Nov 25, 2008

Quickie Mart Woes Don't Dampen Thanksgiving Celebration

Things are not going well at the quickie mart. As you know, Manager Patel left for India, and, unbeknownst to him, I reduced our inventory to just five products. In retrospect, maybe that wasn’t a good idea. Sales have dropped dramatically, and most of our regular customers have not come back. It’s like a ghost-town in the store. Is it because I chose the wrong five items? I’m not sure.

Sometimes new customers come to the store and act surprised when they see so few items. I explain our new gimmick -- how we offer better service because we aren’t wasting our time stocking the numerous products that other convenience stores sell. People respond in disgust. They look at me like I’m crazy. It hurts my feelings. Some curse at me or call me stupid. I retort with, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but birds will never hurt me,” and then they curse even more. A nun gave me the finger the other day! I think it was a nun. Maybe it was a woman wearing a burka. Regardless, it’s horrible. This anger apparently reflects on the overpopulation of our suburbs. Get too many people in an area and they start getting angry. Look at New Jersey!

Now I am losing sleep over the lack of business and don’t know what to do. I fear that Manager Patel will unleash the wrath of Shiva on me when he returns.

To compound my issues, some upstart kids set up tables in front of the store, selling products for cash. Cookies, I believe. Anyway, those kids did so well in their sales (I couldn’t resist buying some Thin Mints myself) that others have set up tables of wares – canned soda, crafts, shirts, and magazines – right on our store sidewalk. It’s a veritable open-air market out there. And very crowded. I like it so much that I do my Christmas shopping there are lunch time. But I think the crowds outside are hurting our business inside. I don’t think people even notice that there’s a small store here.

One afternoon, I was sleeping at the register when a friendly youngster came into the store to buy some cigarettes. When he woke me up, I told him my problem and asked him what he’d do in my shoes. He said maybe I should change my plan of selling only five products. Out of the mouths of babes! Can you believe a kid can be so stupid? No wonder he smokes cigarettes.

Anyway, I will have to figure something out. But right now, I don’t care. I am closing the store for the long weekend – Thanksgiving! This year, I was going to try baking that new recipe, a duck inside a turkey, but I don’t have to! My neighbor, Jenny, is bringing us a full turkey dinner to help us out before my surgery. I am so excited. Thanks to her, we will have a delicious meal this year and I won’t have to grocery shop or slave in the kitchen all day. She said this will help give me time to get things done before my upcoming medical procedure. What a lovely woman.

Jenny said she would have invited us to eat at her house, but she is still a little upset that my husband set her house on fire at her last party. On one hand, she's trying to help, but talk about being negative! She got to stay in a hotel for five months because of that fire, but does she thank us for that? I guess she takes out her personal issues on her neighbors. She also brought up the ceramic-birdbaths incident. For goodness sakes, it was snowing! How was my husband supposed to know he was driving through her front lawn? And then through her back lawn? Anyway, Jenny said she’s happy to bring over Thanksgiving dinner provided my husband continues to honor her restraining order. I can live with that.

At Thanksgiving, I will surely be thankful for Jenny’s generosity. She may be quirky, but she’s a great woman. I’m also grateful for my wonderful husband of 20 amazing years, my terrific children, my parents, and, of course, Manager Patel. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving with the people you love.

Please keep me in your prayers, as I have my fibroid procedure on Monday. Thanks for reading. I’ll keep you “posted.” (Very clever, wouldn't you say?)