Preparing for the Onslaught

For the past few days I've been going into work early—hours before the store opens—in an attempt to get the shelves stocked before the holiday crowd hits. Yesterday, I spent four hours just removing empty cardboard boxes from the warehouse and moving new inventory into their place. I've never seen anything like the rush we're currently experiencing. A few customers who read the blog have been dropping by to say hello and shoot the breeze, but twenty minutes later—after they've waited in line for an eternity—they get up to the counter and say, "Dude, you weren't kidding." It's a total shit show, so be prepared if you're coming by to do some "quick" shopping. Today and tomorrow should be utter chaos, which is why I'm mentally preparing myself now. Not only are we exhausted, mentally destroyed, and on our last rope as a staff, but our patience is now going to be put to the ultimate test. This weekend is when all the frantic, last-minute, in-a-hurry shoppers come out of the woodwork, so we'll have to have our A game today. It's like playing in the Super Bowl after you've just finished the NFC championship game yesterday.

To have an understanding of what I mean, let me give you an example. There was a guy in yesterday from out of town who was walking around the store, yelling at his companion about every product he saw. Finally he read the sign about the Cut Spike Nebraska single malt, and screamed at the top of his lungs: "Single malt from Nebraska?!" Crazily enough, the store was so busy that his antics went largely unnoticed by most of the shoppers. He finally made his way over to the counter, looked at me with a squinted, discerning eye, and asked " that single malt really as good as y'all say it is?"

I've been in this situation a million times. You're obviously not going to say, "No, sir it isn't. We just made all that up," so that only leaves the affirmative as an answer. However, if you say, "Yes, sir it is," then they think you're just a salesman who's full of shit, going along with the other "propaganda" in the store that they're too smart for (which is what they're setting you up to be). They're usually waiting to follow up with something like, "Well, it had better be, otherwise I'll be back here looking for you, and you'll hear about it." Me being me—always looking to make a joke out of things—I said, "Well, I sure hope it is because I wrote that sign." The guy just stood there and stared at me. He stood there for at least thirty seconds with a deadpan on his face and didn't budge one inch while I kept scanning the bottles on the counter.

"You see what he did there?" his friend said, breaking the half-minute of silence. "He turned it back around on you. That wuddent no answer." The guy suddenly spun around, began storming down the aisle, launching into hysterics, "What the hell kind of an answer is that?! I'm not looking for no damn mindgame. I just want to know if this thing is good or not. Goddamn single malt from Nebraska! That ain't no goddamn answer!" And then he walked out and never came back.

And that was the fourth weirdest thing that happened yesterday. I'll let you use your imagination about the other three.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll