Normally I work Saturday, and am off on Sunday. But since I mistakenly thought this was NH Sheep and Wool weekend, I'd requested to work Sunday (Mother's Day) in order to have Saturday off.
I swear, we had the biggest lot of jerks, cretins, and dumbasses in as customers today. People throwing merchandise on the floor, and other people walking on it (and pushing their carts over it) instead of going around (0r, heaven forbid, picking it up!!!!) People changing their minds about merchandise and stuffing it behind things in a different department, instead of taking it back where they found it, or just handing it to the cashier and saying "I changed my mind." People asking questions, then arguing with the answer. People pulling things out of packaging, then shoving the mess back (sort of) onto the shelf. (Curtains, for example. Do they honestly think that we go to some kind of 'Curtain School' where we learn to fold curtains so they'll fit back in the package?!?) Running screaming kids being ignored by their parents. Running screaming parents being ignored by their children.
In other words, a day in Retail Hell.
So what, you ask, could be the worse than that? The Hardest Mother's Day?
That would be the year I was working as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant. It was a lovely restaurant - great food, fun people to work with. I loved my job.
When customers were celebrating a birthday, the celebrant would be comped a fried ice cream with a sparkler happily sparkling, as a gathering of waitstaff sang Happy Birthday.
For Mother's Day, the owners decided that it would be a lovely gesture to give a free fried ice cream (with sparkler) to every mother. Or everyone who might be a mother, or could someday be a mother. (At least we didn't have to sing...)
What this boiled down to was that any female, 15 or older, was to be gifted with a fried ice cream with sparkler.
Now, our normal modus operandi, as waitstaff, was to grab a handful of paper napkins before we lit the sparkler and headed for the table. We'd use the napkins as a pot holder to pull the red-hot wire of the burnt-out sparkler, drop said glowing wire on our tray, and carry on with our duties.
Like I said, this was a great restaurant. We were busier than shit on Mother's Day.
All of us waitstaff, at some point during that horrendously gloriously agonizingly busy day, ran out of napkins to use as potholders.
We started pulling those red-hot wires bare-handed. And once you'd done that a couple of times, it no longer mattered. One track mark of sizzling skin, or twenty tracks, it was all the same.
The smarter of us were using our off-hands for wire-pulling. The others were blinking back tears as they were holding their pens to take orders from subsequent tables.
It was a really really long day. Many many mothers (and potential mothers) (and possible future mothers) visited that day.
There were a lot of sparklers.
At least working Mother's Day in retail doesn't give me third-degree burns.