I survived Black Friday- as a retail clerk!

Many of you know that my “real” job is not an author.  It is being a therapist.  So you might wonder why I was working retail on Black Friday.  Over the summer, I picked up a few hours here and there (PRN, as we say in the medical world) at a little, locally owned, used bookstore and art gallery.  AND I LOVE IT.  (I know, don’t start a sentence with and.)

I love being around the books, I love seeing what people read, I love the quiet, I love the rotating art we display and the privilege of meeting some of the artists.  When my boss (who is the nicest lady in the world to work for) informed me that Black Friday was mandatory, I was not surprised.  This was the retail world.  Black Friday is always mandatory.  It’s a day off in the therapy world for most therapists, because everyone is too turkey hungover or busy spending money to come in for therapy.

I was excited until she mentioned that because it is in conjunction with Dicken’s Holiday ( a Fayetteville tradition) it would be the biggest, busiest day of the year, AND I would need to be in Victorian dress. Um, what?  Thanks to my recent weight loss of 40 lbs, anytime I’m not wearing “normal” work clothes or my standard jeans (now with a belt) I have to play a fun game of “will this be too big or too small?”  If you’ve ever struggled with weight, you have a closet like I do- several sizes too small “just in case” or “I couldn’t bear to part with it”, or “my inspiration outfit”.   I stopped doing that crap years ago, but I do have several dressier outfits that I’ve held onto.

“Just go to a thrift store!” my nice boss told me when  I explained that I knew I didn’t have anything that passed for Victorian in my current size.  Now, I don’t know the thrift stores she frequents, but the ones I went to head skin-tight leather pants and cropped black tops with “bebe” emblazoned across them. Or REALLY old lady stuff.  Not Victorian though.  I managed to find a size too small $6 long plaid skirt on an online shopping app I use, a $16 blouse at Burlington (way too much for a blouse I will never wear again, but it was long sleeved and kind of ruffly).  Those, paired with a decorative black scarf tied around my waist and ankle boots, and I kind of looked like a pirate/waitress.  My boss loved it, so it worked.  I couldn’t really breathe in the skirt, but it zipped, so that led me to sit with Victorian-like posture for most of my shift- which was slammed.   For a small bookstore, there was barely move to room- gotta love that with PTSD.  Luckily, I was behind the desk for most of my shift, or I would dash outside, to equally crowded streets, for fresh air.

I survived, and  I will do it again next year, now that I have a year to search for Victorianesque items, or as my one coworker said: “just make it look like you work in a fancy Italian restaurant and throw a crinoline under your skirt.”

There you have it.  I hope you survived Black Friday, and that you will support your local business for Shop Small Saturday!


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