Beauty, Business, communication, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Glimpse

This year marks my 25th holiday season in the customer service/retail world. Over the past 25 years I have grown a thick skin. Flying flat irons no longer scare me… not an invitation to call my bluff. Snide remarks, insulting my intelligence and telling me “to make myself useful and throw this out” as you pass me the trash from your purse no longer offends me. I no longer take it personally when I hear the sighs and see the pouts when your favorite polish is out of stock.

I may have grown a thick skin, yet one action still cuts me to the quick. The look of awe in my customer’s eye when I take a moment to listen to them, the look of surprise they have when I remember something about them and ask about their lives. The real kicker – when their eyes well up when they say “I can’t believe you remembered. Thank you so much for that.”. The latter happened this morning. An elderly customer of the shop comes in every year at Christmas. She comes  by to purchase gifts for her grand children’s Christmas socks (she refers to their Christmas Stockings as socks, something she called them when she was a girl). When we were walking up to the counter I said “this is a nice addition to your grandson’s Christmas sock.” to which she said “how did you know that?”. I told her I remembered her stories from last year, and it was nice to see her again. She leaned on the counter, her eyes started to glisten a little and she proceeded to tell me that she had lost her husband 2 years ago and was feeling lonesome and forgotten. We ended up chatting for 5 minutes about her hometown growing up and her Christmas memories as a girl. She wished me a Merry Christmas and left smiling and giggling about Christmas.

The moral of today’s tale  – be kind. A little kindness goes a long way. Your kindness may be the only glimpse of hope someone will see today, or this week, hell…this year. Someone may be feeling forgotten and your smile makes them feel whole. Someone may be taking their loved one to the hospital and you holding the door open for them gives them one less thing to have to do that day. Giving your spot  in the grocery line to the woman with the screaming toddler may give her the break she needs that day to get through until bedtime. Offering to help the elderly carry their packages to their car may give them hope that they are worth the bother. One of my favorite carols says it best…

“…and when you walk down the street, say hello to friends you know and everyone you meet.”

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Tales of Truth – the Christmas edition

Gather ’round Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time for the annual Christmas edition of That girl in the red coat’s Tales of Truth. It is only the 2nd day of December and some strange happenings have been going on. I know there is such a thing as Christmas spirit…I do believe that it has more to do with too much consumption of Christmas spirit.   …wait for it….there you go.

– The phone rings. I answer with my standard greeting only to hear “Yeah, Hi. Do you have my favorite Shampoo in stock?”. I ask “Which Shampoo are you looking for?”. “Oh, come on! You know which one! I am in there all the time. You know me and I know you remember. Just put one aside and I will see you later.” then she hung up. …I am still wondering if she came in….

– This year, many of the Christmas packs come with  a free hairspray or styling product. I had a very irate woman demand why the Christmas pack she wanted didn’t come with the hairspray she prefers. When I explained I didn’t know why the company chose that specific hairspray, she told me that if I was a better manager, I would find out. …I can honestly say, I just stared at her for a minute.

– We have a return policy at Christmas that as long as the package is not opened, the product may be returned/exchanged for another product after Christmas. I spent 15 minutes explaining why I cannot take back a hairbrush after it has been used, to which my customer answered “How am I to know if it’s no good if I can’t try it?”. So, again,  I explained about health codes, etc. and asked her if she would want to buy a used brush to which she said “No, I wouldn’t, but maybe someone else would.”. ….sigh

– During the Christmas season (and all year through), when a customer or client spends more than $75.00 we offer a free product with their purchase. I do not advertise I do this. I think it’s a nice surprise for them. I had a woman refuse her free retail size bottle of styling product because it wasn’t advertised and she didn’t want anyone thinking she stole it.

– I have had to remove the complimentary product from a Christmas pack because a woman thought her friend didn’t deserve a free hairspray since getting a shampoo and conditioner is enough. …the only thought that went through my head… “paging Dr. Seuss”

– At our shop, every month we have a monthly draw. Anyone can enter, no purchase necessary. During the month of December, we have weekly draws. As I was ringing through a customer’s purchase, one of my regular customers came in to fill out a ballot – she was in the neighborhood and knew our weekly draws had begun. After she left, as I handed my customer her purchase and her receipt, she told me that she should be allowed to fill out two ballots since she bought something. She didn’t think it was fair “that other lady” got to fill out a ballot and didn’t buy a damn thing. …I found myself wondering if she was related to the lady mentioned above.

 

Well my Beauties, it is the 2nd. of December and a full moon is on it’s way, so I am pretty sure I can promise some more Tales of Truth are on their way.

Beauty, communication, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Christmas Presence

As I sit here, snow is falling, Christmas carols are playing on the radio, lights are twinkling on the tree and my loved ones are safe and snuggled under warm blankets watching a movie. I am relishing the peace for it is the middle of December, which for any of us in the service industry/retail sector, we know is the beginning of the craziest, busiest time of the year. I have been working the Holiday/Christmas season for over 20 years, and have seen it all, from mothers beginning to cry because the antlers that their child needed for the Christmas pageant broke and are now out of stock to husbands panicking that the KMS gift pack their wife wanted is no longer available and he can’t go home without it. I have seen grown women lose it over the fact the newest red holiday shade of polish is sold out and have had a grown man throw a flat iron at me because I wouldn’t return it for him because he didn’t have a receipt, or the box for that matter. One commonality I have always found – too many people are concerned about their Christmas presents instead of their Christmas presence.

Last year I wrote of the pressure women (and gents…mostly the ladies) put on themselves over the holidays (see link below)

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/12/03/its-time-to-paint-your-own-picture/ .

I told a tale of letting go and easing up on yourself and your loved ones. This year, my tale will be one of presence. Too many of us are not present, in our own lives, in the lives of our loved ones, in our conversations, hell, even in our driving. We are getting so caught up in the idea of the perfect gift and the perfect dinner that we aren’t even able to keep up with who got who what gift and cannot even remember what that perfect dinner tasted like. Being me, I have compiled a little list, a how to for the holidays if you will.

– When you are out shopping with your child and they stop at the big tree in the mall exclaiming “WOW!!! It’s so pretty!” instead of yanking their little arm and scowling “yeah, yeah…lets go!” stand with them for a minute and agree with them. Take the few seconds, take a breath and make a memory.

– We all have those friends/family members that need a Santa picture. Here’s the deal, if your child doesn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, don’t make them. Stand beside Santa holding your child, or forgo the picture all together. Your loved ones will survive a Christmas without a Santa photo. I know mine have. *Think about it…all year we scold “don’t talk to strangers” then force our kids to talk to  a stranger AND sit on his lap…no wonder there are so many tears.

– When you are shopping and a sales person asks if you need a hand, let us help you.  Let yourself be helped, it will ease the stress that you can’t find what you are looking for, and if by chance it is out of stock, we can let you know when the product is arriving and can call you when it arrives. …oh, for me, please do not say “already got two!” when we ask if you need a hand – trust me, we have heard it.

– Be kind to the cashier. She has been standing there for hours, has 5 more hours left of her shift and only gets a 30 minute break during an 8 hour shift, having to deal with people yelling at her for things she has no control over, like the debit being down, or a product being out of stock, or being yelled  at by a manager because she said “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”. – the latter happened to yours truly…I kept saying Merry Christmas.

– If your family doesn’t like turkey, you do not have to have it for Christmas dinner. It’s okay. The ghost of Christmas past, present and future will not haunt you. Make a meal that everyone enjoys, that you enjoy making. Trust me, I know of what I speak. I tried to do the “Christmas dinner with all the trimmings” and the whole day with every dish I prepared all I thought was who wasn’t going to like what and that I was disappointing Martha Stewart. This year I am making quesadilla’s. They are always a hit, everyone loves them and I spend less time in the kitchen and more time in the living room with my family.

– When you are getting your groceries, give to your local food bank. Many grocery store already have prepacked bags of food ready to give. Most packs cost $4.99 (the cost of your two morning coffees on your way to work)  and can give a family more than one meal. It’s a win/win, a mother will be able to make a meal for her child, and your child got to see their mother help her.

– Always give to the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army does more than you can imagine.

– Try not to complain so much about having to go to your Mother’s/Father’s house…again. Many have lost a parent, or both parents and wish that they had to sit through another conversation about how “easy we have it these days”.

This season, take it easy on yourself. Take it easy on your loved ones, for it is not their fault you are stressed that what you wanted to buy them is no longer available. Take a breath. Take a friend a coffee. Give to your local food bank. Make your hubby his favorite treat. Teach your child how to make cookies. Send a Christmas card or a text out of the blue. Smile as you pass people on the street or in the grocery aisle. Your Christmas presence will mean more to many than your Christmas presents will mean to one.

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Tales of truth – The Christmas Chronicles – Part 2

Today is the 20th. of December. Depending on what you choose to believe, there is one day left until the end of the world or four days left to find that perfect gift. Maybe the threat of impending doom is the reason for the idiotic behavior being displayed on a daily basis…or maybe it is the worry of the turkey being too dry. Me, I gotta go with common sense ain’t that common. I am sorry to say, the following tales are real and people like this actually exist.

– “Why can’t I return this nail polish? I only used it once and I don’t like it!”. – the woman had bleeding cuticles and something that I can only hope was an ink stain on her thumb nail

– As I was ringing through my customer’s purchase and we were waiting on her debit approval she asked me if I was ready for Christmas. I told her yes to which she snapped “Must be nice. Who has time for that?!”. – guess who’s getting coal this year?

– At least ten times a day I have a customer complain that our debit machine is too slow, then once the transaction is approved they stand at the counter for another 10 minutes explaining how infuriating it is to have to wait on a “dial up” connection.

– “Why does my hairspray can feel cold when I take it out of my trunk?” – pssst….we live in Canada and it is DECEMBER.

– “I don’t read receipts or signs!” – a customers response when I told her our return policy is on every receipt and on the sign at our register…I guess hooked on phonics didn’t work for her… couldn’t help but wonder how she finds her exit on the highway.

– A woman calls the shop and asks me if her hair is too short for a weave. I tell her I need her to come by the shop so that I can see the length of her hair to which she said “I can’t get there today, so how about I describe it to you.”….sigh.

– I wished a customer a “Merry Christmas” to which I was corrected, “It’s Happy Holidays. You are being politically incorrect.”. – this coming from a woman who 5 minutes earlier complained quite loudly about “those natives always getting no tax.”. – no amount of hairspray or rouge can make ignorance pretty.

– I heard a woman tell her child to “shut up with all the damn Christmas songs already!”. When the mom was looking for her hairspray I gave the little boy a Hersey’s kiss and told him he sang beautifully. – goes to show, giving birth isn’t the only thing that makes you a mother.

– I had an elderly woman buying a gift for her granddaughter and she was trying to count out the proper change. There was a line up and the ladies behind her started to sigh and huff and puff, loud enough for her to hear. She told me her sight wasn’t the best and apologized for holding up the line to which I responded “Don’t you worry. We all need a moment to take a breath or two”, then came out from behind the counter, gave a little glare to the huffypuffy’s and helped her find the correct coins. – those other ladies aren’t on the naughty list – they are on the nasty list.

 

Feel free to share these tales with your friends, family and co workers. If you see yourself  mirrored in any of the above tales, forgive yourself and move on. Lets make common sense a little more common.