Sunday, 9 November 2008

Mission: not-entirely-impossible

I heard my first Christmas music of the year today. In Starbucks. It's still only the start of November! Give us another couple weeks at least, please?!

My top-secret mission was a whole lot bigger than I expected. The "something" that needed moving was the whole Paperchase department in the House of Fraser on Oxford Street. The day started out as mysteriously as it sounded yesterday.

Me and one of the ground floor boys from our store arrived at 10 o'clock sharp, but there was no one to be seen. We waited for a while, then at quarter past we took the advice of a builder who was putting up and went to ask security to let us in. Thing was, we couldn't actually find security. We walked slowly around the building once, then had to go back to the builder to ask for more specific directions. All he said was, "It's a door... look for buttons." So around we went again, checking every door we came to. Finally we found a little nondescript grey door hiding in a little alcove, with some small buttons nearby. We pushed one, and the door was unlocked for us.

We were met by a very stressed and frazzled manager. He reminded me of how I must look lately when irate customers are claiming my time and managers are breathing down my neck to get a mile long list of tasks done in an hour.

I'm used to working in the flagship store, one of the two largest in the country. I never realised how spoiled we are! We have three huge floors of space to play with. The section that we were moving from today was about quarter of the size of the ground floor in our store, if that. And the section we were moving to was even smaller.

When we first started I wondered what on earth I'd got myself into. I was being given several huge crates of things at a time, things that in our store each have massive amounts of display space, and then was shown to a single table or shelf unit and told to make it all fit on there. It honestly looked to me like an impossible task. I just stood there and stared at the stock, and then at the shelves, then at the stock... then I took a little walk, and came back, and stared some more.

After a couple hours of cramming things into spaces they just didn't fit, I just wanted to run away, home, back to my usual store, anywhere! I was tired and fed up. Then I went for lunch, and when I got back I had more energy. Instead of looking at it as a chore, I took it as a challenge. I began to get into it, determined to prove to myself that I could do this impossible task. To my astonishment, and with a hell of a lot of rearranging, re-rearranging and creative condensing, it actually began to fit. And then it began to look presentable. And theen it began to look actually good!

I'm glad I went today. I’ve always had a block with arranging displays, but now I know I can not only get the job done, if today is anything to go by, I can summon miracles! Well, that’s what it felt like.. At the start of the day I couldn’t wait to leave, but by the end I was actually enjoying myself. I've got a much greater appreciation for the things I take for granted at our store, like space to walk five steps in a row. It was also nice to be somewhere new for a while.

Now I’m home with a bowl of porridge, a few feet from my very inviting bed. I think I’ve earned an early night. And a hot water bottle for my cold, cold toes.

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