Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

I'd like to wish all of my readers, friends, loved ones a very Happy New Year. May 2008 exceed all your expectations for love, laughter, friendship, health and money (cause damn it, we work bloody hard).

Friday, December 28, 2007

Skint

This has been a lean Christmas for us. I've been grateful for the generosity of people around me and although I've been flat broke, we've managed to have a lovely time. The sofa still bears the indent of my prone body, the biscuit box looks emptier by the day and while I'm still in shape, it must be borne in mind that round is a shape. Boy has now gone off to spend some time with his dad, leaving me, the cat and the biscuits.

It has given me some time for contemplation and a touch of righteousness. I was absolutely horrified at press reports of the Boxing Day sale rush, that started by all accounts at midnight on-line. Apparently, there were queues outside of Next waiting for the doors to open at 4am.

If you were standing in that queue, I'd really like your feedback on this question. What exactly was so lacking in your life that you had to be there at 4am Boxing Day? What was so important that you had to leave your bed, your home to go stand in the cold and damp for?

Don't get me wrong, I love a bargain as much as the next person, but even when I had money to burn, I can't think what I would have needed that much. I am genuinely curious. I'd love to find out what people bought in the Sales.

How to Marshall Jets

This arrived this morning courtesy of Facebook. Had me in stiches. Damn I love forces humour!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Siren Song of the Sofa

I survived today. Just.

You will be pleased to note I didn't swing for anyone though it was a close call when a customer approached me:

Him: Do you have DKNY perfume?

Me: Yes sir, right over here. Ah we have one gift set left. You're very lucky.

Him: Thank you.

Me: Please come this way to pay.

Him (after a moment waiting for the till): I don't think I'll take that gift set. It's got fingerprints on it.

Me (looking carefully for said fingerprints, seeing only shiny green foil box): I see. I can always wipe the box.

Him: No sorry, I'm going to Boots.

*sigh*

I was very glad that I had the Clinique lass standing next to me at the time, I was so cross I could have spat. All day I've been dealing with these men, and yes they were mostly men, completely panicked, clutching their lists. It must be such a surprise to them. That Christmas happens to fall on the same day, each year. And they only had 364 days to plan for it. We were so busy it was ridiculous.

Thanks to the teams' efforts we got everything finished by 4.30 and I belted home. Boy and I then whizzed around the flat with a flamethrower to get things clean and tidy, so over the next 2 days all I have to do is to think about food and sofa. Now that's done. And my last minute wrapping is done, I've now blogged out any remaining angst and I'm ready for a glass of naughtiness and my sofa.

Wishing you, my readers a very Happy Christmas. And if you are out saving the world from itself over the holiday period, be safe.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

*sigh*

The madness continues at work. I think I was contagious and I spread the lurve cause half of the department are feeling the joy that was mine, otherwise known as 'the flu'. Which is fine; at least they know I was genuinely poorly. Unfortunately, I also managed to spread the lurve to my Viking, who is not a happy bunny. I continue to hack and splutter, but as the bit of old English wisdom goes 'it's better out than in'.

Stock levels are dropping faster than girls' knickers next to a photocopier at an office party. Most of my sales patter now includes an apology and advice to go to Boots, Superdrug or Savers to find that most important of purchases. It was such an important purchase that it had to be left until 4.25, knowing that the shops shut at 4.30, today. And no, I'm not prepared to wrap that gift when the shop shut 8 minutes ago.

I'm working tomorrow and I'm dreading it. I start at 8.30 and will only leave the store once the stock has been prepared for the first day of sale on the 27th (which I'm also working). All the good gift sets are gone, leaving the hideously expensive - I have an Agent Provocateur gift set priced over £100, or the hideous - Colleen X for £19.99, the later being very expensive bathroom freshener. All the gift sets need to be re-priced and then set out ready for the sale after Boxing Day. I didn't have to worry about it last year because I was only a temp, now I'm properly employed I do have to worry about it. I'm not sure how we're going to do that and sell fragrance to the Last Minuters. I personally would like to hide away in the stockroom and not come down until it's all over.

Yesterday, I realised I needed a break when I was getting ready to tell a woman to 'fuck right off', when I told her for the third time that the boxes of fragrance in front of her was all we had and those were the only lines the fragrance house did. She was adamant that the perfume her daughter had smelt differently, was like that box, but without the '2'. It's generally not a good idea, when one is flat broke, to call a customer to their face a stupid fuckwit for coming out without the name of the fragrance and who makes it.

The city does not seem so busy as it has in previous years. I know for a fact that we have not taken the money we did last year. I'm not the only one tightening my belt, interest rates, banks going bust, energy and food bills going up faster than fireworks, all are conspiring against the retailers' Christmas. Debenhams has been on sale pretty much since December 1st, and it's difficult for us, an independent retailer, to compete with their discounts.

I'm not sure it's a bad thing to be honest. People spend such silly amounts and a winter celebration isn't worth indebting yourself. I haven't got all the presents I would have liked for my friends and family, but they will get a little something. Christmas Day will be Boy and me chillin and cooking dinner together. Me hitting a bottle of naughtiness (hopefully I'll remember eating Christmas dinner this year), us playing Halo 3, Oblivion, watching Dr Who, snoozing on the couch with the cat. In the afternoon we'll visit Gee and her family, eat and drink more, snooze on her couch. I'm really looking forward to it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Yuletide Blessings

To my readers, many blessings of love and light on this, the darkest of days.

Life has been a bit tough recently and I thought that I would feel like a bit of limp, frozen lettuce this Yule. The absolute opposite is true today. I woke up this Winter Solstice, excited and joyful. Boy and I have been shopping for our Christmas meal. We decided we would celebrate both Yule and Christmas, so today we had our Solstice meal: leg of lamb, roasted carrots and parsnips with leeks and broccoli. Yummy. I've been a bit naughty and got a duck for our Christmas meal as neither Boy nor I can abide turkey. Bleugh. It's a mutual dislike. We cooked our Solstice meal together and have been having fun, larking about. I've lit some candles and am burning some Frankincense, that and the several glasses of naughtiness means, I'm feeling very relaxed and a bit festive.

I do feel for all the people stressing about presents, meal and festive shite. As crap as the money situation is at the moment, I do feel blessed with my friends, of which I include you, my readers. You've kept me company through the highs and lows of this year; for which I'm eternally grateful. Life would have been very much greyer without your support this year.

I have managed to do some Christmas cards and I decided to cheat and send out a festive e-mail. I know some people think they are a bit of a cheat, but to be honest, I'm never really together enough on the run up to Christmas to write the letters or cards. Plus, think of the trees I'll be saving. Added to which, this is a tight time for lots of people, as well as me. Ok...I'm just rubbish, and can't organise a piss-up in a brewery and this is my easy way out.

Boy at present is killing things on the XBox and when I've finished this posting, I will join him. I feel the need, the need for....a tank!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Being The Girlfriend

Since my last post, my week went from bad to worse in that I started coming down with a cold: sore throat, feeling wretched, coughing. I had two days off back to back, so thought I'd be over the worst of it by Tuesday. Tuesday morning, I could barely move, my joints were so sore. I had no voice and my throat felt like I'd been swallowing cheese graters. I rang into work, I didn't have to explain too much, they were very sympathetic. Bless them.

I wish I was more British sometimes. More stiff upper lip. More stoical. I'm not. When I feel sick, I'm miserable, I don't like being sick, I don't like feeling off colour. I get low and grumpy. Mind you, I was low and grumpy to start with thanks to my finances. So I was very miserable and teary. Boy bless him agreed he'd come on the bus and waited patiently while I tried to make an appointment to see the nurse. Then my phone went and it was my own, personal guardian angel. Hottie.

She came round, took me to the surgery in her lovely comfortable car, waited patiently while the nurse and then the doctor had a look at me. I have the flu, but they didn't like the look of my peak flow and wanted to impress upon me that should I feel any worse I needed to come straight back. I wasn't particularly concerned until then, I just wanted to see someone medical, so I could say to work 'they said I shouldn't come in'. Hottie fed me hot soup, tea, drugs. She gave me sympathy, more tea, tissues and made us a couple of dinners to last us a few days. I even got foot rubs! Bliss. I did ask her to marry me, but she's already got 3 other proposals to consider and for some reason I think her boyfriend (and mine) might object.

Being poorly has meant that I've been watching daytime tv. Normally I avoid daytime tv like I avoid herpes, or chlamydia. It's dire. However, in the last few days I've ended up being gripped by ER, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Earthstorm (bad, unspeakably awful Sci-fi movie) and today Street Crime UK.

I really wished I had quit while I was ahead.

My Viking, tends not to talk about his work to me. He likes to leave it at work and come over for a break and general silliness. Occasionally, I do get a treat when he comes straight down after a night shift in his uniform, with his body armour and his utility belt. Ooooo missus! My what a large truncheon you have officer.

What can I say? I like a man in uniform.

Anyway, the point is, my Viking doesn't bring work home with him. We do occasionally talk about work in the most general of terms and more often than not, I know what he's talking about because I regularly read police blogs (go guys!) and I'm interested. This morning I watched Street Crime UK. And I wished I hadn't. There were these brave men and women dealing with the drunk, drugged and congenitally stupid in the most part with good humour and always with professionalism.

My man isn't allowed to blog about work anymore. He's been gagged. So you don't know that due to staffing issues, he was the only one on response for many shifts, including the weekend. The buck stopped with him. I'm really proud of him for what he achieved that week; and he came home safe and sound. I do worry about his safety. I'm just the girlfriend, but I do wonder if one day I'm going to get a gentle tap on the door and whether someone with sad eyes will make me a cup of tea.

But the fact of the matter is he's doing this because it's who he is. He wants to make a difference, to do his job in spite of the paperwork, the shit hours, the lack of manpower. He loves it and I'm really proud of him.

There are some people who really need to hang their heads in shame. This pay issue beggars belief. I've had a look at the forums and discussion groups and there's so much shite flying around that the point is getting succesfully buried. The point is the police aren't bickering about the peanuts they've been offered, they're angry that the pay won't be back dated to the point when the talks began.

The point is they are only asking for what's fair.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Financial Crisis #352

Yesterday my finances went into melt down and I had a long and hard think about my financial situation and my MA. At the moment I'm exhausted, physically and mentally. I've been juggling various crises from the personal, financial to degree, with deaths and relationship breakdowns, makeups, singlehood and a new relationship; all in a short space of time. I hoped for some time to chill and I haven't had that. In fact, I've had stress at work, worry about money and worry about the MA.

Today I sent an e-mail to my Course Leader and asked for some time out. A year in fact. This time next year, things are going to be different. If I persuade work to take me on full-time I can just about pull myself out of this financial mire that I'm in. It really just is a matter of creating some space so I can breathe a bit easier. At the moment, I'm trying to juggle so many balls and they are falling all over the place. In 3 months time hopefully I'll be over the worst of it and can just chill. Recuperate.

That way, in September I can take up the course again, full-time.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Reasons to Write Shopping Lists

I know it might be slightly boring, but it would really help me, if you would do two things: 1)write down the name of the fragrance your doting other half would like for Christmas and 2) bring it with you. Doing so will avoid the following conversations:

* "It's an odd shapped bottle with bobbles on it." Customer then looks accusingly at me when I bring our collection of odd shapped bottles with bobbles on it and it's not any of them.

* "It's called Ant something." Them.

"Do you remember who made the fragrance?" Me.

"No." Them

"Do you know what it smells like?" Me.

"Nice." Them.

*sigh* Me.

A bit later on, I remember Anteus by Chanel (there is a Chanel concession, but I don't work on it) and they were happy.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Deaf Karaoke Live - The Ultimate Version

Fiver if you guess what I should have been doing this afternoon.

Americans are NOT stupid

OMG. This is somewhat worrying.

Fa La La La La, La La La *sigh*

I knew it had to happen sometime, but I'd put it far from my mind and I refused to dwell upon it. As the days drew closer I got more agitated and fearful, but I kept going. Yesterday, my worst nightmare occurred.

They started playing Christmas carols at work.

As you know, I'm not a Christian. I'm a spiritual person who found another path. You may know what it's like, you walk another path, you gain another perspective. I am by no means anti- anyone's religion. I believe people have the right to worship the God/dess of their choice and to do so in a manner that does not impinge on anyone else's right to worship another deity. I certainly am not one of those people who think that Christmas should no longer be a public holiday. I was born and raised in Trinidad, where they may have got a lot wrong, but when it comes to making space for peoples' beliefs, they have it really right. Consequently, Trinidad has the most public holidays in the world. We celebrate Diwali, Eid, Christmas with equal gusto, exchanging presents, hanging decorations, lighting candles. The key word there is 'celebrate'.

It may well be the choice of CD compilation work have chosen, it may well be that they only have 2 Christmas CDs to choose from. But, for whatever reason, they've chosen the '12 dirges of Christmas'. Carols that have all the celebration of a dead worm. I like Christmas carols, I have brilliant memories of choir practice in my primary school. I just think if you're going to rejoice at your Saviour's birth, you should at least sound happy. Quite frankly, some of the renditions of 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' are sung with the gusto of the sufferer of piles and a slipped disk. To be fair, the other CD is '12 Christmas Pop Hits', which is fine the first 10 times you hear it. But I hate Slade; and having to listen to 'I wish it would be Christmas' 12 times a day, makes me want to ram perfume bottles down my customers necks. Especially since I also hear "you will take the price tag off, won't you?" about 100 times a day.

Hmm...perhaps the only thing to be said at the end of this rant is:

Bah Humbug!