I've decided I don't like wrapping other people's presents. Work at Job A started today when I was presented with a box and told to wrap what was inside. Inside was a Wii. I realised, looking at the box, that it had obviously been purchased directly from Nintendo, then couriered via a United Airlines flight to Chicago, where it was going to be presented to some deserving Child Christmas morning after being wrapped by yours truly. I was momentarily taken aback by the casualness of the present, when parents all over the land are tearing their hair out trying to get one, but then I remembered that these are Very Rich People and they probably called up their good friend the CEO of Nintento and mentioned how little Tarquin was fading away from a lack of Wii. So I wrapped it. It took me forty-five minutes because the only paper we have here is Crappy Brown, better suited to retirement parties and funerals, and every bit of it is too small to go around the Wii box. I'm sure the Deserving Child will not notice my careful hiding of double-sided tape, but the parents are no doubt fuming over the fact that I had to tape two pieces together and then carefully hide the join under a ribbon. When I finished, I was presented, Rumplestiltschkin-like with another three boxes--all of which are too big for good ol' Crappy Brown. sigh. The good news is the powers that be have taken pity on me and are asking people to pay for wrapping, which is nice. We (okay, "I") don't mind wrapping things that come from our store, but we do not sell the Wii.
This ties back to a snarky article I read in the paper the other week. A journalist was talking about his favourite restaurant, and how he and the maitre d' are "pals," they say hi, they schmooze, whatever. Then the other day, he was seated and he saw his "pal" the maitre d' with her "customer face" off from across the room, and he realised--this is her job. She's not my friend, she's just THAT GOOD that she makes me think I am. He realised she has a hard job and she does it well, and he hasn't appreciated that before now. So on his way out he gave her twenty dollars--he said that she took it so quickly he had to make sure that his fingers were still there, a snarky comment that still rankles. Because people don't realise. Working in the service industry around Christmas has given me a better appreciation for waiters, clerks, maids, coat check people. The other day at Job A the coat check lady told me that two twenty-somethings had left ten bags of Christmas shopping (think Gucci, Prada, Tiffany, etc) with her while they had tea--and when they came back for their stuff, they left no tip. NADA. Now, I don't know if they didn't realise that tipping also applies to stuff and not just coats, but I was outraged on behalf of my friend. I luckily make enough that I don't have to rely on tips, and twenty dollars will not make or break my budget, but it would be nice to put something in the bank occasionally. I'm not saying "pay me to wrap your Wii" but at least understand that this very expensive machine you couriered across the country has been carefully handled and hand-delivered to your door so you can take the credit come Christmas.
Of course, I do it too. Yesterday, after my job interview before work, I stopped of at a McDonald's for a cup of coffee. Growly (I had had no caffiene), high-strung and mad (on top of EVERYTHING ELSE, I've lost my CTA card, oh, what a world!) I barked out an order for COFFEEEE! at the poor guy across the counter. Did not make eye contact, but thrust a five dollar bill at him while reaching for my cup. He mumbled something. "WHAT?" I said, impatiently, "WHAT?!" He said, "It's a free cup of coffee, miss. It's Monday." I immediately felt embarassed that I hadn't taken the five extra seconds to understand him the first time. And I'm ashamed that I wasn't nicer to him--after all, there are positions where you can expect to get tipped, and then there's working at McDonald's. I think I muttered an "oh, sorry" and slouched away, red-faced, clutching my coffee. We are all working hard. Must remember that--if nothing else, we are ALL working hard.
Update: About five minutes ago, the Dad who had bought the Wii called me up, concerned. I had wrapped the Wii by itself, then wrapped the extra controllers and memory card separately, all together in a shirt box. He just wanted to make sure that everything was there and find out what was in each box I had sent him. I politely told him, refrained from mentioning that people do find time to wrap presents themselves, and wished him a good day. Okay. So I'm working on the snarky part. Working hard, working hard...right.