HOW would I have known when I started my first career as an art teacher that over 40 years later I would consider, let alone write an article on “my last day in retail?” “
But here I am …
I have often threatened my staff with the words “Wait and see what I say and do on my last day of retail!” I imagine myself being even more caustic to a client than the client is to me and saying what I really think instead of putting on a fake smile and looking at that person like I really care.
I think about spitting on a client’s jewelry when I hand it back to him after he licks his finger off a ring and drops the dirty, disgusting thing in my hand. How much fun would that be? Yes! I can see it now! I would laugh and dance and swear and have a good time.
One of my most memorable moments was when a very wealthy elderly lady walked in with her help and a case of outrageously expensive jewelry that she wanted to have appraised. I spent almost an hour with her deciding which of the most important pieces were priority and gave her a price. She gasped, “Well, honey. It’s just too much. I don’t want to spend money on this!
I could not believe it. After spending so much time browsing through its precious (expensive, but honestly, really ugly) treasures, I was stunned. Then the client said, “Oh, I took so much of your time. I have to give you something. She then reached into her designer handbag and pulled out a purse-sized pouch from Kleenex decorated with pineapple and a sticker selling for $ 1.95. I started to laugh. I couldn’t help myself. What this lady didn’t realize was that she really gave me a gift. Such an outrageous story that I laugh every time I think about it.
So here I am, thinking about my last day in retail. And what comes to my mind most often are the gifts clients have given me over the years. The gifts of friendship, caring, compassion and, of course, laughter.
As my last day in retail draws near (someday), these are the real memories I will be grateful for. It’s been an amazing profession, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it, even with slobber rings.