health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, writing

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

It’s official. Day 60 of Covid-19 lockdown has arrived. I have officially been home for 2 months. After 47.5 years on this planet I made bread. I made jam. I decorated the squirrel feeder my hubby made me with my daughter’s old Barbie toys… cake, teapot and cups. I’ve done 18 puzzles. Read a few books. Ran errands for friends and family. Strategically planned grocery store runs and produce pick up. Cooked every damn day. Emptied the garbage…. don’t even get me started on the fact that there are two other adults in my house. Woke up every day wondering what day it was. Went a little overboard with online shopping and I have to admit I have forgotten some of what I purchased. Every time I hear the door bell I wonder what will be waiting for me outside. A puzzle? A book? Baking supplies? A zebra?

Well, as of tomorrow I will know the date as it is time for yours truly to head back to work. The province of Ontario has given the go ahead for retail stores with a street store front to reopen. … and I gotta admit, I’m a little nervous.

I know how fortunate I am to have a job waiting for me. Many employees and owners of small businesses, large and small cannot say the same. The owners and management of my store have all the PPE we need, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizer spray for all surfaces, social distancing measures in place and for this I am grateful. I am confident in myself and my co workers to abide by the new policies and procedures, not so confident of the general public. Before you start in on me about my previous statement, I’m just keeping it real people. I know most of us are behaving ourselves. I also have it on good authority that some are not. … and no, my source is not Fox News or CNN. Many people I know have been working with the public since day one of the Covid-19 crisis and unfortunately have run into some people that are, lets say, from the shallow end of the gene pool.

As of late, every time you turn on the television or scroll social media, someone, somewhere has a new theory. A new opinion. That Covid-19 isn’t that bad. That it’s a government plot. The Democrats made it up to bring down Trump. That the aliens are behind it all. I could go on but I fear I may start to gag. Here’s the deal;

  • I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure the government is not behind the lock down. In the past, their claim to fame hasn’t been their financial generosity.

 

  • As for the people that say “it’s not so bad” … ummm, yeah it is. It just seems not so bad to you because you are healthy.

 

  • The Democrats did not make this up. Democrats are getting sick too. … and as for Trump, he is so low there is no way to bring him down any lower.

 

  • As for the aliens….I got nothin’.

Unfortunately we are also privy to;

  • Many a “Karen” on social media and in person I’m sorry to say, ranting about having to wear a mask.

 

  • I’ve heard a grown man in the check out line at the grocery store shout “It ain’t my fault for the virus! Whatcha so afraid of? Open up another damn cashier!” – by the way, this gent was wearing a mask and gloves. I finally saw an oxymoron in human form.

 

  • People complaining about having to follow the arrows on the floor at the grocery store. Yes. It’s a pain. Yes. It can be a nuisance. No, it’s not okay to shout at the 15 year old employee about how much of a pain and nuisance it is.

 

I get that masks are uncomfortable. So are ventilators. I get that standing 6 feet apart is a nuisance. I would rather stand 6 feet from someone then not being able to be 6 feet near someone if they are in the hospital. I get it’s scary. We aren’t in total control anymore… like we ever really were. Every day there seems to be a new rule. It can be hard to grasp what’s what. I get it. You gotta remember. We are all in this together. I don’t mean in a “kumbaya” sort of way, not even in a “we’re in the same boat” kind of way. What I mean is, more often that not, we are all anxious. We are all weary. We are all suspicious. We are all sad. We are all wondering what’s next for us and for the world. We are all trying to adjust to this new normal. We are all hopeful. No matter your age, race or gender, we all wake up everyday feeling one or all these things.

Wear a mask when needed or asked. Be kind. … and wash your damn hands.

 

*Side note, I know some Karens that are actually quite nice.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, writing

It’s been a time

Here we are. March 22, 2020. I work in the Ladies department at a local shoe store. The shop finally made the decision to close up shop last Thursday evening. Let me tell you, it felt like 20 pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I don’t think I’ve meditated or gotten “right with Jesus” so much in my life as I did everyday last week. Every morning I would be getting ready to go to work with a sense of dread… not the usual retail job dread. Trying to quiet my mind from all the what if’s, what’s happening, it is safe questions swirling around in my head. I cannot even begin to imagine how all our beloved health care workers are feeling. My hat goes off to them and my heart goes out to them.

Many people are abiding by the new social rule of social distancing, self isolating and such… and many, I am sorry to say are not. This past week, with every world leader (except for Mr. Trump… yes, I said Mr., the buffoon has not earned the title of President… don’t get me started), radio station, television network and social media site declaring the rise of Coronavirus and what to do to decrease the impact and flatten the curve, there are still people out there that just don’t get it. Here are just a few things I personally heard and saw this past week;

  • Families with babies that aren’t even walking yet coming in to look at shoes.
  • People bringing their elderly parents, that have oxygen tanks in tow, in to shop for shoes.
  • People walking right past our sanitizing station.
  • Lady comes into the store. There are literally no customers, just her. I ask if she needs some help. “No. I was told to work from home, but I got bored so I thought I’d look at shoes.”.
  • Lady comes into the store, carrying her dog. Walks through the entire store, touching everything in her path. We ask if she needs help to which she tell us “Nope. Just looking. Just got off a plane from out West. I showered though, so it’s all good.”
  • A couple comes in looking for men’s sandals. They ask if this is all we have. I tell them “Yes. We will have more in April. We are closing until March 31st. to help flatten the curve.”. “Oh, well that’s good” the lady says. “If more people stayed home, the virus would get under control.”.  … lady…you are out of your house.
  • A lady came in the store, freshly tanned bragging about her trip that she just returned from. My coworker stood 6 feet from her and the lady laughed at her, going on about “are you doing what the news is telling you to do?”
  • A father and daughter… I think it was his daughter, came in looking for tall black boots… I hope it was his daughter. I passed them the boots then stood back. They asked how late we were open, and I told them our usual time that we close then added “it could change at anytime because of what’s going on.”. The Dad… I really hope it was the Dad, looks at me and laughs “I don’t get what the big deal is. I’m a nurse and I’m not worried. Everyone needs to calm down.” …sigh
  • A woman and her daughter came in to “look around”. I didn’t have the size she was looking for. She said she was going to go to the mall. I let her know all the stores in the Mall are closed until at least March 31st. Her exact words “Really? How come?”. I shit you not people. I had to explain about the closures to non essential services…then had to explain what non essential services meant.

I have also witnessed many acts of kindness and courtesy. Customers keeping their distance, telling me they can help themselves. Customers asking if I was alright and if my family was alright. Customers thanking us for putting a shoe aside for them to pick up and go. Maintenance workers thanking us for getting them the proper safety footwear. Nurses thanking us for helping them get new footwear. I even had a customer ask if I had my own hand sanitizer.

 

These days we wake up each morning to new stats, new “how to’s”, new rules. We may not be able to control much these days, but we can control ourselves. Our actions, our reactions, how we treat one another. Check on your neighbours. Check on your friends wherever they may be around the globe. Shoot them a text. Your phone does more than host your apps and filter your pics, it actually is a telephone. Once and a while, call someone. Let them hear a voice other than their own. If you hoarded toilet paper, redeem yourself and give out some rolls to the people in your building or on your street. Donate food to the food bank. Wash your damn hands. Take a breath.

Be kind. Be compassionate. Plain and Simple.

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

2020 Vision

Here we are. The first day of a new year and a new decade. Every time I scroll through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter I see post after post of the decade challenge, descriptions and memories of the past ten years. Achievements, celebrations, life changing moments, you name it, it’s been posted. Few posts celebrate the lows, the struggles, the set backs.

Over the past week, all I could think about was writing again. All I could think about was how I started this blog, all that had transpired in my life, professionally and personally that steered me away from writing. No matter how hard I tried to place blame on any and all events, I came to one irrefutable truth. I was the reason I wasn’t following my gut, my passion, my calling…name it what you will, it was me and me alone that allowed my circumstances to control my life, my actions or lack there of.

I look back on myself and my life 10 years ago. It began selling shoes, missing the beauty industry I adored and the shop I had run for many years. Then the powers that be gave me an opportunity and I grabbed it! Managing the Salon/Shop I adored. Soon after, I began my blog and opportunity after opportunity came my way. Writing for beauty sites and online magazines, consulting Salons on how to improve their retail presence and sales. Being invited to Beauty industry galas. Things kept falling into my lap. Sadly, in 2016, the shop closed. I tried to keep writing, but the fire within was slowly growing dim. A dear friend of mine had a cheese shop and she was looking for some help over the lunch hours. I thought it would be fun, so I said yes. 15 hours a week turned into 40 and I was enjoying it. Learning new things, helping increase the retail presence and forging relationships with the regulars. Yet I was still longing for something. I felt like the world was spinning around me and I was standing still. Sadly, the shop closed. I took a few months off from working. My husband has supported my writing and my drive from the start. He said “take this time to focus on your blog, your consulting, whatever it is you want.”. I found myself staring at my computer, re posting old blogs. I had no idea which road to take. Do I continue to consult? Do I continue to write about Beauty? Do I continue to review products? Do I write about parenting? Do I write about lifestyle? Do I write about kindness? Do I write about how not to be an asshole? …. exhausting reading this huh? Try thinking it all…the…time.  All the while having real life staring me in the face. Husband having a heart attack in 2012 at 39. Father having a heart attack a week later. ( I told them both to stop competing for my attention). My lovely, beautiful, intelligent daughter struggling with mental health issues and trying to get her the help she needed. Be a good wife. Be a good daughter. Be a good Mother. Laundry to be done, child to raise, marriage to keep intact, pay the bills, get the groceries. …this is how I know there is a higher power…god, the universe, the smurfs, whatever you call it, it’s real. I know it’s real because I firmly believe that is how I got through this past decade. There was many a morning I did not want to get out of bed, many a day I did not want to leave the house, but something helped me. Something got me moving, and I may think I’m all that, but even I’m not that good.

Even though I had the support of my family to focus on me, there were bills to be paid. My old employer at the shoe store heard I was free and offered me a job. Whatever hours or days I could give. So here I am, 10 years later, back where I started from. Funny thing, most people find that sad. I get many a “Oh…so you’re back there again huh?” comments. To be honest, I felt the same way for the first few months. Once again, a higher power knew what I did not. That this is exactly where I was and am supposed to be right now. My life for the last 18 months was turned upside down and all around. … a tale for another time.  Being back at this job allowed me to change my day off at a moments notice. Being able to tell my boss “I gotta go” in the middle of a shift and him responding “Do what you gotta do, see you tomorrow.”. It also gave me the time for me. I had time to read, to educate myself, to take a hard look at my life and my responsibilities. To take a hard look at myself, to be accountable about my part in how my life was going, professionally and personally, to own my shit if you will. I may physically be back where I started, emotionally and mentally, far from it.

I have no idea where my feet will land next. I do know this. It is up to me and me alone to decide. To do the work. To put forth the intentions AND the effort. No one, I mean no one is going to do it for me, nor is it anyone’s fault I am unfulfilled but my own. It is up to you and you alone to fill your cup, and today, it may just be a small drop, but my cup is beginning to fill.

 

Beauty, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat, Women

Brushes! Flat Irons! Blow Dryers! Oh My!

This month marks 3 years since the Salon/retail shop closed. Even though 3 years have passed, everyday I am asked about hair products. At the grocery store, in line at the bank, even at work, from coworkers and customers alike. Sure, I live in a relatively small town, 150000 people…in comparison to Toronto…it’s small, so it’s not a big surprise that the shop’s old clients & customers run into me from time to time. What is surprising is the lack of product knowledge and advice being given by their stylists. At least once a week I am approached by a woman asking about a product, how to use a product or where to purchase a product. Most of these women are at a loss because their stylist told them, I hope you are sitting down, to go to the drug store and grab shampoo or hairspray off the shelf. We all know my opinion on that. For a reminder;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/01/26/yes-there-is-time-for-that/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/08/15/if-you-dont-wanna-play-get-off-the-field/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/07/05/hair-surance/

 

Since it’s Thursday morning on my corner of the globe, I thought I would give you all some Throwback Thursday Tales about brushes, flat irons and blow dryers. A “what’s what” if you will. Feel free to share.

The Wet Brush = life changing!

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2015/07/20/monday-motivator-the-wet-brush/

 

A breakdown of blow dryer motors, wattage and more

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/03/18/blow-out/

 

There are many flat irons on the market – these 3 brands will give you what you are looking for and if you want to try a new brand, at least you’ll have the knowledge of the desired features.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/11/would-a-flat-iron-by-any-other-name-still-be-as-good/

 

For more great hair tips, just enter any key word, such as hairspray in my “What can I help you find?” search bar, up on the right hand corner of my blog, hit enter, and read away!

 

 

 

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

A different kind of Monday Motivator

It’s Monday once again. It’s December 17th and holiday preparations are in full swing. School pageants, church socials, pop up Christmas markets, holiday open houses, tinsel and Christmas lights as far as the eye can see. …oh, and my favorite of all…holiday retail hours. Yours truly is working 8 out of the next 9 days. Perks of being a strong salesperson I guess. For many of us, the two weeks before Christmas can be exhausting for we have our own life and family responsibilities on top of all the other responsibilities and to do lists that accompany this time of year.

Usually my Monday Motivator’s are to cure your hair woes and ensure a good hair day on Monday and everyday. Today is to bring a smile to your face, some warmth to cure your soul and add some joy to your day. I have compiled my most popular holiday posts and “Tales of Truth” for you all.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/12/16/christmas-presence/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/12/20/its-the-little-things/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2015/12/14/tales-of-truth-the-holiday-editions-2/

 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/11/25/the-emily-post-of-holiday-retail/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/12/08/tales-of-truth-the-christmas-chronicles/

 

Be happy. Take a breath. Take five minutes for yourself, to sip a hot tea, a crisp chardonnay, savor a Christmas cookie, text your friend a funny holiday meme, share this blog. Add some joy to your day and that joy will spread.

 

 

 

Business, That girl in the red coat

First Impressions

Yours truly has been in the customer service/sales biz for over 30 years. I have sold everything from luxury cars to hairspray, shoes to gourmet food items. Training, product knowledge, product testing, having the right person for the job, having a strong sales team and a firm yet fair management team are vital to any business’s success. All of the above factor into the image you want your business to convey, be it a car dealership, a shoe store or a Salon. Dress codes are put into place, policies and procedures are followed to convey knowledge and professionalism to the customers and clients. The proper lighting, shelving and product placement are mulled over until they are just right. Phone scripts are followed for consistency. The list is endless.

A few weeks ago I was contacted asking for my opinion on an Infographic. It was an Infographic on “curb appeal”. When we hear the term curb appeal we automatically think of selling houses. Graphic House Inc. , http://www.graphichouse.com gave yours truly a light bulb moment. Curb appeal has a huge impact on businesses as well. Business owners spend thousands of dollars on their image, their social media presence, their products and their store layout yet many times their outside image falls to the way side. Think of it this way, if your business looks disheveled from the outside, more often than not, the customer will assume the inside of your business is the same, if not worse and will not come in.

To give you a how to if you will, here is the link from Graphic House Inc. I was telling you about;

https://www.graphichouseinc.com/blog/how-to-improve-your-businesss-curb-appeal/

I have personally washed windows in 4 inch heels while managing a Salon. I have swept more front stoops than I care to remember. I have picked up trash that was not mine because it was in front of the shop. I have spoken with landlords about painting parking spaces for wheelchair accessibility. I have watered plants and planted greenery to make shops more welcoming. It takes a few moments of everyday to keep it clean and appealing. A fresh coat of paint may cost you a few hundred dollars. Trust me, invest a little and your sales will follow. A little bit of effort goes a long way. The more appealing your business looks from the outside, curiosity will spark and more people will want to see what’s going on inside.

 

Business, communication, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat

… oh the things I hear

As you know, I have been in the retail/customer service biz for over 30 years now. Yep. 30 years. From running the first central dispatch for Pizza Hut Canada back in the 90’s, to selling everything from hairspray, shoes and luxury vehicles. Over the decades, there has always been one commonality. The strange, the rude and the down right odd things people say to salespeople. In sharing these zingers, my hope is to bring a smile to your face and if you happen to know anyone who behaves/speaks like this, maybe together we can help them. …and yes, I am sorry to say, the following have been said to me. I constantly have to remind myself “do not show it on your face”. I can’t make this shit up.

  • “Will this boot shrink?” – a woman asked me if the Hunter rubber boot she was trying on would shrink in size. I asked her if she meant would it stretch. Nope. Her concern was it would shrink.

 

  • “This sandal is too big…look how much my foot moves!” …she was trying on a flip flop.

 

  • “How am I supposed to hold the hairspray?” …the can stated it was “hard to hold”. …psst…that means the hold factor of the spray itself.

 

  • “If I never use the back seat why do I have to get a 4 door car?”. I let the gentleman know we offered a 2 door sedan. “Oh, 2 doors won’t do.”. …sigh

 

  • A couple did not think it was fair that they couldn’t get approved for a car loan. We explained that they hadn’t paid their phone/cable bill in 9 months to which they said “well, they changed our plan and we didn’t like it so we won’t pay until we get what we want!”. …FYI – that’s not how that works. If you don’t pay your bills, your credit rating plunges and lenders aren’t a fan of bad credit.

 

  • “I need a shoe that fits my Orthotics.” I asked her if she had them with her. “Oh no, I never wear them.”.

 

  • “These are men’s shoes! There is an “M” on the box!” …we were in the ladies section. FYI – an “M” = medium width. A “W” = wide width.

 

  • “Can you tell me where my toe is?” … a woman trying on a 4 inch pointed toe stiletto heel.

 

  • “Is there enough room in this shoe for growing room?” … a question posed to yours truly from a woman in her 40’s. I let her know that her feet have probably stopped growing to which she said “Yeah, but what if I gain weight?”.

 

  • “Are these slippers slippery?”

 

  • A woman came in looking for winter boots. She picked up a pair and asked if they were winter boots. I let her know that although there was fur inside the boot it was a fashion boot. It had no thermal grading and was not waterproof or water resistant. I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about because “anything with fur is for winter.”.

I could go on, but I would get carpel tunnel, so I shall save more for later. Enjoy the giggles Beauties.