I got a call a few weeks ago. My husband was doing some plant-hauling for my favorite local greenhouse, Miller’s Greenery (61177 CR 43, Middlebury). The owner wanted to know—was I free on Saturday morning? The family needed to attend their daughter’s 8th grade graduation. Could I run the greenhouse for a couple of hours?
I’ve never worked retail a day in my life—so my first thought was, “What an insane idea!” But that was followed by, “If they think I can do it, maybe I can.” And then, “I wonder how many plants I could buy with what they would pay me?”
So, Saturday morning I showed up, and with a total of ten minutes’ training, I was off to the races. I kept this diary…
7:00 a.m. – I just woke up to see that my prayers for rain went unanswered. Rats...
9:15 a.m. – Arrival time. I munched on a couple of chewable Alka-Seltzers on the way over to calm my tummy. Mrs. Miller wished me luck and off she went. No customers in sight, which is good, because I’m not sure I can pull this off!
9:30 a.m. – Still alone here. I took some photos for my blog post… Didn’t want to do that with customers around, since the Amish don’t take kindly to having their pictures taken.
10:10 a.m. – My first sale!—a bottle of Sevin. I’m glad the first one was easy. Another customer is browsing outside.
10:30 a.m. – I just made myself useful! A customer was looking at a “Celebration Maple” but wasn’t sure and asked for more information. I whipped out my cell phone, gave him the rundown, and he bought four at $48 each. “Cha-ching!” said the cash register. (Actually, there’s no electricity at the greenhouse, so it was a solar calculator and a cash drawer.)
10:55 a.m. – Just did big sale with a long sales slip... So far, customers have come in one at a time with space in between, so I might just make it until noon without driving customers away who got tired of waiting!
11:00 a.m. – Trouble just pulled into the yard in a pickup truck... An “English” customer says that she got ten Bartlett Pears last year and paid $40 each instead of the marked price of $48. Can I sell her ten more at the same discount? (Nope.) She walked away empty-handed—I can’t authorize that!
11:15 a.m. – A lady wanted to know which watermelon seed variety grows the sweetest fruit. My smartphone to the rescue again!
11:25 a.m. – More customers. A couple more successful sales. Tick, tick, tick…
11:40 a.m. – A woman just bought a 50-pound bag of seed potatoes. Normally, the cashier carries purchases out to the customer’s buggy and loads them. But I have no upper body strength whatsoever—so I was glad to see that she could heave that bag like it weighed nothing! Amish farm wives are the best!
11:45 a.m. – And here comes the owner’s son to take over the store... I’m glad to report that I didn’t do any harm (that I know of)—in fact, the owner called to ask me if I’d do it again if they’re ever in a pinch! One thing for sure: I’ll be back soon to cash in my earnings for plants.
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