Monday, October 26, 2009

Greatest Hits: Tales From the Qwik Pack & Ship, Chapter 4

Originally published 12/15/2007:

The new owners didn’t think there would be a lot of business on a Saturday. What they didn’t think of, was that this is the Saturday before the Saturday before Christmas. Let me just tell ya, we were slammed. Correction: I was slammed.

Things were slow at first. 10am rolled around, I opened shop, and had no business. Fifteen minutes passed, and I had two customers, one dropping off a pre-paid package, one buying stamps. Another fifteen minutes passed. Then all of Wake Forest decided to ship their Christmas gifts at once.

Sidebar: Let’s talk about the sweet Little Old Lady from Youngsville that came in early in the day. She slowly makes her way through the door, using a walker, and places her package on the counter. I’m polite, as I am with all customers (even throughout the day when I’m the only one there and 10 impatient people are lined out the door), and she proceeds to tell me how to do my job. For some reason, she thinks I’m doing it wrong. I weighed her parcel wrong. I measured it wrong. I even priced it wrong. Except I didn’t really do those things wrong. I did them right. And then she stole my pen. Not the store’s pen, mine! I thought about saying something, but seriously, how many of you would reprimand an old lady with a walker?

Toward the end of the day my new boss comes in and begins to help with the plethora of customers. Meanwhile, his brother takes some things to the post office which desperately need to be sent out today. So we’re working, finally getting some kind of groove going, whittling down the customers one by one. Then his cell rings. The boss’ brother is lost somewhere in Lewisburg. So what happens then? You guessed it: the boss is on the phone for about half an hour talking his brother back to Wake.

At one point, when I was still alone, several of the customers struck up a conversation with each other. They remarked about how calm I was under such a stressful situation. After I dropped a packing slip, one of them said, “I bet if he drops another one he’ll just snap. He’s gonna go postal!”

No, I didn’t go postal. But I can easily see how people could. I’m one of those people that doesn’t show if I’m getting stressed out unless I can help it. Instead I bottle things up and release when I’m in private. So when I was boxing things up for people in the back, where no one saw me, that’s when I would mutter some trash talk under my breath. Especially if, while in the back, I heard the door open, signaling the arrival of yet another customer.

Well, the Saturday before the Saturday before Christmas is over. For a time I thought the new boss would ask me to keep the store open ‘til 4:00. I don’t think I could’ve said no emphatically enough.

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