Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You Don't Want to Shelf This One

Like I've said on my blog many times before, EVERYBODY has a story ... it's a matter of how much time we have to listen to it. Sometimes we learn some interesting lessons.  Often times we feel blessed that we don't have to live through through their LIFE'S situations. And at other times, these stories can be quite entertaining.

I'd like to think that as I've gotten older, I've become more patient and understanding in realizing that some people just like to talk.

As a young mom, I certainly was absorbed and involved in my family's lives.  Unless they were a close friend or member of my extended family, it was hard to 'hear' anything that others were saying, because I was busy.

When I took on my part-time job almost 6 months ago .... first of all I didn't think I'd last 6 months and secondly .... I didn't know I would hear so many stories.

To protect the innocent, I will not use their actual names.  And I guess that I'm lucky when I say... I don't have that many people who follow my blog, so if there is some clause that I signed when I started my job that I'm not 'allowed' to blog about my day to day activity... I don't think anyone would find out.

Insert fun picture: to break up the text and to give your eyes a rest.
There are all types of people who frequent where I work.  Most of you know where that is ... but all I'll say here, is that it is a place you buy used things! :0)
Over the past 6 months ... we have become familiar with the regulars who come in pretty much every day.  Sometimes even twice a day. And of course by now, we (the cashiers) are on a first name basis with some of those Tom, Dick and Harrys. We have found out why they buy what they do.  We find out where they might go with that item and we find out that for some, it is a hobby to sell on the side, and for others.... shopping and re-selling is their way of making a living. And some are buying because they discovered they can find some really cool things at great prices.
Our regulars are both women and men.  And each of them have a speciality that they are knowledgeable about.  A few know a thing or two about electronics.... from stereo speakers to old vinyl record albums.  Another strictly purchases toys. One looks for items in original packages that have never been opened.  One regular buys a little bit of everything, from name brand clothing to character glassware that was given away as promotional items at the gas station in the 70s. And they tell us they sell items on EBay, Craig's List and at Flea Markets.
It is all very interesting!
We are starting to look for items they might like and sort of hold them back until they stop by!  Ssssshhhhh.....

I'll end this post with a very heart warming customer story.  I can recall it vividly.  Last Friday an older gentleman was looking in our electronic department at a portable piano.  In his broken English he wanted to know if it would plug in.  For some reason it came with no electrical cord and no backing on the battery slot.  He couldn't quite understand what I was saying.  But he said thank you and moved on.
As I put 'new' items on the dvd/cd/cassette/8 track/album shelf, he came up to me again and asked if we had any other instruments.  He had played the accordion, maybe we had an accordion for him.  Other than kid 'toy' instruments I knew of nothing else available that day.  He nodded.  Then he told me that he liked music. And wanted to know how much the cassette tapes cost. I told him .49c and he nodded again.  He told me again that he had played the accordion.  I smiled.  He said he played when he was in the concentration camp and proceeded to pull up the sweater on his arm.  He raised it as high as he could to show me the I.D. tattoo on his bicep.  He was in a Jewish concentration camp in Poland.  He was here today because he played the accordion for the soldiers, he was a musician.
I didn't know what to say. 
He was telling me quite a story.
He then asked me how old I thought he was. I don't wish to insult, but I don't know if age for him was a milestone or a heartache.  So I guessed 84.  He laughed and with his strong Polish accent he said 90!  And he smiled.  Then he asked how old I was.... I said 50.  He smiled.  Shook his head and said 35.  I laughed.

He talked to me a bit more.  I told him that I had to get back to work.  And he smiled and 'wished that God be within me!'
Well to say the least, his story touched me. 
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to tell a few people that I got 'hit on' at work.  Nobody expected it to be a 90 year old gentleman.  His story touched me because recently in my book club we read a Unbroken, a book about American Prisoners in Japanese POW camps (you will see trailers for the movie directed by Angelina Jolie, by the end of the year.)  And I've also read other books about different concentration camps and about families that hid Jewish families during WWII.  Not that by any means did I understand what he may have gone through ... but I knew of what he may have endured during that time in his life.
Not so surprisingly, he came back in today. 
He smiled when he saw me.  I just had to ask him what his name was so that I could address him properly... I said what should I call you "Mister....?"  He shook his head and said no, you don't need to call me Mister.... I said that you have earned it!  I will from now on call him Mr. Todd. He pulled my hand and kissed it.  He asked if I would look out for a translation from Polish to English book for him.
I said I would.
The people that I meet....now that I have a bit of extra time to hear their story!
This is one of the ways that I can SHINE in the corner of my world.

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