So it’s officially summer, and I officially have been working in an actual store for two months. After weeks of folding clothes and working the register, I have discovered that I have a love/hate relationship with working in retail.
On the one hand, it’s not terribly challenging. I mean, sure, you have to walk around the store for six hours a day and talk to people, but it’s not exactly rocket science. I also get to talk to some fun people sometimes, or tell fashion-challenged people what I think looks good when they ask if they can wear shorts with a dress shirt.
On the other hand, people can be jerks. When the store manager is trailing you around the store making sure you tell everyone about the five different promotions going on, I always start sweating when a busy-looking customer walks in.
“We have a bunch of great sales going on right now — 30% off shorts and clearance in the back and HEY YOU DIDN’T HEAR ME GET TO THE PART ABOUT THE DRESS SHIRTS!”
I constantly feel like I’m harassing people. Most of the time I wish I could just let them look around, but there are times when I wish I could do everything for them.
For example, when someone digs through the pants I folded not ten minutes ago, throwing sizes everywhere, I have to fight the urge not to throw my folding board across the room, sink down and grab their legs, sobbing, “Please just let me do it. PLEASE.”
The employee discount is also not as much of an incentive as you’d think. Even with the discount, there’s no way I could buy anything at the store without blowing half my summer’s earnings.
There are also customers that are so rude you can’t help but laugh. One man came into the store, and I asked, “Can I help you find anything?”
He looked at me and said, “Um, I have a girlfriend.”
“…. Congratulations. What are you shopping for?”
All in all though, I do enjoy it. Plus now I know the different ways to hang pants, which if you think about… is still not very impressive. I need to work on my sales pitch.
I try to be productive while I’m on break. I really do. Except sometimes other stuff comes up that’s more important, you know?
Like, Netflix and sleep.
I had a to-do list for Spring Break, just like I do every other break. And this time, I told myself, this time I would finish it.
First thing on my to-do list: Hang out with my friend Kate. Priorities, right?
Kate and I have decided to get an apartment together next semester. We both are in the same major and have taken nearly every class together, so we first bonded over complaining about the 10 minute hike to our journalism classes.
Our apartment, by the way, is awesome. The shag carpet really brings out the hues of the wood paneling that covers every inch of the kitchen. But it’s big and cheap and not as scuzzy as others I’ve seen in this small town. And it’s exciting to think about having a place to ourselves with a kitchen and my own bedroom!
Anyway, Kate and I got Mongolian food and ice cream, then watched Freaks and Geeks. We had agreed that we would work on one of our assignments together, but with James Franco on the television and bowls of cookie dough ice cream in our hands, we may have forgotten to study. Whoops.
At least I could cross my social interaction for the week off my list. Next: do research for my French paper.
For my French class, I have to write a 10 page research paper on Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the Impressionist painter. I tried looking for sources at my school library and found almost nothing. Not nearly enough to fill ten pages.
So I went to the library by my house and checked out every single book on Renoir, French paintings, and Impressionism. If anyone else in the area is looking for those books, I sincerely apologize, but I had no other choice.
When I went to check them out, the librarian discovered that not only had my library card expired, but I was not allowed to check out books in the adult section.
“Yeah, you’re 19 and it says you’re not allowed to take these books out without your parents’ permission,” he said.
Luckily he printed off a new card for me (that said I was allowed to check out big kid books) and started to stamp each of the 11 oversize books on painting.
“You in art school or something?” he asked.
I said no, I just had to do a research paper on Renoir for my French class.
“Awesome!” He said. “So you’ll be looking at 19th century French paintings? That’s so cool!”
Whoa there, mister. I haven’t even read these books yet. You wanna write this paper for me?
But seriously, I thought it was cool that the librarian knew all about it.
By this time, it was Saturday and I had to pack up my stuff (I was still not fully unpacked, so that made it easier) and get ready to leave the next day. I felt accomplished.
But I still had a few items on my to-do list:
Research for French paper (At least I have the books!)
Do the craft for next week’s newspaper
Call the study abroad office
Do the last interview for an article I was supposed to do a while ago
Study for my Logic quiz
So much for productivity. At least I have the weekends.
You know what’s even more fun than stressing about finals? Stressing about finals while being too sick to get out of bed.
Why yes, I am speaking from experience. Or rather, I’m typing from experience. Because my voice disappeared last Sunday as well.
Finals are over and done with now, I’m back at home, and have remembered I have a blog. Surprise! But finals week was terrible.
Saturday before finals I woke up, went to breakfast with my roommate, and was able to choke down a glass of orange juice. I went back to my room and slept until 5:00 p.m., when I woke up coughing and sneezing.
Pathetically, I begged my roommates to get me a glass of water.
“You can’t be sick!” my roommate, Mary said, as she covered her nose and mouth with her shirt. “I sure don’t want to be sick! If I get sick, I’m coming after YOU!”
I fell asleep at 8:00, after squinting at my biology textbook for a while without understanding a single word. My biology final was at 9:30 monday morning, and I didn’t understand anything on the study guide.
Sunday morning rolled around. After church, I went straight back to bed and sleep until 1:00, when I remembered I was supposed to meet a group to work on a project for my media class. After noticing the snowstorm that hit while I slept that morning, I put on five pairs of socks, my warmest sweatpants, two shirts, wound my scarf around my neck until I couldn’t breathe, grabbed my coat and boots and waddled pitifully out the door. When I got to the meeting, I couldn’t speak above a whisper.
The girl in my group sat faaaaarr away from me, but the guy just laughed.
“Haha, you probably have mono,” he said.
“WHAT?!” I croaked.
“My friend had mono, and he acted the same way you are. No voice, sleepy all the time, didn’t want to eat anything…. Yeah, you probably have mono.”
Well, that was reassuring.
When I waddled back to my room, I asked my nursing major roommate, Hannah, if I could possibly have mono.
Her eyes widened.
“You might,” she said. “And if you have mono, you’re not allowed to live here anymore.”
Nice to know my roommates have my back.
She forced me to go to the health center, which was closed on Sundays. I drove myself to the Urgent Care clinic instead, and filled out paperwork and talked to doctors by myself.
They swabbed my throat with an enormous q-tip that was made for a giraffe’s throat, and returned to my room 2 hours later to tell me that they were “90% sure I didn’t have mono.”
I wasn’t terribly reassured.
“So that means there’s a 10% chance I have it?” I asked.
“Well, yeah, but we’re pretty sure you don’t. You also don’t have strep.”
The doctor continued, “Yeah, I’m not actually sure what you have. Maybe you’re just stressed. But either way, you should go to WalGreen’s and get this prescription I’ll sign off for you.”
So off to WalGreen’s I went. I approached the counter, gave them my name and date of birth, and the pharmacist assured me it would be ready in 20 minutes.
20 minutes rolled by. Nothing.
20 more minutes rolled by.
20 more minutes passed. I went back up to the counter.
“Hi, I’ve been waiting for a prescription for about an hour, and I was wondering if you’d finished it yet.”
The pharmacist looked at me like she had just seen me for the first time. “You had a prescription?”
“Yes. You told me it would take 20 minutes.”
“Right. Sorry about that. Give me a few seconds.”
30 minutes later, I walked back up to the counter.
“Right!” the pharmacist said. “I have most of it finished, but we close in five minutes. I can try to finish it, but no promises.”
I looked around. I was the only person in the waiting area.
She managed to finish my prescription a minute before they closed, and I got back to my room around 6:30 p.m. I hadn’t studied for Biology. Hadn’t even looked at the book that day. I climbed in bed, took my medicine, and sat there with my book in my lap for 30 minutes before I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I texted my dad to let him know he may be getting a bill for the Urgent Care visit, and that I was freaking out about my Bio final I hadn’t studied for.
“Ask your professor if you can reschedule!” he shot back.
Frantically, I emailed my teacher, begging to take it a different day. I fell asleep at 7 p.m., with all the lights on in my room, and Hannah and Mary looking at me concernedly (more for their own health than mine) from a safe distance outside my range of coughing.
The next morning I woke up at 7:00, planning to get ready for my Biology final, when I saw an email from my professor telling me I could reschedule. I went back to bed, half in pajamas, half bundled up in my scarf and twelve layers.
Long story short, I survived finals week. Barely.
Heading home, I offered to drive my friend, Lauren, and one of her friends back to our hometown. Of course, we were driving in a snowstorm. 30 minutes outside campus, my car hit an icy patch on the highway. The car skidded right, then left, then gracefully turned and deposited us in a ditch to the right of the highway, facing the road.
After we landed, the girl in the back seat started screaming.
“I thought we were going to die!” she yelled. “What do we do now? We’re stranded! Stuck in the snow, probably!”
“We haven’t even tried to get out yet,” I said. “We’re all fine, we were never in danger of flipping, and I see some highway patrol officers coming our way now. We’re ok.”
“How do you know they’re highway patrol officers?! What if they’re gonna kill us?!” she yelled.
“They’re wearing neon vests and just walked out of a patrol vehicle. I think we’re ok.” I said.
The officers got us out of the ditch in less than 10 minutes, and the car was absolutely fine. Not even a scratch.
I’m pretty sure I won’t be asked for a ride by backseat panicker again anytime soon though.
Although if she had caught my sickness, her screaming wouldn’t be any louder than a whisper.