I filled in at the bookstore for a four-hour shift this past Friday. Because of travel and the flu, the store was severely short-staffed and I happily helped out, and took the 10-2 pm shift. From 10 to noon I was alone. I found myself enjoying the quiet Friday to myself just looking at the new books (so many yummy ones came in since my last shift!). I fielded special order calls, delighting in the surprise in customer’s voices to hear me on the other end of the phone, exclaiming “I thought you retired!” It was a fun morning.
And then I rang up my first customer. I went to put her credit card slip in the cash register drawer and the key, this simple little key that allows me to access all my register cash, checks, credit cards, etc, had broken clear in half. The remaining part of the key was stuck in the lock of the drawer.
Did you know there’s no way to open the cash drawer without that key? None. Or so I thought. One of the things I’ve been enjoying this winter is redoing my house a little bit by slowly remodeling the downstairs bathroom by myself. As I gotten used to stripping wall paper (really, this should just be banned), spackling, repainting and removing a bathroom vanity, complete with sink, I regarded the broken key as something I could fix.
But first you have to understand my track record with fixing things. Before I hit my 50s, I was impatient, impractical, and very guilty of not thinking a whole project through. Like the time I wanted to seal up a few gaps between my back door and the back steps leading to the garage because I was terrified that mice could in. I bought a caulk gun and caulk, and off I went, having never once read a direction on how best to use either product. I loaded the gun and pressed and pressed and pressed, but nothing happened. Then with one last push with my now bleeding hand from the force of the metal caulk gun handle, the caulk exploded out of the bottom of the tube. Turns out, you’re supposed to puncture the tube first. This would have been enormously helpful to know at the outset. And did you know, applying caulk with a butter knife (that’s a story for another day) does not allow for a good beaded line? But, emboldened by my success with the remodel, I thought I stood a chance fixing the drawer.
This idea turned into a multi-step process of removing the entire casing for the drawer, popping the entire lock (the barrel part) of out the drawer and then fashioning a piece of ribbon that could be easily pulled to open the drawer. Simple, oddly elegant, and a great stopgap measure until a new drawer can be purchased. Sadly, my technological skills are not sufficient for me to get the properly oriented photo to show up in this blog, but here’s the finished product.
So, while I may have broken something (something that was likely at least 10 years old), I fixed it without causing more damage. And I’ll take that as a win. Hopefully, the next shift I fill nothing else will break.