Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30th

I am a sleepy girl today! I'm going to take a nap after I publish this post.

This week is going to be busy and insane, but at least I can take the edge off with a legal drink or two or Saturday.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29th

It seems that Caroline and I are watching Saw IV. We're really plowing through these movies!

I'm ridiculously hungry and I don't know why. I've eaten enough. 

Is it August yet? I wanna be abroad. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

June 28th

Day Five: Miscellany and Closing Thoughts

Today is just going to be a compilation of tips that are important, but couldn't fill out an entire day on their own. Enjoy!

  • Sales associates are not babysitters. It's fine if you bring your kids into the store, but seriously, keep an eye on them. Don't let them run wild. It's extremely rude to other customers too, not just the employees. Kids get under foot, they knock stuff over, they scream, they do gymnastics on the furniture, they run into people...and it's really just unsafe to leave your kid unattended in a store anyway. So don't do it.
  • There is a correct way to get something from the bottom of a stack, and the correct way does not involve yanking it out and toppling over the pile. Lift up the clothes from on top of the one you want and set them to the side. Grab the item you want. Put the other clothes back. For some reason, 90% of customers can't figure this out. The stacks of clothing aren't supposed to fall on the floor when you pull a shirt out. Lift and grab, don't dig and pull.
  • We ring people up as fast as possible. We also need to be assigned to a register before we can use it for transactions. Don't glare at me for not ringing you up if I'm clocking in or grabbing something; I literally couldn't ring you up if I tried.
  • I don't control the playlist, the lights, or the smell of the store. Complain to me all you want, nothing's going to change. Sorry.
  • Remember: Employees are people, not slaves.
I know there are a ton of things I'm forgetting, and I'll do my best to post them on another day if I remember them. I hope you've all enjoyed this themed week of blogging! Wednesday was my one year anniversary at my job, so I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate. I am happy to say that working in retail has not made me bitter about humanity, and I will definitely keep enjoying my job.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27th

Day Four: Fitting Room Etiquette

Today's entry is surprisingly timely, seeing as while I was leaving work today, a coworker came up to me with a pile of clothing from the fitting rooms and said, "Guess what we just found?" (This question always precedes incredible discoveries.) She then lifted a pair of pants off the top of the stack to reveal a wad of gum that was holding a bikini top and some yoga pants together. Yes, someone decided not only to spit out their gum in the fitting room, but to put it on some clothes. And of course, since it was stuck to two things, we had to damage out both of those items. I literally cannot comprehend why someone would a.) spit their gum out in the fitting room and b.) stick it not on the carpet or the mirror or try to hide it under the dresser but stick it right on the nipple area of a bikini top like some sick joke. Who does that?

Right, so, aside from not putting your chewed gum on merchandise, here are some ways to avoid being a pain in the ass while in the fitting rooms.

  • Nearly all fitting rooms have an item limit. If at all possible, try to abide by that limit. If you go in with an extra item or two, we're not going to yell at you. But smuggling in five extra things is really annoying because first off, we're going to think you're a shoplifter. Bringing in extra clothes and lying about how many clothes you have is sketchy as hell. We can hold your extras literally right outside the door and when you finish your first batch of items, we'll give them to you. Secondly, it's rude to the people who are waiting and confusing for us when we can't explain to someone in line why the room with apparently three items is taking so long to empty out.
  • If we tell you it's one person per room, then don't sneak your mom or your friend or your sister in when I turn my back. It's extremely rude, and it's me that's going to get in trouble. Your companion can wait right outside the door and judge you all they want when you open the door, but please don't bring them in if it's not allowed.
  • Today we had a mom bring her young children into her room with her. This (along with handicapped/otherwise impaired people who need assistance) is the only exception to the "more than one person per room" rule, because obviously we can't have a baby just sitting around without its mom. However, when the mom and children left, there was a huge mess in the room. Food crumbs and bits of who knows what else were all over the floor. So please, whether you have a kid with you or not, don't leave a mess on the floor. We're not maids. You need to be responsible for your messes.
  • If you have an extra second, it really helps us if you will turn your clothes right side out and hang them up, or re-button them, or zip them, or basically just put them back to a similar state to the one in which you found them. This helps us get the clothes back out on the floor quicker, and it makes our lives so much easier!
  • Please don't leave stuff behind if you can help it! At my store, the fitting room has to be cleaned out before we can let the next person in, so leaving behind clothes or hangers slows everything down, because we have to go in, grab the stuff, put it at the little go-back station, then go back to the room and let someone in. Again, we're not going to hate you if you forget a hanger on the hook, but if you take an extra two seconds to scan the room before you leave, it's considerate to both me and the next customer.
  • If you are waiting in line, scowling at me isn't going to make anything go any faster. I do not control the rate at which people try on clothes, and I can't kick someone out of a fitting room just because you need one too.
  • This one isn't necessary, but if you remember to do it, it makes my life so, so much better. If you are leaving your room and you are planning to purchase everything you tried on (i.e. don't need me to take any merchandise back from you), at the very least catch my eye before you leave so that I know your room is now empty. Countless times I've thought a fitting room was occupied because I never saw anyone leave and no one came to give me any clothes, when it turned out someone had just snuck out while I had my back turned. If you're feeling exceptionally nice, the best thing you can ever do in this situation is to either bring the sales associate the number tag from your door (if applicable) and approach them and say, "Hi, I just came out of that room [Gesture towards the room] and I'm going to keep these items, thanks!" Then we know which room was yours and get someone else in there.
  • At my store, we have the unfortunate disadvantage of having fitting room doors that go from floor to ceiling. This means we can't peak underneath and look for feet. (Another reason why telling the fitting room attendant when you've left your room, and which room was yours.) We also have music playing. So if I knock on your door and you don't answer me, I'm going to assume that no one is in there, and I'll open the door. No matter what, I always knock several times and open the door really slowly just in case, but it really helps if you can yell back to me and say you're still doing fine in there.
  • If the store is closing soon, please try not to come in with 20 things to try on. I explained this before, but basically, it slows the process of us closing down and oftentimes this means employees have to stay later because we couldn't start cleaning up as early as we intended.
With all that said, fitting rooms are actually one of my favorite places to be stationed, if not my favorite. I love getting to talk to all the customers, and it's always super fun when more than one person is shopping and one or more from the group doesn't need a fitting room and they chat with me. Today I got to talk with a really sweet mom from upstate New York while her daughter tried on clothes. It's fun talking with people, and it is undoubtedly the best way to pass the time on a slow day. I obviously don't mind if you don't want to talk with me seeing as I am a stranger and all, but sales associates are basically required to be nice (and most of us are nice people regardless; that's how we get hired), so it's entirely possible that you'll enjoy talking with us.

Funnily enough, nearly all horror stories in retail have to do with fitting rooms. Fitting rooms are where you find the creepiest, grossest things. (Like a bag of pee.) Fitting rooms are where people go to do sketchy things. (Like smoking a cigarette and leaving it on the floor.) Fitting rooms are where a great deal of shoplifting occurs. (We've found sensors that were cut apart with wire cutters.) But they really are fun, and you can help make them even more fun. (As much as we love scaring new employees with horror stories, please don't contribute to the tome of craziness if you can help it.)

I know that trying on clothes can be super tedious or stressful, but remember that the fitting room attendant is doing his or her best to help you, so helping us in return is very much appreciated.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26th

Day Three: Looking for Merchandise

There are three ways to go shopping.
One: I already know the exact product I want. I have seen it before either online or in stores. I just need to find it and buy it.
Two: I know the sort of item I want, but not the exact item. I need to look around at things that are similar to the item I'm seeking until I find something that matches what I'm looking for.
Three: I'm not looking for anything in particular; I'm just browsing to see what items are currently in stock. I might not even want to buy anything, but if I see something I like, I will consider purchasing it.

Every store gets all three of these types. However, sometimes these types overlap or blend or combine, and things get messy (literally). So, here's a really quick, simple guide on how to find an item/what to do if you're "just looking."

 > > Customer Type #1

  • Sales associates love when someone knows exactly what they want. If you're in a store with competent employees, we can get you in and out in no time, provided you can help us help you.
  • If you are shopping online and you have a smartphone, email yourself a link to the item you want, or write down the name of the item or at least its price. If you show an employee a picture of the item you want, we can locate it super quickly.
  • Take a few extra seconds to really look at the item you want. If you come in and say, "I saw this sweater online. It's blue. Can you help me find it?", things will be a little difficult for us. We can and will show you all the blue sweaters that we have, but if you get mad at us for not knowing the sweater you're talking about even though the only thing you've told us is that it's blue, that's not cool.
  • Some stores have "online exclusive" items. We don't control which items those are. Also, sometimes we don't have the color/size/style that you want. If you come in looking for something and we don't have it, please don't yell at us. We don't sell out of things with a malicious intent.
> > Customer Type #2
  • You guys are really fun to help! I know I personally love when someone says they're looking for pajamas and I get to show them all of our pajamas and tell them about my favorites and which ones are the best deals.
  • Try not to get upset with us if we don't have exactly what you're looking for. There are lots of store out there, and I'm confident you can find the perfect bikini. It just might not be at my store.
  • We can show you things from the back that aren't on the sales floor yet, but please be considerate. Having to bring out a ton of merchandise is stressful, and it's even worse when other customers start seeing it and asking us to get more and more stuff out of the back that isn't on the floor.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help with finding something! Like I said, it can be really fun to be a bit of a personal shopper for someone.
> > Customer Type #3
  • We're not going to hold it against you if you don't buy anything. (This goes for everyone, really.) But when you have 25 items to try on and you know beforehand that you don't intend to buy any of them, the least you can do is make it easier for us to put the clothes back. Maybe consider not leaving hangers on the fitting room or leaving those sweatpants inside-out. It just takes a second.
  • You might get asked if you need help finding anything. We work in retail, so we do want to sell you stuff. However, in most stores, if you say you're just looking, we won't harass you. Stores with employees who work on commission might pester you a bit more, but just remember that they get paid if you buy something. Don't hold it against them.
  • If you're not planning to buy anything, don't stick around as the store is closing. It means we have to keep the cash registers open longer and we can't start cleaning up as soon because we have to keep an eye on you meandering around.
The most important thing to remember is that these are just guidelines. If you don't abide by these rules, we aren't going to hate you. But following these tips does make our lives a lot easier.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25th

Day Two: I Can't Escape From These Pesky Sales Associates

I sometimes get annoyed with sales associates following me around and asking me questions, and I work in retail. Which means I am one of those annoying employees. But I have an understanding about the sometimes seemingly incessant pestering in which sales associates partake; it's a necessity.

I know it gets annoying when you just want to shop in peace and it seems like every employee in the store is coming up to you and asking, "Are you finding everything okay?" I know it's especially hard for people who have social anxiety or who don't speak English well or who are in a hurry or are having a shitty day. That's why I'm going to list a few examples of why we sales associates keep talking to you.

  1. Above all else, we do just want to help you find what you need, if you need help.
  2. It seriously deters shoplifters. Shoplifters want to be left alone, so interacting with customers makes fewer people shoplift.
  3. You've heard of secret shoppers, right? Many stores get ranked based on secret shoppers. If you don't talk to someone and they're a secret shopper, the whole store suffers.
  4. At some stores, you can get in trouble or even fired for not assisting customers. So even if you look like you're doing fine and you don't look sketchy, you might still have a sales associate talk to you.
We're not trying to bother you. We are trying to keep our store friendly, safe, and helpful. So when you complain to a sales associate about how you just want to be left alone, know that we talk to you for a reason. And if you seem self-sufficient, we'll lay low. When you call us annoying bitches or say we're stalking you, it's honestly not fair. If your waiter checked in on you after you got your food to see if everything tasted all right, would you complain? We're doing the same thing. We're just making sure your experience in the store is good. So...please try not to yell at us or about us.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24th

Okay people, this week is officially How to Avoid Being a Total Asshole While Shopping week. Every day I will post about one of my biggest customer pet peeves that I encounter all the time while working in retail.

Day One: I Don't Want the Item(s) I am Carrying Around

When you are in a store at the mall and you're carrying merchandise around, don't just fucking deposit it somewhere if you decide you don't want it. It is so, so easy to get rid of your merchandise that is helpful to the employees and the other shoppers, and it takes like zero effort.
  1. If you're on your way to try some clothes on and you decide that you don't actually want everything you've got in your hand, don't just set it somewhere. Bring it to the fitting room with the rest of your stuff, and tell the fitting room attendant that you don't want those clothes. Hand them to the fitting room attendant and he or she will happily take them from you.
  2. If you're about to check out at the cash register and you decide you don't want to be some or all of the merchandise, give the items you don't want to the cashier. There is literally a specific bin under the cash registers for this merchandise.
  3. If you're just wandering around and you've got merchandise that you don't want anymore, and for whatever reason can't be bothered to go to the fitting rooms or the registers, find a goddamn employee. It's not hard to find an employee somewhere, anywhere in the store. That employee will take the merchandise from you.
Here's what you should not do:
  • Don't hide your merchandise under or behind other merchandise. It's annoying for us to find this, and it's inconsiderate to other shoppers who might be looking for this item but can't find it because you hid it.
  • Don't throw it on a random table or in a closet. It looks sloppy and it's rude.
  • For the love of all that is good, don't fucking throw it on the ground. Also, if you drop something on the ground, pick it up. The people who work in retail are not your personal maids; we are there to help you find merchandise and sell it to you, not clean up after you. The store is not your house. Be considerate and pick up after yourself.
I think those are the main things to remember. If you're in a store and have a question about what to do with some merchandise, find an employee. We're everywhere.

This week will also feature handy advice about topics like...
"I can't find my size, is it okay to destroy this stack of clothes to look for it?"
"This sales associate won't leave me alone!"
"I have brought my small child to the store and plan to leave him or her unattended while I shop."
...and more!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23rd

Caroline and I are about to watch Saw. I've got her all excited about the bear trap. I hope this movie is as scary as I remember. Also, I had a nightmare about Saw one. I hope that doesn't happen again. Knock on wood.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22nd

I got to play with the big birds tonight! Crows are awesome and I love them and they make the silliest noises. They're also great because they don't try to fly away, they just beg for food and then accept the fact that after they get the food, they have to chill out in their cage some more. They're pretty easy to hold, although oh my god they have a tight grip so don't let them wrap their toes around your fingers.

I am hungry and tired. I don't want to go to work tomorrow.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21st

I have a ridiculous headache. I am going to attempt to remedy this with Advil, ice cream and YouTube videos.

One of the most exciting things about going back to school is that I'll get to wear all of the clothes I've been accumulating for the past year. I wear the same damn thing every day, and I don't go out super often since I work in the evenings, so I'm excited to have a reason to wear normal clothes. Is that sad?

Hey. DFTBA, guys.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20th

I accidentally stayed up way too late last night. I also accidentally ran over a turtle with my car today and it died. I feel so bad...I swerved to try and avoid it but I didn't get over far enough. Poor baby.

I really have to go to bed now so I can wake up early-ish tomorrow and get shit done.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 19th

Writing for an extended period of time is rough on the fingers. Thus, I am taking a break to blog. That, and it's getting late.

My hair is dark brown again and I am in love with it. I am also in love with the fact that I'll be overseas in two months. I can't believe it. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18th

It's official. I am going abroad. From August 13th-August 21st, I will be in London and Dublin. (And maybe Cork, too!) I am utterly ecstatic and don't even know what else to say. So. Oh my god, I'm going.

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17th

Sometimes you put fresh sheet on your bed and then spill milk on those sheets. It's a hard time.

Hotel and flight booking may be occurring tomorrow night. Oh my effing goodness. Also, I had a nightmare last night about getting to London and being unable to find a place at which to purchase an Oyster Card, and the police were yelling at me and Matt Smith was there and so was my mom.

So, my schedule would be: Fly overnight and arrive in London. Check into hotel around noon, fix my jetlag, sleep. Stay three more days in London. Wake up on the fourth day, do last minute things, fly to Ireland, spend that night checking into my hotel and going to a pub or something. Spend three more days in Ireland. Then fly home on my fourth day in Ireland.

Hooolyyyyy shiiiit.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June 16th

Work was especially arduous today. I know I'm going to be happy next payday because I work a lot this week, but right now it's just tiring. In fact, I must apologize because this is going to be a short entry because I'm going to bed.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 15th

I have all the emotions! Stupid brain.

I met some lovely blue jays and cardinals and a woodpecker tonight. I love birds.

I can't handle this whole "no new Game of Thrones episodes for ten months" bullshit. And I finished the first season of Orphan Black. Back to Grey's Anatomy!

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14th

British Isles Trip 2013 is looking surprisingly promising at this point. Oh my god.

I need to buy scrubs. It'll be cooler and easier for me to move about when I'm with the birds, and I'm pretty sure scrubs are fairly cheap. Even just the pants would be fine. Plus I'd feel like a doctor.

My head and neck hurt, and I think it's because I randomly got really tired earlier today and took a nap in sort of a weird position. That was stupid of me. Also, playing Kirby Air Ride with my sister didn't help.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 13th

I'm having lunch with my dad tomorrow. This may mean discussion about going to Europe. It's looking like he wouldn't be able to go since my little sister has to go look at colleges and he's taking her, so if that's the case, I'm going to see if I can persuade him to let me go alone. Fingers crossed, you guys!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12th

Very sleepy. I'll post a proper entry tomorrow, okay lovelies? Hugs and kisses from a tired girl. :3

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11th

Happy Semi Annual Sale Day! I bought stuff, obviously.

My computer is getting a new battery tomorrow! Yay! I need to remember to clean up my desktop so the guy at the Apple store isn't like, "Why do you have a screenshot of someone making a weird face on your desktop?"

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10th

Sometimes you just have to buy a top with hot air balloons on it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 9th

I am having PayPal troubles. The Tonys were great. I am about to watch Game of Thrones.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8th

I got to feed the juvenile birds today! Juvenile birds have their feathers, and the sparrows very much like to try and escape when you feed them. There are also rock pigeons, which just sit there. They're pretty chilled out little guys. They also feel like beanbag chairs after they've eaten their seeds. They are big and warm and lovely. :3

I like holding birds, even when they nibble on me. I like birds in general. I like how the nursery is constantly loud. I love that the grackles and the crows never shut up. I like the sparrows' tiny beady eyes. I like the robins who think my finger is a syringe. Birds are great.

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7th

The probability of me traveling to Europe this summer has unexpected increased from zero to some. My dad is apparently a big believer in 21st birthdays, and I might get to go on a trip with him! The current problem is that I am utterly torn about the places I have available to me, those being Germany and the UK/Ireland. I would so, so much love to go to either and I am currently at 100% inner turmoil. I just hope there's some sort of external deciding factor, like one place being really unexpectedly expensive, and I won't have to choose. Because holy shit, I want to go everywhere.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6th

One month until I'm 21! Whee!

Lexa knows how much I love coming up with travel itineraries, and I might get to propose one to my dad. I guess there is a small chance we are going to Europe?! I just want to make plans. I like making plans. Lexa and I have planned like four trips together. (We have gone on 0% of these trips.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 5th

Eoin and I are going to start watching Game of Thrones together. He is not prepared. I think I might mail him a box of tissues.

I am exhausted. I'm going to bed soon.

This week I will have worked a grand total of four hours. How depressing is that?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 4th

I haven't been to work since Friday, and I won't be back until Thursday. Good thing my paycheck will be fairly substantial this week, because the on after is going to be pretty measly at this rate.

Lexa and I had a fantastic Skype date wherein we watched many cat videos on YouTube. The internet is a glorious place. I also have a Skype date with Eoin tomorrow!

Fuck you all, I'm getting on Neopets. Judge me.

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3rd

I watched The Rains of Castamere again tonight, this time with my mom. She was not prepared.

So Julep decided not to cancel my subscription when I asked them to, so now I've got another Maven box. Luckily it's got some pretty good stuff in it, although one of the nail polish colors is actually the color of bile. It is so awful. Maybe it looks good on the nail, but damn does it look nasty in the bottle. The other color is lovely though, and I also got some DD Creme and some saltwater taffy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2nd

Okay, now I can talk about the baby birds! Last night was really fun, but oh my god the nursery is so hot. Like, 90°-95°F hot. And you can't have water in there because of all the wild animals. You don't want floaty bird poop germs going into your water bottle. And you have to wear long pants and closed toe shoes for safety, so it's especially hot. I might buy scrub pants. My pants last night got crusty bird food and possibly other things on them.
Feeding baby birds is either super simple extremely hard, depending on the bird. I was feeding the littlest birds, who are kept in incubators because they don't have feathers yet. There are little "cages" for each nest of birds (baby birds are often found together), and each cage has its own little food container and syringes. Mixing food and syringes among species isn't good for the birds, and some species get different food altogether. So, each incubator can hold like seven bird "cages" (the cages are basically like those little dry aquariums that hermit crabs live in), and you take out a cage, look at the number on it, and find the food tray for that cage. Each tray has a tiny, narrow syringe (or two), a little cup of mushy, mostly-liquid food, and occasionally a little cup of what is essentially Gatorade for birds. Sometimes there will be little notes on the cage that say that the bird was/is dehydrated, so then you give it some Gatorade.
The baby birds have to be fed every 15 minutes. Once you finish an incubator, it's time to start that incubator over again. It's insane. So you open up the lid on the little cage, and ideally the baby (or babies, up to four in a cage) will gape, which just means they'll open their mouth like they do in the wild. You've seen it before, the wide-mouthed babies chirping at their mom. If they do that, you just squirt some food down their throat, wait for them to swallow, then feed them until you've fed them their designated amount.
But sometimes, the birds don't open their mouth right away. In most cases, it's because they've fallen asleep, which just mean you have to tap on their beak with the syringe, or possibly lightly poke them with your finger. That usually will get a bird ready to eat. But some stubborn birds are too tired or scared to eat, so you have to pick them up and open their mouths for them. This is terrifying because baby birds are tiny and you feel like you're going to break them. I did not break any baby birds last night, though.
We aren't allowed to talk to the baby birds or hold them unnecessarily, which is really hard. It's just instinctual for me to wanted to say hi to everyone. But they can't become too accustomed to humans, lest they be too used to us when they're released back into the wild. So it was a pretty quiet four hours. I'm thinking I might just do three hours shifts from now on, because last night was exhausting. Not to mention the last hour of the day, for which I was present, is the time to give everyone a new little nest. Building nests is fine, because you just put toilet paper in a little knit hat. But taking out the old nests...well, it's a lot of poopy toilet paper. And it seems like bird poop never really dries, so it's quite mushy and smelly.

Anyway, that's day one of Kate is Actually Snow White but with Less Singing.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June 1st

Happy June! I am so, so exhausted. I will tell you guys all about the baby birds tomorrow, because my brain is fried and I keep making typos. I will say, though, that they poop a lot. It's joyous.