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

Tales of Truth – The Covid-19 Diaries

Well, I know what day it is, finally! Yours truly has just finished a 45.5 hour work week in 5 days. Going from 2 months off and life going at my own pace to meal prep, schedules and watching the clock was tough. Physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s a new world out there folks. It is not business as usual. As you know, from my last post, Ontario has reopened store front retail stores. I don’t know how it’s been for other shops, let me tell you, we were busy. My employers have been fantastic. Truly going on and above to help their staff feel safe. Social distancing measures in place. People manning the door to control the flow of people entering and exiting the store. Hand sanitizer wherever you turn. A sanitizing spray to use on every item touched or tried on. Gloves and masks available if we need them. For this I am grateful. The majority of the public at large have been behaving themselves. They listen to our instruction about not touching everything, to ask for our assistance. To be patient with us, for a sale may take longer than usual. Unfortunately, their have been the “others”. … think Fox news and you’ll get what I’m putting down. So, me being who I am and keeping it real, I thought I share some of the good, the bad and the ugly. Let us start with the ugly and end with the good.

  • we were open all of 20 minutes when a grown man asked to use the bathroom. Under Covid-19 restrictions, all public bathrooms are closed. I apologized and told him we couldn’t open the bathroom to him. He told me “I really gotta go!” to which I apologized once more. He leaned in and said “Fine. I’ll just go take a piss in your parking lot! How’d you like that?”.  …sigh
  • A man kept looking at me as I was helping a woman, so as I walked past I said hello. He smirked at me and said “nice mask” then chuckled. I stopped, looked him straight in the eye and told him my mother made it for me. He then looked down and told me it was a nice mask.
  • I was helping a couple and my coworker looked over at me wide eyed because the couple was so close to me their shoulders were touching mine. … this is after I asked for them to move back. *this is one more reason I wear my mask
  • I asked a woman to please step back. She told me she never gets sick so she couldn’t have anything and didn’t move. I asked her again to please step back and she told me she didn’t know what the big deal is since things aren’t as bad as the news says, and still didn’t move. I told her if a bylaw officer comes in she could be fined. She moved.
  • A women laughed at my coworker, and 17 year old girl, and told her the sanitizing spray we were using on our products was, and I quote “Bullshit. It doesn’t do anything.”.
  • I lost count of the people complaining the government opened things up to early… as they were standing in our store, buying things.
  • At least 10 times a day I was told “I’m sick of this shit! I have rights!” …. blah, blah, blah.

 

Now for the good;

  • A visually impaired lady was worried about me. She had to get close to me to see the shoes she was buying. Before she leaned in she asked me if I was comfortable helping her. Asked me if I needed a mask. I leaned in so she could see my mask, I thanked her for her kindness and told her I was fine helping her out.
  • An elderly gentleman came in with his hands in his pockets, told me he wasn’t being rude, he was keeping his hands in his pockets to remind himself not to touch anything and ask us to help him.
  • A little boy, maybe 4 years old scolded his mother. All I could hear from a row over was “Mommy! They said no touching! You need to listen!”.
  • Many people, especially our elderly customers were very kind. Very thankful for our help. A few told me they missed us and were happy to see we were all okay.
  • A bride and I were almost in tears together. Her wedding had been cancelled, she couldn’t get any of her deposits back and the shoes she had ordered were delayed online. She had made alternate wedding plans but still no shoes and had a limited budget. We had the exact pair and size she needed, at the price she needed too. She was so happy, she couldn’t stop smiling.

The owner and my manager have been terrific. We can text them if we are overwhelmed. We can take a break if we need it. When a customer doesn’t want to abide by the new health regulations, my boss gives them the option to do so or leave. They have our and every customers best interest at heart.

I know we’ve all been cooped up for too long. I know you just want to get out. All I’m asking is you do so in a proper, kind and courteous manner. Abide by the regulations. Wash your hands. Use the sanitizer provided. Practice social distancing and keep 6 feet apart. Stop touching everything you see. Please try to remember that the staff that is helping you is dealing with the new regulations as well. We are trying to adjust to the “new normal” too. We are anxious too. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring either. We have to wait in line at the grocery store too. We have worries about our kids going back to school or who’s going to watch our kids this summer. If our parents are going to be okay. The list is endless.

Remember, we are all in this together. It may not be in the same boat, but it is the same water.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

 

As of late everyone seems to be saying the same thing. Everyone wonders what is happening in the world. Between what is happening in the U.S.A., Brexit, the debate of the existence of Climate Change (which is a real thing), we all seem to be lost, wondering which road to take, which side to stand on and wishing for a simpler time.

A few weeks ago, while my beloved and I were discussing such topics, he said “Remember Little House on the Prairie? It was a great show. That is what family and community should be about.”. That’s when a thought transpired in my mind. I looked at him and said “If that’s the world you want, you can have it”. He looked at me like I had three heads and was speaking in Mandarin. I clarified my thought for him, just as I am going to do for you. When our actions are based in kindness, kindness will spread. When we speak with truth, truth will spread. When are intentions come from a place of light and love, light and love will spread. It’s inevitable. When we face our fear, be it of saying the wrong thing or trying something out of our comfort zone, the fear slowly disappears. We lead by example, to our children, to our family, to our coworker, even to strangers we pass on the street. Speaking your truth not only sets you free, it can unlock the shackles of others.

We have no control of the world entire, nor do we have any control over the actions and words of others. What we do have control over is our own words and actions. The simplest of actions can make the biggest impact.

  • Hold the door open for a stranger.
  • Help an elderly person get their groceries in their car.
  • Offer your child a ride to school or work.
  • Leave a love note in your spouse’s lunch.
  • Call a friend just to say hello.
  • Send flowers, to anyone, just because.
  • When someone is speaking to you, look them in the eye and be present. When you are overwhelmed and someone needs your attention, kindly say “I want to be here for  you, I need a minute.”.
  • When you are feeling unheard, do not get angry. Tell the person you are speaking to “I need your attention. This is important to me”.
  • Support others achievements, never dismiss them. Someone tells you they have decided to be clown, celebrate it. …I however will be in the back of the room for I hate clowns, but I will still be there, cheering them on…from afar.
  • Listen and respect the opinions of others, for you want others to listen and respect yours. You do not have to agree with them. …more often than not, if you take the time to listen, you will find the root of their opinion and maybe, just maybe, you can help shed some light on their lack of information and leave them with something to ponder. …or they may do the same for you.
  • Be grateful, even if your day feels like a shit show. Be grateful. If you can walk, talk and wipe your own ass…that’s a pretty good day.

Create the world you want to see. Plain and simple.

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

Breathe

breathe – (verb) – to take air, oxygen into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire. – to pause, as for breath; take rest.

Breathing. Something we do everyday. We inhale. We exhale. … but what about that pause and take rest part? From what I am seeing and hearing everyday, many of us, including yours truly, remember to breathe in and out but forget about pausing, and taking rest.

The shop opened at 9:30 a.m.. By 10 a.m. I had 6 phone calls, all of which were women looking for a certain product and before I could answer their questions all of them were either panicking, yelling at their kids in the background or speaking over me and telling me;

– why they couldn’t get in today because they had to get their kids to camp, the groceries, the dentist appointments…you name it.

– why they didn’t come by on the weekend – too busy, too much to do.

– that they were too busy to call any other time – too busy, too many other calls to make.

– that their family was over for a vacation and they had been too busy taking care of everyone else and forgot about their hairspray

– that they were too stupid to notice they were out of shampoo – yes…a woman with a shaky voice actually said those words to me.

My rep. was in the shop as all these calls were coming in. In between each ring of the phone, I would put my hand up, tell my rep.”Excuse me for a minute” and take a deep breath, in and out, and would tell myself, “Breathe Sara…it’s not about you.”. – a hard learned lesson for yours truly. Learning that it is not all about you may be the hardest lesson to learn – with the greatest reward. This past week was a hard one. Not going to get into the details for it is not all about me. I thought I was present, thought I was hearing what was being said, thought I had removed my head from my ass, seems I hadn’t. It is safe to say that it is now completely removed, and I learned a hard lesson – I may have been listening to those around me, but I wasn’t hearing them. I was too busy thinking of the next task at hand, or what my opinion was about what they were saying. I wasn’t completely present. I wasn’t taking a moment to pause.

“…the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.” – Brooks Hatlen, The Shawshank Redemption. I am not sure when it happened,  all of a sudden every moment became so dire. Everyday I meet women who are in a hurry. In a panic. I can’t tell you how many times their purchases, their keys or their kids are left at the front desk, or how many times I see;

– Sighing at the debit machine because it is too slow.

– Yelling at their child because they want to take a moment and look at the pretty nail polishes.

– Almost yanking their child’s arm out of it’s socket because they stopped to look at the candies in the candy dish and asked if they could please have one.

– Their lip starting to tremble as they are texting with one hand and entering their PIN with the other.

– Watching their worry about getting home in time for their favorite T.V. show.

– Demanding I tell them why their favorite product was discontinued and told “I don’t know why you are doing this to me! What am I going to do?”.

Ladies and gents…it’s time to take a breath. It’s time to take a moment to pause, to rest.

– When the debit machine is slow, take it as permission to take a little break in your day.

– When your child is looking at the pretty nail polishes, look with them. Ask them what they think is the prettiest color.

– When your child spies a candy dish and asks politely if they may have one – do not yank their little arm. Thank them for using their manners.

– When paying for a purchase, put down your phone. If the call cannot wait, ask the cashier if you could have a moment. Trying to do these two things at once, in my experience, in front of the counter and behind it…it never ends well.

– Worried about missing the next episode of The Real Housewives of where ever? – that is what on demand, PVR and Netflix is for.

– We all feel cheated when our favorite products are discontinued. Try to remember that stylists and sales people are only the messenger’s. Tell us what you liked about your beloved product and we may be able to find you a suitable replacement. … and trust me, it may feel personal – the company did not discontinue the product to ruin your life. They didn’t.

Take a breath. Take rest. Pay attention to those around you. Pay attention to your surroundings. Set your PVR and take a look at the pretty polishes. Take the time to really listen…it’s amazing what you will hear.

 

 

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

Painting a masterpiece

I have to do something I do not like to do. I have to sound like a mother. Yes, I know I am a mother, that doesn’t mean I like to sound like one. Today’s tale is more of a lesson, maybe a lesson you learned but have forgotten…I can only hope. Today’s lesson is this…when someone is speaking to you, listen to them. Shut your mouth and open your ears. You will get your turn to talk and believe it or not, what the other person is saying is just as important as all the little words aching to escape from your mouth.

Every day, and yes, I mean EVERYDAY, someone asks me a question about hair products and before I can finish a response, I am spoken over or get the all time no eye contact crossed arm toe tappin’ favorite “mm hmm” or “uh huh”. First of all, don’t do that, you look like an ass – may I remind you – you asked me a question. If you didn’t want me to speak to you maybe you shouldn’t have asked me a question. Second, just because some chick on YouTube said it was the “best product EVER!” doesn’t mean it is the best product EVER! for your hair. Third, do not select the words you like best that I have said and make up a whole new sentence – the telephone game has had it’s day and that day was in the third grade…last week if you are one of the ponytail yoga pant wearing women who’s turf is the school parking lot/drop off zone.

I understand that there is a lack of customer service out there and that we have all been led down the garden path a time or two, myself included…making your own candy molds kit – enough said. You need to remember something. There are those of us in the beauty biz that are professionals, that educate themselves on a daily basis, that have a passion for what we do, that will tell you the truth about products – not our truth – the truth – the facts that we have learned from our product knowledge classes and the answers we have been given. I can only speak for myself – by the end of every product knowledge class I have attended, the educator is exhausted by my questions. I ask what I know my customers/clients will want to know. If I am asking you to spend $15.00 on hairspray, I know that I better damn well know why. Trust me, I am far from perfect and make mistakes all the time. I also own up to my mistakes, say “I don’t know” when I don’t know and then find out as soon as I can. So, me being me, here is a little list for you. It can be used at your next Salon visit, dentist visit, even with your next coffee date with your bff.

– If you don’t want someone to speak to you, it is a good idea not to strike up a conversation. This tends to make the other person think you want to have a conversation.

– After you have asked someone a question, let them finish their answer – until their mouth stops moving yours should not.

– A conversation is not a game of beat the clock. If you can get your next question out before the other person has finished their answer, there isn’t a prize waiting for you behind door #1.

– If you don’t understand what the other person is talking about, tell them, nicely. “I’m sorry, I don’t follow what you are saying” is always better than “what the hell are you talking about asshole”.

– If you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know. Never pretend you know something you don’t. You will be found out and any respect you may have had will disappear.

– Listen. I don’t mean acknowledge that the other person is speaking. I mean listen to them. Don’t just nod your head silently repeating to yourself the next sentence you are going to say. Hey – you want attention. So do they.

– When someone tells you an answer other than the one you have, don’t assume they are lying. Maybe they have the proper facts and you do not – remember – just because someone is a Doctor doesn’t mean they graduated top of the class.

– As Muhammad Ali said “If you can back it up it ain’t braggin'”. If you can’t back it up – stop braggin’ and check your facts.

So there you have it. Listen. Pay attention. Be patient. Do not assume you know best and everyone else doesn’t know what they are talking about. It is best not to paint everyone with the same brush, if you aren’t careful, you will become a part of your own masterpiece.

 

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

Did you hear?

A dear friend of mine was the truest definition of kindness, beauty and being a woman today. I watched her reach out to another with kindness and sympathy. She shared another’s tears and helped them laugh through their tears. As Dolly Parton as Miss Truvy in Steel Magnolias said “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”. It was beautiful. It was not a planned visit, nor a planned conversation. Just one woman seeing another woman’s pain and helping her. She shared her story, she “spoke her truth”.

This is something that is so simple to do, but few do it. To be honest and open with another person – it is so simple. We all have secrets and mistakes that we aren’t the most proud of. We all have stories that “you don’t talk about at parties.”. At some point or another in our lives, we have felt like the odd man out or a little crazy.  I have said it before and will continue to say it – we all want to be seen and heard, everyone’s time is as important as everyone else’s. Everyday, at least once a day I have a customer that looks distraught or lost or both. Sometimes it is because they don’t know which hairspray to choose, sometimes it is because they just found out their husband is having an affair (yep…it happened), sometimes it is because they are losing a loved one to cancer. I always ask them the same question, “Are you alright honey?”. I ask because I know that we all want to be seen. I ask because I know how much it meant to me when a stranger took a moment to offer me a kind word when I was feeling pretty low.

It’s time to be nice again. It’s time to be kind. If your friend is excited to dye her hair fire engine red – be happy for her. If your son wants blonde highlights- tell him that would look great – do not tell him he is gay (yep…parents still say that crap). If your husband is insecure about his receding hair line, buy him some Nioxin – do not laugh and tell him to buy more hats. When you ask someone “How are you?” mean it. Take a moment and listen to them. If you take the time to listen, you never know what you may hear.