Because of our staff vacation schedule, I recently found myself working alone this past Saturday. Generally, working solo for an eight-hour shift is not something I look forward to, but I found the day surprisingly energizing.
Saturday, while a busy day customer-wise, is generally not fraught with massive UPS shipments and a phone that rings off the hook, so it’s easier to really just be there to provide customer service. It’s easy with staff as capable as ours, to not work on the floor as often as maybe I should. Working alone, on a crazy-busy day, forced me to help everyone who walked in the store.
I had no one to punt to when the six-year-old came in wanting recommendations for the books about the Revolutionary War. I worked with that little boy until we came up with the just the right book that had him skipping to his father in historical glee. Several people needed presents wrapped, so I was wrapping and ringing folks up at the same time. It felt a lot like Christmas there was so much going on. This kind of busy-ness makes a store feel vital.
Yes, I own the store and go in there every day, but I often forget to *see* the store. There is something about being responsible for the store for the whole day that makes me see it as a customer would. Is there a section that needs some refreshing? For some reason, when I work with staff, the messes just get tidied up; our staff is good and very attuned to what needs to happen. When I am alone, I know the only one who will clean up after the family of six that left a trail of multi-colored goldfish crackers throughout the picture section, is me.
While I didn’t have time to make an order, I did make notes on what sections look really bare, and what sections need to have returns pulled. And while Saturday was great fun, I was thrilled to have Sandy work with me on Sunday so I could get some of the returns done. And I didn’t have any crackers to clean up.