"In the morning you could have a case of the lazies or seem a bit passive. By midafternoon, you'll start acting like the Energizer bunny, and few can hop as fast as you. What you initially had resisted doing becomes a piece of cake." (Jacqueline Bigar)I needed that bit of positive information with my cup of coffee. This week the mall I work at started its extended holiday hours. My alarm's been going off at 5:30, an hour earlier than normal. I wake up, shower, and eat breakfast in the dark. Because I'm getting up so early, every evening I'm exhausted and falling asleep on the couch before 9:00.
The day did begin slowly. My shift today started at 8:30, which meant I was on the road in the thick of the morning rush hour. When I got to the interstate I inched along. The traffic was so annoying I got off one exit early and drove on surface streets until I got to the mall. To add insult to injury, I had the sun in my eyes most of the trip.
I set the Customer Service desk up for the day, then spent the time before the mall opened walking around and seeing which stores had updated their displays since yesterday. Some days I enjoy walking in the mall, but today wasn't one of them. My back ached, my feet hurt, and I had a headache. I returned to the desk just in time to turn on the lights and wait for the first customer to arrive.
The regular pace of the Customer Service desk has been ramping up; in early November we'd sell three or four gift cards a day. Now it's more like 60 or 70 each day, and rising. Although many orders are just for one or two cards, there are also the people who want to get eight, nine, or ten--one for each of their children's teachers, or everyone in their office.
I answered a few questions before the first person came and asked about gift cards, but after that there was a steady stream of orders. I don't know if my horoscope was actually coming true or it had turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I was moving through the people with ease. There's a rhythm to selling large quantities of gift cards. Swipe the card in the reader, load it, then set it to one side. Swipe the customer's charge card and while you're waiting for the receipt write the amount on the back of the card and the sleeve. Assemble everything while the receipt is being signed then hand the order to the customer. All the while making small talk.
There's usually only one person working at the desk at a time, but during the holidays two people are scheduled. My co-worker and I helped each other out, which made the time go even faster. Before I knew it my shift was over and it was time to clock out. I didn't exactly hop to my car, but since I don't have to work for a few days there was certainly a spring in my step as I left the mall.