Sabu on her leash and backed away from the gate. The two dogs (almost a foot taller than Sabu and three times her weight – these are LARGE dogs) bounded over, looking rather like giant puppies, but with a purpose. They moved as a team, surrounding Sabu and aggressively sniffing.

I said, “if they’re going to gang up on my dog I’ll have to leave,” to the man and he replied, “Fine! Goodbye then!” which made my hackles rise and I decided to ride it out and see what would happen – neither Sabu nor I are cowards!

There was some growling and snapping, but none of it was serious and so we stayed, and I’m glad we did. The dogs are a brother/sister pair of Maremmas, a legendary livestock guardian breed, and for those who don’t know, they generally live with the flock they protect. They are not generally “family” dogs that go about riding in cars and visiting dog parks. Why? Because they have been bred for hundreds of years to patrol in pairs or trios around their flock, investigating and killing any predator that comes near. They are not what you might call “domestic” dogs – they are bred to be suspicious of unknown humans (potential thieves) and their duty is to kill anything on four legs that threatens their flock. Not exactly dog park material.

I have read about people who try to keep Maremmas and other LGD (Livestock Guardian Dogs) as pets in their home or apartment. It doesn’t go well. LGDs are bred for independent thinking, spending all of their time out in the weather, patrolling their territory 24/7 and you just can’t give them what they need in an urban or suburban environment. They will be miserable and they will surprise you with the variety of their bad (and destructive) behavior.

Anyway, I asked the man if he had a farm and livestock for his dogs. He has goats and recently started boarding 10 sheep for a friend. I asked what kind of sheep and he gave me the strangest look. “I don’t know what breed, just that they’re huge!” As always when I ask people about their sheep I have to explain that I’m a fiber artist and I spin wool into yarn, etc. etc. etc. so they understand that I’m curious for a valid reason, not because I’m mental 🙂

We chatted a bit about the dogs and I asked if they were their first LGDs and how it was going with them (the dogs are about 2 years old.) The wife piped up, “the last two years have been a nightmare!” before the husband could get a word in, so I can guess that these people did not know what they were in for.

We didn’t have long to talk but they invited me out to their farm to see their animals and talk wool as they want to get some sheep of their own some time soon. I’ll try to get some pictures of the three dogs together so you can see how tiny Sabu looks beside Lilly and Logan.

At this point it was only about 1:00 PM so I headed back to Towanda to check e-mail and maybe get a nap. There was a note from The Other Boss (TOB from now on) asking me to give him a call about scheduling some upcoming projects. Huh. It’s odd to actually talk to TOB directly, it’s usually the less senior engineer who works out this stuff with me.

So I get him on the line and he says that we have a very busy Summer coming up and I tell him that I’m ready. There are two very large projects coming in and he wants to be sure I’m on board and have the time he needs. I assured him that my job here on The Coast is part-time and I’m ready to rock.

That’s when he told me that The Boss (the engineer that I worked for over in the Valley, not the owner of the Sweet Shop) told him that if I were to walk into his office that afternoon he would put me to work full-time for the foreseeable future. Now it’s getting interesting! Seems TB and TOB are going to be working on these two large projects together, one will do the Private Utility part and the other will do the Public Utility part, and I will do ALL of the drafting. We’ve done this before and it means long hours for me (8-5 for TB and 6-11 for TOB) but the money can’t be beat and I love the work. Sleep becomes a problem after a couple of weeks, but I’ve done it before and can do it again.

And then he started talking faster, saying that we would all need to discuss if I would do the work here or go over to The Valley. TOB said he was sure that I would need to make at least a few trips over there – would I be okay with that?* It was at that point that I decided to reveal a bit of my private life, not something he has ever been interested in. I told him that M is out of the picture and I live in a 30′ travel trailer, just me and the dog, so I am perfectly mobile and unencumbered and if he needs me over there, I will come over.

I could hear the wheels clicking over in his mind. He has a slab with hook-ups on his property, conveniently located only yards away from his office building up on a hill in the woods surrounded by chirping birds, cows and horses. TB is only a short car ride into town. I asked for a couple of days to think about it (he didn’t offer to let me park on his place, but I think he will when I give him a final answer) and get back to him.

Pretty sure I’ll be moving myself and Towanda East for at least the Summer. I can’t wait to have a Summer where it’s warm enough to wear short sleeves, warm enough to go barefoot all day and wear shorts! Not only that, but a friend over there has just acquired a fiddle and wants to learn to play. What fun! It’s about 1.5 hours from The Coast, so it’s not like I will be abandoning my friends here and I would be a total idiot to pass up the opportunity to make some Real Money again.

Sigh. Life is good!

* I used to travel over there on a regular basis, but as you can probably guess, M made it difficult in many ways, often insisting that he drive and rushing me through every meeting and then rushing home as fast as we could go,  no shopping, no eating, no visiting, just right back to the prison that I lived in. I resented him for it at the time and am grateful he will never have that hold on me again.


Every day is an Adventure

The Plague has finally passed and I mostly feel what passes for “normal” around here. It was the strangest illness I’ve ever had – the symptoms changed every two hours or so. Really. I would be coughing like crazy for two hours (usually in the middle of the night – fun!) and then have chills and hot flashes for a couple of hours, then sneezing, then extreme nausea, then body aches, then a pounding head (never at the same time) etc. Wash, rinse, repeat for an entire week. Fun times!

On Saturday I took Awana to The Big City to drop her off at the airport so she can fly back to Mississippi to visit her Mama. She is not a fan of driving in The Big City so I volunteered to take her up and show her some of my favorite places (I lived there for 10 years.)

I had planned to ambush my son and get a picture of him drinking tea, but he begged off, saying that he’d been out late the night before and had to do laundry, blah, blah, blah. Translation: Mom, I was out late last night and am still hung over and can not even think about making myself presentable for you and your friend and I don’t want the “your father is a drug addict and you can’t just go out drinking with your friends – there could be serious consequences for you” speech yet again. Please.

Whatever. A and I had some shopping to do! We had a blast stopping wherever we wanted to, the only time limit her midnight flight and my stamina. We found some bargains at a huge Big City Goodwill (we love us some Cheap Good Stuff!) and then we hit the place I drove three hours for – Uwajimaya, an Asian grocery/book store. I love that place!

They have the best teriyaki chicken and rice and that’s what I had for lunch. Awana lived in Japan for a couple of years and was flitting about exclaiming at various foods in packages – “I love this bean cake! I remember this from Japan – it’s fab, you have to try it! Here’s my favorite drink!” etc. I admit that I can’t read a thing on the packaging if it doesn’t have the English translation and was going to shamelessly use her superior knowledge of Asian food to my best advantage. Ahem.

Being much more adventurous with food, A chose several things that I wouldn’t have picked in a million years and invited me to try them all. I ate raw fish for the first time ever and didn’t die. We looked at all the kitchen gadgets and books and magazines and five million types of tea and rice and noodles and sake and had a grand time. I came home with a cool bag, three types of sake and enough food to vary my diet for a couple of months. A promised to show me some cooking tricks to ensure I get some healthy calories into me. If I forgot any ingredients I’ll pick them up when I go back to get her in a couple of weeks. For now it’s enough to look into the cupboard and see all that exotic food 🙂

Poor Sabu felt it was her duty to stay awake every minute of the trip and by the time we were heading home she was drooping with exhaustion. The wind howled, the rain pelted down and as we crossed the Coast Range, the daylight faded out. The last 40 miles were a white-knuckle ordeal, me crouched behind the wheel of my little car, trying to stay between the lines while a pick-up truck tailgated me, its headlights the only thing I could see. There was no place to pull over to let it pass and even slowing down to a snail’s pace could not induce it to blast by me. I only hope that it was some other freaked-out person and not an asshole.

We survived the journey and crashed hard. Sunday was a work day and I am happy the shop was slow as I was not rested enough to be as cheerful as I know I can be.

Today was a day of errands and naps.

There were SIX dogs at the dog park – the most important Event in Sabu’s day. She ran, she chased, she maneuvered the agility equipment like an old pro for treats. I think the little bitch is holding out on me – from what I’ve seen, dogs have at least a little trepidation at walking across a 9″ bouncing board, or climbing 5 feet into the air on the triangle thing, but Sabu just hopped up, crossed the obstacle and then sat on the other side, waiting for a treat. Has this dog had some agility training? She knew to hop up onto the platform, face me and sit without being told. Has she just been watching other dogs, or has someone put in some time teaching her these things? What else does she know? She knows perfectly well how to retrieve a ball but she refuses to bring it back (even if rewarded with a treat) 99% of the time – the other 1% she brings the ball back, drops it at my feet, sits and looks at me like I’m an asshole for asking her to perform manual labor.

She knows sit, down, heel, shake, load up (get in the car,) stay, etc. all the stuff you expect a 5-year-old dog to do, and she will perform all of her “tricks” when commanded from 5 feet away, even farther on a good day. If nothing else is going on, she chooses to do these Dog Things, but if she Doesn’t Want To, well, forget it – it’s all slinging a 50 pound dog bodily into the car, dragging her up the stairs, etc.

The problem is that she’s too smart. Take this very moment, for instance. She is pretending to be Road Kill, stretched out on the floor, seemingly sleeping. But. I can see her eyeballs circling the room and her ears moving back and forth – at the slightest hint of a disturbance, she will be on her feet, growling or barking (depending on the level of alarm she wants to convey) and on full alert. She will also bounce up like a ping pong ball if I approach the fridge. Dog has her priorities.

Where was I? Been doing some deep thinking about that dog today.

So. Went to visit my stuff in storage after the dog park. Know what? There’s not much left there. That means that I have 85% of my possessions here in Towanda. This is nothing short of a miracle! I am a packrat – I hate to let any Good Stuff go, and for the past 10 years the Good Stuff has been supplies for projects that I want to do someday but can’t right now for whatever reason M has imposed. No more! I am finding it easy to let the things go that are not serving me right now and I can feel my creativity coming to life again as I get things organized and arranged Just So. It feels fantastic!

Next stop was the pharmacy to get Sabu’s Feel Good Pills. The vet wants to try another drug as the Doxepin was great but she was showing some new aggression towards other dogs. Not good. Jekyll and Hyde some days. So we’re “adjusting her meds.” Can’t believe I just wrote that.

Moving on. I got my hair cut again today. Just can’t seem to get it short enough. Pictures to follow as I then ate some toast and ice cream and took a nice, long nap and it’s all lopsided. Yawn. I do feel rested.

Leftover teriyaki chicken for dinner and to bed early. Work tomorrow followed by two days off. I’ve been busy with modifications to Towanda and need to get some posts up about that and about the asshat who was using a string trimmer around Towanda and cut the shit out of my sewer hose holder upper thingy.

It’s always something, but Life is still Good!


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A Record Breaking Day!

I feel like crap today. Crap on toast. I’m coming down with a cold and I almost called in sick to work. It’s only The Boss and I and this week, being Spring Break, has been insane, so I took some ibuprofen and spent some extra time in the dog park soaking up the sun before heading to work.

It was crazy busy almost from the moment I opened the door. The parade of people was for the most part normal, but there was this one woman…

Note to the woman in the Daisy Duke shorts – You’re* way too old for that outfit, honey. It’s not a good look for you. At all. OMG and WTF.

She had a spray tan that would have done any contestant on “Toddlers & Tiaras” proud, with fake boobs out to here, and a pair of Daisy Duke shorts with a border of eyelet lace around the leg openings that made them an inch longer and they were still short enough to show a half-moon of cellulite-filled ass cheek. It was all I could do to serve her and her three asshole kids while keeping a straight face. Srsly. Who told her that was a good look?

By the time the till was counted out (an hour after our “official” close time) it was the second highest earning day in the shop’s history. The Boss was there for most of it, and I am so happy about that because I likely would not have made it alone. It was crazy! The sun was shining and it was 70* a block from the beach at 11:00 – conditions unheard of here in March.

Tomorrow could be more of the same if the Weather Dudes are to be believed.

* Notice the correct usage of the contraction of You Are. Does no one pay attention in English class these days? I can’t count the number of memes and “inspirational” pictures on FB and other sites that are so poorly written I see red every time I have to view another piece of crap. Why do people “like” this garbage? I’ve started leaving comments on them, pointing out the spelling and grammar errors. I just can’t help myself.


Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Working Retail, You're kidding


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WTF Moments at Work

I’ve mentioned that I work in an ice cream/candy store. I love my job, really I do – the shop is cute, we sell products that I can totally get behind, The Boss is great and has even let me take over on Wednesday nights and have my friends over for a Stitch & Bitch and he lets me sell my woolen goods and soap in the shop. Most days the customers are friendly and if they walk in grumpy they leave with a belly full of ice cream or chocolate and they are usually smiling.

That said, this week is Spring Break. Thousands of people head to the Coast (we don’t say “we’re going to the beach” here, it’s always The Coast) for a week of fun and frolic, overindulging in the local shops and generally behaving like ill-mannered tourists. Okay, not all of them are assholes, but quite a few are and they all wanted ice cream today.

Needless to say, I was working the shop alone. Since I am only one person, it really doesn’t make sense for a family group of TWENTY to complain when they don’t have ice cream cones stuffed into their evil spawn’s screaming mouths within five seconds of entering the shop to complain about the service.

Srsly. TWENTY people walk in, 2/3 of them screaming, nasty, dirty children and they want to be served instantly.

Lemme tell you what really irritates me:

Letting your children LICK the ice cream case. Really? They aren’t the first to lick the case today, but you don’t seem to care – it’s much better to have them silent for three seconds than to tell them to keep their fucking dirty mouths off my ice cream case. Gag!

Ditto for dirty fingers – the case looks like a sure source of infection and if I had come in after that group I would have left immediately because the germs were thick in the air and on all surfaces.

Licking and smearing up the glass-topped table like they’ve never eaten indoors before. I understand you’re tired and have had enough time with your little plague-carrying spawn today, but that doesn’t mean that you have to let them make even more work for me.

Letting  your children scream and run around the shop in total disregard for me or the other customers. Maybe the lady in the expensive suede boots does not think it’s amusing for your child to dribble ice cream out of its mouth onto her shoes. Srsly?

And then you make a snide remark about how maybe I should hire someone to help out? The shop was empty five minutes ago – what would my “helper” do then? Who does he think will pay to have someone standing around? Does he really think that the shops should have some people “on call” so when they see this group from hell walking down the street they can be prepared?

It was a busy day, lots of characters to deal with, and I like to think that I did a good job and kept my sense of humor, but when the last couple of teen boys walked in AN HOUR after closing and wanted service, well, I may have been a little short with them. The signs were off, as were half the lights and I was mopping the floor. All signs that a shop is CLOSED. Not for the tourists, oh, no, they expect the shops to be open any time they want a treat.

Yes, I could have locked the door, but then people stand outside, yanking on it, making it bang (scaring me half to death) and then they knock and ask, “are you still open?” Duh. I swear, these people leave their brains at home. If their money wasn’t so important to this little Tourist Town I would have a really bad attitude.

Tired. Just venting.

Tomorrow will be a stressful day as I need to take food out to the bunnies and inform M that I will not be house sitting for him so that he can take his Dream Cruise, secure in the knowledge that his shit will be Taken Care of while he’s gone. I will also be calling around to see if I can find a home for the buns. Haven’t decided yet if I’ll offer to take Pookie the Cat to live with Sabu, Towanda and I – it’s clear that she misses me and M is not fulfilling his duties as Cat Slave, so it might work out okay, but she would have to become an indoor cat, which she might not like. Then again, she is becoming more sedentary in her old age, wanting nothing more than a warm lap and constant petting. Until she’s done, then she wants to be left alone to sleep Over There.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

That is all. Carry on.


Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Working Retail, You're kidding

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