Today marked the start of my second month with my new employer, though already I feel like I’ve been there longer. The opening month has been incredibly busy, albeit it wasn’t until comparatively late that I started booking orders. I’ve had trips to Cambridge, Enfield (London) and Doncaster (four days in Doncaster in fact), plus a couple of days spent taking part in shifting furniture around – which is pretty exhausting. However, I am quicklyfinding my feet and gaining confidence with each passing day. Retail sales has been my thing for over ten years, so I am not fazed by it.

My goal now is to simplify some of what I say to customers. Make it more straightforward. With that, and time, I know I will be a success.

So far, my new job has seen me bounce from place to place and take part in a couple of gruelling early starts. I have been to Cambridge, Doncaster and Enfield in London. I’ve been out on the delivery lorries and out with the service team. Twice now (including today) I’ve been involved in what’s called a ‘change over’, where a number of sofas are swapped out for new models. When there are twenty suites to move, each with various pieces, this can be exhausting. Needless to say, I am shattered.

All of this though, is in preparation for the big winter sale, which kicks off in earnest on Boxing Day. This is where I will earn my keep, so to speak, by demonstrating my prowess as a salesperson. I’ve always been good at sales – I did it when I sold laptops, printers and office furniture. I did it when I sold bathrooms. I will do it when selling sofas – however, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to get stuck in and actually do so, which is proving quite frustrating. The more I do, the more I learn – so all I want to do now is get cracking.

This is important, as cue Boxing Day the expectation is that the store will get very busy and continue to be busy for several days. There is the very real chance to make a lot of money, more money in fact, than I have earned in any previous job. I hope I can be disciplined in how I use it, but first, I want the chance to sharpen my teeth!

I am three days into my new career, having moved on from bathrooms and on to sofas. My first few days have seen me end up feeling sore all over, what with already helping with moving sofas around, whilst today I was on a delivery lorry, discovering first hand the consequences of problems created by the sales team. I am exhausted, having done a lot of lifting and carrying and pushing, with my feeble muscles aching like mad. I’m not exactly Mr Muscle so physical exertion is always tough for me. Here’s hoping I can earn enough money to join a gym!

With the end of work today comes farewell to this job. It seems appropriate to share a few words of wisdom from the Doctor:

‘We all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people; all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear.’

Never forget where you’re coming from.

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Rule 1 – control your bloody kids! Earlier today a couple came in with their two young daughters. From the instant their kids entered the shop they decided the place was a playground. It’s not. It would have been nice if the parents could have actually done more than meekly tell their kids to stop, but they didn’t, so their kids didn’t. When dealing with expensive shower enclosures, ceramic products and brassware, this can be a recipe for disaster. How nothing was broken I will never know.

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What’s coming up? Well, in a personal sense, there is some moving and shaking soon – I am about to enter my final week with my current employer, before moving on to new pastures. This is obviously quite a big deal, with short-term and long-term repercussions and not a step taken lightly, but after deliberating and discussing and considering, it was a leap that needed to be taken. I have nothing but admiration, respect and friendship for the guys I currently work with, but this new job offers the opportunity to make more money, which will in turn bring other, positive impacts. I had to base my decision on what would be best for my wife, daughter and myself, and so, soon, it will be time to move on from bathrooms.

I need to tell you all about my recent visit to the Harry Potter Experience. It was a birthday treat for both my stepdaughter and myself and it was thoroughly enjoyable. There’s a lot of photos, so I need to spend a bit of time on that one. It would take a while to thoroughly describe the experience!

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Speaking of birthdays, my stepson and his girlfriend stunned me by getting me Super Mario Odyssey for the Switch. That’s in addition to a big Star Wars Cross Sections book and a Star Trek Borg ship model. I think they spent waaaaaaaaay more money on me than they should have, but guys, if you’re reading this, I am very grateful! At some point I need to offer up some early thoughts on Odyssey, and also on the Breath of the Wild download content, which was a birthday/Christmas present from my wife (along with my favourite tipple, Old Speckled Hen!).

The homemade birthdays from my little girl and my granddaughter were delightful! My daughter drew me a Star Wars-themed card and my granddaughter drew me a picture of Scrooge McDuck! It’s like they know me too well…

 

If one word could sum up the past couple of days at work, it would be ‘tedious’. On Wednesday I was on my own (a consequence of rotas and conferences), but I was easily able to manage, whilst today hasn’t been that different. I keep swinging around to the idea of doing some writing, but it’s hard to be creative when there’s always the possibility of someone walking in to the store who wants help – goodbye to momentum.

So right now this is my face…

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Why is that, you ask? Well, a flurry of customers came into the store… three groups to be precise. All three groups were interested in seeking my help, but the group that got there first were keen to haggle – every price I gave them was too much, but they proceeded to waste so much of my time that I ended up being unable to help the other two sets of customers. Thanks very much for your unreasonable expectations on prices, and for wasting so much of my time that other potential customers walked out.


It’s five o’clock. On Saturdays, this is when my colleagues and I finish work. It is not therefore the ideal moment to wander into the shop. You’ve had all day, yet you’ve chosen the latest point possible. 

And in an age where finding out opening hours is a click of a mouse away (not to mention the option of making a phone call) ignorance is not an excuse. Save your muttering for people who can tolerate your lack of timing – we have families we might actually want to get home to on a Saturday.