I enjoyed the comments yesterday — the nostalgic recollections of the whole Back to School shopping experience, especially.
As for the hatred of shopping remarks, I completely agree.
But how do you avoid it? The kids have to wear something. They have to have paper and binders and backpacks. People have to eat something. Yarn and tea and books and sheet music do not grow on trees.
There are people who shop recreationally. In fact, it is the second most popular leisure activity in America. I would prefer it if our nation’s hobbies were things like rock climbing and amateur astronomy or something, frankly. Shopping seems pretty lightweight as a national pastime. But many people love it.
Those of us who hate it still have to do it, though, if only to the extent of the weekly grocery shopping and the annual Back to School shopping, holiday and birthday gifts. That’s my limit, personally. I take full advantage of online shopping (slightly better than physical shopping) and of course there is the Schwan’s man, who comes to my door and offers me berries and sorbet, but at some point you have to go to the store.
Of course, I work in a store. Today I will be at a trade show instead, but mostly I am at the store all the time now.
Yesterday, toward the end of the day — which is to say that we had been closed for a while but people were still shopping anyway — I handed a customer her receipt and said, “If you’ll sign here, please.” My brow furrowed slightly and I took it back. “I’m sorry. You don’t have to sign that. Maybe … I should … go home.”
The Princess turned around and said she would have a receipt for the customer in a moment. She stood watching the printer. Three or four minutes passed. The customer was beginning to look alarmed. She waved her receipt at us. The Princess and I woke up a bit and apologized.
“It’s been a long day,” I said in what was probably a dazed voice. I had been whipping around the store trying to clean up after the legions of shoppers, and was actually feeling a bit dizzy. The Princess had completely stopped moving. It had been a long day. We had run out of sacks.
Shortly after that, we were able to leave. I drove home and made dinner. And then, around 8:00, the oddest thing happened. I sat down at the computer to check my mail — and started working. I uploaded pictures for the store blog, installed a site meter on one of our incidental websites… All the time I kept telling myself to stop, I was through working for the day, I had started 14 hours ago. It was as though I were a golem or something and just couldn’t stop working.
I gathered up enough energy to remove myself from the computer and install myself on the couch instead with Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler. A sad book. I think that all of Tyler’s books involve people whose lives have been messed up by chaos and fecklessness, and yet she is so sympathetic to it.
My kids start school Monday. #1 son has taken a hiatus from work, beginning today, to rest up. He has offered to clean up the house before #1 daughter’s anticipated arrival on Sunday. If he really does that, it will be wonderful. I will be at the store all weekend. I am trying to persuade The Empress and That Man to take Monday off, since I have had some partial days off and they have had none. After that, though, we will have to renegotiate about hours. If I am going to work 54 to 60 hours a week, I really need to do the extra hours for someone else, so that they will result in extra pay.
Okay, enough random persiflage. I have work to do.