The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Piles of boxes stacked taller than me, slivers of space to squeeze through to get to the back door where the UPS truck is waiting to load in 200 more packages. Books as far as the eye can see on every counter and spilled over onto the boxes. Sound like an episode of “Hoarders?” It’s the stockroom at Barnes & Noble, where booksellers now have to try and get the product out on the floor and in the hands of customers in the less than 6 weeks until Christmas.

It’s the same scene every year. Our back room is really too small to handle all the boxes delivered on a daily basis during the season and we have gotten pretty creative about how to maneuver, but it’s a tight fit for a few weeks and it is really stressful to try and scrape enough personnel together to take care of it all. Always too much to do and not enough time to get it done. But then we do. We will get it all out and spend the next several weeks delighting customers with all the gift ideas we have, then clean up the glitter and snowflakes and start the ‘new year new you’ theme, and then comes Valentine’s Day, and the year will continue. The circle of retail life.

The next six weeks will be a blur. I will put my heart and soul and extra hours in to make sure the store is ready for all those people looking to create an amazing holiday. I’ll make my special meatballs and bring in treats and try to keep everyone in the holiday spirit, and when they are not I quote my dad to them, who is fond of saying, “Ho ho ho your ass!” By New Year’s Eve I’ll bone tired, but also happy we made it through another holiday.

Why take the time to share all of this? To ask that every time you are out shopping, trying to make the perfect holiday for your family and loved ones, remember to thank a retail worker who spent the previous evening stocking the shelves. When you stop to eat somewhere because you are exhausted from holiday planning and you can’t even, give an extra smile and maybe a larger tip to your waitress who works so hard so you don’t have to.  Instead of cursing DPW workers who plow snow into your driveway, say a thank you that the roads are clear and salted. So many people toil every day in service so others can go on doing for their family and friends. Make sure to let them know how grateful you are. I know I am. Happy Holidays!

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And You Can Call Me Queen Pee

20 years working at Barnes & Noble and there are so many stories I could tell: people I have met, books I have recommended, celebrity sightings, crazy questions, one of a kind events, and lots of other things I could talk about. And yet the one thing that stands out is the honor bestowed on me by my coworkers: Queen Pee. A lot of work has gone into the making of Queen Pee. Not only have there been numerous instances of cleaning up the bathroom, I have also been been cursed out by other managers because I was not on duty on days when a bathroom incident had occurred. And yet with this glamorous life I lead, my band wives want me to give it all up.

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I have a long and proud (?) history of cleaning restrooms at Barnes & Noble. When I first started working there, I cleaned the bathrooms just about every night (before my manager found out that we didn’t need to vacuum and empty garbage and clean the bathrooms every night because we actually had a maintenance line in the budget!) My first workman’s comp case involved me getting new contacts because I had splashed toilet bowl cleaner in my eye.

 

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