Felt it in the first half an hour after being in the shop yesterday after a desperate phone call, “Do you still have those wine stockings? The ones you posted a picture of on your Facebook page?” I assured the slightly breathless caller that we did still in fact have a couple left and hung up the phone just in time to hear the “Bing” that alerts me that a customer has opened the front door. Followed by another and another and another. Brand new faces, lots of fancy or funny bottle stoppers, cocktail napkins, gift bags and hearing, “Yes!” when I ask, “Can I help you find anything?”. It started yesterday…
Not sure if it is because we are getting closer to the weekend or if it was simply the date, December 15th, that kicked people into slightly higher gear, but yesterday was the first day that I felt that energy that makes my heart beat a little faster and vibrates just beneath my skin. Every retailer waits all year for this season but as a small, independent, family owned store, we wait and need it more than most and I have to tell you, the way December started, well it had my stomach twisted in fierce knots that has had me feeling nauseous and emotionally drained on my drive home every day.
Yesterday I left the store full of energy, (some of which was caused by the fact that there was a rather large, by SoCal standards, rain storm coming and I am a total fucking puss about driving in that crap. Turned out to be much ado about nothing.) busted through the front door and rather than shuffle off to encase myself in my Queen of Frump sweats I jumped right into making dinner and the re-telling of stories about my day.
The Chuckle Inducing:
“Where are the wines for men?”
“Oh I don’t know how much I want to spend, just Christmas present amount”
“His wife told me to come here and ask for Samantha, she would know what to do” (this is amazingly flattering but telling me you are buying a gift for “John, oh I can’t remember his last name” can be a bit of a challenge. The lady yesterday however, I knew him and the wines he loves…Yay)
“Do you have any nut wines?”
“Do you have a wine opener that even the dumbest human on the planet can use? It’s for my son in-law”
“I need something that tastes like Opus One but is sweet, maybe white and costs around $15.00”
“Can I send you five cases of that sparkling wine? I know you haven’t sold a bottle in six months but I can get you a really good price” (now where was this offer when you sold it to me last time? The reason I haven’t sold a bottle in six months is because you sold the same wine to a huge chain store at ten dollars less a bottle, thus making us look like we are ripping people off..ya douche)
“Hey I’ve got some killer deals right now” (Killer huh? Well I hope they turn on you and eat your head)
“I know you don’t carry it, or like it but I can offer you two free cases on five” (wow, two extra cases of shit wine? How could I pass that up?)
“Help me out here” (from someone I buy nothing from, ever. Why the hell should I be helping you?)
“It will sell buy itself” (fucking lie)
“Vons is selling the hell out of it and with this deal you can offer it for just a few dollars more than they do!” (massive incentive….and how long have you been huffing?)
Caller-“Yes, I put my name on the waiting list for Samantha’s Champagne class on the 30th, how is that looking for me?”
Me- “No one has canceled yet so you are still on the wait list”
Caller- “My girlfriend is going to be so mad at me. I need to get into that class. She told me to sign us up when we first saw it but I forgot.”
Me- “I’m really sorry about that and it’s still early so there is a chance that some folks will cancel and the, um, ten people before you on the waiting list might make other plans. We will be calling and confirming right after Christmas so we will have a better idea then.”
Caller- “Nope. Not good enough.”
Me- “Again, I’m really sorry, these are our most popular classes and they sell out really fast.”
Caller- “But we come to all of them and I have to get into this one. Why can’t you just bump someone?”
Me- “We don’t do that.”
Caller-“And why not?”
Me- “Because that wouldn’t be fair, I mean what if I bumped you to let someone else in?”
Caller-“If it were for something really important I would be fine with it.”
Me- “Well I’m sorry, we simply don’t do that.”
Caller- “Well you’re not very helpful, let me talk to that girl that does the Champagne buying.”
Caller- “Oh maybe you’re new. Not the girl that teaches the classes, the one that buys all the Champagnes.”
Me- “Same girl. Samantha does both and this is Samantha.”
Caller- “Oh good! Samantha, can you get me into your class?”
For all the nutty, (not wines, behavior) the frantic and at times challenging, I love this season. I relish in each, “Bing” of the front door, the running bottles and baskets to the shipping department to make sure they get out in time, the rolling bottles tightly in tissue paper before slipping them into gift bags, the faces new and familiar, the lines at the register. Even the razor cuts, sore feet and back, the tight jaw after dealing with someone difficult…it’s all part of the holiday season and this, this is what we work all year for. Feeling it starting yesterday was an absolute joy….
Woke this morning, a tad sleepier than I normally do, my thighs and hips not sore, but letting me know that they are there, a sign that I did more running, bending and stomping about the sales floor than usual and hopefully, a good sign of more to come. Bring it holidays! My mind, my breath, my memory, my sanity and my body are yours.
I’m ready, come and get me….