Today’s Retail Tale of Horror
A lovely little old lady came in with a crocheted batwing sweater (That’s not The Horror, but it was definitely its own Kind of Horror) and she was worried that the cuffs she was knitting wouldn’t go around her arm. She was knitting them on straights and obviously they wouldn’t then bend to allow her to try it on. And while I surprisingly do not possess any Rain Man-like skill that allows me to instantly generate a scale 3D mental model of a knitted garment from a flat piece, I did have the wherewithal to suggest that she slip the stitches onto a piece of scrap wool. Shocking, I know. So I left her to do that, only to discover a few minutes later that she A) can’t see and B) can’t knit, and had dropped stitches left and right. So I spend the next twenty minutes fixing it all up for her again. No biggie; I should’ve done it myself from the start instead of thinking I was going to get away easy. (Did I mention I’m not really supposed to be working in the shop much anymore?) Anyway, The Horror was in the conversation she subjected me to while I fixed it. I sat there fixing her knitting while she regaled me on the problems of living on a fixed income, why the government should clamp down on immigration, the nefariousness of the hairdresser for charging extra for a blow-dry, the pointlessness of World War II (The Queen herself is German, you know!), and lastly… how she was off to get her toenails cut, because she’s got the double-whammy of rheumatism and tough toenails, and how thankfully there is some charity organization that cuts old people’s toenails for them for free. Did you know that? Because I didn’t.
I’m horrible in these situations. We get people like that in the shop all the time, people who are obviously lonely and just want someone to talk to. I’m not a bartender though and it’s not part of my job. So I alternate between feeling sorry for them and feeling annoyed at the wasted time… and then I feel guilty because God knows in forty years I’ll probably be an old woman rabbiting on about my aches and pains to craft store employees who couldn’t care less myself.