You’re going to think I’m being a suck up. That may be unavoidable, but I swear that’s not my intention. This is merely a series of genuine observations, and a positive reaction to those observations. Seriously. Ask almost anyone their thoughts about working in retail, and a common response would be to shudder, groan, or run away crying. Retail often leads one to believe that people are awful. Whether you’ve worked in retail or not, you’ve certainly been a customer at some point. You’ve seen the person in front of you trying to return the top she bought two years ago, or the pants that have clearly been worn, dirtied, and washed. You’ve likely seen a terrified employee shaking in their boots while a customer rips their head off for a reason beyond their control. I recall being sixteen years old and having to re-scoop ice cream for a customer who felt that the scoop I had just handed them did not live up to their ice cream scoop ideal. It was phrased a little harsher than that, though. Sometimes, people are just the worst. But not here. Seriously. I don’t know if it’s the charming atmosphere of downtown Middleton that puts everyone in a good mood, or if our light purple walls just soothe the soul, but our customers are just really nice. This being our first year, there has definitely been a learning curve for us. We have (inadvertently) presented customers with opportunities to point out mistakes. But as a whole, we deal with kind, patient, friendly women everyday. As has been mentioned in previous blog entries, we have run into some inconvenient technological hiccups. The most common response from the woman waiting at the register is “Oh, that’s okay.” Even an exasperated sigh and forced smile would be completely acceptable in the situation, but the sighs are often silent and the smiles genuine. It’s just crazy. We quickly gained a loyal following of customers who have turned into friends, and essentially into family. Customers who hug us. Customers who tell us the details of their recent vacations. Even first time shoppers, far more often than not, are friendly and warm. People hang the clothes back on hangers after trying them on, and offer to put them back out on the sales floor. You don’t have to do that! You’re our guest! Thank you, really, but we will do it for you! I can barely recall any instances of walking into the fitting room after a customer leaves and finding piles on the floor. The Neena woman is thoughtful, considerate, and respectful of our merchandise. Whatever is causing this beautiful epidemic, I hope it doesn’t end.