Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A New Tag...

I got tagged by my cousin, Joni!

The rules are you have to take ten pictures of the following things. And you have to do it right away. No straightening, cleaning or wiping your child's nose. Then you tag five others.

I have to admit I didn't take all the photos right away (I don't take my camera home from work very often, since I basically live at work in the summers)! However, I didn't do any straightening before the photos were taken, so I think my photos are still valid! :-)

So here it goes:

1. The kitchen sink.
Sure, there were some dishes that weren't done, but I'm more proud of the fact that most of the dishes WERE done, and just needed put away!
2. The toilet.
Oh, the joys of trailer-living! When sitting on this toilet, I have about 2 extra inches beyond my knees, until I hit the bathtub. Imagine how it is for Jared...

3. The laundry room!
Ooops...I don't have one of these. I should have taken a photo of our clubhouse where we do our laundry. But that would have taken another month to remember to take those photos!

4. Inside of the fridge.
Major space limitations. But our shopping trips are usually fairly small. this is a packed fridge, compared to normal (it's probably because there are several leftovers that need to be thrown out...yuck yukc...).

5.What are your kids/spouse doing right now?
Well, I took these photos about a month ago when Joni first tagged me. It was the end of a business day, so Ella was at the store, and was very proud to have just learned how to crawl up on the back room counter to help herself to some snacks... And not more than a few minutes later..."rearranging" our displays...

And Jared working in the back room, pricing new product...

6. Favorite shoes!
Oh, these SOOO need to be replaced...but I can't find any others ne arly as comfortable. They're made by Ecco of Denmark. I have a black pair, too (but it's even more worn down...because they're really my favorites...but they weren't sitting out when my camera was ou t and about).

7. Favorite room.
Hmmm...perhaps my "great room" at home...the living room/kitchen/entry way/kid's bedroom. Hmm...something like that:

8. Your closet!
Oops! I forgot about this photo! Oh well, if I wait to take a photo of it, I will never get this tag done. Just know it is cram-packed with all of our shoes, clothes, and laundry.

9. Dream Vacation.

Ooh...MEXICO!!! If you've read my previous blogs, we said that we were going to go full-time RVing this winter in Texas. However, we've changed our mind. We've always wanted to go to Mexico...and we decided...why the heck, not?

So, We are going to be living near Lake Chapala in central Mexico, this winter. We will be there from November through mid-March. We will actually be in a little American/Canadian community called Ajijic (Ah-hee-heek), with 20,000+ English speakers. Ella will be attending bilingual preschool, and we will doing some exploring, etc. We are usually on our computers all winter long (doing accounting, preparing orders for next year, shopping for new products, and building websites, etc), so we figured...why not do it in Mexico? (And as a side note...if you want to tell us that Mexico is scary...don't bother, unless you have BEEN there, and experienced it yourself. We have plenty of friends who have driven there, lived there, and loved it there.)

Alisa's biggest dream: fresh fruit and veggies...

10. Self Portrait. Oops...I forgot to do this. Hmm...I'm stuck. I'm at the front register, and again, chances are limited that I will actually get this photo done at a later date. Hmm...what to do?

Oh...I just remembered that a friend from the branch here drew a caricature of me the other day. Do you think that works? And if I post that...I might as well post the one of Jared, too (it's on the same paper that I scanned into the computer last week)...and one of Ella!

So, there it is! Now, I tag Tiffany, Lisa, Yasmine, Stacey, and Morgan (that should be fun, considering she's in the middle of a move!)! Have fun, girls!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A laugh for the day...

One way to battle days that might otherwise get me down, is to read all of my friend's blogs (I actually subscribe to everyone's blog on www.bloglines.com, which is totally awesome...so I read all new posts each day. By the way...for those of you who have a private blog, I HATE that! That means that I can't be notified when you have new posts, and I will likely check back very infrequently...but I digress...), and every once in awhile I find a link to another blog which makes me smile. My favorite of the day is this post: http://mormonhusbands.blogspot.com/2008/08/men-richment-program.html

It is a hysterical blog called "Normal Mormon Husbands: A place for LDS guys whose wives are into blogging and would like a place to post every once in a while." The post that I read today was about starting a men's program, equivalent to women's Enrichment, called Menrichment. The best part of the post is the long list of suggested activities/classes that everyone posted.

So, if you want a smile today...enjoy the list :-)

You Break it - You Buy it!

I wrote this up over a month ago, and I honestly decided not to post it. I think a blog is a good place to vent, get supportive feedback, and move on with my life. In a way, I suppose it is like gossiping, but without telling it to someone who cares. Does that make it okay?

Either way, after another LOVELY experience with a customer today, I decided it was time to finally post this, and add to it another story at the end.

Here goes:

I can't even begin to list how many things this year have been broken by, and abandoned by customers. It seems that each and every day we find another product that someone has broken (by force, or neglect). I would say all breakage is by accident, but there have been products broken in such a way that a customer would have had to use strong physical force. We have puzzle boxes with moving parts, and often people drop a portion of the box, damage it, and then hide it back among the other boxes on the shelves.

So...here's todays' story that I need to vent about (notice how my blog is a venting-spot for me this summer?):

This family comes in to our store this morning, and the older teenage son was playing with a fancy kaleidoscope we have. It is a kaleidoscope that you can look through, and turn end glass pieces that have all sorts of objects in it. Anyhow, this teenage kid was spinning the end of it wildly, and it crossed my mind, "Wow...you can't even see anything in it when you're spinning it that fast." I looked back down to do some work, and next thing I know, the end glass pieces had flown off the kaleidoscope. He had spun it to the point of it twisting the glass pieces entirely off, breaking off objects that were on the glass pieces, as well as losing the top cap.

Anyhow, the details aren't that important. What I'm trying to say is that he broke this $87 kaleidoscope. His Dad ignores the whole situation, and his Mom sort of stares blankly at her son. The son says "It just fell off." I said, "Actually, you were spinning it really hard, I saw it." The Mom looks at her son, and says "You were?" Jared went over there to pick up all of the pieces strewn all over the floor, and so the Mom and son began to help a bit. We put all the pieces up to the counter (this actually happened immediately in front of our counter), and determine that we are missing the end cap, that the objects are broken off, and it is irreparable, and can't be sold again. So, I look at this lady, and say kindly say "I would like you to pay for this." She looks at me in SHOCK and says "Why should I have to pay for this? I shouldn't have to." "Well, your son broke it." "Other stores don't do that!" (I'm thinking..."Do you make a habit of breaking things in stores?) "I'm sorry, but I had to buy that. I can't sell it."

So seriously...how do you rationalize that?..."I broke it, but I shouldn't have to pay for it"???? Maybe in the Big-Walmart-World that is okay...but we're talking about small businesses, where each and every penny counts.

Anyways...yes, she paid for it, and NO, I didn't give her a price break. If she had shown a LITTLE bit of remorse, or just said "SORRY" even ONCE (or even if her SON might have said "sorry"), I might have considered selling it to her for 1/2 price (my cost). However, she was a total jerk about the whole thing. She paid full price, and she wasn't happy about it.

I felt bad that she was setting such a terrible example for her son. So, I ended the conversation with, "My Mom taught me 'You Break it-You Buy it'" Thanks, Mom!
End of last story

BUT, this morning I had a couple looking at leather coin purses about 7 feet away from my desk. The lady somehow managed to hit a Jim Shore Bambi figurine to the floor, and with those tiny little legs, it broke the piece in two pieces. Jared and I both saw it, and my adrenaline started pumping. I get so nervous, knowing there will likely be a confrontation of some sort. I told Jared, "I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt," meaning: I'll wait for them to bring it to the desk instead of confronting them. Her and her husband examined the piece, knew it was broken, set it on the shelf, and selected their coin purse.

They walked to the desk with the coin purse alone, and I said something casually that I can't even remember now. The lady responded, "Oh, no, we were just testing out the zipper to make sure it was a good one." "Oh, well what about the piece you broke? Are you going to buy it?" The lady and her husband acted surprised, "What? Well, I guess so. I mean, it's not like I did it on purpose." "I understand. I'll give you 50% off, at my cost. But, you break it, you buy it. Sorry, we're not Walmart, and I already had to buy this."

The wife got very very huffy, and then instructed her husband to not buy the coin purse. She became very snappy, and I rang her up for a whopping $8 something. I was overly nice to give it to her at cost, in my opinion. I then told her and her husband "I am offended that you weren't going to tell me that you broke it." And seriously, I am.

Why do people think that you can break something and leave it on the shelf without paying for it? Don't they realize that is the EXACT SAME as walking out with the item, and not paying for it (aka STEALING)? It seriously must be the Walmart mentality: Everything is someone's else's fault...or "no questions asked." This couple also did not say sorry, or apologize, or anything. They were just FURIOUS I was making them pay for the item.

Moral of the story: If you or your kid breaks something in a store, it is YOUR responsibility to pay for it. And if you are kind and show remorse, the owners will be much kinder to you! Just be sorry...okay? Realize it is not the owner's fault if YOU destroy THEIR product that THEY had to pay for.

I would add to this post a photo of all of the items people have broken this year. But why? Just know it is a sizable amount that could fill a good-sized shopping bag.

And really...I'm sorry to vent on my blog. I'll be fine. I love what I do for a living...and I love NICE people. But it is frustrating when the most memorable events of the day are rotten ones!

And you? Well, I hope you have a better day!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Photos of the store...

I know I should be working...so fire me!

Here are the long-awaited photos of our shop this year:

A loop around our store...starting to the right!

But look left just for a moment...
Continuing to the right...
Ella trying to get in the picture...
Looking left to the center for just for a moment...
The back left corner of the store
The other side of the center display in back
Next to the sale's counter
The other side of the sales counter
Just a polish pottery store, eh? Ha!
One last glance into the store from the front door...looking left!
And just a quick back-flash to our first store:

And at the end of the first year we moved up to our new, larger location (for the last 45 days of the summer season):

And the following summer...our second year in business:

And where the heck did I put all of my photos of the store, last year? Oh well...

Thanks for making it THIS far!

The world's largest egg toss...for real!

"Skagway unofficially set the world record for the most people in an egg toss on the 4th of July with 1,422 participants tossing 711 eggs. Now the signatures and photo and video (helicopter) evidence go to the Guiness World Record office for confirmation. The Skagway line-up spanned four blocks, smashing Wrangell’s 336 participants from 2007." -Skagway News

The winner? Ella's best friend's daddy...Tanner!
A picture of the lineup, with the former branch president's grandson on his head:
The finalists throwing....Skagway now has the goal to break a new world record each year. Didn't I tell you Skagway is fun?!

4th of July is best in Skagway!

If anyone wants to visit me in Skagway, the 4th of July is the VERY BEST OF THE BEST!
We have a superb parade that goes down Broadway (6 blocks), and it is SOOOO good, that they turn it around, and go back UP Skagway! So good, you must see it twice!

Here are some pictures of my FAVORITE float this year, done by the old Branch President's employees (let me clarify...HE is not old, but he is the former branch president, and was released from his calling after 20+ years just last summer).

The parade theme was "Freedom on Broadway" (the main street)...so they interpreted it as:

FREEDOM FROM TOURISTS, and made the ultimate "TOURIST TRAP!!"

"Skagway's Deadlist Catch - Fresh Tourists at Harbor!"

"We'll Celebrate Freedom on Broadway on October 1st!"
If it was a video, you'd hear the "tourists" and their daily questions, "Where's the bathroom?" "Is this on sale?" "Do you have crew discounts?" Oh, and PLEASE note the INGENIOUS fishing pole on the back of the float, holding the tourist-coveted coupon book! The "tourists" are grabbing at it, trying so hard to catch it! You could not make me laugh any harder...

I also liked the National Park Service float on the 2nd round. That is, because the lovely "crate" the main gold rush hiker had been carrying became uncovered, revealing a likely 'NECESSITY' that gold rush miners TODAY might actually insist on carrying on their arduous journey. The 19" Screen TV. Of course, in reality, people nowadays might insist on carrying a much large flat screen TV:
And just to show you how NOT serious this parade is...these types of signs are fairly typical each year. You'll have to note the small text at the bottom that makes year-round local's sentiments clear:
So, in response to the tourist who was made me miss one round of the parade a few years ago (they were making a purchase in our store)...this person said "I'm from New York. I've seen it all." Heck, "We're not trying to be New York, baby! You've just missed the BEST parade in the world!"


A business manager of a nice store on the Oregon Coast recommended we try selling kaleidoscopes, and so they are a new addition to the store. They are a hit! Who would have guessed?

Technically, our most popular kaleidoscopes are actually Teleidoscopes (defined on Wikipedia: "A teleidoscope is a kind ofkaleidoscope. Unlike other kaleidoscopes, teleidoscopes have a lens and an open view, so they can be used to form kaleidoscopic patterns from objects outside the instrument, rather than from items installed as part of it.")

So, here's my favorite image I was able to capture with my camera up to the lens:

If this is a preview of the teenage years...

Then we're in trouble!
Ella and her "boyfriend," Nico!