May 22, 2010 by Kat Richter
Today, the unthinkable happened. I received my third Praise Card. And no, I don’t mean “Praise” in the religious sense (although we do get a fair amount of COPS in The Shop: “Christians Out Promoting the Savior,” according to their embroidered baseball caps). I’m talking about the little yellow index cards that well-meaning customers fill out specifically to torment reluctant retail associates like me. Cards that say, “You’re good at your job!” And I don’t want to be good at my job. Not this job at least.
“Why me?” I wondered, slipping the handwritten note into my register. It wasn’t even a particularly dramatic act of kindness on my part—all I did was call a manager to verify the customer’s employment with the School District of Philadelphia so I could process her purchase as a Tax Exempt Sale—but she just had to be all nice about it. I dislike nice customers almost as much as I dislike the annoying Stupid Sally-types, because nice customers force me to reconsider my abject loathing of the retail industry (and we can’t have that now, can we? My blog would shrivel up and die. I would have to find something new to complain about and I haven’t the energy right now. Maybe next week).
My street cred has taken a serious beating since my third Praise Card (and yes, Praise Cards are prominently displayed in the break room for everyone to see). It’s only a matter of time before I’ll qualify for one of those customized, tripped-out Deluxe Nametags from Corporate, and it’s downhill from there.
In fact, I’m rapidly approaching The Danger Zone.
Before you know it, I’ll be thirty, entering my fifth year at The Shop, and in possession of an embarrassingly encyclopedic knowledge of yarn, scrapbooks and acrylic paints.
“Back when I first came to work here,” I’ll wheeze at the new hires (because yes, I’ll have taken up smoking by then) “they didn’t have machines to cut cake icing into shapes. You had to do it yourself. With a pastry bag!” And the new hires will give me that dazed look that younger folk give older folk when they mention cassette tapes or vinyl records (at least I think that’s what those round black things were called…).
So I need some ideas on how to boost my image. And by “boost” I really mean that I need to tarnish my reputation without actually getting fired, because having three Praise Cards is almost as bad as having perfect attendance in high school.