Saturday, May 31, 2014

Three boroughs in 9 months

I somewhat feel as though I'm on The Amazing Race. I didn't make it my goal to live in as many boroughs as possible, but hey, when life throws you curve balls, dodge them so you don't get hit in the face.
New York has thrown me oh so many curve balls in less than a year. From not being able to find a nanny job, several job rejections, getting fired, having bed bugs and now a crazy, frantic summer move, I have become flexible in ways I never imagined.

Two weeks ago my friend Neesha mentioned that her roommate would be gone for the summer. And her room could be mine for 3 months. And I would save $200 a month in rent. And I'd be living in Manhattan. Easier commute, close to an express train, Starbucks a 5-minute walk... I'd be crazy to say no!
I like my job, but the problem with retail is the hours are never guaranteed, so my income fluctuates. The ability to save $600 on housing over the summer is crucial right now.
I also have a friend moving to the city, so we've discussed looking to live together with some other girls in the fall - in Queens. If that happens, then I will officially have lived in every borough in less than a year. What's that you say? Staten Island? pssssh. That's not a part of this equation ; -)

My friend Elisabeth from Raleigh was up here last weekend for her birthday with her friend, and we got to have dinner and walk around midtown for a couple of hours. It's always so good to have friends come into NYC.

I have a friend from college (we realized we've been friends for TEN years!) coming to the city to visit on Thursday and I am excited to visit with her.

And now for the part  you've all been waiting for: CRAZY CUSTOMERS ROUND 3

1. A lady was shopping for shoe boxes for her "251 pairs of shoes" that each cost $800 because she has "strangely sized feet." I showed her the options we had, showing her a shoe drawer that is $8.99. You know, if the woman has spent over $200,000 on her shoes, I assumed buying 251 boxes at $8.99 would be nothing. "Too expensive" she says. So I show her our boxes that are $1.89. She wants 20, but when I hand her our box of 20, it's "too heavy to carry." I introduce our delivery service, for $25. "Honey," she says, "I didn't make $60 million by wasting it on stupid crap." Hmmm. Okay. So she proceeded to buy 5 of our boxes at $1.89.
Then she gave me the best lecture I've ever received from a customer. After telling me I was way too pretty and smart to be working where I am (RUDE!) and I should be more ambitious (RUDE!) and I should sell cars because that's where the money is (DEBATABLE, and I don't want to sell cars) she THEN goes on a tirade about the government and how they're keeping us poor, her divorce, her housekeeper and interior decorator and the fleet of cabs she owns. This all happened in a 5 minute conversation, then $60 million woman spent her $10 and left. Pathological liar? Or true multi-millionaire in disguise? Honestly, in Manhattan there is no telling...

2. I unknowingly returned merchandise from a customer that had bedbugs in them. It wasn't discovered until they were taken to the stock room to be discarded. Ewww. Seriously, what was she thinking? Having lived through the trauma that I have, I get chills just writing this.

3. Two nights in a row customers stayed in the store until 9:40 p.m. We close at 9. Please, please as a consumer, respect those who work in retail. Imagine you get off at 5 pm, you have plans, you've had a long day, but all of a sudden, at 4:30 your boss comes up to your desk and starts talking to you. He has nowhere else to be and no concern for the fact that he's holding you up. When he finally walks away at 5:45 you now have to finish up your last 30 minutes of emails and shut off your computer and gather your items. You are now leaving at 6:15. It's rude. If you do this, I forgive you. But stop :)

4. I was looking for an order for a customer and I couldn't pronounce her last name. I asked her if she would say it for me and she said "no" with a small smirk. I said, "oh, I know, people often can't pronounce my name, but I'm sure I'll be able to say it once you tell me" and she said "you're not going to get it right. No!" and glared at me. Okay... sensitive subject...?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Like a favorite summer dress...

...that's what coming back to my blog after two months away is like. It's not that I forgot about my favorite summer dress, but it's just been too cold to wear it. So I put it away, knowing I'd get back to it when the earth warmed up and the sun started to shine again. My blog has been sitting on the shelf for a while, because not only did I go on vacation for almost three weeks, but I've been settling into life here. So let me fill you in on the last few weeks of winter, and re-introduce you to my favorite dress... I mean, blog.

- I survived the curse of the city. As the long winter months stretched endlessly on into what felt like Narnia "always winter and never Christmas" I discovered something even more terrifying than the barren, frozen concrete. Bed bugs. These creatures are the bane of the earth, and I cannot believe that I had them. Sure, I'd heard tales, but they were obscure, hazy, stories that belonged more in a sci-fi novel, not actual reality. I had no real understanding of what they were or how they were to be avoided. To say they are like the Black Death is a gross overstatement, but in the moment it definitely felt like I had some sort of shameful disease, with itchy bites, in which I was worthy of quarantine and sympathy looks from those who knew (and very few knew, as they are the curse of the city, and just saying it too loudly causes people to run in terror and not touch you or enter your home. So maybe comparing them to the Black Death isn't a massive overstatement).
The process of getting rid of these heinous bugs is extensive and expensive. While our landlord paid for the extermination, we had to bear the burden of paying for everything else. Everything had to be laundered - everything. Towels, sheets, clothing, rugs, the shower curtain. And we have to pay for our laundry here. That alone cost me almost $200, to send out my laundry and pay for it to be washed and dried. Then everything had to be put into plastic bags and sealed shut - pictures came off the walls, books came off the shelves - our apartment was a wasteland. We had to live like this for 2 weeks. But I am happy to announce that we have been bed-bug free now for 2 1/2 months. And I have turned into a paranoid, crazy person. There is no way to avoid them and there is no way to determine from whence they came. Ergo, stepping into the street and onto the train, and into stores each day is a scare. I am just hoping bed bugs are like lightning - and never strike the same place twice...

-I went to NC for 18 days. It was a wonderful visit to my sweet home and I was able to celebrate Jillian's beautiful wedding with close friends. I held babies, kissed them, caught up with friends over coffee and dinner and laughed with cherished friends. I miss them all so much, but going back was surprisingly good closure for me. Many of my friends are moving out of the area, getting married, and are starting families. Our last "hoorah!" was held in the house I lived in for over 2 years with incredible women - they are all moving to different places and now I don't know who will take over that lease. I left Raleigh with closure, love and treasured memories, and with renewed determination to make NYC home. Life never goes backwards, and I am thankful to be here.

-I have not been diligent with my compilation of crazy customer stories lately. I only have one from the last week - I asked a customer (50's-ish) for her email address. She looked at me and asked "what's email?" Now, I realize she wasn't born yesterday (perhaps she thinks I was with that ridiculous tale). But c'mon. Come up with a more convincing lie. Or at least say - "no thanks!"

-I've been obsessed with St. Vincent and David Byrne's Love This Giant as of late.

-My friend Kelcie's mom and her friend came into the city for a visit, so I got to spend some time with them doing "touristy" things that I haven't had a chance to do before. We rented boats in Central Park and yes, I rowed and yes, I was horrible at it. It was really fun, and only $10 for an hour, so not a bad deal. We also went to the Met (I loooove museums, but hadn't had a chance to go to the Met yet. We perused just a small section of the museum and I am determined to make it a day trip in the near future).

-Summer is coming. I went out for a drink with my friend Margaret the other night and as we walked through Brooklyn, I commented on the excitement summer brings to the city. The restaurants open up their full-length windows and doors, tables and chairs spill onto the sidewalk, heat rises from the concrete and the buzz of conversation flows through the city into the warm, humid summer's night air. Summer is my least favorite season, but living in a place where it's May and only 60 does make me crave the warm, humid nights. Let's see how I feel come July!

-I miss being able to see the stars here. I hadn't realized until I went back home just how much I had missed my favorite activity - stargazing.

Well, I hope like the dress I've missed, you have enjoyed coming back to my blog. I promise I'll have some crazy customer stories for you soon!