Monday, November 21, 2011

Hell Week Day 1: Splenda


To those of you who actually follow this blog, I apologize for my lengthy absence. In terms of the journalism world, it's absolutely inexcusable to abandon one's writing outlet for such an extended amount of time and expect readers to rejoin you at some undetermined moment in the future. For my laziness, I apologize.

Some of you may know however, that over the course of the last few months, I've had some major life changes: New job, new city, new apartment. Some of you may also know that I am not the best with change. I am a full-fledged, self-proclaimed creature of habit. I have a favorite thing on the menu at each of my favorite restaurants that I order each and every time, without fail. Some may see this as predictability; I see it as stability. You just can't go wrong with what you know is right. (Don't even get me started on the day I got froggy at Starbucks and decided to try the latest of-the-moment fall-flavored drink. Two sips and that $5 was chucked in the trash can. But that's another tangent for another time.)

Having said all of this, it's been somewhat of a tumultuous few months for me, frappucino-related crises aside. However, I am settled, I am decorated, and I am determined to resurrect this little blog of mine if for no one else than my little sister who recently pointed out to my father in a most matter-of-fact manner, "Key has not updated her blog since MARCH."

And what better time to begin (again) than at the beginning of the most interesting retail week of the year? Hell week. That's what we call it, those of us behind the counter. Why? If you have to ask, you must not have ever been to a mall the week of Thanksgiving before.


In keeping with the former tone of my blog, I will suffice it to say without naming any names that I have switched from one brand to another since I've last written. Interestingly enough though, not much in my daily life has changed. I'm still always on the verge of maxing out a store card, I'm still merchandising and styling fabulous clothes and I'm still behind the counter processing returns for a large portion of each of my days.

Sunday of Hell Week began similarly to many others, with productive Sunday errand-runners making their returns to the various locations at which they had online shopped at their desk while at work all week.

I'd like to stop here to point out a phenomenon I can't quite wrap my mind around: the productive Sunday errand-runners. They are a breed all of their own, and I could never be a part of the herd. I dream of Sundays. Sundays were always my favorite day, before I committed to a life without them. Eating brunch in bed, snuggled up with my pets and the Sunday paper and some magazines, taking an afternoon nap... Ah. It just doesn't get better than that. How someone could willingly choose to give up their Sunday for an afternoon of errands is beyond me.

But I digress. Early in the day, a middle-aged woman in a normal outfit approached the desk with a return in a medium-sized shopping bag. I found nothing abnormal about the situation and proceeded with her return, delighted that it appeared to only be a thing or two. However, upon reaching into her bag, I found not only a pair of pants to be returned, but hundreds upon hundreds of packages of Splenda.

I looked up and met the woman's eyes, sure that she would sense my confusion and offer a funny anecdote as an explanation for the contents of her bag. She said nothing though, only looked back at me as if nothing were out of the ordinary.

This reminded me of course of a great episode of Friends in which Monica and Ross' grandmother has passed. In this episode, Ross is helping his mother choose an outfit for the woman to be buried in and in the process gets roped into going through her closet. Along the way, he finds shoeboxes upon shoeboxes of nothing but packets of Sweet 'N Low. He spills one box while pulling it down from a high shelf and suddenly hundreds of tiny pink packages are raining onto his head as he stands laughing, remembering his grandmother's strange collecting habit.

Having nothing else to go on, I was obviously left to assume that this woman is also a collector of artificial sweeteners. I quickly processed her return and rather than throwing away the empty bag for the client as I normally would, I made sure to hand it back to her, the receipt neatly tucked in among the multitude of small yellow envelopes.

As I went through my day, I appreciated the woman for giving me something to smile about this week. I think I'll always wonder what her offspring will find in her closet when her time comes.


  1. Yes... Well... Since MARCH! Abandonment such as that cannot be ignored. But this made me laugh thinking of what we might already find in mom's closet, let alone given a few years' wait. Atlantis?
    Love the anecdote, and that woman's style :-)

  2. That is really such a good story Key! WE are happy you are back to blogging!