Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Too dumb to come in from the rain

posted Sun, 31 Dec 2006

It poured yesterday, which made me think it wasn’t so bad that I spent nine hours working at The Store, because it’s not like I could have gone running anyhow, and there was the added advantage that not so many people came out to shop. Yes, a bad, bad thought – that I would wish customers away, but all I wanted was a chance to put away some of the clothes that had been returned, get the racks organized (people stick the clothes that all of a sudden they don’t want on the nearest rack – jeans amidst the formal evening gowns – the department store equivalent of putting that pint of ice cream behind a box of Cheerios), and dress the mannequins that had been denuded by customers looking for a size 4 – like the woman who was looking for something to wear to her son’s wedding last night. She shopped on Friday for that. Can you say “passive-aggressive?”

I also wanted a chance to look for “that blue dress” that the woman in Austin called about.

Yes. People (women people) call from other cities to ask if The Store (which is a national chain) has a certain item that has sold out at their local Store. The system shows it’s at our Store! Sure. The system has a 48-hour lag time. What are the odds that someone has bought that blue dress in the past two days – that one blue dress that shows in the system – in the two days before New Year’s Eve? Oh, not high at all!

But womenfolk will call and I will have five customers in line but Store policy is that you have to answer the phone and do it in a professional manor, by golly (along with a major systems upgrade, that policy is something I will change when I am CEO of The Store), and when I pick up the phone, it’s either a personal call for someone who works somewhere in the Store (but the caller doesn’t know which department or the extension for the department) or it’s someone wanting to know if we have “that blue dress.”

And I am supposed to go look for that blue dress in a sea of dresses that look like a tornado has struck because there has been no time to get things organized.

So yes, I was happy that it was raining buckets yesterday because I wanted to clean that place up. But as I was putting away short black cocktail dresses – some 50% off, some regular price, I felt water falling on my head. I looked up and discovered water was coming from the ceiling. Great. I saw the stains and realized this was an old leak.

I moved the racks away from the leaks, then called the manager on duty so she could send someone with some sort of water-capturing devices to keep the carpet from getting wet and eventually mildewed, stinky and ruined. She told me to move the racks and to put trash cans under the drips. I told her – with some impatience – that I had already moved the clothes.

Her instructions to move the clothes reminded me of when I worked as a temp secretary at the World Bank. The head secretary had asked me to send a fax.

“OK,” I said.

“But you need to wait for the fax confirmation notice,” she said.

“Yeah, I know,” I told her.

“If it doesn’t say ‘OK,’ you need to re-send the fax.”

“Yes, I know.”

“If it says ‘OK,’ the fax went through, so you don’t have to do anything else.”

“I know, I know.” I tried to pull the fax out of her hand

“Remember, wait for the fax confirmation!

I rolled my eyes and sighed deeply. “You must be used to working with people who just aren’t too bright.”

Having someone tell me to move thousands of dollars of clothes that were about to be ruined because of water coming in from the ceiling – just how stupid did she think I was?

When I returned to the register to get the trash cans, I told Margaret about the problem. Oh yes, she told me, there’s a leak in the long dresses, too.

When she said that, I assumed she was taking ownership of that leak. I left the third trash can for her and took the first two for my leaks. Then I went to lunch.

When I returned, I noticed the third trash can was still under the register. She hadn’t put it out. When I went to find the leak, I discovered that she had not moved the racks out of the way of the dripping water, either.

Maybe some people are stupid enough that they have to be told such things.

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