TWELVE Tips to Help You Succeed in Life:Part Three
TIP THREE: TRY TO BE A DECENT EMPLOYEE
My first words on my very first day of work:
"THE SUN!" I cried after Mom opened my bedroom curtains. "IT BURNS WITH THE INTENISTY OF A THOUSAND POOLS OF MOLTARAN LAVA!"
Mom chuckled. "Come on sleepyhead. You have a very important day today," she said in her loving-motherly tone.
After rolling on my bed and screaming for the next three to four minutes (Could have been longer as far as I'm concerned) I forced myself up, did my bathroom business, and dressed myself up in the pink and white uniform of Usukiland. For some reason, Chloe sent me a white apron with the outfit, and I didn't know whether or not I had to wear it with mine. Despite not seeing Chloe wear one a few days back, I opted to tie mine around my waist and—for the heck of it—twirled until I felt too dizzy to continue. After stumbling my way down the stairs, I sat in my regular seat and Mom served me a plate with three stacked pancakes. "Aren't pancakes more of a 'weekend breakfast food', Mother?" I gasped.
"It is a very special day today," Mom said with a smile. "Plus, it's the first time in ages that you've woken up before noon!"
As I devoured my pancakes, Mom peppered me with questions about my job. I knew she was trying to pry some juicy gossip from me (most likely about Chloe) but I just gave her the basic facts and my grievances over Andrew's forceful nature. "He really didn't have to force this job upon me, Mom," I grumbled, licking my plate clean of maple syrup.
Mom beamed at me from across the table. "If it weren't for him, then my little Nadine wouldn't have found employment anytime soon." She sighed. "Though I wonder how his owner would feel about Andrew's musical pursuits."
"He probably thinks Andrew is wasting his time," I insisted. "That's what he would say in the past, so I'm certain he feels the same way in the present, too."
"I do wish Andrew good luck, I suppose," said Mom wistfully. Then she perked up and added, "Of course, I'll forever be grateful he got you that job at Usukiland! What a coincidence that one of your favourite shops was hiring??"
I chuckled nervously. "Yeah…what are the…odds…huh?" Despite my first-work-day jitters acting up, I gulped down my glass of milk, gave Mom a hug, and rushed out of the house. Then I peddled my bike all the way to Usukiland—all the while trying to avoid the younger pets heading to Neoschool. Seriously, do any of these youngsters know anything about road safety? Even as I passed the Money Tree (and the tree gave me a friendly wave that, honestly, creeped me out a bit) there was a swarm of pets huddled together and laughing, their tacky backpacks slung over their shoulders in the 'hip' fashion of children nowadays.
Anyways I was finally able to reach my blasted destination, and just as I entered the store, Chloe turned to me and said, "Nadine, your hair is a mess! Make sure you smooth it out before any customers come." She then smiled and added, "Cute ponytail, by the way! And shut-up, I TOTALLY forgot you were a redhead!"
Rolling my eyes, I smoothed my hair in front of the hair styling area and joined my fellow employees stocking the shelves (All the while keeping my eyes peeled for any rare dolls. Alas there were none today). Besides Rachel, I met a yellow Bruce named Wendy, who had been working at Usukiland for the past two years. "Trust me, you are going to love working here," Wendy gushed.
"As long as you don't mind hanging around Usuki fanatics and younger children," Rachel remarked.
Sure enough, after Rachel trained me on working a pink cash register, a red Gelert approached me and asked if the store had any more Geisha Girls Usukis. "I'm writing an NT article about Usukis dolls," he explained as he trailed behind me to a shelf piled high with packaged dolls.
"That's nice," I said, not caring at all. With the red Gelert looming over my shoulder like some sort of creep, I rummaged through the Usukis and, after not finding what the customer was looking for, wet on to explore the entire shop for the now infamous Geisha Girl doll. Unfortunately, my search turned up nothing and I reported to the Gelert—who kept following me for some reason—that the store was out of Geisha Girl Usukis.
"Oh…well, can you check again?" asked the Gelert. "I REALLY need this doll!"
"I don't think there are any left," I sighed.
The Gelert pointed to a door at the back of the shop. "Isn't that your storage room? Can't you look in there?"
"Sir, that's our emergency exit," I explained.
"But—" the pushy Gelert persisted.
I shook my head again. "If you're so desperate for one, why don't you go check out the Marketplace? There are, like a bazillion stores there and one of them has to have the doll you're looking for."
"I was hoping I could buy one here," the Gelert mumbled as he finally left me alone.
Be glad you'll probably save around ten thousand Neopoints, I thought, returning to my register.
No sooner had I returned to my post, however, did a pink Pteri stormed towards me and began fussing about the 'inflated' price of the Usuki Marshmallow Set. "This set used to be three hundred Neopoints and less!" fumed the peeved customer. "I demand that you lower this prince immediately! I will pay no more than two hundred and fifty!"
"Sorry ma'am, but we don't really listen to hagglers," I explained in my most polite voice. "It's either you pay the seven hundred price or, you know, buy something cheaper."
The Pteri crossed her arms. "Then I demand to speak with your manager."
"I don't know if she's available right now," I said, craning my neck around for any sight of Chloe.
Still fuming, the Pteri slammed the Usuki set on my counter and shouted, "This is the very last time I shop here at Usukiland!" before she stomped out of the store.
Rachel gave me a sympathetic face when I returned the set back to its shelf. "That customer looked like she was going to explode," she whispered. "But don't worry about it. She'll surely return here sometime."
"Hoo-rah," I hissed.
For the rest of the morning, I was able to meet customers who were not as aggravating as the Pteri. One customer—a yellow Kau named Pam—was shopping for a birthday gift for her daughter. She showed me two options: a Cheerleader Usuki and a Maraquan Usuki. "Which doll do you think my little Shelly would like more?" Pam asked me. "My Shelly has been begging for a Maraquan Usuki doll for ages, you know."
"Then get the Maraquan Usuki," I suggested. "That doll is waterproof and has two sets of scales: blue and green."
"Oooooh, I like that!" gushed Pam. Then she looked at the Cheerleader Usuki and said, "Then again, this Usuki doll has three sets of pompoms and many hair accessories. And her little green outfit is SO cute!"
"Then…uh, get the Cheerleader doll?" I said uncertainly.
Pam sighed. "If only they didn't make Usuki dolls so cute! Oh, it will take me forever to pick the perfect doll for Shelly." She looked at the dolls again and then asked, "Say…Nadine? Um, I was wondering if this place has that pretty Usuki doll with the sparkly green dress. You know the one with the emeralds?"
I shook my head. "Sorry, I don't know which one you mean."
"You know, the emerald one," Pan persisted. "She's like a princess or something."
Still confused, I asked Wendy for help and she handed me an Usuki catalogue to flip through. As I turned the pages, Pam 'oohs and aahs' at the different Usukis and sets until she gasps and points at the picture of an Emerald Queen Usuki doll. "Yes, this was the doll I was talking about! My Shelly would love her!"
Wendy frowned. "I'm so sorry ma'am, but we don't have any Emerald Queens stocked today. But we do have a variety of different princess clothing sets if you're interested."
Please say you are! I begged silently.
"Sorry, but Shelly wants an Usuki doll for her birthday," sighed Pam. "No clothes."
"Which one do you prefer, Wendy?" I asked, holding up the Maraquan Usuki and Cheerleader Usuki up to her. "We've narrowed it down to these two plastic beauties."
"If it were me, I'd choose the Maraquan one," said Wendy. "Both dolls have easy to style hair, but only one of them is waterproof!"
"Yes. I agree as well," Pam agreed happily. "Then again, maybe if you girls had any Geisha Girl Usukis around…"
"We don't," I said bluntly. "Let's go to my register and I'll ring up your purchase."
"Do you girls still gift wrap?" asked Pam.
"We only do that during the Month of Celebrating," Wendy explained.
As I handled Pam's purchase, the Kau babbled away on how angelic and smart and talented her precious little Shelly was. Pam kept yapping away at her daughter's seemingly endless list of good qualities as I stuffed Shelly's present into a bag and handed it to Pam. "You've been such a dear, Nadine," said Pam cheerfully. "If you were wearing just a hint of lipstick, you would be even more gorgeous!"
"Gee, thanks lady," I grumbled when Pam was a few feet away from me.
Rachel patted my back. "Good job, Nadine," she said proudly. "You've done a stellar job with your very first purchase!"
"Thanks," I said, smiling weakly. "You know, besides the constant talking to customers, this job isn't half bad."
"Yep, this job is pretty sweet," agreed Rachel. "Just brace yourself for three, okay?"
At first I didn't understand Rachel's comment. What was going to happen at three? Was it something bad? Should I be scared? It wasn't until the clocks chimed three o clock that I heard the excited chattering of children from the outside. Then I panicked, fully unprepared for what I was going to witness.
To be continued…