Shop ‘Til You Drop


Now I know why people write for a living. They’re afraid to work retail. Getting accustomed to customers is not for the faint of heart.

Recently, I joined the ranks of the gainfully employed. I chose a job where I could do what I love best – play with plants. I thought it was a mighty good idea to work surrounded by plants, caring for them and watching them grow.

The nursery who risked everything to hire me is a lovely place with thousands of beautiful plants which we tireless workers must keep watered. It sounds easier that it is. Texas is a very thirsty state.

While I water, I ponder life. Is there really a perfect man? Where did I leave my reading glasses? Has anyone ever seen a baby pigeon?

Unfortunately, my musings always seem to get interrupted by customers. And boy, are there some doozies out there.

So, as a public service to all you loyal readers, I’d like to explain the different kinds of customers I’ve encountered. It’s up to you to figure out which type you are. Hopefully, after you do, you’ll change.

On A Mission
Actually, this is the only possible way to be a good customer. A typical conversation with this type goes something like this:

ME: “Hi! Is there anything I can help you with?”
OAM: “Yes! I’m looking for a Venus Fly Trap. Do you have any?”
ME: “Well, I’m not sure as I’ve only worked here a week, but we don’t have any flies, so I bet we’ve got some around here somewhere. Let’s go hunt for a plant that bites.”

This happy customer buys what is needed and heads on so I can get back to pondering why Rod Stewart keeps marrying 26-year-old blondes. Is he in a time warp?

Entertain Me Please
This customer takes much more effort.

ME: “Welcome to the nursery! What can I do for you today?”
EMP: “Oh, I’m just looking. Does this plant freeze in the winter?”
ME: “Let me get my readers to see the tag. It’s hardy to 20 below.”
EMP: “Really? How about this pretty one over here? Say, did you know I had to quit drinking lemon water because my doctor says it’s making my scalp dry?”

This type spends the next hour dragging me around, perusing plants and telling tales of medicinal herbal teas, finding the perfect shrink and the last, ugly divorce. All the while, I wish drinking too much lemon water would have puckered up her mouth instead of her head.

Many Happy Returns
The horror of all customers.

ME: “Good Afternoon! We’re having a 25% off sale today. Ready to grab a bargain?”
MHR: “Why, yes! I’ll take this bird feeder, 3 bags of dirt, 4 blackberry bushes, a dozen herbs, 8 clay pots and that basket over there.”
ME: “Ma’am, that basket isn’t for sale. It’s where we keep our gardening tools.”
MHR: “Oh, I simply must have it. It’s adorable! How much is it?”
ME: “How about $37.50?”
MHR: “Fantastic!”

This type whips out her checkbook and writes out an enormous check while I carefully wrap each purchase in tissue and tote it all to her car. The next day she comes back and returns everything saying, “Nothing seemed quite right when I got it home.”

Next time she shows up, think I’ll sic a Venus Fly Trap on her.

While I water, at least I will no longer have to ponder what kind of person actually enjoys working retail. Obviously, it’s a writer who needs another funny story.

Spreading laughter throughout the world…one chuckle at a time.

Mikie Baker

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3 Responses to “Shop ‘Til You Drop”

  1. Diane Travis says on :

    you sell venus fly traps there?! I want one!!! I hate flies! 🙂 oh and I need a bag of dirt too!

  2. Sue says on :

    Do you have any plants that eat mosquitos?

  3. Forrest Landry says on :

    Okay. You’re in a nursery. Things grow here. Lotsa things. Most are hardy enuf to live in this part of the world, or inside. All need water.

    Inside the nursery are packets of seeds. All kinds of seeds. Most seeds are for plants that are hardy enuf to live in this part of the world, or inside. Your mission, should you choose to quit haranguing customers, is to go thru the seed packets. Carefully. Leisurely. At depth. You are in search of that one packet of The Seeds Of Imagination. You must capture this seed packet and take it home with you. You must plant these seeds, one to a pot, in several pots about the house, lotsa pots around outside, and a couple in the attic. If you’re not mechanically inclined, don’t plant any in the garage, the grease gets into everything and you’ll become known as The Harley Writer. Very dedicated readers, but it’s a very small pool of readers.

    Water the seeds. Tend them carefully. Check them daily to be certain they’re doing well. Those that aren’t, make copious notes about that one plant only. Amass large piles of notes on these various Plants of the Imagination. Take several hours every evening sitting quietly in front of this screen, scanning your copious notes and making succinct and spontaneous notations on a separate page of pixels. Ponder the weird and variously inane manner this multitude of Imaginary Plants are growing, some by Leaps and Bounds (Imagine Traveling to Wild and Wooly Beach Resorts with Buff Beach Boys Bearing BonBons and Bourbon Bouilliabase (I’m not taking the time to look that one’s correct spelling up but if you’ve had enuf Bourbons and BonBons it won’t matter), some growing Lazy and Lackadaisical (Imagine enuf Income to retreat to your very own imaginary Castle, where you can laze and be lackadaisical all day all night Mary Ann – I KNOW you’re not Mary Ann, it’s a metaphor! – where buff bikini clad beach boys bring Margaritas and Moon Pies and a friendly but not TOO friendly Personal Secretary writes all you columns and blog posts and pays all your bills), some growing ever larger and finally taking over your entire house, home, garden and yard, dropping the Fruits of FreeForm Thinking into your lap, urging you to plop this keyboard into your lap and semi-automatically spin out verbiage faster’n it can be typed so you’ll have to get a copy of Dragon, the voice-recognition program and a Bluetooth mic to clip over your ear so’s you can get every word into pixels all the while you do everything else your humdrum life demands and you’ll never miss a deadline ever again and you’ll be able to retire on $2.78 million dollars a year tax free at the ripe old age of 56.25 years and leisurely write another blog on Being Filthy Rich which is why you have a personal spa on your back deck.

    Now: about those seeds…

    Happy Imaginations to you!

    Forrest The Fantastic Fabulist in Free Form Fecundity Forever

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