A couple of years ago, my world changed. My Father died. He was 78. It was Melanoma that did the rotten deed. We knew it was coming, yet when it happened, my world stopped and I wanted to get off. Networking, speaking engagements and social media became way too hard for me.
A dear colleague of mine could see what was happening and offered me a job fashion retailing. I reluctantly accepted. I knew I had to get out and get back into life. I do love the labels she stocks and I love how she buys for her clients and her service ethos. I thought it was a short term thing, you know, a few months. Well, two years later I am loving my regular Saturday shift.
I love the old bloke with the corgi called Magic who opens the door and bids me good morning as I clean the floor to welcome clients at opening time. He assures me that Magic wants to say hello, but I know he’s lonely since his wife died. So we chat while I clean. When he goes, I vacuum up where Magic has been. It’s just a bit of dog hair.
I have a bit of fun and jest with the old landscape gardener with the scruffy beard as he polishes off his bacon and eggs while his old border collie waits for a bit. She always gets something. He meets his mate every Saturday for breakfast. I threaten to report him to the RSPCA for cruelty to border collies. I reckon she needs her own plate of food. We laugh! Three months ago she was not there. My eyes darted this way and that. His mate caught me searching and told me she had gone to Rainbow Bridge that week. She was an old dame. My poor old scruffy mate was grief stricken. We chatted about the love for our dogs. Mine were at the Rainbow Bridge gate waiting for his darling. He still grieves. It’s too soon for a new pup. He’s just not ready. I see him and he sees me. We share some values.
I do love using my skills to help the mother of the bride feel fabulous on her special day and not look like a toilet doll in the photos. Are you old enough to remember those dolls? Working gently with the shopping addict and listening to her many ails as we sip coffee together and acknowledge the anniversary of her husband’s death. Carefully selecting a new wardrobe of special pieces for the senior executive who loves to get out of the office environment. Through a process of elimination, we sift through and decide together which pieces will serve her busy life for the coming season. She values professional advice. This stuff is just not her domain.
I’m not often reduced to tears, but it happened in the store recently. All summer stock is on sale. A lady called Josie came in looking for a dress. I gave her one that would fit and flatter her shape. She felt and looked a million bucks! The dress was $157 reduced to $78. She offered me $60, not because she was being a bargain hunter. She offered $60 because it was all she had. I had room to wriggle to $70 on that piece due to its age in the store. She asked me to hold it. I thought I would not see her again. Sisters Carolyn and Gayle in the change room were having a bit of fun trying on sale items. They saw Josie in the dress and told her she looked fabulous. Her posture straightened. The store magic was working on her!
Josie left and came back. She offered me $50 to hold it until tomorrow. Carolyn called me into the change room. I did not respond fast enough. She was out in a flash with a $20 note. “I don’t want to embarrass you, but you look great in that dress and I’ve never done this before, but we want you to have the dress now. “Here you go”, Josie’s jaw dropped and so did mine. She asked if it was a ‘pay it forward thing or a joke’. Carolyn confessed it was Gayle’s idea. Josie cried and blessed them both with her loving words. I wrapped that dress up like it was $1,000. Instead of a sale bag, it got a big, black glossy bag and the tissue wrap was the best I have ever done. The bag impressed her. Carolyn came back out with her walking stick instructing Josie to wear it with pride as often as possible and feel fabulous in it often. Josie left and I had to go out the back for a tissue. I’ve not experienced anything quite like that before. I was overcome with emotion.
Magic happens every day. That’s what I love about retailing. I love the humanity. Simple really.