20 Apr

Somebody grab a copy of You’ve Got Mail, put the box of Kleenex in the shopping bag and sit down to watch with me. The Ephron girls did a pretty good job getting the situational accuracy right, so now I’m going to offer a somewhat unfiltered translation of the subtext to give you a little slice of what my life at work is actually like right now.


Customer: (to companion) “Grab a copy of The Trumpet of the Swan.” (to Kathleen) “This is a tragedy.”


Customer: (to companion) “Woo-hoo! Wait till I tell the girls what a deal we got!” (grabs at Shopgirl walking by with arms full, stops her in the middle of what she’s doing to make trite & most likely insincere remark) “This is my obligatory moment to make it look like I care.”



Customer: (loudly) “Are these chairs for sale?”

George: “Anything that’s not nailed down.”


Customer: (shouting across store) “Whoever you’re helping, whatever you’re doing, stop doing it so you can come let me haggle with you for everyone to hear.”

Shopguy: “Dude, I put a bright yellow price tag on it this morning. Read much?”



Customer: “What are you gonna do now?”

Kathleen: “I don’t know. I think I’ll take some time, you know. I’m almost looking forward to it.”

Customer: “Well, good luck to you.”

(Kathleen looks like somebody just stabbed her.)


Customer: “You don’t know me, and it’s totally none of my business, but let me ask you a personal question about a tender subject while you’re working and standing in front of a lot of people.”

Shopgirl: “I’m trying to be diplomatic and nice because that’s the kind of person my mother raised…and because maybe if all these other people hear me answer you a few of them will not feel the need to ask me the same question. Since this is the 100th time I’ve answered it today.”

Customer: “Yeah, whatever. I was only trying to make nosey sound polite.”

(Shopgirl looks like somebody just stabbed her…who’s next?)



Customer 1: “You know, I came here every Saturday when I was a girl. I remember when your mother gave me Anne of Green Gables. ‘Read it with a box of Kleenex,’ she said.”

Customer 2: “Could someone help me?”

Customer 1: “She’s looking down on you right now.”

Kathleen: (offers her a Kleenex, puts the box in the bag) “I’m sure she is.”


Customer 1: “You know, your mother was wonderful and your store meant a lot to me, and I’m having to say goodbye to an important part of my past just like you are. I hope you know your mother would be proud of you.”

Customer 2: (seeing the line at the registers and all associates working at them) “Excuse me, but I’m more important than any of these other people and I really need to know why you’re not sensing my need and ignoring them to serve me. I’m not getting any younger here.”

Shopgirl: (tremendously moved and, ignoring the ape at the end of the counter, she comforts the woman with not just one Kleenex but makes a gift of the box as a gesture of recognition for her genuine distress) “I’m going to miss this place, too. And I wish I’d realized how amazing you are before now.”


In the movie, ALL the above happens within a 40 second window.

In reality, it happens ALL DAY LONG.

Now I need The Puppy Song. Puppies having tea with me are the answer. “I know he’d never bite me.”

No worries. It will all be over soon. Sniff.

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