Job Satisfaction

Carol By Carol, 16th Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Off Beat

I've always enjoyed my job. When Jim was alive, he always said it was great, that after years of being a sales assistant, I had been offered the job as manager of the local China and Glass shop. He encouraged me to take it, and I never looked back. The work is challenging, and I like meeting customers. Since I lost him, it has been my salvation.

Job Satisfaction

MONDAY
Today started off just like any other Monday morning. I arrived early, and as I unlocked the door, I saw a customer hovering outside. I smiled absently at him, he had at least a 20 minute wait, but the alarm was ringing loudly, and I had to fumble for the light switch, and then when I could see properly, switch it off.
He greeted me enthusiastically. “ Are you open yet?”
Was he mad? I glanced quickly at the dark interior. Did I really look as if I was open? I made a quick sign at him, and then went to turn off the offending alarm.

Wonderful, peace reigned again! Sadly I would have to go back and explain that we don't open until nine o'clock. I had jobs to do, and none of my staff had arrived yet. Then I saw Rose at the door. It was her turn now, he was agitated. I remembered his name, Mr Payne, rather apt I felt. What was his problem?

I opened the door to Rose, giving him a watery smile. “ I'm sorry Mr Payne, I've only just arrived, and I had to turn the alarm off.” I added gently, but firmly. “ We open at nine o'clock.”
Mr Payne seemed unimpressed by this. “ I have to be at work at nine myself, and I've forgotten our anniversary. Let me choose something quickly, then I can slip back home with it whilst she's walking the dog.. I may be a bit late for work, but I mustn't upset my Edith!”

Then I remembered his Edith. A formidable lady who marches into the shop every so often to buy plate wires so she can hang up the plates she bought at the boot fair. Heaven help us if we run out of the size she wants! Mr Payne would rather incur the wrath of his boss than his wife,and I could perfectly well understand why.

I relented, letting him in, but hoping that no-one else passing would get the same idea.” Just this once Mr Payne, as you're in such a hurry.”
Rose had come out onto the shop floor, so I left him with her whilst I went to take my coat off, well that's what I intended to do, but then the 'phone rang. I was very tempted to ignore it, but it could be a message that Betty wasn't well, so I had to check.
“ Good morning! Can I help you?”
“ I didn't expect you to be open yet, but I'm glad you are. Is my plate in ?”
I wondered who it was, whoever they were had a sore throat, man or woman, I couldn't tell. I had to proceed carefully so as not to offend. I gave an embarrassed laugh.
“ Can you refresh my memory. Did we say it would be this week?”
“ You said it would be in today.” the voice sounded very accusing.
“ Well in that case, the van will be in later, after we are open, and I can ring you when I've unpacked it.”
I might have sounded confident, but I knew I wasn't out of the woods yet. I pictured the hundred or so different plates that would arrive, he/she, expected me to know which was theirs.
“ Which plate did you order?” I asked boldly.
“ Oh I can't remember, but it's blue with pink on it.”
I glanced frantically around the shop, only to discover there were at least six different patterns with blue and pink. It was just too early in the morning for all this.
“ If you give me your name, I'm sure it's all in the order book.” I said, reaching out for my pen.
“ Mary Ellis of course!” her tone was impatient. “ I came in on Saturday.”
“ Yes, of course. “ I murmured. I had seen at least fifty customers last Saturday. It had been a very busy day.
“ I've got a bad throat. I think I'll go back to bed, in fact don't worry about the plate. I don't need it until next week.”
The 'phone went dead, and I couldn't help thinking what a waste of time that had been. I wouldn't have left my bed if I was ill, if I hadn't needed to.

At last I managed to get my coat off, and then took the till from its hiding place, and carried it out into the shop. Mr Payne had chosen his gift, a bone china floral arrangement, guaranteed to placate his good lady, I'm sure. I stood there sympathising with him when he told me about his selfish neighbours, who hold him up in the morning, when he hasn't much time. Just like some customers, I thought.
Still, that's Monday for you, and I must admit my job has kept me going since Jim died. It's kept me from brooding, which wouldn't be hard because it's not easy to accept, losing your husband at fifty, it's no age, and he was rarely ill. A fatal blood clot the doctor said.

TUESDAY
Mrs Allen came in today. I got her a chair because her legs aren't too good any more. She didn't want to buy, but this little walk round the corner is the highlight of her day. At eighty six she can still make it, and must help to ease her loneliness. I count myself lucky, because Jenny and Ian have been so good, and they are nearby, but she only has one son, and he lives in Australia. She loves to tell me about her life when she was in service, and also to remind me that she has some beautiful china at home that she never uses. Bless her heart, if I'm not careful, she'll be putting us out of business!
Eventually I had to go and help another customer, and I left her regaling Rose and Betty with her experiences during the war. After that I quietly took the opportunity to slip into the office for a much needed cup of coffee. Mrs Allen, was in full flow, and I knew if I went back, it would be very difficult to get away from her.. Apart from that,it was a quiet day, with not much to report.

WEDNESDAY
Today we thought we were being held up by a bank robber. A man came in the shop very furtively.He wore a hat , and his face was obliterated by sunglasses. He glanced from left to right, adjusted them, obviously to avoid being recognised, and my heart lurched with fear. Was this a hold up!
But no, he sidled up to me, and I held my breath with anticipation.
“ Er..um, my wife sent me in for a teacup.”
I hid my amazement. He was harmless, if a little eccentric.
“ Which one would you like?” I enquired calmly.
“ The one I broke at breakfast today.” he admitted ruefully.
I tried again. “ Can you remember what it looks like? Do you see it on display at all?”
He glanced awkwardly around again, and then his voice became desperate.
“ I'm in the doghouse, and I must get it for her. I thought you would know what I want!”
I wondered how I could know if he didn't, but this situation called for some quick thinking. I picked up a plain white inoffensive looking teacup, which was reasonably priced, and said brightly.
“ I'm sure this will blend in with what you already have, if not your wife can change it.”
Before I knew it, he had paid for it and gone, gliding out of the shop like an oil slick. It seemed the sight of us had traumatised him!

THURSDAY
Today it was busy, and head office were pleased with the takings. We went to put our coats on with a nice feeling of job satisfaction. I planned to stop off at the corner shop for some bread, as I'd been too busy to go out at lunchtime.

But no, as I went to set the alarm, I saw the frantic face of a customer, flattened against the door, trying to attract my attention. I didn't recognise him. “ Stay near the 'phone girls, just in case.” I urged them, conscious of the fact there was a lot of money from the day stored out the back in the safe.

But this man was desperate because his boss was expected for dinner, and he didn't have enough plates. He wanted promotion, and we wanted to get home. He won! I took pity on him when he explained that he was a widower. His wife had always dealt with the entertaining before. I remembered when Jim had bought his boss home, and afterwards insisted that my roast beef with all the trimmings had mellowed Mr Johnson, along with the bottle of Chablis, and clinched his promotion. But this poor chap without a wife, why on earth didn't his boss suggest going out to eat?

Half an hour later, having sold him a complete dinner service, which was dutifully wrapped by my loyal staff, he left the shop a happy man. That was our good deed for the day. I now had to drive to the super market at the other end of own for my bread, but he seemed such a nice man, it was worth it. He's promised us some chocolates if he gets his promotion.

FRIDAY
Mr Russell, or Ken as he asked me to call him, came in with the promised chocolates today. I put them outside for us all to share. That sale had been a team effort. I told him about when Jim's boss came to dinner, and it seems like we both lost our partners about the same time. He's charming, but sort of helpless, with a nice face and a ready smile. He told me that tomorrow his daughter is coming to dinner, and he needs help with the cooking. Apparently last night was easy, an Indian Takeaway. His boss is partial to curry. I still wonder why they didn't go to a restaurant.

Rose and Betty teased me when I said I was going to see him, but they agreed he was very nice. He's been in the shop before, but they couldn't resist saying he fancies me. Perish the thought, although I'm not old yet, and according to Ian, his mum is in good nick!
SATURDAY
It was fun helping Ken achieve a tolerable Coq au vin. He now knows how easy it is with a tin of sauce mix. Apparently he'd always left everything to Alice.I didn't intend to stop to dinner, but he insisted that I meet his daughter Lisa. We got on well. When he was making the coffee she told me that she likes to come and see him when she has the time. Apparently he is very self sufficient, but she thinks he gets lonely at times. I think I know how he feels. Jenny and Ian have been marvellous, but they have their own lives to lead, so I've been guilty in the past of pretending I'm all right when I'm not. I always vowed I wouldn't be a burden to them. I have to learn to be independent now!
I was startled when she told me that he had done most of the cooking when her mother was alive. That's not what he led me to believe, but I kept it to myself. Maybe it had been an excuse to see me. Instead of feeling embarrassed, I felt good inside to know that. I wonder what my kids would say.

By the way, our total sales for this week were ten per cent above the same week last year. I nearly forgot to record this. Since meeting Ken, I've been distracted, my fault, not his, but suddenly I find something other than my working day to write about.
SUNDAY
My day off. Jenny and Dan came over to see me today. They told me she's pregnant, and I'm so happy for them. I can't wait to be a grandma. I just wish Jim could have been here to see his grandchild.

I told them about meeting Ken, and they're pleased I've got a friend. I wondered how Jenny would feel after her dad's death, although it is three years. Ken is only a friend, and life is short. We have to make the most of it.

Ken 'phoned this evening. It was great to hear from him! He's offered to paint the lounge for me. He doesn't know I painted the bedroom myself. I always used to help Jim. Well if he can pull the wool over my eyes, I can do it to him too! If we're still friends at Christmas, I can take him to the firm's Christmas dinner.
I think I'm going to take Jenny's advice and cut down my hours at the shop now. I worked the extra to keep busy, one way of keeping my mind off Jim. Now I could do with some time to myself. Ken plays golf, and I think I might find it fun. I'll speak to head office.

Tags

China, Customers, Difficult, Friendly, Glass, Polite, Staff

Meet the author

author avatar Carol
I am a proud mother and grandmother, and an author. I have had 7 books published. My hobbies are walking, swimming, and playing badminton. I try to raise more awareness of autism with my writing.

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Comments

author avatar Maria Papadopoulou
17th Aug 2010 (#)

Thanks for painting such a clear picture of a day at work...it was a delight!

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