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Today, a coworker offered me a sucker. I was immediately suspicious, but he reassured me that the wrapper had accidentally come open while he was trying to put it away and that nothing was wrong with it. Still, I didn’t particularly want it, and neither did the person on the other register. It was about to be trundled to the Eastern Wing of the store in search of possible takers when I asked whether we could somehow break it into smaller pieces and share it, thinking that would be a liklier solution than one taker. My coworkers agreed and I attempted to break it by banging it on the counter. Turns out it was harder (literally) than I thought. My coworker on the other register suggested using a hammer which was apparently kept under the register. I searched for it, but again, nothing, so I once again attempted to break the confectionary by whacking it against the countertop. At this point, an older couple came to cash out with me, so I had to put it aside. The woman asked if it was a certain type of sucker, one which had made happy childhood memories for many people, and seemed confused as to why I was treating it with such aggression. I told her that it was, and explained the back story, the lack of hammer, and what was either my weakness or one tough sucker foiling me, when her husband asked, “Want me to whack it with my cane?” He held it up, and its head looked remarkably like a hammer. Taking this as serendipity, I excitedly responded affirmatively.
In my excitement, I seem to done two very stupid things: 1. adopted the belief that this magical, serendipious cane would cleave the sucker into the perfect number of evenly-sized pieces, and 2. forgotten what had brought the sucker to this point in the first place: that the bottom of the wrapper was open. As the hammer-cane came down with a sound that probably scared the heck out of several customers, a spray of pulverized candy shot out from the open end of the bag and flew in every direction. I giggled in amusement/horror (with the knowledge that I’d have to hunt for little red shiny chunks of sucker immediately after), as did the couple. The man asked before he left if I needed him to whack anything else for me. I immediately thought of flies, but, as we haven’t been plagued by any lately, I laughed and told him we might keep him on call.
Later, when I grumbled about finding more candy pieces after I thought I’d cleaned the entire mess up, a coworker who wasn’t in the department at the time of the incident asked what had happened. When I said, “I let a customer smash it with his cane,” I knew: it definitely wasn’t the wisest decision I could have made, but it was one of the awesomest.
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I’m in the gift shop a lot more these days, where, when compared to other departments, you are less likely to interact with children or with men who are there voluntarily. A lot of people with small children in tow take one peek into the room, say, “Nope, too breakable” and lead their child away in one fell swoop. Any men who enter are usually begrudgingly trailing their wivesor girlfriends until they find the cleverly placed lodge/hunting/fishing section. I’m not here to generalize, though. One woman, when I asked how she was, told me she was doing well but then gestured to her husband and implied that he wasn’t doing as well due to their location. Her husband smilingly responded, “Now, that’s not true. I LOVE trinkets.” This is not an isolated incident. Many men love poking around that department at our unusual selection. So unusual, in fact, that sometimes they’re unsure what an item is. One such man pointed out a pair of metal boots we have and asked me if they were spitoons (which I wasn’t aware there was still a market for.) As they were nestled among false plants, I’d assumed they were planters, but, to be honest, I’d never recieved any verbal confirmation of that. “I think they’re for planting,” I began, “but I guess you COULD use them as…” At this point, his wife, who was looking at jewelery across the room, interjected, with the precise timing that can only be developed out of necessity, “No. No. You’re not getting them to spit in.”
We had two males in the gift room for an extended period of time last week when we replaced the lights with brighter and more energy-efficident bulbs (which really do make a huge difference. You should come check them out! Today. Unless we’re closed, in which case, tomorrow.) Despite clearing off the top shelves around the room to minimize possible breakage, it was a terrifying experience for everyone involved. One bulb-installer likened the room to his aunt’s house, where you can’t move without possibly knocking something over. I tried my hardest to not make it look like I was following them around like they were five, but, well… I kind of was.
We also have a new sound system that allows us to play, in the Gift, Card AND Candle Departments, some of the lovely CDs we have for sale, making work infinately more relaxing. Right now our lineup consists of tranquil spa-like music (by George Skaroulis), jazz music (in keeping with our wine and cocktail themed gift merchandise), and some piano instrumental CDs by a fellow named Don Irwin. He apparently sounds like some other artist more than one customer has mentioned to me, whose name I do not recall. Mr. Irwin has composed his own music, but he also covers popular songs, many of which are the mellow, lilting type you’d expect: In The Arms of The Angels by Sarah McLauglin, Sail Away by Enya, and, for some inexplicable reason, Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely by the immortal Backstreet Boys (the latter of which everyone between the ages of 16 and 30 immediately recognizes, but refuses to admit so until someone else mentions it.) Needless to say, the album that includes the Backstreet Boys cover is my favorite in the current CD mix.
In the Gift Room you don’t have the benefit of other co-workers being around, but it evens out because this is the department where you feel the most accomplished if you sell something. (Or, at least, I do.) I had one insane day in the winter where I sold three of the largest items – not necessarily in price, but in size. A gigantic rabbit statue, a suncatcher that took up almost the entire length of an average door, and a birch bark table – the room looked quite a bit emptier by the end of the day!
Another perk of gifts is that you can talk a bit more with the customers who do come in. Two older women came in one day talking like old friends, and then revealed to me that this was the first day they’d seen each other in 35 years. They were former neighbors, and despite the time gap, they had picked up right where they left off and it was just like, as one woman said, the old days. It sure looked like it to me!
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…we are, amongst other festive events taking place that day (which, convieniently enough, happens to fall on a Saturday.) holding a raffle. The Grand Prize Winner will recieve an $81 gift certificate (Get it? 81 years!), 2nd place winner will get a $50 gift certficate, and third place a $25 gift certificate.
Now, what does one have to do to enter this raffle, you may ask? We here at Vidler’s like to keep our customers on their toes, so we’re asking you to put your brains (and toes, as you’ll be standing on them) to work in answering this question:
When completely filled, how many ten cent popcorn bags does our (over 50-year-old) popcorn machine contain?
The drawing from among the correct (or closest to correct) entries will take place at the store’s celebratory party on (the convinient) Saturday, June 18th, so be sure to have your entries in before then!
Entry forms are available on our lovely main floor starting today, and the drop-off box is also located on the main floor.
Good luck and we look forward to being graced with your kernels of thought! Yuk yuk yuk. (I couldn’t resist, even though it’s corny. Stopping now.)