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Black Friday at the Souk

November 23rd, 2007 at 01:16 pm

I'm on holiday from the Guild, and even though I have a TON of work to do, agreed to pull a shift at the Souk.

I haven't been there in months, and there have been a few changes. Now, all the wenches have earpieces and microphones, and we've finally moved into the new millenium by adding our inventory online. So there's a little less rowdy energy, and a whole lot more hustle.

It's wierd, being back. You see a lot of the "Christmas Machinery" at work -- there's a big push to buy, buy, buy. And everyone is out shopping, so the place is jam-packed. Tempers are already starting to flare: demanding and annoyed customers, crying children. The wenches have already started the holiday back-stall venting.

There's so much pressure to get the perfect gift, but I wish there were as much focus on the everyday gifts: patience, courtesy, kindness. I have to admit, I'm not displaying as much as I should be.

I found myself getting really frustrated with a customer who wanted to pick up an order that hadn't come in yet. She'd been (mistakenly) told it was in a few days earlier, and had come back repeatedly to see if it had arrived. It still hadn't, and she kept asking me why she had been told earlier that it was. I was getting frustrated (because it still hadn't arrived, and I had no clue as to who had spoken to her earlier,) she was getting frustrated (because she didn't understand why it hadn't arrived,) and of course, trying to find a phoenix at this time of year is well...let's just say she'll have to wait for her order to come in. But I looked all over the Souk, just because you have to show the effort. So we tell her (again) that she doesn't need to come back in and check - we'll call her when it comes. She leaves, not thrilled.

So now, we're all totally annoyed: spending too much time with one shopper takes away our attention from the other people who need our help. And as we grouse about the whole situation, we realize that if this lady has been in a few times already, and isn't quite getting the concept of the phrase "it's not here yet" that maybe she's not being sucky, but maybe a little dotty instead?

And then we all felt like jerks, complaining about this little old lady who just wants a phoenix for her grandson. And even if she was being sucky, why let it get us all down?

And as we get this revelation, we get the midmorning report about our sales rate, and how we need to start pushing dragon's teeth, and the sale on leopard spots, and we have be faster in our transactions, because we're not making enough money. And it just bothers me...isn't this supposed to be the season of joy, and of being thankful?

It's hard to feel thankful when it's just reduced to the dollars, instead of the individuals. I hate the pressure that people put themselves under to equate spending with love. Because when they treat that like a number, and we treat them like a number, well...it's just not how I want to live.

And did I mention how my suggestion to not buy me Christmas gifts was met with a polite silence? In spite of the fact that a few family members are having trouble paying the rent? Oy vey.

2 Responses to “Black Friday at the Souk”

  1. tiki Says:

    We have the same problem with our family--they spend in order to show their love. (MIL gave us gold jewelry one year, then needed a loan from us a couple of months later. You can't change the behavior.)

    Anyway, this year we can't afford the kinds of thing we usually lay out a bunch of cash for, so everyone's getting baked goods. I'm telling people to give me something you made, I don't care what it is. It's hard to change an entire family's entrenched culture though.

    Good luck!

  2. annab Says:

    OMG if someone sent me baked goods I would love them FOREVER.

    And I try, you know? I'm giving one relative a gas card and some homemade treats. But I can't spend a lot of $$ this year, and I'm trying to reduce my belongings, so I just really don't have the space to take more stuff. But I don't know that my family will respect my wishes with this. I think they think I'm fibbing: that I really want a lot of stuff, but am afraid to tell them.

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