Tuesday, 26 November 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like

Christmas; just not in my shop yet. 

I got asked yesterday when I was decorating the window and shop for Christmas as "everyone" else already has their displays in place.  My answer to the question was "maybe next week - maybe the week after". The lovely lady asking was shocked at this and no matter how hard I tried to explain to her that it is only NOVEMBER it would appear I am in the minority when it comes to all things Christmas, but to me shops getting their stock out so early takes away the whole appeal of the season. By the time Christmas comes around these days people are already bored of it, where it's been forced upon them at every twist and turn for months. We all know that it happens on the SAME day, EVERY year. I for one, don't want to have it shoved in my face any time before the 1st December (and even then I think that's too early) so I certainly don't want to surround myself with it at work. 

Don't think I'm being all *Bah Humbug* by not doing it earlier; I am in fact being quite the opposite for I am one of those people that absolutely loves Christmas. It really is my favourite time of year. Walking the dog past (tastefully) lit up houses on a cold winter night really gets me in the mood, but if those lights are up now by the time Christmas arrives the magic of the season is gone. I've got bored seeing them every day for 6 weeks. That's why I won't be decorating the shops window until next week (maybe the week after). 

As for gifts; we're not one of those shops that sells Christmas gifts and trinkets (there are enough other shops around selling those) but if we did, they still wouldn't be in the shop before the 1st December. Right or wrong that's the reason why we still have a summery style window display in and will for at least another 6 days. I have, however, decided on my colour scheme for this year :)

So in other - non Christmas - related news we've had another 2 wonderful emails from customers that were pleased with the items we made for them. It really does make my day when I open up the emails to see such lovely words from people. The fact that people are willing to take the time out to let me know I've helped to make their day special (for a birthday) or that they were pleased with their tributes (for funerals) really does mean a lot to me. 

On the subject of sympathy I was asked last week to make 2 West Highland Terriers for a customer. The lady came in with a photo of how she wanted them to look (which always helps) and between us we came up with some personal touches. Considering they weren't an animal I had made before, and because they were made 2D/3D rather than a full on standing/sitting 3D dog I was quite pleased with how they turned out in the end. I am hoping the customer was too :) 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

What to do?

On Friday afternoon last week, as the kids were leaving school, one young man thought it would be fun to push over as many of my planters out the front of the shop as he could - yes I am aware that boys will be boys - but when I got out there I will admit to be exceptionally angry (and had I been able to run fast enough to catch him, I'd probably have pulled his ears off as I dragged him back to the shop to clean up the mess he left me with, which then would have got me arrested - what a world we live in when the person committing the crime has more rights than the victim, but that's a blog for another time and not shop related). So I never caught him, but a young lady saw what happened and gave me a name for the boy. 

Now although he'd done about £50 worth of damage, I do appreciate that he probably never did it to cause any damage as such; I was a teenager and as such I used to hang around with teenage boys so know how stupidly mindless they can be, but by the same token I wanted him made aware of his actions and the fact it has cost money. I also wanted the school to be made aware, as he was in uniform, and they are technically responsible for him until he gets home. I have to say I felt the school a bit of a let down, which is where I wasn't sure what to do. 

The lady I spoke to when I telephoned said she would get on to the right people on Monday and get back to me about the outcome; it's now Wednesday morning and I have heard nothing.  I have had to phone them to find out what is going on and if the boy has been spoken to or not. This has annoyed me a bit I will admit, as I shouldn't be the one having to chase this up; I was placed on hold for 5 minutes today, while the lady on the phone got hold of the one I had spoken to on Friday, so she could let me know what was going on. As with these things after being on hold for so long, I was then told she was on the other phone so they would have to get back to me - and I thought energy and mobile phone suppliers were good at passing me from one person to another, with me getting nowhere fast, but the school did a pretty good job of giving them a run for their money.

As I finished typing that last paragraph I received a phone call from a policeman who is apparently attached to the the school for 2 days a week (when did things get so bad that schools had to have a policeman attached to them?) He told me the boys (there were 3 of them in total, but only 1 that caused the damage) have admitted it. He then asked me what I would like done? I found this an odd question; for some reason the school have told the police (something I would not have bothered to do as I really only wanted the boy to be made aware of his actions, and have his parents informed) who is then asking me what I would like done. Do our police not have any powers left these days to deal with things as they see fit? Surely he should have told me what he had done and how they had been dealt with?. The best bit though (and I am being sarcastic on this) was when he told me the school hadn't got back to me because they were waiting to see him and inform him of what had happened. They couldn't pick up the phone to me on Monday to just bring me up to date? I will admit I told him that I'm actually more annoyed at the school and their lack of response now, than I am about the boy who did the damage in the first place.Maybe I expected too much.

As for what I want done; I wanted the boy to genuinely apologise to me on Monday - any apology now will mean nothing as I have had to chase it all up. I'd have liked him to be the one to have to spend an hour in the pouring rain clearing up the mud that had gone everywhere when he pushed the planters over; I'd have liked for him to have to pick up all the broken bits of the planters, and the plants that were scattered to all four corners of our forecourt area. I'd have liked the school to show some professionalism by getting back to me before I had to chase them 3 days later. 

But what I'd really like, is for parents to teach their kids some respect for other people and their property. I work hard, long hours, each and every day to be able to cover the bills during these tough economic times and to provide a service to my customers - I've even had to sacrifice my own wages some months for the benefit of the business and the people I serve. The planters were an expense I didn't need - and really couldn't afford at the time -  but they were something I invested in to help make the area outside the front of the shop look a little less concrete, and a bit more cheerful for my customers, and the general public passing by the shop.