I won a box of chocolates at work today for my customer service-ing! A lady came back to Waterstones and told my manager that she was buying the book from us even though Smiths had it cheaper because I’d been so helpful. Yay me! It did earn me a bit of “teachers pet” style ribbing, but that didn’t bother me like it used to at school. I guess the sweet, sweet chocolate took the bitter edge off!
Today was the real kick off of the madness that is Christmas. It was pretty busy, but not crazy enough to stop being fun. I was floorwalking, asking f people needed help finding anything, so had opportunity to make LOADS of recommendations – my favourite part of the job… That’s yet another child who’ll be getting some Nix in their stocking this Christmas!
I was actually working kids exclusively for a couple of hours, where I was witness to the most horrendous behaviour – and parenting – I’ve seen in a long time! “Freddie Darling” grabbed piles of books off the shelves, got steadfastly in everyone’s way, and generally ran rings around his mother (while savagely attacking her legs with a foam cutlass) ignoring her pleas to “stop embarrassing Mummy” with gleeful abandon. The other children, largely well-behaved and glued to Mummy’s side, looked on in open-mouthed awe, while my personal feelings were less awe-inspired and more astounded. I was very tempted to step in, channel my inner super-nanny, go out back and bring out a naughty chair for Freddie to park himself upon… But I doubted his mother would have been too grateful.
I feel compelled as a bookseller to mention how sorry I am to all my fellow booksellers who previously worked at Borders. I never actually warmed to Borders as a store – I’ve always been a Waterstones girl at heart, probably in part due to the fact that, growing up, a trip there was seen as a treat, something we did on holiday or as part of a day out. Still, Borders were our main competitors, and for my fellow bookslaves I feel a degree of camaraderie. Some blogs have revealed that staff had no idea their jobs were in danger until they opened totes to discover “Closing Down” POS – which has got to be an awful, awful way to find out. I’m truly sorry for them.
This set me thinking about my own position. In January when I start my 9-5 at Macmillan I will be keeping my Sunday shift at Waterstones, purely for the pleasure of bookselling. The money I earn – not exactly riches – will be left to accumulate in my savings account. But I was wondering this evening about the morals of this arrangement. To begin with, we’re in a recession. With so many people out of a job full stop it could be considered greedy to take two for myself. But in the light of the Borders’ impending closure, is it not even more selfish for me to take six hours from a fellow bookseller? Is it fair to take a job for pleasure from those who need it from necessity?