Mystery Stains Aren’t Cool & No, your fitting room doesn’t double as a bathroom stall

Not too hard to figure out what this installment is going to be about, is it kids?

While most people usually associate retail with a lot of horrific things, disgusting bodily functions usually isn’t one of them. Yet, sadly, it is a somewhat regular occurrence in the life of the minimum wage retail worker. I’m not saying every day is gross, but some are definitely grosser than others. Take yesterday’s not one, not two, but three clothing articles sporting mystery stains.

“There is some sort of stain on the front of these pants.” the concerned customer pointed out, carefully spreading the tan colored pants out so we could all take a look. “See, its outlined in white…”

Ok, probably best we not think about that too much. I’m going to go wash my hands now, and since you, dear customer, tried these pants on, might I suggest going home for a shower? With bleach.

Not Cool.

Unfortunately, the mystery stain lost much of its mystery as I filled out the paperwork to send them away to the mysterious land of mysteriously stained clothing and I caught a whiff of something vaguely familiar, as did my co-worker. Mystery solved! Excuse me, I feel the need to wash my hands, yet again.

The other two mystery stains thankfully remained mysteries, although we suspect someone confused the faux pashmina scarf for a handkerchief. More hand washing ensued.
Again, not cool.

Speaking of confusing things, unfortunately some people need to have this pointed out to them.

The fitting room stall.

The bathroom stall.

While similar, there is one very distinct difference.

If the stall that you find yourself in does not have one of these, then it is not cool to pretend it does.

Yes, it happens far more than any of us would like to think.

And while this should be a general point taken year-round, it is especially imperative during the hot humid summer months, when the store air-conditioner is broken down, and our carpeted fitting-rooms are already rank with the odor of stinky feet and sweat.

In summary, the fewer bodily functions that come into contact with store clothing, carpeting, and any other soft surfaces, the happier your retail worker.

Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 2:44 am  Comments (3)  
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I’m Back

No sooner do I make the commitment to blog regularly than my laptop crashes and dies. The best of intentions, they say… Anyway, $130 later and my laptop is back and virus-free.


Lessons learned from this experience:
1) Always back up your files
2) Make sure your virus scanner is running regularly.

But, I’m back now.

Back from blue screen of death hiatus. Back from March break madness. And back-at-it now that the kids are back at school. My house is clean, I can blog again, and I can get back to some writing projects I had on the go before all heck broke loose. It feels good.

Speaking of back, and feeling good, let me introduce you to one of my store’s more famous customers who was back last night. We like to call him, Underwear Dude.


Yep, he’s the guy – the very manly guy – who likes to come into my store about once a month and spend HOURS browsing through our ladies’ lingerie department. Initially, we gave Underwear Dude the benefit of the doubt: maybe he’s buying for his wife or girlfriend. But then how do you explain the bra & panty set in size petite small, and the granny panties in size 2XL he purchased at the same time? Yeah, we try not to think about it too much either. Except that we keep having to deal with him acting all shifty, rummaging through our racks of underwear, and refusing to accept assistance (ok, we‘re not really too broken up about that last part).

Last night he spent close to two hours shopping in our women’s underwear department, and ladies clothing department. I’m pleased to inform you he purchased several spring themed satiny bra & panty sets, and an ugly women’s tshirt with beading detail in size XL. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. But it just seems to me that if you’re into women’s underwear, there has to be better places to shop for it than a small town department store.

You can all thank me for the image of Underwear Guy doing lord knows what with his treasures.

And on that note, I’ll be back.

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 4:37 am  Comments (3)  

Writing is my Dream, Retail is my Nightmare…

Several years ago I left my high-paying, high stress, soul sucking corporate job.  My reason for doing this was primarily to stay home with my kids.  That said, I was miserable and couldn’t face even one  more pointless meeting where terms like ‘part and parcel’ and ‘think outside the box’ were tossed around more than Paris Hilton’s new line of push up bras at a tween girls’ slumber party.   I fantasized about all the time I would have to write enough best-selling novels to  rival Nora Roberts.   After an eye-opening year of unemployment, I realized that I am a terrible procrastinator very busy and attentive mother/housekeeper, and had little creative output to show for my time, never mind any income resulting from it, and came to the conclusion that it was time to contribute to the family finances and find a part time job.  I knew there was no way I could go back to a 9-5 office job; it just wasn’t me.  I wish I could waitress; the tips would be a bonus.  But I think at this stage in my life I know my limitations well enough to know I would be fired within the first week for dumping a drink over some jerk’s head. 

Enter: The Dreaded Retail Job

I have been working at a major national department store chain for about two and a half years now and I have a few things to say about working retail.  First, it’s the hardest I’ve ever worked for the least amount of pay.  I’m on my feet for long hours, I have to schlep heavy boxes of clothing around, and I get to deal with bitchy customers who think you were put on this earth to be their personal doormat. 

Secondly, I wouldn’t trade it to go back to my (much) higher paying corporate job, although I would happily trade it for a winning lottery ticket  best-selling first novel.  Truth be told, I sort of like my retail job.  I work with some really cool people that I consider myself enriched to have met.  That said, I also work with some really weird quirky interesting people who, on a daily basis, provide me with an abundance of great writing ideas.  Then of course there are the many more interesting people in the form of customers who come in and out of my life and leave behind a wealth of material to get my creative juices flowing!

Most nights I come home with stories that my family are forced to listen to, whether they want to or not.   So one day it occured to me;  maybe I should start blogging about it.  At best, someone else would find these stories amusing, but more than likely I will just find a creative outlet to vent some frustration at the end of a particularly taxing shift.  Unlike my family, you are not a captive audience and can feel free to tune me out at any point.  I promise I won’t be offended.  As for my family; don’t get any ideas,  this doesn’t apply to you.  You’re stuck with me and my boring stories.

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 3:51 am  Comments (5)