\ sprook \ , verb;
1. To make or give a speech, especially extensively; spiel.
You want a spruik? I’ll give you a spruik. You may choose which spruik you’re in the mood for, out of my old blogs from a site called “myspace”.
“We should all work, however briefly in retail. If not solely to decide that it isn’t for us, then to discover the secrets of the human race through selling them things. We guide them to those things they need, remind them that perhaps there was something else they may have made this journey for, we guide them through the often baffling payment process and through it all we coexperience some bright or dark spot of their life, some arduous or therapeutic experience and we choose to make it easier or harder for them.” –Keith Roberts
“Oh Mother. I believe I’ve seen this Lost City before,” said an awe-struck little one no older than four-years-old. Such seriousness existed in her voice, I felt as though I needed to stifle my chuckle. I looked down and mindlessly moved the SMALL sweater in front of the MEDIUM, naturally.
Usually the kiddies who come in to the General Store are focused on the candy barrels toward the back, they partly skip-hop-sprint back there and parents often say, “Not a lot of candy! Two handfuls!” Yet this little girl was not concerned with cherry glazed licorice bites or orange circus peanuts, she was unique and I found myself drawn to her.
The problem with retail (more to come…) is that the people you are drawn to walk out of your life as suddenly as they walk in. “Hello, how are you?” “Good morning. Can I help you find anything?”
One in every 16 customers would make eye contact with me and say, “Hi! I’m fine, how are you doing, sweetie/honey/dear?”
When these gems respond, we chat about the cool weather and the leaves changing color and I find a vest they’ve been wanting for months. The husband gives me advice about where to go to graduate school, or what kind of guy I need to find to marry, then they make a purchase larger than the amount my paycheck will be worth. Then they’re gone.
Another challenge walks in the door. “Hey there…”
No eye contact. Focused on the hot tamales in the back I suppose.
It’s awfully easy to get tired of people who believe you exist for their retail satisfaction. It’s almost as if my life’s destiny is to run to the back stock to find them a 14 LONG, not REGULAR, LONG. They repeat it four times and I want to tell them I went to college and memorized speeches. I want to start quoting Wittgenstein and Aurelius and 42 of my elementary school friends’ phone numbers. Then I want to tell them they won’t even fit into the 14. When they realize they were being hopeful in their bossy size selection, they’ll make it seem as if I made the mistake by not grabbing the 16 LONG. I want to tell them if they would just smile while asking, I wouldn’t silently dream I never end up this way, discontented and…in need of a long pant. I smile and hurry my little retailer self downstairs to grab some pants on the top shelf. Crap. Size 12? Short?
These same folks ask me to unlock dressing rooms that have doors already wide open. They try 12 shirts on and put one back on a hanger, somehow, incorrectly. Others they bunch up and throw on the floor in a corner, and I’m certain, step on them.
The sneaky merchandising tricks that they teach us work on me daily. I am now convinced that I must have a bird feeder holder, with easy access to change the feed for the low, low price of $10.95. Although I have no interest in spending my extra money on food for these birds that should find it themselves.
I also need a waterproof, breathable, detractable hood, soft as a cloud, $300 jacket suitable for extreme weather and physical conditions. I would probably wear it out to get coffee.
I purchased a wavy knife cutter so my vegetables will look professionally done. Though I never have guests over and rarely eat vegetables.
Brilliant, these charming merchandisers.
Senior Year Spruik:
Oooh goodness gracious. These are the days where time is measured by inches of falling snow and how long the holiday specials will last at Starbucks. Time passes quickly as I wait for books that are 80% cheaper than the bookstore to arrive in the mail. I tell myself I‘ll read them when they come. Yet, if snow is on the ground, I know they‘ll just stay in the mailroom for a few more days.
Sometimes I write out my schedule and almost feel a bit guilty for living the life. Just one more semester here, and everybody feels free to remind me daily. Many expect excitement and I think I disappoint them. This has passed too quickly. Mars Hill has welcomed me in, changed me for the better, and will now send me away, hopefully to somewhere just as mountainous. There is not one thing about this place that I am ready to leave. I should start speaking French in my Spanish class and try to stay for another semester…
Mars Hill College Summary Spruik:
It’s about roasting marshmallows on the stove, starting a paper at midnight, finally getting to bed at four, setting the alarm for six, throwing on a hat in the morning, out the door with the biggest smile two hours of sleep would allow, admiring the fall leaves that take my breath away while singing Christmas songs all day long. It’s about getting to know the roommate almost as well as the twin brother. It’s about following a boy who carries a satchel. It’s about sitting on the heater after a 7 am prayer meeting listening to Shane and Shane, drinking warm coffee out of fear of burning my tongue, staring at the stunning bright orange tree by the baseball field. It’s about the Grove Park Inn, Sunday nights with Erica reading in the Barnes and Noble kid’s section, it’s about Red Bull at 2 am with Aaron and Jamie, measuring our growth on the townhouse wall. It’s about answering every question I’ve even thought about thinking, talking to Mindy, while walking countless laps around the football field. It’s about playing the right songs at the Waffle House and getting caught in the pouring rain while climbing the perfect tree. It’s about letting fried okra make my day. It’s about going home and beating the family in sensational rummy, coming back to friends who were waiting. It’s about chocolate chip pancakes, muffins, and praise and worship on Tuesday nights. It’s about snowball fights with bruises and snowangels with halos. It’s about lowfat creamy blends of starbucks coffee and milk. It’s about being Joanna’s “sister” and taking more pride in that than she’ll ever know. It’s about learning how to knit and how to control a full shopping cart on a hill. It’s about more marshmallows than hot chocolate at the Refuge, learning more than I knew possible. It’s about hurricane parties and surprise birthday extravaganzas. It’s about eating with your 500 closest friends in the cafeteria. It’s about Asheville Tourist baseball games, Mighty Ducks marathons, and being Flat Creek Softball champions. It’s about reading the books that aren’t on your six required lists. It’s about seeing a “Buckle Up Virginia” sign on the way to Asheville from Charlotte…it’s about being shocked when the crush calls and “has a thing for overalls.” It’s about rolling around in the leaves in front of the dormitory, jumping into the elevator every time, and becoming dependent on caffeine. It’s about becoming who I’ve always wanted to be. It’s about getting out of the room, running up the mountain and not being able to breathe for minutes, then doing it again. It’s about having class on the quad by the fountain in the beating down sunshine. It’s about writing a paper in ten minutes, but spending days on one for Yael Baldwin. It’s about Sunday mornings with Joe Dillon, returning on the same road a different person, or a Journey Team weekend coming back renewed. It’s about Homecoming parades and Lion’s Growl fireworks. It’s about flying home over the mountains, into the water. It’s about the layover in Atlanta, the coffee, and the book open to read, but staring out the window the whole time, exchanging smiles with strangers, making up stories about who they are and where they are going. It’s about flying over Christmas lights and baseball fields. It’s about writing on napkins and always realizing that it looks more poetic just because it’s on the napkin. It’s about reading a verse I’ve read over and over for 12 years and finally “getting” it. It’s about hot maple brown sugar oatmeal and cold milk. It’s about blackcurrant tea, talking to mom on the phone, laughing and dreaming out loud. It’s about God time in the woods above the apartments, freezing cold in five inches of snow. It’s about sneaking into a Bed and Breakfast, contra dancing, and tutoring the cutest fifth grader in the state of N.C. and microwaving his very first s’more. It’s about breaking down the walls I’ve spend so long building up. It’s about getting what I thought I always wanted. It’s about driving to the beach to be a camp counselor and deciding to go the night before. It’s about a new found confidence, standing on a chair, “The most important thing you’ll ever do is have a relationship with Jesus Christ.”