December 8, 2011
For many of us, going shopping this time of year is like entering a war zone.
But duty calls, and today's "Art, Do My Job" takes me into enemy territory at the most dangerous time...the department store just before Christmas!
My Mission: To survive at Bealls where the fighting is fiercest-- gift wrap!
My mentor: A 10-year veteran in the wrapping wars- Rochelle Garza.
I asked her about the Black Friday crowd. "They were lined up all the way down there? Garza says, "yes, down that main walkway"
She says on that day customers swamped her store on Capital
Circle Northeast in Tallahassee, and a lot of 'em wanted the free wrapping.
"I don't enjoy Black Friday but once that's over it's okay."
Rochelle Showed me the ropes...or wraps...then it was my turn with a real customer.
As I took the gift from the lady, she asked skeptically, "You're gonna wrap it? I answer, "I'm gonna try... and why are you laughing?"
About the gift she said, "This is the Christmas palm tree that everybody should have that lives in Florida, right?"
I'm slow at this wrapping business, so it's a waiting game for my customer:
She responds, " You have to patient in the holidays. It's a good time to cultivate patience."
As I look over my wrap job I notice a problem. The package is at least half an inch higher on one side than the other.
"We have a bit of an angle!" I say.
Thankfully the nice lady loves it anyway.
As she leaves I wish her Merry Christmas and express my hope that she loves her palm tree.
The palm tree was lovely, but one of Rochelle's co-workers says some of the items people have asked her to wrap over the years make her wonder.
"I think to myself, 'my God, if I got that as a gift, I'd die!'" says Pam Pedraza.
So what are some of the deadly sins of amateur gift wrapping?
"Not enough paper."
Pam has been a "wrap star" for 40 years! She says another problem is, "Too much scotch tape."
Rochelle says it's a turn off when she gets a present with certain things stuck in the tape!
" I don't like animal fur in it. I'm allergic to cats!"
One guy said he'd love to give me a shot at wrapping his wife's present. So I decide it's time to challenge Rochelle to a wrapping race.
"1,2,3 GO!" Practically before I can say "Ebenezer Scrooge" Rochelle is done.
Rochelle called it a wrap in just 40 seconds! I had barely started, with just one piece of tape applied to my package. To rub it in, she quickly asked her customer, "What color bow would you like sir?"
In my defeat, my customer tried to encourage me.
"Not too shabby," he said.
The came a comment that sounded a lot like "don't quit your day job."
"We need you more for the morning news 'cause you do such a good job of it."
Oh well, the real pros here are the ladies. Think of them the next time you're waiting in a long line for that package. Try to have as much patience with them...as my customers and Rochelle did with me.
So, how'd I do?
"You were excellent today!" said Rochelle.
Just as she finished that line the phone right next to us rang loudly right on camera. With such timing we joked that it was God calling to object and say, "He did what?!"