Saturday, January 24, 2004

Well, I've had my new job for three weeks now. I'm working at a Christian bookstore, specifically a Mormon bookstore.

Here are some of the highlights of the job.

The Avalanche: I was stocking books on a two sided display when a book at the top of the opposite side slipped, hitting books and CDs on my side of the display sending them crashing, knocking off jewerly from another display, hitting me and creating a pile of merchandise at my feet. I cried out in righteous indignation, " Hey, that's not fair! I was ambushed!"

Big excitment: Last Saturday the power transformer 1/2 a block away exploded with multiple kabooms, setting the utility pole afire. An ice storm in the night had left enough ice for the poles to arc and kaboom.... We were all entertained by the light show, and didn't even lose power, although businesses closer to the fire did.

Funny Considence: I was carrying a copy of "Mormon Doctrine" by Mc Conkie to the computer to do a search for a customer who wanted the book in Spanish, in walks another customer and asks, "Do you have Mormon Doctrine by Mc Conkie?" I handed him the book. Dang, it made me look clarvoyant or something!

Biggest goof-up: Today I got confused about the different rings on the phone and answered an incoming calll like it was a call on hold, "Thank you for holding, she'll be right with you... what, your not holding, oh, well, in that case thanks for calling ..." My co-worker gave me a crazy look.

After three weeks of inventory, shelf straightening, restocking and cleaning, I'm beginning to know what we have in the store and answer questions intelligently.

The Devil has his day: In the Mormon temple there is a tape that shows actors depicting the events in the garden of Eden. I've seen this movie a hundred times. Yesterday, as I was cleaning the shelves for the lectures on tape section there were three tapes by the man who plays the devil! I was shocked, "That's the devil I gasped!"as I recognised the handsome face on the tape covers. Then I read the back of one of the tapes. His name is Michael Ballam, he has a Phd from Indiana University, is an opera singer and a popular speaker. Now you know the devil's Alma Matar. I always knew the dashingly handsome devil was the best actor in the film, but unfortunitely, it wasn't a singing role. That night I dreamed the bookstore had an entire section of books by the devil!

Hearts Touched: One woman was shopping the store and I went to ask if she needed help to find anything. She asked if all the books were by Mormons, then I knew she wasn't a Mormon herself. I told her 99.9 % of our books are either by Mormons or are history books about Mormons, but we had some non-denomimational/inspirational gifts that would be enjoyed by non-Mormon Christians. She said she was looking for something for her son and pointed out a pillow case printed with all types of motherly advise, brush your teeth, mind your manners, never mix lights with darks (laundry advise), etc. I told her I liked the pillowcases too and had considered getting one for my son, but I would write at the bottom, "God loves you, your parents love you, now get your life together." She laughed at that and I told her about my 19 year old son and she told me about hers, He was a 15 year old drug addict who made their lives hell and eventually stole a car. He was now in a "special school", a boot camp/boarding school for young addicts. After no contact for 8 months they were going to visit him for the first time. She liked the school and thought it was run by Mormons since it was in Utah and was very much into values, responsibility, spirituality, etc. (She found out it's not.) We gave each other moral support and wished each other success when we parted.

Well that's a highlight of my first three weeks. Those few monents of humor or effeciency were little highpoints in three weeks of feeling incompetant, ignorant , overwhelmed, underpaid and just plain tired. I try to be kind to myself and realize it's all part of getting used to a new job. There's a advert for a bank that says, "We know your money represents hard work," It has several versions showing people going from newly hired incompetants to skilled pros on the job. My favorite verson shows a lady teacher going from the initial interview with the parents, to the child's first day in her class causing disruptions, to totally wrecking her class and making her a nervous wreck. I guess I could tape my own version starting from blithering idiot to smooth salesperson who knows what book is by which author on what shelf.

"Would you like that in paperback or hardcover?"


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