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It’s been several months (since I’m the worst blog-esse ever), and , of course, a lot has happened since then. I’ll run through the major seasons/holidays quickly:
Thanksgiving – had up our vintage turkey decorations. I learned of the apparently magical Spiced Apples from a customer while working at the candy counter (she was asking if we had Red Hots for the recipe.) I believe I wore a turkey hat to work (I know I wore it to Thanksgiving Dinner.)
Christmas – (you can’t blame me for not blogging during this time!) Was insane, as expected. Lots of customers, calls, requests, and discreetly slipping items into bags under the counter so that the intended recipient (who happened to be present) wouldn’t see. I reprised my role from last year as Nutmeg the Elf, but I was the only one a lot of the time. Our new nametags made it much easier, since now, as opposed to making new ones. A simple alteration of my actual name sufficed. A lot of people asked me if that was my real name. (Just as now, I have a pin that says “Sparkle” on my apron, and people ask me if that is my name. I will say it here, for the record: I am neither an actual elf (at least, for 11 months of the year) nor a 5-year-old girl’s poodle, so neither is my name.) Carolcade had a great turnout, especially considering that it was so cold, and very noisy from inside the store. It was all very merry. The Vidler on the Roof wore his Santa hat, which ended up staying up there for awhile due to snow making removal difficult.
Inventory (January) – my first time with this, as well. It went exactly how you would expect it to go. This has led to my new witty response to the ever common customer query, “How do you do inventory here?” which is: slowly and begrudgingly. I haven’t yet used it, though. It sounds very negative. As embellishing the truth often is (it wasn’t terrible).
Valentine’s Day – it was my first at the store, thus my first experiencing requests for names written on chocolate hearts. Apparently, only about four of our thirty employees could do this. All the names that I got seemed to be exceedingly long, such as Jeremiah or Nathaniel. I would thus smile in terror and tell the customer I’d find someone else who could do the honors, then proceed to drag one of The (probably disgruntled) Four away from whatever he or she was doing. But even they weren’t immune from mistakes; we had a heart that read “Chritian” floating around the candy counter for a few days before we divided it amongst ourselves. I asked a pair of young twin girls who were checking out with their mother if they were excited for Valentine’s Day. They answered yes, and then, with a big smile, one told me it was because “we got our mom something really special.” As corny as it sounds, I was very touched by that. They weren’t excited for the candy and punch-out cartoon character laden cards that would doubtless be lavished upon them, but for something they were doing for their mother. They had the true spirit of Christmas!… at Valentine’s Day. I wanted to know what it was, but, naturally, couldn’t ask.
Saint Patrick’s Day – We ran out of green hair dye. The Vidler on the Roof wore a sequined green bowtie.
Easter – I learned two things: 1. A lot of people do Easter Baskets for adult children, spouses and friends (thus, far more of the “covert bagging” than I expected – I didn’t mind, though. I love my role as Festivity Collaborator) and 2. Of the magic of Placek. I was unfamiliar with this custom, not being Polish, but it sold like
hotcakes the delicious sweet bread that it is. Our friendly travelling baker had to come two times in one day (as opposed to the usual two times in one week) to replenish our supply of both that and the pastel Easter cutouts. The Vidler on the Roof, sadly, LOST his bunny ears in a fierce windstorm. One flew away, never to be found again (by us, that is. It probably confused the heck out of some poor lawnowner.) The other was too badly damaged by the wind to be usable (and he would have looked pretty weird with just one bunny ear.) As the ears were on a stake, I wanted to put the stake with the remaining damaged ear in his hand. Overruled. Not everyone shares my dark sense of humor.
Mother’s Day – again, far more Festive Collaboration than I’d anticipated. (Yes!) I also ended up helping a surprising number of elementary school teachers find craft items with which their students could make gifts for their mothers. Lots of menfolk ventured into areas of the store they normally made it a point to avoid in search of appropriate gifts for their wives and mothers.