God, I love Staples. In preparation for the Writers Conference, I went to Staples every day last week (on Saturday, it was a package of “fiesta” colored binder clips—an absolute essential in the publishing industry; Sunday: a new flash drive, except that Staples was closed by the time my old USB stick decided to commit suicide; Monday: a new flash drive, for real this time—however did Jane Austen manage without? And finally Tuesday: index cards).
Today I went to print out the first three chapters of my book (at the request of a New York agent!) but I can never spend less than $20 in Staples. As such, I headed from the Copy and Print Center to the packaging supplies aisle, where I bought serious-looking envelopes to convey that I am a serious writer.
I wish I could live at Staples. In fact, if not for my abject hatred of the retail industry, I would get a job at Staples. But you have to know about computers to work at Staples, and I don’t. Also, you have to not hate customers, and I don’t. So it’s probably just as well.
On my way home, I tried to figure out why I like office supplies so much. It’s a bit weird… but it’s also a bit weird that I love sitting in airports. And that my favorite days in the Cash Office are those in which The Shop takes in enough $20 bills that I can stack them into groups of $2,000 and bind them with the little purple strips from the bank (I hate it when we take in, say, only $1,800 in $20 bills, because then I don’t get to use the little purple strip. Then, I have to use a yellow strip, flipped upside down so as to not confuse the bank tellers, and I have to put the twenties with the tens and hundreds, all of which I find thoroughly dissatisfying).
I have reached the following conclusions:
I like stacking $20 bills because I am OCD.
I like sitting in airports because the most exciting moments of life have always involved going somewhere. Plus, when I sit down at the Starbucks in Heathrow with my carryon and my laptop, projecting to any and all interested parties that I am “on assignment,” I can’t help but feel very chic, cosmopolitan. Very un-cashier like.
As for Staples, it’s not just the fluorescent sticky tabs or the recycled bubble wrap mailers. It’s the promise of organization—it’s what the fluorescent sticky tabs can do for you. And with greater organization comes greater productivity, and with greater productivity comes, well, anything.
Including the landing of an agent, which is why I’ve become a number one customer at Staples. I really ought to join the Staples Rewards Program, which is, as far as I can tell, the same as The Shop’s Customer Loyalty Program. But then I’d become one of those Stupid Sally types. I’d forget to bring my card with me and when the poor cashier asks for my zip code I’ll give her my phone number.
My days in retail may be numbered but having served my time behind the register, I am going to be nicest, most polite, Super Sweet Sympathetic Sally that So’ Philly has ever seen.