Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry and Monstrous

This day became a mostly heinous and soul-sucking day. I'm setting up FMLA leave from my job to return to WV to secure proper care for my parents. News of their ever-worsening condition grows by the week and I feel as if I'm losing ground daily. My mind's as foggy and heavy as the air outside. I have to continue to pray they will hold on until I get there.

So, I have to find solace somewhere. Keith is as supportive as ever. The solace I seek to lighten my load,however,seems always to be found in laughter. Today's spark for my sense of humor comes from the rest of my day...awash in the holiday hellishness that is Christmas in retail.

As God is my witness, the stampedes at Barnes and Noble began at 9 a.m. and never let up. This time of year brings out many folks who are not regular shoppers and these are quite often the most entertaining folks of all. Here's some sample and slightly exaggerated customer scenarios....

1.)"Yes, sir, we did sell out of that incredibly popular title. Yes, I know, it's shocking that we sold out TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Yes, I could order it but no, it won't be here in time for Christmas because as you know, it is TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Yes, sir, it is the Sarah Palin title that is sold out and no, we aren't simply hiding her behind the Psychology books in order to further our liberal agenda. Sir, please stop pelting me with those copies of Glenn Beck's The Christmas won't get Miss Palin here sooner and it hurts."

2.) Customer: Has Nora Roberts written anything new?
My thought balloon: Nora Roberts? Are you kidding me? In the time it took you to ask that question, she wrote a new mystery book as well as a new romance book and a 1,000-page manifesto on global warming.

3.) At one point today, I was concluding helping someone in the Christian Inspiration section and was about to leave when my way was cut off by a harried mother who literally wheeled her stroller across the aisle to block my exit. She, in full exasperated tone, told me what she was looking for and as I turned to look for her book, ANOTHER mother maneuvered her stroller to block my path on the other end of the aisle. Behind each mother were more customers searching for help. Each of the infants in the stroller were starting to get fussy and soon were in a full-out cry-off in stereo. I swear each stroller kept inching closer and I found myself fighting off the urge to scale the bookcase to get away(where are those damn suction cups when I need them?). I was starting to hear horror movie music and was waiting for the whole mob of customers, babies and all to morph into zombies and trap me there in the Christian section hissing,"FIND ME JOEL OSTEEN OR GIVE ME YOUR BRAINS!!!"

Yikes. Someone needs a nap....and a Valium.

Exhaustion and irritation are abundant but the fact is, it's pretty cool that despite the economy, we were monstrously busy. It was particularly gratifying to see cookbooks sell like mad...there was not an Alton Brown or Guy Fieri title left and barely a Julia Child. Food was ever-prevalent as the employees started bringing in more treats. Featured among the goodies this week were Jane Durr's famous deviled eggs, Melisa's son Eric's amazing homemade toffee, Sara's pumpkin bread and strangely, Brad's astronaut freeze-dried ice cream. The day ended with hugs and well wishes for the Christmas holiday.

Tomorrow night, we try to outrace the approaching winter storm as we head to Keith's parent's home. Y'all be careful out there.


Ronnie said...

You guys have a safe trip too. Man, I didn't miss much not working at Barnes. Oh but I'll be there for the post-holiday "gotta spend that gift card" craziness.

Charlotte's Web of Books said...

Hang in there!! I am sorry that you left before I could wish you a Merry Merry & Happy Happy. I hope to see you next week at the wedding!

Lisa Mandina said...

OMG! I laughed so much at your customer comments. So true. I'm disappointed I missed out on Jane's deviled eggs though.

I hope your parents are doing okay, and that you got to spend some time with them for Christmas.

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