This week I went back to my job at Christmas Tree Shops, which, as I’ve mentioned, is closing down (my location is, anyway) meaning that in a few weeks, we will all be out of a job. But I came back here because the job at the market/bakery was awful.
CTS was/is the first true corporate job that I actually stayed at. I don’t count Citel since they didn’t need me after all, and it was an office job that lasted barely a week or two. In addition to that, CTS is my first experience working at a big box store that is being liquidated and closing. As the title of this post mentions, this experience can at times wear you down and demoralize you. Other times, it’s really funny. And it is very bittersweet.
I am glad that I am in such a privileged position to get to do it without panicking about what my next job will be. I can just take it all in, and have fun with it, which gives me a lot of material to blog about. 😏
This post also has more doll stuff and more art. Let’s get to it!
SIDE NOTE: Thank you in advance to anyone who comments on this post! Though it may take me a while to reply, your comments mean so much to me! 🥺💘✨💕
🌈 Monday 🌈
On this day I went back to CTS. The vibe was certainly… weird. At times, people joke and laugh. At times, it feels very sad. Overall, everyone is stressed out of their minds. The sales are bad right now (for customers): mostly 10% off, with our 20% off coupons gone. This means that the prices are technically more expensive than before we were closing. But perception is everything, and people come in droves, spending hundreds at a time, and in one case, over a thousand dollars. It’s very tiring right now.
Seeing all the signs from my spot at the register really gave me a sinking feeling.
Literally every transaction involves the customer saying a form of these things:
“I’m so upset that you’re closing! I’m so disappointed! How long have you known? How long will the sale last? Why can’t I use coupons? When will the discounts get better? Which day are you closing? You guys didn’t do enough advertising/your name is confusing/I didn’t know you were here. How many stores are closing? Why are they closing? If you’re closing, why am I still getting coupons/emails?”
So with every customer, I repeat the same song and dance:
“I am disappointed too. I also love the store. I am sad about losing my job and my coworker companions. We found out the same day as everyone else, including customers. You can’t use coupons or return items because everything in here no longer belongs to CTS but to the liquidator. We don’t know exactly how many more weeks we will be open, just an approximate. You’re right, corporate didn’t advertise enough. We, the employees, did everything we could. Yes, the name is confusing. It’s not like we could change it. The fact that you didn’t know you were here is part of the reason why we are closing. Only ten stores are closing. We are the only Florida store that is closing. We are the only Florida employees not close enough to get reassigned elsewhere. They are closing stores because they filed for bankruptcy protection and we are a low-performing store.”
Repeat ad nauseaum.
If all the above, in a paragraph with no breaks, reads as tiresome, exhausting, drone-like… imagine saying this to every customer for hours and hours. There isn’t a SINGLE transaction or phone call to the store that doesn’t involve some form of the above. No one stops to think that we have heard it all a million times that day.
One lady who called to inquire about the closing decided to have a 15-minute chat with me, an aimless conversation about all of the above. I couldn’t get rid of her. I heard about five iterations of “When God closes a door, He opens a window” on Monday, and by the last, I wanted to tear my hair out. Two people decided to let me know that they were not, as they put it, “happy campers”.
It is not cute. It is not helpful.
Still, one thought was in my mind all day long: “This is so much better than that other job.” One’s team is everything, and our team is fantastic. My coworkers are already talking of following our manager elsewhere if possible… while that probably won’t happen, it’s a testament to how good of a vibe we had.
I often heard some of the assistant managers complain about this or that decision taken by our store manager. People would often gripe; sometimes I heard about little tiffs with raised voices between the assistant managers and him, but I think he is well-loved by most. In spite of saying these things, many of the assistant managers would happily follow him to the next store and so would I. He’s a great boss, and the assistant managers are SO good, positive, the kind of people that just make you want to do your best. So I’m going to do my best until the bitter end.
Christopher let me grab a $20 rug from the store to cover my very stained carpet that simply cannot be cleaned properly anymore. It looks pretty good!
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
Tuesday was a very exhausting day. My coworkers and managers had warned me: it is going to get SO much worse. On Monday, I was unsure of what they meant. By late Tuesday I had a better idea.
As the same questions and comments from customers repeat in a never-ending cycle, our partner had some ideas of how I should respond to the “You’re closing the store? Why??” questions:
“We’re closing because Christmas is canceled.”
“We’re closing because an atheist family bought the company and they hate Christmas.”
“What do you mean we’re closing?! No one told me this! Oh my God, am I losing my job?”
“How did you find out that we’re closing? *looks around in a conspiratory manner* It’s supposed to be a secret. Who told you?”
Unfortunately, I don’t have the balls to give any of these responses. 😅
I saw a cute doggy on this day:
I wasn’t sure I would ever get the chance to see Christmas trees for sale at Christmas Tree Shops, but lo and behold!
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Since Tuesday, our partner has been very, very sick. It’s just a head cold (he has no fever and did two COVID tests) but, it’s quite bad. So I’m trying my best to take care of him, even though there really isn’t much I can do.
On this day I completed a gift for Seven, in gratitude for a great kindness recently shown to me by her when I closed commissions. Of course, it also includes Snow and Ember. I finished it in an old-fashioned style:
For dinner, I made salmon and rice:
🌈 Thursday 🌈
Another day of the same. On Thursday, I had a customer turn around as she was leaving and ask me, “Do you have another job lined up?” When I responded that I didn’t, she laughed in my face and left. I didn’t even know how to react! Wow. 🙃
Then later in the day, we found these bowls filled to the brim with water. These were in a “cage”, also called a “dump bin” in retail. It’s a massive container that can fit four or five of me, and a LOT of merchandise. Anyway, apparently there was a leak in the roof and these filled with rainwater, which a customer noticed. It was pretty funny.
🌈 Friday 🌈
Day off! I took care of the snails and the house, worked on art, relaxed, made the guys a nice dinner, and played with my dolls a bit. Yesterday I listed a bunch of old items hoping to make money to buy the other My Twinn doll that I’d missed out on. But then I realized that eBay holds the money for a while now, after a sale. There was no way I would have it in time. So Christopher let me borrow some funds to get her. She is very beautiful. I’m going to call her Emily.
Much like with my upcoming Zanini Zambelli Italian doll, this is a case in which I have no desire to change the doll’s outfit. It is truly gorgeous as-is.
On this day I finally took Samantha out of her box and dressed her up. She looks so beautiful in her new clothes!
In the afternoon I noticed that Buddy moved again, this time to a high shelf. I wonder how long his unseasonal visit will last?
In the evening, we played LEGO. I had wine and a little snack and felt very happy.
I also finished building this Creator 3-In-1 Medieval Castle. It was a pretty neat build!
For dinner, I made fajitas over rice with cilantro and avocado. It was delicious!
🌈 Saturday 🌈
Saturday morning was dark and stormy. Elliot didn’t want to be outside because of the thunder, so he stayed near me.
Our partner indulged me in getting another toy, a bizarre and adorable Monchhichi clone –a bear. I think I’ll call him Calisson. These are the Etsy photos, he’ll take a while to arrive yet:
I’ve been getting a lot of toys this year, which, if you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know to coincide with me being Not Okay ™. And I have NOT been okay. The job stuff is stressful, sure. But it’s the community stuff that has me on a downward spiral and has for months.
Just as I did in my childhood, when I feel isolated and lonely, I seek refuge in toys –their cuddliness, their cute faces. They’re friends that will never go away, or suddenly have terrible hidden pasts, or decide to replace me or not like me anymore. Toys are safe and always have been. They never mock me, I can’t accidentally hurt their feelings and lose their friendship.
So, as self-indulgent and unwise as I know my purchases appear (and they are, make no mistake) I can tell you they’re my current coping mechanism because I don’t really know what else to do with my feelings. Please try not to judge me too harshly. 😅
I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but my snails got mites again. 😞 You might remember how expensive, difficult, and upsetting an experience that was the first time around. I’ve been very aggressive in treating it, so hopefully they’ll be okay. Here’s a photo of some snails kissing.
🌈 Sunday 🌈
Though this was a workday, in the morning I found some time to de-stuff Fiorella and throw her body and clothes in the wash.
I also washed her hair twice and conditioned it…
Then set it all out to dry. Her thigh has a little tear, but it’s easily fixed.
I will stuff her with brand-new stuffing, fix the tear, and comb her hair. I made her a necklace, and I got her a brand new big ribbon to match the one on her clothes. She’ll look so cute when I’m done with her!
While Fiorella dried in the warm sun, I moved some stuff around in my studio. I missed seeing my Monchhichis, so I put them where I can see them better. These three are Melon-Pan, Minoru, and Ponzu:
This was my first time getting a really nice photo of Ponzu:
Before work, I had leftover roasted cauliflower and black olive pizza for lunch, topped with cilantro:
Work went fast. It was busy. People continue to be a bit obnoxious about the store closing. But, I saw another pupper!
What a happy guy. Speaking of happy guys, here are some littler ones I saw in the parking lot while waiting for Christopher to pick me up after work:
Mama wasn’t happy about me getting too close and herded them all away. Sorry, Mama Duck.
The evening was wonderful! We met our friends for dinner at Shooters Waterfront. I got some nice photos…
I had a couple of coffee drinks that unexpectedly knocked me on my ass, and a wonderful plate of risotto, shrimp, and scallops. We shared a couple of cheese plates. It was SO good.
Here’s a photo of two of our best friends. They are getting married really soon! 🥰
After dinner, my drunk, stumbling ass bullied everyone into a short walk at the beach at 11:00 pm. So off we went, and I asked to go back and be carried after taking like, ten steps. No one carried me.
Anyway, I got some beautiful photos!
We also came across this. Just stuck there in the sand, facing the sea. There was some dribbling around it as if a dog peed on it. Maybe someone had dribbled something over it on purpose as part of a ritual. This was in pitch-black darkness, I wonder what it meant?
On the drive back, I saw the Hard Rock guitar showing off an unusually pretty light display, so I got some video:
Anyway, that’s it for this week! Next week I’ll be visiting my mom, and getting more doll clothes in the mail. It’ll be quite busy at work… Hopefully, I’ll continue to find time to blog and keep you all posted. Have a great week, everyone!