Desperate for Par (ruminations on retail)

Desperate for Par

It’s a note my coworker left me on top of one of the tills in the safe,
an echo of a phrase I used once in passing.
A joke.  Sort of.
We were so out of ones, fives and rolled coin
it was giggle-inducing.
Holidays working in retail make you punchy like that.

It’s meta, that comment.
She’s homesick for the South, just a bit,
having just moved here and all.
I’ve got my usual things– life, the universe,
everything.  (Shelved in Sci-Fi, upstairs,
to the right, straight off the escalator, under Adams.
Yes, sir.  A-D-A-M-S.  The section starts with the As.)

Aren’t we all desperate for par?
They make medication for that condition.
Sometimes I even take mine.
Since right now it’s the turn of the year,
the store’s got tables full of self-help books
(and don’t get me started on all the diet and cookbook displays)
to cater to that very human desire.

The need to fit within some pre-set, well-defined range.

It’s not like the list in the cashroom,
the one that tells me to keep the
fives between forty-five and sixty dollars,
just for example.
It’d be nice to always know where the boundaries lie.

All those books out on the floor and yet,
for all the merchandise signs,
special stickers and shelving displays,
there’s no blinking arrow,
no special tag that carries the message the customers crave.

Roadmap to Life.
Inner Peace Here.
Guarateed Balance.
Achieve and Maintain Your Par Values.

Most days, I’m more than willing to fudge the number of tens, so long as I’ve got enough ones, rolled quarters, nickels and fives.

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is a big-selling title.


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