Large denominations are changeable,
but when you’re out of pennies and ones, you’re in real trouble.
It’s an existential life lesson, sure,
we’re all alone in the end,
but mostly, just make sure you have enough pennies and ones.
The ladies with Prada purses and Louis Vuitton wallets
don’t always expect you to make an exception for their returns.
The men in sweatshirts, old jeans and sneakers do– sometimes.
You’ll learn to ignore who’s buying porn and magazines about handguns.
People are just weird.
Every weekend and some Friday nights,
kids will run in the store and play on the escalator.
You will sound like every adult you ever hated who yelled “that’s not a toy,”
and you’ll grumble “where the hell are their parents” as you ring out each sale.
It’s okay. I do it, too.
Milk chocolate bars, bags of cashews, plain almonds–
those sell like hotcakes.
Mixed nuts, raspberry dark, pre-orders of something we don’t have yet in stock?
Not so much.
But just like you love some of your family more than the others, push them all just the same.
People will always swipe before you’ve totalled them out.
There are those who never make eye contact.
You will have a day, at least once a month, when you will be the only person
to smile at your customer, or look them in the eye, or compliment them on their sweater.
Compliment them on their sweater– even if the customer before was a jerk and you’re feeling grumpy.
You can’t make everyone happy– often, it’s not even your fault.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try.
It’s possible to spend every spare minute dusting or squaring off the displays,
restocking bestsellers and magazines.
It’s okay to chat, veg out, write poetry, too.
The book alarm system and the microwave in the cafe sound almost the same–
you’ll learn the difference quickly enough.
And– this is a biggie. Just because they buy books,
doesn’t mean they have any taste.
We all mock the customers sometimes– after they’re gone.
You will always buy too many books.
Gift and news will always look like a war zone five minutes after you’ve tidied.
The bathroom’s through the middle, in the back.
Call the manager on duty before you go on your break.
Our membership program really is a good deal– and don’t we all want to belong?
Still, though– make sure you have enough pennies and ones.