Wednesday 27 January 2010

The end of the line!

It's here... my last week! I have a mere two more days to work, and my days as the Charity Shop Fairy are over. Well, sort of. I'm going on a 0 hours contract as a safety net...

There's so many posts I haven't made and so much weirdness not documented - I'm sure I can keep the blog going with retrospectives for some time!

We're off out for a farewell dinner tomorrow evening- to my surprise, an insane number of people are coming. It could be quite traumatic! I'm even considering breaking my teetotal of 6 months. It seems like an occasion on which one ought to have a drink. Though it could equally spell disaster if, as is very likely, I become slightly intoxicated and behave inappropriately!

It feels a bit like stepping of the edge of the cliff (leaving the shop, that is, not having a drink!) - and I may in fact go slightly potty without all my lovely nutters around to keep me sane!

Monday 11 January 2010

Excuse me sir, but I couldn't help noticing your fingers are about to fall off...

I think one of my customers has gangrene. He's an old feller, probably pushing 80, with copious facial hair and a grizzled look about him. He also has an apparently morbid love of heavy jewellery. His hands are always covered in heavy silver rings, and an assortment of chains and medallions hang about his neck. I've also always rather admired his bizarre collection of clothing - sort of 70s Afghan boho meets Steptoe and Son.

But lately I have noticed the fingers on this right hand have become hideously (and I mean hideously) swollen and distorted, dark red and going black in places. Today there was black gunge visibly seeping from around the rings that are evidently causing this dreadful inflammation. And the smell... Dear god. I really want to say something about it, but he's not the chatty type and I don't want to cause offence - however, it's clearly extremely serious and requires urgent medical attention. No attempt seems to have been made to remove the offending jewellery (though at the very least it's so tight that at least it might be preventing the infection from spreading any further up his arm!), which makes me think he's probably not seen a doctor about it. I get the impression he's the type who will avoid going to the doctor's at any cost! It could be a very high cost, though.

Perhaps I ought to overcome my terribly British-ness and attempt to gently alert him to the potential seriousness of his predicament next time he comes in.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

My greatest triumph

I'm a little behind - sorry.

But this inspired me to get back on the horse today. My first coup of the new year and in fact my greatest to date.

Some weeks ago, before Christmas, my assistant manager picked an innocuous, slightly grubby doll out of a bag of donate. One of my volunteers exclaimed her horror at it when she discovered a cord at the back of its head that made the eyes change colour. At this I knew what it was - a Blythe doll. I'd been keeping my eyes peeled for one of these fabled things ever since, about 3 years ago just after I started, we'd had a book on the subject donated, featuring colour plates of these rare dolls dressed in designer gear. They made about 3000 of them back in the 70s, but hadn't been a great hit so they were sidelined and became items of interest only to doll collectors. Now they make a modern version but the originals still sell for a fair whack, even ones like this in need a bloody good haircut and a trip to Dior.

I sent it off to the ebay team along with a set of Portmerion crockery and more or less forgot about it. Today I had a call from my area manager, asking in slightly incredulous tones if I'd sent a doll in to the ebay team. He informed me that the doll sold - for £922! People are often asking me what the most expensive item I've ever sold was - well this one tops the lot. Before that it was a meagre £150 for a Chloe handbag.

I'd post a link to the listing, but that might give the game away...

Friday 4 September 2009

Don't talk about politics

One of my volunteers told me today, in not so many words, that she is a Nazi.

I cannot recall how we got onto the subject, but she stated that she thought that Hitler's ideas were actually pretty good - he just went about them in the wrong way. I was absolutely dumbfounded. Well, no, that's not strictly true, what I did was argue with her quite heatedly for some minutes, to the point where the other volunteer present actually got up and left the room! Not the best approach.

Now, she is one of my favourite volunteers, we get on really well most of the time, but it has always been clear we have serious differences of opinion - she also told me that she voted for UKIP earlier this year (and today said she'd have voted BNP if they'd had a candidate here). Normally we just agree to disagree and I diplomatically attempt to restrain myself from getting into a 'debate'.

If it was anyone else I'd really have had to consider the possibility of asking them to leave... but I simply refuse to believe that she really thinks that way. Either she has a poor understanding of Nazi policy or simply doesn't realise the implications of it. She is absolutely anti-immigration - she'd have them all sent back regardless, from what I can gather. Her main argument was about benefits and stolen identities - yes, she does read the Daily Mail.

It's really worrying though (and, I suspect, exactly the point I was trying to make when I originally brought up the subject of UKIP and the BNP), and she is far from alone in her views. So worrying, in fact, that the only plan I can formulate to try to combat the burgeoning (I say burgeoning, she's about 65!) white supremacist in our midst is to try to talk to her in a reasonable way about what it is she's advocating and why. Surely that can be the only way to dispel these myths and fears? She told me I was a liberal and I petulantly flung back that I was an anarchist. Not strictly true, but I do seem to be heading in that direction - if only for the reason that I don't believe that anybody has any right to tell anyone else what to do. We're all people, these bits of land divvied up into countries are all just space, what right to any of us have to be in one place and not another?!

We did agree on the totalitarian state we are living in, though - and she said she had absolutely no problem with people demonstrating, and thought that they definitely should. She even lauded the now unfashionable soap box. Both of us see the need for radical change, but we both see opposite ends of the spectrum! She mentioned how much she dislikes the awful adverts telling people to spy on their neighbours, and to be suspicious if you see someone with 'too much bling' - though I'm not sure how she thinks a fortressed dictatorship will make that any better - I'm pretty sure the Jews had the same problem... She equates spies with Soviet Russia for some reason. In fact I've wondered very frequently of late how a lot of people who sympathise with the far right fail to see the correlation between the rise of Nazi power in Germany and the xenophobic, terrorist-obsessed fearmongering going on in this country right now.

One can only hope to bring rationality to such a person's views. I'll do my best.

Friday 21 August 2009

It's here.

The Christmas cards arrived today. At the first glimpse of those ominous cardboard boxes, I turned into a crabby and irritable humbug. The poor DHL man. Though I'd have had a little more sympathy for him if he'd actually helped carry the boxes through to the stockroom, rather than dumping them by the back door and watching me and another spindly female member staff cart them up the stairs.

16 boxes of Christmas cards. 16! In August. Ye, we have to put them out right away. We were meant to have the sale cards out already, but I've been quietly ignoring them for the last couple of weeks in the hope that no one would notice. My area manager has been in twice and not said anything, so the plan seems to be working.

The giftware arrives on Wednesday. By a cunning and entirely unpremeditated (I kid ye not!) coincidence, I am going on holiday for a week, starting Wednesday.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Stalker alert!

A customer has attempted to 'friend' me on Facebook.

A month or so ago he came in and asked what my surname was so he could look me up on there. I politely declined, but it seems he has persisted with the plan anyway.

Needless to say I not only ignored the request but proceeded to remove all personal information (including my work details) from my profile and veto my appearance in searches even more stringently.

It's definitely time to leave.

The not-so-great unwashed

I'm not a person particularly given to washing too frequently, but there are limits. We have numerous unwashed and generally stinking customers, some of whom are regulars, some of whom are shoplifters (sadly these are mostly drug addicts and alcoholics), and some of whom are disabled in which case they are exonerated from perdition due to it being no fault of their own. This kind of goes for old people too. There's one old man, a frequent browser and occasional purchaser, who smells like death. I don't mean that in a comparative sense, I mean it in a literal sense.

The crux of this post.

Due to the above, I expect to have to spray the shop periodically with perfume or air freshener (products normally abhorrent to myself), especially after a visit from one of the above. Yesterday I checked the fitting room for hangers after a suspicious-looking female tried on two pairs of trousers and a blouse (I couldn't tell if she'd come out with the same number of items as she'd gone in with). No hangers, but a powerful and inhuman smell pervaded the cubby. A quick squirt of 'clean linen', no problem.

About half an hour later, one of my volunteers comes into the office grimacing, gingerly holding a pair of urine-soaked jeans out at arms length. She said she'd smelt wee by the trouser rail and then found them on the floor. My suspicions about the woman were confirmed. The swap job is a common phenomenon, finding that some nice person has taken an item of ours and left their own minging trousers/tshirt/jumper in its place, but usually we are at least spared this much! At least I can recognise her next time and bar her. Often I'm not so lucky!