Merriest Time of the Year–Observations from Behind the Counter

Posted: December 11, 2012 in Heroes, Inkspots, Musings, Scribe Scribbles
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Christmas 2012 020
Dear Book Buying  Customers;

Books are my passion, and I work very hard to know what’s current (what book is the latest release by your favorite authors), as well as  what would be a good read for your son, your daughter, your mother-in-law and your great-uncle. I love connecting readers with stories that are worth while. But this past week I’ve not only been helping you find the perfect read, you without knowing it, have been telling me stories. And those stories have taught me a something. Let me explain.

Christmas shopping is stressful. A ll those expectations  of finding the PERFECT gift for each person on my list UNDER my budget price and in the right COLOR  are enough to make me  break  into hives.  The media isn’t helping either telling me  that the world is in sorry shape and making me  second guess every cent I spend on myself or someone else. Unfortunately  I can’t change  the economy,  the  expectations others have of me , or the number of parking spots in  lot in front of the stores.

What I can change, and I’ve I know this because I’ve watched you do it, is how I  handle all this shopping stress.

To the dear lady who let the gentleman with just the card to buy cut in front of her while she sorted her purchases and coupons, thank you! You saw that he was upset and running late and gave up your right to go first even though you were there five minutes before him.

To the gentleman who gave up your coupon to the woman in line before you because  you were going to use it on a card  that was four dollars and she needed to get a  CD that was nearly twenty dollars,  you are my hero.  And her hero too.

To the mother who took her screaming, tantrum throwing  child out of the store even though it meant that you couldn’t buy your basket of goodies for your class, you are amazing. You spared the whole store a painful melt down AND set boundaries with your child that will last a life time. If I had enough money I would have bought the things for you and carried them out to the car.  I’ll be here when you come back, and you’d better believe I’ll give you a standing ovation and also help you find what you need.

To the woman whose friend used and the LOST her cell phone in the store, your grace and kindness to her and refusal to become flustered or critical,  made  grin. You were so like Jesus to her, I wanted to clap.  I didn’t, but I wanted to.

And to the grandfather who spent over an hour with your granddaughter looking at Bibles  enduring the squeals, indecision,  and the ‘I want the pink one’ to help her pick out  the Bible she loves even though it was over your budget  by ten dollars; you sir showed me how to buy a piece of eternity.

All of you  have reminded me that it isn’t about finding the perfect gift for the ones that I love, but about being like the Perfect Gift  the Lord has given to me.

So, from behind the counter, thank you for the lesson, even though you didn’t know you were teaching one.

Coriam Deo

  1. Megan-Marie says:

    Yesterday as I was performing the Clearance Section Dance with a stranger, I was listening to this rather elderly woman at the buy counter (Lane Ave. HPB’s buy counter is right against their clearance section) who was repeating, “No, it’s nonfiction.”

    Asking for a specific book at an HPB is so ludicrous, I don’t do it, but I heard the employee listing titles, to which the woman kept repeating, “It’s nonfiction. No, it’s nonfiction. It’s for teenagers to read, like you would give to a teenager, and they would read it.” The employee answered in a helpless tone, “But do you have a title?”

    The old woman had a beehive hairdo and I encountered her several times in the store, walking around, shaking her head, mumbling, “No, no . . .” to herself. Apparently she was looking for a Glenn Beck book because the acoustics in that part of the store are very echoey and I heard the employee saying, “Here is where all the Glenn Beck books are.” I’m a little surprised they own any, actually.

    The point is I was amused at her standing there trying to find one book among thousands with a description like, “It’s nonfiction, and it is for teenagers,” and then expounded on what a “book for teenagers” means rather than any sort of indication about what the book could possibly be about. Also I think she was insane.

    • We do get “green book” questions at work (too little information to locate the book for the customer ie ‘it’s a green book about God’ ) but I’ve been surprised at the amount of “others first” things that I have seen at work when people are clearly stressed.

      It inspired me to let the woman who stepped out of line back into it at Barnes & Noble. “Hurry up, the clerks are back, c’mon now don’t lose your spot!” I called to her. She came scurrying back from one of the $5 dollar deal tables and stepped in front of me, utterly astonished (there was a looong wending line behind me at this point and she’d have to go all the way to the end of it) She stammered her thanks and I grinned “Oh, I heard those bargain books call to you. They’re dangerous, like sirens at sea.” She laughed and said she’d have to stuff cotton in her ears next time and thanked me again, and again for letting her back in line. I told her “Merry Christmas” and she looked a little startled and went and paid for her things. The people behind me were patient too. It was fun.

  2. CCDragonKissedFiendishRattler says:

    Those moments are so beautiful! As a manager at my parent’s shop, I can testify to how rare those moments are in the restaurant business… but each and every one is precious and takes my breath away.

    • You should so “reblog” or post on your blog one of those sweet moments 😉 Esp since there are so many OTHER blogs sharing the nasty side of things during the Christmas Rush

      • CCDragonKissedFiendishRattler says:

        I actually haven’t witnessed any of the beautiful moments yet this year. I’m struggling to remember any of the ones from last year… besides the guy that tipped me twice what his actual order was because the person before him was not entirely gentle in the way he handled himself… I’m sure there were others last year that had nothing to do with me, but I can’t seem to recall them at the moment. But I’ve always got my eyes open. 🙂

  3. Kathy Black says:

    Pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing. And I love the candy cane picture. And to the lady who baked cupcakes for someone else’s birthday when she was hurting and tired from the week…thank you. And to the lady who made sure the gospel went out to those who were hurting…thanks. You are a light in this dark world of hurt.

  4. Gee says:

    Enjoyed the lessons.

Be brilliant, be peculiar, be peculiarly brilliant.

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