Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Some thoughts on creativity...


 adjective \krē-ˈā-tiv, ˈkrē-ˌ\
: having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas
: using the ability to make or think of new things : involving the process by which new ideas, stories, etc., are created

It starts with a spark...

Creative energy can strike at the oddest times and when it does, at least for me, it becomes an obsession to do something with it. Sometimes it's just sitting down at the keyboard and improvising a song. Sometimes it's sitting down with a sketchpad and drawing a picture.

Then a tiny flame...

Whatever the inspiration, it takes a hold and does not let go. It becomes all you think about. You focus all your energy on it because you can't just let the flame go out. Break out the bellows and feed the fire.

Soon the fire rages...

You are in the zone now. The song is coming together. The drawing is nearly complete. The story is almost finished. Now is when doubt starts to creep in. Is it really as good as I think it is? Should I change something? I am, and will always be, my biggest critic. Somehow, you move past that and don't burn out.

Until you are left with glowing embers...

You let other people hear it; see it; read it; etc. It's nerve wracking to an extent. Here is a piece of my soul...judge it. This was something inside of me that I am now sharing with you. Do you realize how intimate and terrifying that is? The anxiety alone of wondering if someone else will like it can drive you crazy.

There is a pop...

It was worth it, even if only one person liked it. It was worth it to let the creativity out. If you ignore that energy, it does no good. Embrace it. Others might not understand the force that drives you, but there are others that do because they know what it's like. Surround yourself with those that will help you build a bonfire instead of those that will attempt to stamp it out before it catches.

It starts with a spark.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


So, in addition to the insane, odd, and/or over-the-top book-related questions we get ones that have absolutely nothing to do with The Bookstore. Or maybe WE think they have nothing to do with The Bookstore, but someone else begs to differ. Here are some of my favorites over the years...


Me: How can I help you?

Girl: Can you tell me who was President in 1971?

Me: Um...Are you looking for a book with that information in it? Like an almanac? 

Girl: No, I just need to know who was President. 

Really? Are you on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? I'm not going to answer your homework questions for you!! That's what the internet is for.


Me: Hi, can I help you?

Old woman: What's the name of the eyeglass place that's by your store?

Me: Um....Lenscrafters?


Guy: Do you know if Santa Claus is there for pictures?

Me: I don't know if he's there.

Guy: Can you check?

Me: No. You can call the mall office.

I don't keep track of Santa Claus! I'm too busy during the holiday rush trying to keep track of my sanity.

Coincidentally, both Santa and I find our sanity in a wine glass.

"Do you know if Forever 21 is hiring?"

"I was told I could get a birth certificate here."

"Do you notarize?"

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cry havoc...Black Friday is coming!

It's been quite some time since I updated, but I've been focusing on my musical endeavors lately. Seeing as how everyone in retail's favorite season is upon us, I thought it was time to pop back in......

It sounds so something mothers warn their children about. "Don't go outside on Black Friday!" The real reason it's called Black Friday is because most retailers don't start making their sales plans until this day. Up to this point they've been below sales plan or "in the red" and on Friday they make lots of money and end up "in the black". History lesson over, let's delve into what Black Friday really is....

It's a feeding frenzy of consumerism. It's crowds, grouchy people, and chaos. Perhaps I'm too jaded and bitter seeing as how I have worked every Black Friday, save one (which was the best year ever), for the last 14 years. I get it, people want to save money, but chill the #@$% out! Fights break out, riots occur, and people have died.....DIED! Innocent people killed because of flat screen TVs and XBOX's.

They camp out all week! There are lines of people huddled in tents and sleeping bags around lots of stores already. They've been there since Sunday! There are stores opening on Thanksgiving now. That is just wrong.

Yes, I know not every customer is a crazed lunatic. There are lots of customers that understand the chaos and just go with it. Those ones are fine. It's the ones that expect to get everything they came for and not have to wait in a gigantic line that need a poke with a cattle prod.

For my fellow retailers, if this is your first Black Friday, here are some hints: (Comment with your own)

1. Get to work early. The parking lot may be horrendous, so give yourself plenty of time to find a parking spot and/or to ride a camel to the door because you had to park out in BFE. Most managers will not take, "I couldn't find a parking spot." as an excuse for tardiness.

2. Try to lessen your stress by wearing a festive hat if your dress code permits.

3. Bring your lunch from home or hopefully your store does a potluck/provided lunch. You don't really want to venture out to buy food. Good use of Thanksgiving leftovers.

4. If you encounter a grumpy customer, kill them with kindness. Try not to let what people say get to you. I know it's hard, but let it just roll off your back. If you need to, vent to your co-workers, blog about it, tweet it or update your facebook status about it.

5. The upside is that the day goes by pretty quickly. It'll be over before you know it!

Did you survive? Here's your reward...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Customer Tales Vol 1

Over this past holiday weekend, I encountered quite a lot of memorable customers. Some bad and some good. Here is a rundown...

Exhibit A

 "There's a customer here that would like to speak to a manager." Nearly the moment I stepped out of the break room to start my shift, this is the phone call I get. Great, so first customer of the shift is gonna be a complaint (they almost always are). What a way to start....really sets the tone. So, this guy is mad because he deleted an e-book off of his e-reader, but he didn't realize that meant it was gone from his whole library. He just wanted it off the device, not gone forever. Nevermind the fact that it prompts you with a warning that says, "Are you sure you want to do this??" Well, then he starts griping about how delete means one thing to him and one thing to us. Nevermind the fact that he should have read the damn instruction manual. Do not blame me for your lack of knowledge. So I get our e-book techies on the phone and explain the situation. They are gonna restore his book. The whole time the guy is still griping and complaining...loudly. The tech guy says he needs to speak to the guy to verify something and inside I am doing an evil laugh. Sure, you can talk to the guy.

So, for like the next 15 mins or so, the guy is complaining to the tech and then he complains to one of their supervisors. Meanwhile, this older woman had been waiting patiently behind him. After I handed him the phone, she asks me for help. While I'm looking up her book on the computer, she leans in and says, "What an asshole! I would have thrown his ass out by now, he shouldn't be allowed to speak to you like that." I am trying so hard not to laugh....that loud. I keep looking up her book. She keeps going, "He's just doing this for attention. I have a degree is psychology...I know." Oh, the sass of this woman. I love it! The guy starts getting loud again and she says to him, "Hey, can you be more quiet! I can't hear her!" I want her to stay in the store all the time. We should hire her, just to sit and read and be sassy. "If he keeps this up, I'll cuss him out for you. He's ugly as hell, too" I'm giggling while trying to help her now. "Stay with me, just stay with me, dear." Bless her heart, she is stalling so I can keep helping her! Can you be my grandma?

So, the guy gets some kind of resolution and goes away. "You need to wipe down the counter and the phone after that." LOL! I keep helping this fantastic woman and when I'm done she says she wishes she could stay longer and "protect me". She also said she used to be a police chief! SHE TAKES NO SHIT. Seeing as how she did not live in the area, I will most likely never see her again, but she will go down as one of my absolute favorite customers.

 Exhibit B

Guy on the phone: "Hi, I don't have an author or title, but can you search by a subject or keyword?"

Me: "I can try. Our keyword search engine is down at the moment, but I can see what I can do."

Guy on the phone: I'm looking for books on cuckolding.

Me: .....okay. (typing it into the search)

Guy on the phone: I don't know if you're familiar with the term, but it's when a your girlfriend or wife takes another lover and you watch. It's a great way to keep things exciting in a relationship.

(I had heard of the practice before, I just didn't know the technical term.)

 ****For those of you playing the home game, here is a further definition of cuckolding - "A cuckold fetishist is aware of his spouse's activity, most likely actively encouraging it, and derives sexual pleasure from it." It's also a form of masochism. While she's having sex with the other guy, her boyfriend is watching and she's telling the boyfriend how much better this other guy is compared to him. And the boyfriend is aroused by this humiliation. So ends my lesson.****

Me: Oh, well, I bet is. I'm not finding anything so far. (This is where I type "cuckolding" into Google. I would love to see the face of the person at corporate that monitors our internet history!)

Guy on the phone: Here's the thing, my ex-wife and I used to do it and I've got a new girlfriend now and I've been....craving it, I guess. I told my girlfriend about it and she seems really interested. I want to get her some more information. I'm sorry, that's probably TMI, huh? You're probably thinking I'm some kind of weirdo. 

Me: Well, they say you learn something new everyday. To be honest, this is the best phone call I've had all day! So far, I'm not finding any books just on cuckolding. We have a book on fetishes in general though and their are some e-books online on the subject. Nothing in print form though.

Guy on the phone: Well, I don't know if this is something you or your boyfriend would be interested in, but it's really exciting. As long as he's not the jealous type.

Me: Well, I'm married actually and it's not something I'd really thought about, but I thank you for the information and I hope you find what you're looking for.


Was that a proposition? Was he fishing for more partners? He didn't sound pervy. He was super nice and I didn't get that John Waters vibe from him. Whatever floats your boat, sir!

Exhibit C

I'm not even going to get into this because I'm still trying to recover from it. A woman told me that E L James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, writes in a similar style to Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. "She's a fantastic writer, I'd compare her to Austen and Bronte."

I died a little inside that day.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Crazy to the Third Power

I sincerely apologize for not updating the blog recently, but other things have taken up my time.....hmmmm, perhaps I will blog about that. Anyhow, let's get back to it, shall we? This is currently my 14th year of retail hell, so I've had some interesting customers over the years. These three are just the most recent oddballs. Also the fact that they all share the same first name boggles the mind. Apparently the name Charles means: one who is manly and strong. Riiiiiiggghhhtt. Not these ones.

Charles Cubed

Charles #1.....aka "Burpy" Charles.....aka MY NEMESIS! Usually, I am pretty patient with people. I can keep my composure on the outside and smash a brick into your skull on the inside. "Burpy" Charles pushes that ability. He makes a vein appear on my forehead that is not usually there. I should perhaps explain why I have dubbed him "Burpy". He the middle of sentence.....while he is talking to you. He is an oily, sweaty, pig of a man. We rejoiced when he moved out of state! You should have seen my face when I spotted him back in the store. He can be belligerent and rude at times. I feel really bad when a new person gets stuck trying to help him. Someday, I truly....truly feel I will shove a pencil into his eyeball.

And the staff will build a statue in my honor.

Charles #2....aka "Pervy" Charles. This Charles I don't usually have the pleasure (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) of helping because he spends most of his money in the DVD department. He earns the moniker "Pervy" because he likes to watch movies with naked women. Not porn, but movies where an actress shows off her Talent and Ability, if you get my drift.

He has his own lists of movies written down, all coded to denote what gets shown off in said movie. T = tits, etc. He has no qualms about letting you know his disappointment when he expected to see a certain body part and it was not the case. "Pervy" Charles really is a nice guy. He is a self-admitted "Dirty Old Man" but it is kinda sweet to see him get a bit choked up when he's praising the service he gets in our DVD department because they help him find his skin flicks. ;-)

This is his bible.

Charles #3....aka "Math" Charles. I speak to Charles nearly every shift I work, sometimes several times. He always wants obscure, high level math books and the occasional kung-fu book. Which leads me to think he is some sort of savant with a black belt. He doesn't interact very well with others. If he doesn't like you, he will let you know or he will let someone else know. I am usually his first choice to help him, so he gets fidgety if I'm not there or one of his other "approved booksellers" aren't there. Lately, he's been wanting math books in other languages. He thinks I speak French because I pronounced a French title to his liking! The other day he began a sentence with, "When you speak Chinese, April, how do...." The only Chinese I know is what Kai-lan has taught me (Ni Hao!).

Some other notable moments:
 - While he was in the store, he started doing what I can only describe as a "Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix" move. Followed by a tossing around of an imaginary football. 
- Another in-store moment, there was another customer waiting behind him. After that customer was helped, Charles leaned in and asked me, "Does that man have a history of being mentally unstable?"
- Someone put it in Charles' head that his phone may be bugged because the line kept getting static.
- Telling someone they had a baboon butt. 

Whenever I help Charles, I think to myself that maybe he is secretly a millionaire with no family and in his will, he will leave me lots of money because I was so great at helping him. I also think that if he ever snaps and goes on a mass killing spree, I will be spared. Dane Cook explains it well....even though "Math" Charles is not a co-worker...


Friday, May 25, 2012

Everyone Poops....On the Floor.


Gentle reader, you may be asking yourself why I'm blogging about shit, in the literal sense. I felt compelled to record, in writing, the various experiences I have had with this particular subject at The Bookstore. You know for posterior...uh... prosperity's sake. These are the stories that I wait a few weeks before telling any new hires, just in case they decide that it just ain't worth minimum wage.

Incident the First

There was a woman who was standing in line at the cash registers who had apparently eaten some chili that was laced with PURE EVIL because she left a trail from the line to the bathrooms. Thankfully, they are near the cash registers. Of course, now there is um....something brown on the tile and carpet. While I and another brave soul, try to clean off the carpet, this poor woman has barricaded herself in the bathroom. I felt bad for her, I really did. Her pants, obviously, are ruined and she can't leave the safety of the bathroom, which ain't a pretty sight either after she was done. Bless her heart, much of it she cleaned herself. Mall security was called in order to find her daughter who was wondering the mall and sans cell phone.

Incident the Second

This one I was not present for. Which saddens me in a morbid way, because it's just so outrageous. An older man had a "blow-out" if you will. Those of you with children will understand. The damage was apparently so extensive that he took off his pants and underwear and left them in the bathroom trashcan. Then he walked through the store, into the mall, and in the direction of Sears. Yep. Nothing but a shirt and a smile. Okay, I doubt he was smiling, but still. He must have been a ninja because no customers complained about a half-naked man traipsing through the store. Or they just didn't give a damn.

Incident the Third

This one puts all the other poop stories to shame. It began with the words, "April, come smell this." Never a good conversation starter. Oh look, something brown and squishy on the floor. It couldn't possibly be, could it? Oh look, there's more over here.....and over there....and down that aisle......and on that shelf.......and inside the music department.....OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!!!

There was shit everywhere.....EVERYWHERE I TELL YOU!

Not only are we trying to clean it off the floor, we are trying to prevent other customers from stepping in it!! We were not always successful. No, that's not dog poop you just walked in, ma'am, here let me disinfect your shoes. Took nearly two hours to clean up. Afterwards, seeing as how we have cameras in the music department, we checked the video to see who our pooper was. It was a woman in a skirt, who just seemed to randomly walk the aisles leaving a lava flow in her wake. How do you not feel that coming out of you and down your legs?? And you know what?? I recognized her! She had walked past me as I was scrubbing the carpet. Bitch made eye contact! If I had known at the time, I would have rubbed her nose in it and said "No!"

Honorable Mention
In the middle of our main pathway through the store was found a dirty maxi pad. Did it fall out?? WTF.

So, next time you are at The Bookstore and go to sit on the carpet, remember these stories and go find a chair.

For more potty humor, I suggest the following: