My computer has been out of commission the last week or so. I have finally gotten back up and running and lo and behold, I am back to share my stores with you, dear reader!
It was my last day in retail. That in and of itself was a shock and change. I was busy most of the day handing off keys and getting the new manager set up with what he needed. I ended up saying goodbye to my staff and customers.
This was all made tougher as they decided to move my Assistant Manager to another store as well.
My staff was exceptionally kind to me. I was given several gifts (all ponies!!) and I was touched beyond words. Seeing the kindness that was given to me by someone, anyone else is always a shock for me. I honestly had trouble accepting it. I couldn’t say anything to them of course as I would never want to offend or upset anyone. Its just the thought of someone giving me something that I didn’t earn ( or felt I earned).
I was just being myself.
The day grew rougher as it seemed every person I had gotten to know as a regular at my store came. I call to mind two instances that broke me.
The first was a husband and wife who were not on the young side (or as they put it, “We are as old as dirt and then some!”). They were some of the few that did not make it in but I felt I needed to call them. The wife had been going through chemo for months and is still one of the most spunky, strong, and enduring person I have had the privilege knowing. Her husband was the Ying to her Yang. They would walk in the door and I would say the same thing each time.
“Here comes trouble.”
And there never was. They brightened every day I saw them and I will always remember them.
And then came the final customer of the day, and my career there.
To provide background on this transaction I will explain. I had a mom and daughter who would come in to shop with me. They had been shopping with me since the time I had moved to be a store manager. The daughter had a few mental disabilities but it didn’t stop her from being nice to everyone. The mom worked hard to make sure they had everything. I knew what games they played and what they would want before they stepped out of the car.
When I had first met them, the daughter was upset because she had seen quite a few people come through the store already. I took the time to explain who I was and let her know that I would be taking care of her and her mom. She got to know me and my family and never forgot to ask how my girls were doing.
Now some people saw her as a burden or a bother in the store (none of whom lasted long at my store). I made sure to take a bit of extra time with them so they were completely happy when they left my store.
Now back to the last day.
I was about to call this pair of favorites as I could not leave without saying goodbye. I was in my back room explaining to the new manger who they were and the special requirements they might need. I happened to look out of the corner of my eye to my security camera and saw them enter. I took a deep breath and asked the manager to follow me as I wanted to hand them off to him as it would help the transition.
The daughter saw me and lit up (as always) cheerfully calling out my name. I greeted her warmly and answered her questions about how I was doing and how my girls were doing. I said they were well but they were busy. She asked why and I told her that it was because it was my last day and I was having to move for family reasons.
She broke down crying in the middle of my store.
The other manager had to step away in an effort not to cry as well. She asked me why, and I explained it to her as best I could. She gave me a big hug, still crying. I told her she would be OK and that I was leaving a few people she knew. She told me that it wasn’t the same. I said that I knew but that she was going to be OK. She took me to her mom, still tears in her eyes and told her. Her mom was in shock. Slowly the daughter explained it to her and the mom understood. I took that moment to introduce them to the new store manager. He did a great job introducing himself and making a personal effort to let them know he was there for him. The daughter, then was drying her tears, comment on some of the pins on his lanyard. This was a sign for me that she was now thatching herself to him.
My heart almost broke in all this. I even for a moment questioned myself leaving, still knowing I had too. I rang them out for my last transaction. I then went to back room to collect myself.
This for me was why I did customer service. This is part of who I am. I have tried to show kindness and love to everyone.
And it hurts sometimes. If done right.
And that is OK.
I soon handed over my keys, clocked out, and said the last goodbyes to who was left. I will never forget my time in retail. I honestly believe that everyone should work a holiday in it to understand just how to treat other people. Life lessons that carry over to everything else.
Here’s to my staff and customers. I will never forget you.
Hug a pony my friends.
I want to thank Shop girl at http://shopgirlanonymous.com/ for all that you have done. It has been amazing working in retail at the same time as you. Sharing stories was always a favorite for me. If you hadn’t yet check out an amazing blog that I plan on still reading.