Yesterday at work was not the best day I’ve had but it did have a silver lining.
My work day started at 9am, which for most people is mid-morning, for me it’s the middle of my sleep cycle. I normally sleep from 3am-ish to 11am-ish. Lately it’s been shifting more toward 5am to 1pm. This usually is fine because I usually work either in the afternoon or evening. My manager is cool and mostly schedules me for those shifts but sometimes I have to work a morning shift like today.
So, I get to work and I’m already(still) tired and want a nap. I press onward knowing I will spend most of my day at the Jewelry Counter, which isn’t terribly hard work. I help put out stock until we open at 9:30 am, at which point I have to stay close to the Jewelry Counter and I stay there for a hour and a half when I take my break. When I come back from break(nap time), I find out I have been evicted from Jewelry and cast out on to the Floor because I’m the only person, not already at a register, who can run a register so I am needed to help out with long lines. Before being set loose on the floor I have to cover four breaks at the Front Register, the Fitting Room, Jewelry, and the Back Register.
Halfway through Fitting Room’s break I start to feel an ache across my forehead centering mostly over my left eye. It gets worse fairly rapidly to the point that I closed my eyes and had to be “woken up” by a customer. I have generic Excedrin in my locker because I get headaches/migraines somewhat regularly. The pain lessens but never really goes away for the rest of the day. I make it through the rest of the breaks, take my lunch, and return to the Floor still the only person who can help out at the registers. I end up spending a lot of time at the registers because it is a busy day, too busy to only have one person that can help at the registers.
All in all it was a pretty tiring day but like I said at the beginning there was a silver lining. One of the worst things about working in retail is people who do not respect the workers. I could write a whole post on just that; in fact I probably will. Right now I want to bask in the golden moment I witnessed and was a part of.
A woman and her child, age 5-8, came through the line to m register. She placed her items on the counter but pulled a Batman mug to one side and said, “We’re going to be paying for this separately. He has his own money and is going to pay for it.” I went through her transaction quickly and easily. Then I began the child’s.
The woman carefully coached the child through the transaction. She handed him his money and told him to wait until I had said the amount. She had him unfold the bill before handing it to me. When customers hand me cash, I always say the amount the customer has given me out loud for two reasons. One, it gives people a chance to stop me if they have change to dig out and, two, it helps me when I go to type the amount into the register. I don’t usually expect a response but I was happy to hear the woman instruct her child to say “Yes.” in response. I handed him the change, thanked them and wished them a nice day. The woman thanked me as well and prompted her child to do the same. Throughout the transaction she made sure he was paying attention to me.
So often, I have had wadded up bills dropped on the counter for me to pick up and straighten out. So often, I have repeated myself because they aren’t paying attention. So often, I have felt like I am acting opposite an empty chair. I felt none of these things in that transaction and felt like the woman was making sure her child would not make a future cashier feel them either.
In all, I interacted with them for only a few minutes but seeing a child taught how to be polite to retail workers was the high point of my day.