I wouldn't want to think of myself as a close-minded person that pigeon holes people into labels or cliches, but sometimes I simply cannot help myself. When a person works in the retail world at this time of the year, she gets to not only participate in this madness, but also observe. Little do these frantic shoppers know that they are being used to amuse me when I am knee deep in DVDs. For those of you who have little experience in the retail heaven, let me educate on the breeds of folks that seem to come to my store. For those of you who live and breath the retail hell, you can relate and probably add to this list.
The Zombie-She is like a deer in the headlights, but instead of headlights, it is a display of DVD television box sets. Who can blame her. TV box sets are so much more demanding on a last minute shopper's psyche. She had no idea that she would have to choose between seasons! One to Ten for Friends! Should I buy season One or Two of Arrested Development? Oh My GOD! Felicity! THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME! How is she supposed to know which season her teenage daughter wants to own more than anything else this Christmas. This is when I step in to break the zombie trance to offer my wisdom and suggestions in all things television.
The Rumpmaster-This is the customer who not only uses her hands to gather items that cannot be lived without, but elbows, feet, and headbutts if the need arises. Even though she thinks she is being smooth without anyone taking notice, she tries to make her way to the nearest Borders employee using nothing less than her big rump. Yes, the rump can make for a nice wedge between people when there is crap to buy. When this much body is involved in the shopping experience, those books and DVDs are bound to fall to the ground. Now, who is going to help this customer if she just finished wedging herself to the front of the line. Be careful with this strategy!
The MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD-He is under some holiday delusion that he is allowed to wait until there are only two shopping days left and he should be allowed to treat everyone around him like garbage. He lets the Borders employees know he is there by saying, "Um. Um. Excuse Me! Can I get some help????" when there is obviously three people ahead of him. Sometimes, this person mistakes what normal people who were not raised by wolves know as appropriate social cues. Like, "Who was next in line?" He takes as, "Well, I am very important and I waited too long and now I WANT HELP WHEN I WANT IT! I don't care who was next. I AM NEXT!" Then, it boggles his mind when he is completely ignored for the three people in front of him.
The Hard-To-Please-She is not happy. Never. No matter what cartwheel you try to attempt in the middle of the bookstore. You gather her book, but she wants it in hardcover. (Sigh). You get her the calendar she wants, but the boxes are too small. (Sigh). You bring her the CD that she has requested, but she wants two and that is the last one. (Sigh). You show her the nice selection of datebooks and she goes after the one that is a little worn and it is the last one and you can't find one in the back. She huffs and says, "Well, I guess this will have to do." (Sigh). Then, it is time to check out and the line is too long. She turns to you and says, "Why is the line so long?" I have to fight every instinct to scream, "Well, if you didn't wait until the day before Christmas, you might not have to wait in this line and you have been happy with what you are choosing to purchase!!!!!!!" Oh, and of course, she doesn't thank you for your help.
The VERY Rare Beast called NICE CUSTOMER- He says 'thank you'. He says 'Happy Holidays'. He says 'It must be hard to work during the holidays here.' He is happy when I bring him the book that he requested. I want to hug him and ask him back to my apartment to have supper with Tim and me and become our new best friend. But instead, I go out of my way to get him everything on his list even if it means calling three more Borders stores because he is nice. And that makes the difference.