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A Tie on the Doorknob

A Tie on the Doorknob (Completed)

Mike is getting lucky. Mike is getting lu-wait, Katie?! Aw, crap…

Chapter 1 concludes next week! Then we move right on into Chapter 2 with no break, seeing as we just came off of a long one. So, fret not. There will be no gap any time soon.

Also, a shameless bit of self-promotion: We have a STORE now! We’ve got all sorts of fun stuff in there, from t-shirts to can coolers to phone cases to stickers and buttons. Go browse around and see if anything blows your skirt up or floats your boat. Right now you can get 15% off when you use the code ZAZSHOPTODAY. Not a bad deal, so get it while the getting’s good!

-The Retail Explorer

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The Hands of a Clock

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Didn’t think this was that hard to figure out, yet here we are.

I work, therefore I stare at a clock all day. In retail, I’m sure we do it more often than other occupations, often to our own doom. It’s a widely recognized fact that observing the clock instantaneously slows down the rate of the passage of time, causing the following hour to last three times its normal rate.

Perhaps somewhat ironically, we often sell clocks. Not every store does, but many do. Mine does. Ours are all aviation-themed, from clocks with warbirds on them to clocks designed to look like avionics. The other day, I sold one such clock, which resembled an airspeed indicator (ASI). These types of clocks are the most popular among our shoppers, and I completely understand why. The idea is intriguing, the design is sharp, and the colors are bold. They’re attractive clocks, and they really grab the attention of a pilot.

The shopper in question was only there to buy novelty items. He walked out with two t-shirts and the ASI clock. However, he was concerned that it would function properly as it had no battery and only two hands. I put a AA battery in the clock and watched as it slowly ticked. Yet, his concern persisted.

“But what if it doesn’t work?” he asked, clearly having never dealt with a retail store before. I then briskly explained how return policies work. Two hours later, I receive a phone call from that same shopper:

Him: The long hand, yeah, it’s not a minute hand; it’s a second hand.

Me: Huh?

Him: Yeah, it’s a second hand. It ticks every second.

Me: Yes, that’s how it’s supposed to be. Since it only has two hands, it’s a minute hand that advances every second.

Him: That’s a second hand.

Me: No, sir. It performs both functions since there is no second hand.

Him: There is a second hand. There isn’t a minute hand, though.

Me: (phone muted) The hell is this guy on about? (phone unmuted) No, sir. There is a minute hand and an hour hand.

Him: Umm, well, I don’t think that’s right. I think I’m just going to bring it back.

Me: Okay, sir.

Honestly, I don’t care if he returns it or not. Returning it only proves him to be the fool I know he already is, and we’re out a sale. Here’s the thing, though: Someone else will buy it. That’s the thing about retail. There will always be another buyer. Unless you’ve priced something too high, someone else will always be interested.

But beyond anything else, this is a perfect example of one of the most constant and strong of shopper tendencies: Stubbornness. The shopper has a tendency to ignore the informed opinions of those who work around these products and just go with their original preconceived ideas regarding the products they seek. If it looks like two hands when it should have three, anything less than three will feel incorrect, despite the fact that the reality of the situation is actually different from what they have secured in their minds. Why listen to us? We just work here in constant contact with these products every day. I mean, what do we know anyway?

Which brings me to another customer I had come to me recently. He was preparing for a check ride. For any comrades out there unfamiliar with aviation training, each certificate and type rating for airmen generally consists of three parts: written exam, oral exam, and practical exam. There are prep books geared toward each portion. The check ride is when an FAA-approved examiner administers the oral and practical exams to an applicant.

So, I showed this shopper to the two books he would need: the oral exam guide and the airman certification standards. He opened up the latter and began flipping through it. It’s all written basically in codes which are explained in the first few pages of the book, which he ignored, despite my insistence that they would provide the information he needed. Instead, he just said: “Nah, I don’t think I need that. I’ll pass.”

No need to listen to me. I’ve only been in the aviation field for five years now. What do I know?

-The Retail Explorer

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May the Fourth Be With You

Today is a special day, because it’s Star Wars Day. Now, I celebrate today not because of my deep love for Star Wars (which is quite deep, lemme tell ya), but rather because of my appreciation for it.

I’ll tell you a story that you’ve probably heard enough times now that it’s nearing the point of cliche. I was a quiet, shy, geeky kid, and Star Wars helped me belong. So did Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, video games, and Converse sneakers. But I can think of few other things that had such an impact on my development than Star Wars, if for no other reason than this: it inspired me to write.

I have always had a creative mindset. I used to have a good deal of skill in drawing, but I ended up leaning towards words as my primary means of creativity. Of course, I’ve since merged the two passions, much to my enjoyment, but it took quite a while to get back there. Honestly, I should’ve gotten there long ago. I remember back in second grade being a huge fan of Jim Davis’s Garfield. I even wrote what was essentially fan fiction of Garfield (Stop laughing). It was a short story for a class assignment, and it was then I received my first ever criticism: “There’s too much dialogue.” Which was, honestly, shit criticism because it needed the dialogue; what it lacked was better detail. Yet, as I often do, I digress.

Star Wars made me wand to write a novel. From the first moment I saw the Millennium Falcon, I was in love with that ship and smuggler ships and space ships in general. It’s such a great, iconic vessel, and it caused a spark within me. Years later, after high school, when I thought I’d be a songwriter, I revisited that initial novel idea and began to apply pen to paper. Fifteen years and three completed, and discarded/trashed, versions later, it’s stuck on the third draft of the fourth rewrite. See, that’s the problem with writing something while your style is still forming: Either you get it out quickly, and it’s a meter stick for your development, or it languishes and becomes almost useless.

(I say “almost” because nothing you ever write is useless. It may not be usable, but it serves some purpose. There is great nobility in discarded manuscripts. They always serve a purpose, be it helping flex your writing muscles, develop a voice, or just get some of the shit writing out of your system. Mine were basically everything tossed together in a big pile of good grief. Hell, I might as well just call them drafts, because that’s what they ended up being more than anything, but that would put me on my ninth draft, and I really don’t like the way that sounds.)

Anyway, someday, I know this novel will see the light of day, and maybe you will read it. Hopefully, that day will be soon. Until then, I just want to express my gratitude for the adventure that really started it all for me: Star Wars. I know this is a short little jaunt, and perhaps I’ll revisit this in a year and go into greater depth about the impact Star Wars has had on my life. For now, leave you here I will.

May the Force be with you. Always.

Oh, and Han shot first. I can’t stress that enough. (Maybe I’ll go into depth on that next year, too.)

-The Retail Explorer