Tuesday 16 June 2009

Grumpy Shop Girl

Some customers bring out the best in me and some bring out my dark side.
I’m not like the sales assistants I saw in Canada. They were so unfaltering in their happiness I wondered if they were on prozac.
My customers wouldn’t take me seriously if I told them to ‘have a nice day’ all the time.
“How much?” Mr Francis says, pointing at a state of the art lamp.
Mr Francis, the haggler, is one of those who stir my inner monster.
“195,” I say.
“What about my discount?”
“Look, I could’ve said 250, then you’d have said 200, then I’d have said 240 and so on, for half an hour, but I didn’t, I’m too busy.”
He looks at me and smiles.
“No,” I say and I turn back to pinning crystal at the counter.
Mr Francis as ever, promises to return next week with money to pay off for the last bargain I shouldn’t have given him.
Another man comes in and points up at a sparkling chandelier near the door. It’s an ornate fitting, loaded with dazzling crystal balls.
“This says 1000 pounds reduced to 700 pounds,” he says.
“I bought the same one for 700 dollars.”
“It probably isn’t the same.”
“It is.”
“Crystal and plating often vary in quality,” I start to explain.
“It’s the same. And I got it for 700 dollars.”
What does he want me to say?
“Lucky you.”
He looks at me and frowns.
“Excuse me?”
“You got a good price,” I say, “so you’re lucky.”
He leaves after that, with no intention of coming back.
The thing is, on the sixth day of being in the shop, a part of you fades.
A part of you loses all interest.
A woman comes in and pouts at me.
“Why are you closing?”
“We don’t want to sell to the public,” I say.
“Oh,” she says, taken aback. “That’s not very nice.”
“I didn’t mean it like that...”
She waits for me to tell her how much fun the public really are.
“We’ll still be doing wholesale,” I say.
“Oh,” she brightens. “So you’ll be on the internet?”
She frowns.
“Well, yes, we will be on the internet...”
“But not to you.”
The local salsa addict comes to see me near closing time.
He’d predicted I’d be ‘bored and lonely’ by this point. He brings music and jaffa cakes and I start to cheer up.
I take my flip flops off and dance barefoot.
“Aren’t you worried about bits of glass on the floor?” he asks.
Mr Salsa attends 8 dance classes a week so I’m not worried about him treading on my toes either.
“This is just what I needed,” I say, as I click into a cha cha.
Afterwards I clean the soles of my feet with window cleaner and we have a home-made piña colada with coconut juice from the newsagent.
I suppose I’d started taking it all a bit too seriously. But it's
nothing music and dancing can’t cure.
Perhaps this is what the shop girls do in Canada.


Moira said...

Brilliant, wish I'd known about salsa and pina colado's when I was in retail, you remind me how glad I am to be out of it!! Clever girl mx

Oli Benet said...

argh human beings are so annoying. Music is the answer to everything.

Czouch said...

If you own your own shop, why wait until you're dancing at closing time to go barefoot? Beautiful women in their bare feet can get me to do just about anything, including spending $250 for a lamp. And I know other men feel the exact same way.