Saturday I was at work with ten minutes to go until I could lock up and head home to my weekend. And of course if anyone works in retail or a restaurant, if the closer has some place to be, those ten minutes will include a customer walking in and keeping everyone past closing time.
That's exactly what happened and of course it put me in a not-so-hot mood. I tried my best to keep up my pleasant attitude but it just annoys me when people don't bother to think that maybe, just maybe, I have a life outside of your job.
And I must confess, at this point of the day I was already testy due to the more than usual amount of rude customers who were more rude than usual. On top of that there's a super difficult employee, more difficult to deal with than the employee who's bad behavior inspired Behind the Naugahyde. Not to mention that the store is just doing badly and it's super slow all day. Under these circumstances time does not go by fast and that makes it even more frustrating when the store's been empty all day until it's time to finally go home.
Wow. I'm really ranting and getting off subject here. Sorry about that.
Anyway, this woman seemed nice enough and I'm pretty certain she didn't realize that we closed when we did. A few other stores in the plaza stay open later and most people assume everyone is open that late. So I tried my best to be less annoyed since it didn't seem she knew any better. Besides maybe she would be a quick customer.
I made chit-chat while we looked for her semi-dressy walking shoes.
"Special event coming up?"
"I'm going to New York"
"Oh, that's exciting, I've never been but would love to go. Business or vacation?"
"I'm going to a Writer and Illustrators conference."
All of my annoyance flies out the door.
We chatted about writing, her name is Ruth McNally Barshaw, and she is the author of hte children's book Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel. Her latest book comes out in July and it's Ellie McDoodle:New Kid in School.
She drew the coolest little sketch of Elli McDoodle. (When I got home I checked out her website RuthExpress, where I learned loads about Ruth and Ellie.) And when I told her I would look in to buying her book she offered to come back to the store and sign it if I ever did.
I didn't want to keep her too long for my own selfish reasons when minutes earlier I had been hoping she would walk out. The conversation we did have was valuable, mostly her saying that writing is a hard business to get into. Her publisher told her that she wished she could tell everyone with a great story that someone would publish them but the business was too competitive for that.
What I enjoyed most about Ms. McNally Barshaw was that she talked about Ellie like she was a real person. As she described the plot of each book she made it sound like Ellie was a little girl she knew that vacationing with annoying family and dealing with mean people at a new school.
Overall, I was just super excited to find a nationally published author lives in my hometown and I sold her the shoes that she is currently walking around NYC in. If I can't be in her shoes at least I sold them to her, right?