Days 81 & 82 – Just Like Old Times
In preparation for our upcoming charity events – The Clothes Swap for Cambodia as well as my Charity Book Fair, I have realized that some of my life experiences are coming full circle. Through High School and University, I worked at and then managed a “Pre-loved” Clothing store called, ‘George’ in Grand Bend, Ontario (for those in Canada who may know – it was exactly the same as ‘The Patch’ but with a different name)
I look back on my experiences there with very fond memories and also many memories of me saying “what the hell am I doing here?” But honestly if I could handle life at George, I could handle pretty much anything life was going to throw at me. It was a great learning experience and one that definitely kept me on my toes. I do often think about all the people that I met through working there and all of the characters I met through the interesting clientele and other general riff raft I would encounter on a daily basis. I am sure Chris (the owner) would be pleased to know, that over the years, I have also taken the time to write down some of the bizarre and funny things that happened during a regular work day there. I really wish I would have kept a journal!!
Some of the highlights include:
- In my very first year, opening the store on a regular work day only to find a man I had never seen before in my life sleeping in a pile of sweaters! Apparently a friend of the owner.
- Interesting interview techniques involving star signs of potential new hires
- The Stubbs’ ‘stuff a bag’ sales – or any of the ‘stuff a bag’ sales for that matter! Many times, I was forced to stand on the street for hours telling people about the sale.
- I started my first day of work one summer with instructions for me (written on a freshly drywalled wall) to complete a significant amount of painting, flooring and construction work by myself
- Some of the actors from the local theatre dressing up and then acting as live mannequins in my storefront windows
- Having about 30 boxes of shipment dropped off for me in the middle of the main street (while working by myself) and having to carry them all in personally while other employees from other businesses laughed at me
- Many customers walking in and asking if it was “The Gap”… (I still can’t figure out how they were confused!)
- Some tourist stealing one of my mannequins from in front of the store, and me having to walk down and find them, argue to get the mannequin back and then carry it back down the street back to the store during a very, very busy long weekend.
- Storing about 100 boxes of clothing in my parents shed because there was no more room
- My sister and brother-in-law working for me one long weekend because I wasn’t allowed to hire anyone (and Randal’s fake CV he submitted listing him as a Subway sandwich artist – I still have this somewhere back home!)
- A guy coming into the store and telling me that he was a good friend of the owner and said that Chris told him to come in and borrow a few items of clothing, only to find out that he was a foe. I was then forced to hunt this man down (in order to keep my job) by going cottage to cottage and get the clothes back from him – literally off of his back. In hindsight, he did have his teeth filed like a cat, so I should have known better!
The list can really go on and on (as my friends back home can attest). As insane as that place was, I did love it. I loved that I never knew if I was going to be encountering a completely nutso day of work or not. The people I worked with always made everything worthwhile and I have kept in touch with a lot of them over all of these years. Insanity makes for fast friends amongst the sane I think 🙂
I am enjoying organizing all the little things with putting our upcoming charity events together and have realized that some of my past experience will really help me know what needs to be done in order to make these fundraising initiatives a great success. I just bought my own clothing tagging gun too – ah the memories!
But as I sort through hundreds of clothes for the clothes swap and organize over 1000 used books, I have been reminiscing very fondly about the days of Grand Bend and good ol’ George (or also known as “The Store Formerly Known as George” for a few years when we had to legally change the name! ha!)
I wouldn’t trade in those ‘George’ years for the world. 🙂