Case in point: today. I got to the store around 9:45, worked the full day, finished up an inventory and tied up some loose ends after closing before finally hitting the road around 8:15. Yes, it was a long day and no, these aren't my typical hours, but not once did I look up at our nifty Mizuno finish line clock wishing that I could escape, not even after a pain-in-the-ass customer tried to nickel and dime me to death over the undesirable color of her daughter's cross country spikes. Sorry lady, she already gets a 10% discount and no, I can't tap those lime green suckers with my magic wand and turn them purple. Thank-you, however, for bringing some comic relief into my afternoon.
Speaking of comic relief, I had an old guy come in this morning from all the way out in Orange, a good hour or so drive from the store. Impressed he had traveled such a great distance to fund us, I just had to ask this fella what brought him all the way out to Westboro to buy his running shoes. Was he just driving by and happened to notice the store, referred by a physical therapist, visiting a friend, or checking us out because of our excellent reputation for fitting people in shoes?
"Don't let him convince you he came all the way out here just for shoes," chimed in his brother, who was assisting the Orangeman in the shoe-buying process. "My brother deal pickles. He has a lot of clients out in this part of the state."
"Deals pickles?," I asked the brother, puzzled and hoping this wasn't code for some sort of lewd act you'd suspect someone from Orange to take part in.
"Hey, at least it's not crack or cocaine," the Orangeman snapped back with from the rear of the store, as my co-worker Matt nearly fell to the floor from laughter.
When all else fails, it's always our customers that keep me going. There's something new to look forward to every day, whether it's taking on the challenge of a difficult fit, picking an old warrior's brain about training back in the day, sharing injury advice with a frustrated marathoner, answering a new runner's questions about what kind of socks to wear or just shooting the shit with some high school kid who recently joined the cross country team to get in shape for basketball, even if that kid is 12 years old, black as night and 6-foot-2 with a size 14 shoe. And no, I'm not even joking, but something tells me this guy's not gonna quit basketball to run long distance year round.
That being said, working with the high school kids is an absolute blast. Yes, they're weird, and no, half of them don't have any idea what they're getting themselves into, but on the whole their enthusiasm is infectious, which in turn has helped renew my own excitement for this crazy sport.
And it makes work that much more enjoyable as well. Time flies when you're having fun.
Quote of the day:
"Well, what have you got? I usually just down three cocktails and pop a naproxen before bed and that seems to do the trick."
- The Orangeman's response when I offered to suggest some home treatments for dealing with plantar fasciitis. His remedy may actually be more effective than my recommendation of rolling his ailing foot around on a frozen water bottle.