Something wonderful happened today. And no, before you ask, The Shop was not destroyed by a giant meteor (although, come to think of it, that would be quite nice: a few dozen Stupid Sally types caught inside? Scrapbook paper slicing through the air like shrapnel? Glitter—both the edible and the non-edible varieties— exploding through the aisles? It would be lovely. And it would be the end of problem customers. And my career at The Shop).
While my arts and craft Armageddon scenarios might suggest that I hate my job, I don’t, at least I didn’t today, because like I said: today, something wonderful happened. Today, the power went out.
Actually, it went out yesterday, sometime between two o’clock the Hour When Most People Consider It Okay to Start Drinking (which is, I believe, 5:00pm). The lights flickered, the registers went haywire and Head Boss and Bad Cop hurried everyone out of The Shop.
Mass chaos ensued.
Silly Bands were stolen. Pringles were stolen. Smencils (which are scented pencils) were stolen. Tiki torches, which had been forgotten outside The Shop in the sidewalk sale bins, were wrenched from their Styrofoam stands and subjected to gross and violent misuse by local ruffians (sword fighting I am told, but said ruffians scurried off to scale an unsuspecting fleet of motor homes in the Wal-mart parking lot so who can be sure?).
Truth be told, I was sorry to have missed it. It’s not everyday that ordinary crafters resort to looting. Stealing yes, but full out looting? This was a new one. Plus, my four-day furlough in the middle of nowhere (I am sorry for not blogging over the holiday weekend, by the way) had left the Front End looking even more disastrous than usual. I run a tight ship from my helm at Reggie #1 (and I am the only Front End Specialist who regularly empties the trash from each register, which is gross, but the alternative—leaving it to fester—is even grosser).
Between the power outage, the four days of Front End neglect and the looting, The Shop was a wreck. Also, the paperwork was very much not in order, which meant there was no danger—no danger at all—of me breaking my “doing the cash office” record.
It was, in other words, a dream come true. With so many receipts to be collated, rubbish bins to be emptied and cases of Potential Coupon Abuse to inspect, I was guaranteed at least three hours in the cash office. Four if I had to reload the stapler. And five if—please let there be a check!—if there was a check. And there was. A check. Which meant I had at least five Sally-free hours to look forward to.
But the gods of retail had more in store for me: darkness. Complete and total I-can’t- count-the-registers-in-these-conditions darkness. Evidently, the power cords had been fried. They were subjected to the “repair” of a residential electrician, who just sat and stared, shaking his head while Head Boss roared into the phone “I need a commercial electrician!”
Sadly, the ensuing sparks were during the looting phase, which I missed on account of having spent yesterday on Hooper’s Island perfecting my tan, but they were bad enough that we couldn’t open The Shop today. That’s right. Couldn’t open The Shop. PECO was called, the landlord was called, Corporate was called and the neighboring shops were called (and no, they weren’t willing to shut down during prime Thursday morning business hours so that the commercial electricians could do whatever they needed to do to un-fry the main power supply).
As such, we had ourselves quite the field day. I got to rearrange the ribbon aisle, which may sound tedious but I’m a bit OCD so I take great pleasure from making sure all the spools are lined up properly and facing the right way. Then I got to put away returns in the wedding section. I love the wedding section (for all the obvious reasons and just in case they’re not obvious: I’m single, I’m a girl and I’ll be 25 soon). It wasn’t until I had amused myself for almost an hour amongst the “His” and “Hers” luggage tags and “Just Married” flip flops that Head Boss suggested I could “do the cash office” with a flashlight.
“Of course!” I said, ever the eager Sales Associate, “but it might take a bit longer than usual.”
“That’s fine,” Head Boss assured me. “Just take your time.”
I did. Wouldn’t want to be making a mistake now, would I? Counting a $50 bill as a $100 bill in the dark, accidentally slipping the deposit into the shredder instead of the safe (not that the shredder is anywhere near the safe, but you can never be too sure), etc.
I “did the cash office” until 11:30am. Then I took my half hour break. Then I went back to “doing the cash office” and at 1:00, I finally got around to encoding the check. I reloaded the stapler and then I moved onto the paper shredder. I have always wanted to use the paper shredder, but the privilege has thus far been reserved for Head Boss and the Queen of Cash Office. Given the general sense of pandemonium, however, Head Boss instructed me—me!—to shred the coupon envelopes.
What are coupon envelopes, you ask? They are a new mandate from Corporate and they are beyond stupid— so stupid, in fact, that they’re not worth an explanation, nor the space they take up in the cash office, hence the shredding. I propped my feet up on the desk, positioned the flashlight in my lap and got to work.
By the time the news came that The Shop would be closed for the rest of the day and that we could all go home, I was in such a good mood that I took it upon myself to re-write the “Sorry, we’re closed” sign—in Spanish. I’m not sure if I got the grammar 100% correct but it’s the thought that counts, and it’s not as though any of my co-workers knew enough to correct me.