Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yeah, that's bad!

I'm starting to get a little worried for my job. Things are really slow. We're hurting for business. People who aren't in retail don't realize the sacrifices small businesses have to make in times like this. Let me enlighten you.

I work in a SMALL business. Like 3 employees to staff 2 stores small. We're on a first name basis with our regular customers small. We have no office, the manager uses her home email. Get the picture? There's not a whole lot to fall back on in tough times. We make do with what we have. Our computer runs on Windows 97. The vacuum cleaner at Giggles died, so I have to use the one from All Through the House. Same with the printer. (Yes, I schlep them down the sidewalk). The kicker? The toilet at Giggles stopped flushing last year (It is at least circa 1970) - I forget exactly when, but we can't afford a plumber right now. We have to use the bathroom next door - not fun in January. You have to plan ahead. Swiffer dusters have become a luxury we can no longer afford.

So, yes, times are tough. It starts to wear on you when day after day you have only one or two customers in the store over an 8 hour period. You have to find ways to entertain yourself. You jump on "store-related" projects because they make you feel productive. All summer I worked on the tan on my left shoulder, because that's where the sun hits me when I sit on the bench on the sidewalk and read. I get a lot of my knitting done at work. I finished one Christmas sweater so far, a sweater and one and a half pairs of socks to go.

So today, I decided to tackle a major project - see if I can fix the toilet. Important facts about this project: 1) the bathroom is not heated and 2) we have no water heater or water softener. It was easy to discover the root of the problem - 30 plus years of hard water scale coating the innards of the toilet. I can fix that! So, I got the vinegar and away I went. After a few hours of soaking and a little scraping - lo and behold we have a toilet that works 95% of the time! The other 5% only needs a little nudge on the float, and it's all good. It was a major triumph. I no longer have to leave the building to pee! Just in time for winter in the unheated bathroom...

It is the accepted rule in our stores that as soon as you have a project, customers will start rolling in. Today was no exception. Three big spenders all in the stretch of 90 minutes. But I made the mistake of actually finishing work on the toilet before noon. The last 6 hours of the day? Two people crossed the threshold. Well, I did make some good progress on those socks.

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