Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thoughts from my Weekend in Retail

Ahh life. Today is officially what my boss calls "the halfway point" of the summer season at work. May 1 to July 15 to September 30. Seems much farther along than that, but it feels good to be half done!

Working with the public tends to make a lot of workers cynical and jaded, as well as easily annoyed. I, unfortunately, count myself into this group. But every once in a while, you encounter customers that really make your day great. Yesterday morning, I had two separate, older tourist couples in the same few minute time period that I really enjoyed talking to. They asked intelligent questions and also had a lot of interesting things to say. When one of them came back an hour later, we continued our discussion. Those are the times that I love working retail!

And then you get the weird questions/comments. Here are some from this weekend.

"Is there a deli nearby to get a cup of soup?" The man was genuinely disappointed at the thought of traveling a ways to get to the grocery store, and at the lack of restaurants open nearby. Welcome to small town living :)

Fireweed, our lovely pink weed, can be made into jelly and honey, and both are very good. Apparently there is a plant in the Lower 48 also called fireweed that is named because it burns the skin or something. Completely different plant. But I have had many customers shy away from the fireweed products because they expect that it will be hot and it could not be further from the truth. Fireweed is a very sweet, light tasting flavor. I had someone today decide against trying fireweed because they thought it would be "hot".

There is a caribou head mounted onto the wall in the store and I had a man this morning call out to his friend, "Have you seen this moos?" I suppose it could be an easily made mistake...

"Are the pretzels salt free?" No...isn't that what makes pretzels taste good? And if you are going to eat chocolate, something that isn't super healthy for you, why bother with lower salt content?

On a similar note, if you see chocolate covered bacon, why on earth would you assume it is low fat bacon?

My favorite from yesterday: A customer was asking about food caches, and was curious if they were houses for bald eagles. Funny thought right there!

I noticed a man sitting on one our many "husband" benches around the store, but paid no attention. Several minutes later, I walked by and realized his baseball cap was over his eyes and he was taking a nap :) No one bothered him, and he woke up a while later, and I overheard him telling his family that it was refreshing :)

A saying seen today: "Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how it remains so popular?"

I get asked countless questions every day, but there are couple that people continue to ask me and I am almost dumbfounded sometimes by them.

I tell people where the restroom is many, many times a day. Most of the time, it is a generic, "Where is your restroom?" but every once in a while, usually kids but not always, I get, "Do you know where the bathroom is?" To which I sarcastically want to reply with, "No, I just work here."

Along similar lines....I have gotten asked more times that I can count, the genius question of: "Do you work here?" No...I just like to wear this uniform and stand behind this counter for entertainment!!

In other news, apparently this is the coldest July on record so far, at least for Anchorage. Upon reflection, it HAS been a cold summer so far, and pretty dreary. This morning, the clouds were quite oppressive and it looked like a winter morning outside since it was so dark. It poured rain all day and eventually lightened up a bit, but it was depressing for a while!