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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Shopping

Bonding Over Fabric – flash fiction

Lillian leaned on her cane and perused the only two shelves of fabric she had left. She needed four complimentary ones to make the project she had in mind. After trying many combinations she exhausted her options so limped to her chair and eased herself into the worn seat. After a little nap, she called her granddaughter. “Would you have time to take me shopping.”

“I can on Friday.”

When they returned from their excursion, Sally said, “My youngest starts school in September. Could we schedule time to sew together?”

Lillian’s misty eyed response was, “Of course my dear.”

 

In response to Charli Mills April 25, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes exhaustion. Who is exhausted and why? Can you make art of exhaustion? Go where the prompt leads!

Cyber Monday

My sister has a new knee, Thanksgiving weekend is over, lots of us shopped on-line on Cyber Monday and are now awaiting our packages via the US mail, UPS or Fed-Ex.

Have you ever thought about the driver of a UPS or Fed-Ex truck? My son is a UPS driver, going on 23 years with the company. His body is shot from all the heavy lifting, the eighteen (or so) inch step out of and into the truck over 200 times a day, and he gets to see his daughter on weekends, because at the age of four, she is usually in bed by the time he gets home at night. On an exceptionally light delivery day he might get home by 7pm; between Thanksgiving and Christmas it is usually between 9 and 10pm.  I’m not trying to complain, just educate. Yes, he makes good money, but it comes with a price.

During the month of December a UPS driver can actually be fired for calling in sick, or taking time to go to a friends funeral. That’s where Mom gets to help. Today I will be going to the funeral of my son’s best friend’s wife, who died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 50. I am going with my daughter-in-law for moral support and as a stand-in for my son. It’s a priviledge to be able to do these things for my son, but it bothers him emotionally that he has to tell his wife, or friend he can’t be there for them because his job is at stake.

I’m not looking for sympathy, but empathy would be nice. Next time you get a package delivered whether from Cyber Monday shopping or any other day, think about the sacrifices your driver may be making to get that package to you on the day it is expected. And if that driver is a little crabby during the next month, think about the fact he/she might be letting his family down during this busy season. Thanks for listening.

Go With a Friend

It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and today is National Mammography Day.  We all know someone who has dealt with this disease.  Some people beat it and too many do not.

Where I live, there is a large office that a lot of women choose to have their mammo’s at because it has the best reputation for early diagnosis, which is key.  But, it is so big, I shy away from it.  Women are funny creatures.  We are all there for the same reason, but we sit in the waiting room like we’ve never seen another woman before.  No one speaks and it’s more than tense.  Anonymity  doesn’t really exist because they call most of the woman to the same room in a parade.  Those are the ones that have no problem.  Then someone is called to the OTHER room and everyone knows her results were either inconclusive, or worse.  It’s scary.  I recently filled out a survey and it wanted to know what the worst part of the procedure was.  I answered; the sense of fear in the room.

I have a suggestion.  Go to your next Mammogram with a friend.  Plan far enough ahead so you can make your appointments at nearly the same time and make a fun day of it.  Go shopping, or to lunch afterwards.  At least have a buddy to pass the time with while you wait so the time goes faster and your mind isn’t playing dirty tricks on you.  I also have one request; please don’t sit chewing and snapping gum while you wait. It might calm your nerves, but not mine.  I happen to hate that sound on a good day, and in that situation it would make me want to  get violent. That’s supposed to make you smile!

If you think about it, there probably isn’t a handful days in any given month that you don’t see, or hear about the pink ribbon and/or breast cancer.  It’s a serious thing.  Take care of your ta-tas and go get them squeezed on a regular basis.  You might not want to but the peace of mind after is worth every minute it takes.  And go with a friend to make it more fun.

Recognition Goes a Long Way

I’m not quite sure why they chose the above picture for Get to Know Your Customers Day.  I would have taken a picture of someone paying for something in a small retail store. Hopefully you have a good memory of a local Mom and Pop store where your parents shopped and the owners called them by name, or you now have a friendly coffee shop where you don’t have to tell the Barista how you want your drink prepared or a bartender that sets up your beer as you walk in the door.

I’m a name nut.  I can’t remember who sings what song, but I can probably tell you all the names of my high school class mates.  Mind you, there were only 72 in my graduating class.  I can even tell you which teachers were my older sister’s favorites.  When my children were dating, they didn’t tell me about a new interest without being able to tell me who she/he was related to in our area because they knew I would ask.  My sisters call to ask about family connections from our original hometown when they can’t remember.

I worked in a quilting fabric store for thirteen years.  I could greet about half of the people that shopped there by first name.  It’s easy for me and I believe it made each customer feel welcome and special.  My boss might tell you I did too much personal talking with them.  I might agree with her, but I bet most of them aren’t greeted that way now that I no longer work there.  In fact, I had another of the employees tell me one day I made the rest of them look bad because I did use first names.  When I think of that comment it makes me sad.

My memory is not just about names.  I hear from friends and family that they enjoy what I share here; I write about people, passions and experiences that have become part of my life, some are pretty old.

The big box stores and on-line shopping have taken personal customer service out of our shopping experiences.  And we all know, getting decent customer service via telephone is often unsatisfactory.  There is an answer.  Shop local, in privately owned stores.  Introduce yourself to the owner and let them know they are meeting your needs.  You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get to know each other’s names.  I promise they will appreciate getting to know their customer.

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