Two Parts Coffee, One Part Christmas Cookies

Cynthia Compton - December 13, 2017

We’re in full-on elf at the shop, and the curling ribbon is flying. So, too, are the Post-It notes, as we endeavor to communicate between shifts and team members about new product, special orders, assembly instructions, and all the myriad of details it takes to successfully load the sleigh. Keeping in mind that many of our young customers are Santa experts, we cannot afford to slouch in the holiday magic department. Here’s a sampling of the collage of notes currently behind our register:

Special Order Curtis family: Needs Grocery store assembled for pickup by Saturday. Call Grandpa – he has a truck to pick up item,  but daughter says DON’T LET HIM LIFT IT. Bag for Grandma is in stock room, presents should be wrapped with different paper for each child. Put tags on everything with CHILD’S NAME, not item, as two can read. Also, use all caps, write big.
Cynthia: Megan Martin (??) called, said you know her from dog rescue, wants that book you told her about. Text her. (note: please use the book referral cards if possible – we put some in your purse.)
Look up purchase history for SPENK family. 10 yr old boy got first book of fantasy series for his bday in October, mom doesn’t remember, but he loved it. Pull #2 and #3 if available in paperback. 
Please call damages in to wholesalers each day as they are received, or Cynthia will do her “angry elf” impression. Call tags should be printed daily for those items to return. 
STAFF NOTE: Do not accept returns on “Monster at the End of This Book” without receipt. It’s Kohl’s Cares season again…
Toys for Tots box was full, so we emptied it and put items in large garbage bags. Call Marine Reserve office and arrange pick up. Note: Natalie would like to be scheduled for the shift when Marines are expected.
Cynthia: drawer didn’t balance tonight, and we are out of $1’s. Also, we opened the last roll of credit card paper. We need more Windex, Kleenex and antibacterial wipes. There was a bloody nose incident at story time. Also, might be good not to let the Pretely twins sit together.
UPS tracking requested for packages sent to Vancouver – call customer. Also, 3 boxes that were signed for on Bloomington order are damaged – duplicate items on Direct to Home and print claim form, leave on Cynthia’s desk under the wine bottle.
Evening shift staffers: please do not leave voice mail messages for customers re: special orders with item details. Use the following script: “Hi, it’s …….. from 4 Kids Books. We’d love to see you soon! ” (then give store hours for that day, the next day, and the weekend.) LITTLE ELVES ARE LISTENING.
Lost: small blue lovey, looks like earless dog.  Found: an earring, two gas gift cards, and another baby shoe.
Note on Shepard Family order: they celebrate both holidays, wrap half in Xmas, half in Hanukkah. 
Reminder: please do not use the term “stocking stuffer” with customers. Many of our young friends are unaware that adults think that these items are purchased. When asked about “stocking stuffers,” please direct customers to smaller popular gift items near the register.
Staff reminder: no students will be scheduled for shifts during final exam week. College students will not be given morning shifts on the first day after their last exam. If you trade for someone else’s shift during this time, do so with the knowledge that Santa is watching your GPA.
DID YOU EAT TODAY? (snacks in fridge) ARE YOU SURE? (pizza gift cards in cubby behind register)
Mrs. Gregor wants her packages held another day as it’s too icy for her to drive. If someone wants to drop them off on their way home, they may add that time to their hours.
Snow Shovel: back closet. Bag of de-icer: stock room. Extra jackets are on hooks behind door. Take one. CHARGE YOUR PHONE BEFORE YOU DRIVE HOME.
Staff: baked goodies from customers are in the stock room, please take what you want, and we will deliver the remainder to the shelter downtown each week. Someone please box up the old ARCs, too, and we’ll take those along.
Ornaments from Paint-a-Story need to be delivered to St. Augustine’s Home for the Aged.  Who wants tree decorating duty this week? Also, drop off those puzzles with the damaged boxes in the community room.

Note from Cynthia re: store music. Dear Evening Crew, you may play whatever you like during the last hour, but please remove CD’s from player at closing and lower volume control. Reminder: this is a NO CHIPMUNK ZONE before 6 pm

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About Cynthia Compton

Cynthia is the owner of 4 Kids Books & Toys in Zionsville, Indiana, a 2600 sq. ft. childrens store founded in 2003. She serves on the board of the American Booksellers Association, is a past president of the Great Lakes Bookseller Association, and is a former member of the American Specialty Toy Retail Association board of directors. 4 Kids was honored with the Pannell Award in 2013 and has received numerous "best of" awards in the Indianapolis area. The opinions expressed in her posts are her own, and sometimes those of her english bulldogs.

6 thoughts on “Two Parts Coffee, One Part Christmas Cookies

  1. Fran Manushkin

    This was amazing to read. So much to remember. And oh, that Natalie:
    ” Natalie would like to be scheduled for the shift when Marines are expected.”

  2. Cynthia Compton Post author

    Thank you, Fran. Natalie *might* be a pseudonym, as all of us who appreciate a uniform will certainly understand.

  3. Summer Laurie

    This is brilliant, Cynthia! And pray tell, what are “book referral cards”? We may want to borrow that idea 😉

    1. Cynthia Compton Post author

      Hi, Summer! We have little index cards with a picture of the store on top, a GIANT FONT phone number, and lots of room to jot down book suggestions. I had two sets printed: one general one for the staff, and one with my name on them. We use them to write down titles for customers. Lots of stores have them – I’m sure I copied this idea from someone.


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