Sadventure Completed #21: Selling Dead People's Furniture
Updated: Mar 28
Well, this came from left-field but it was decided I should spend seven days selling antiques. I have absolutely no idea about antiques although I've always thought working in little boutique shops have a romantic illusion to them. Probably because every love-sickening piece of chick-lit fiction I made the mistake of reading prior to entering the Mid-Life had the damsel, for it was usually as damsel, working in a bookshop. I figured sitting amongst musty old books amounted to much the same thing as sitting around musty old furniture.
And so, it was decided that I should sit and wait to see if any gallant, prince charming should come and whisk me from my humdrum life.
And so, I presented myself at work at 9:50 - for the joys of such jobs is no-one of any serious purchasing calibre buys before 9am. At least, that's how I reasoned it. I had been given a bunch of keys to wrangle - the door to the toilet proved the trickiest. Twenty minutes later, I was part of the furniture - cup in hand, staring at the front door, willing people to bimble in. Alas, no fool combated the drizzly town centre at that time in the morning.
At 11:10 a man came in to say "Nice Chimney." I wondered if this was antique dealer's code for something but alas, we are, or rather I am, indeed offering a chimney for sale. He leaves before I can launch into a terracotta sales pitch.
At 12:00 I had my third cup of coffee. Fourth at 1pm. Fifth at 2pm. At 2:30 a woman came in to admire the chairs and a mirror. "Italian?" she asked. "English as they come." I said. Turns out she didn't really give a stuff about my nationality.
Went home later that afternoon. More entertainment with the keys. Sales £0
Less stressful start to the morning as they keys were more amenable to my demands. Ended up with my first cup of coffee, and the open sign facing the right way, ten minutes before designated opening time. No overtime, alas.
Two people popped in to enquire about the owner's whereabouts. Decided not to joke that I'd buried him under the patio. Especially as one of them was the owner's mum.
At 12:00 I discovered that working in an antiques shop is death by bongs. First the Grandfather Clock bongs, then a second clock chimes, then another clock sounds like a strangled cat, then a third clock chimes, with the crescendo coming from the Town Hall's Bell. On the hour, every hour.
At 2:30 I am delighted to spot a Jeremy Corbyn look-a-like walk past the shop window. He walks in back a few moments later.
The GrandFather clock has stopped. I, being of the digital age and rely on batteries, have no idea how to re-start it. I could google it but my sanity prevents me.
The Jeremy Corbyn look-a-like slithers passed the window again. I am hoping he's not my knight in shining armour. I duck under an Art Deco piece just in case.
Still, I made my first sale! I say "I made" it was more a case of a man saying "I'll take this." No opportunity to haggle, barter, negotiate nor trade in the way I imagined antique dealers are wont to do . He was quite the novice and just paid for it at list price. Mind you, it was a cheap as chips anyway.
I decide I have got the hang of this selling malarky and my boss, off tanning himself somewhere exotic, tells me to reward myself with a pain-au-raisin from a local eatery. Performance-related-pounds to add to my hips.
I am late for work! It truly was not my fault - I had a dentist appointment, and the dentist 'kindly' gave me a double appointment, the second appointment was free. Normally, I appreciate greatly freebies - but when it involves a double shot of anaesthetic and a pneumatic drill, I am less than grateful. I was not even in a position to even say 'but I'll be late for work!'
Got to work feeling like I'd been smacked in the face. Dribbled all over the furniture in my attempts to drink coffee. Mouthed 'Mellow' to a customer. No sales. No surprises there.
At last! A sunny day - this, I hoped, would bring in the punters. Lots of people came in and exclaimed 'It's warm in here!' I smiled gracefully with my newly-whitened teeth, no longer, tinted red.
Man popped in to ask what was 'new'. I said he needed Ikea.
Awarded myself 'Employee of the Month' and promptly fell asleep in one of the comfy chairs for sale. I was like an automaton: Eye's binking open as the bell ralled against the door being swung open, then went back into standby mode for the rest of the day.
Another dreary day. No customers came. I spent most of the day asleep in the comfy chair at the back of the shop. That's what reading The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy does to you. Got a text from the owner to say to put some pictures to one side. He's made a sale from the beach he's on - the beach is on another continent.
My last day of work. Absolutely no punters came in until the last hour - then it was like Picadilly Circus. No chance for napping, coffee or nipping out for a loo stop. Had to stay open late. And still, I didn't make a sale.
Popped in to inspect the owner's tan the day after. He'd only gone and sold most of the shop. All week, I'd been bumping in to furniture, and now I could bring down the cat and swing him around. So what have I learned from this escapade? That I'm not an antique, nor am I very good at selling them.
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