Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Temp work

As many of you know to help pay the bills while pastoring at Reconciler, I do temporary work. Usually it is unremarkable office work, occasionally it is remarkable or at least interesting to me in some way.

One of my recurring (twice a year) assignments is to work in some of the "Casual Furniture" (known to most people as patio furniture) show rooms in the Merchandise Mart here in Chicago. Usually the work is helping the permanent show rooms set up or take down after their Market. This year for the first time I am working the Market for my favorite show room to work for. The company is descent and have showroom managers that I get along with really well.

Not having worked a market before I had no idea what I would be doing. When I arrived the showroom manager begins to explain to me somewhat sheepishly that I am to make sure that chairs are pushed in that pillows remain as they are, make sure fabric swatches are kept in decent order and that I am to pick up any trash left on the tables. Essentially my job is to make sure the show room always looks like it looks the first thing in the morning. I am to remove all traces that people have sat in the chairs and used the tables etc.

Half way through the day I realized that I was in fact cast as a fastidious anal obsessive compulsive housekeeper during a party, who the moment someone gets up from the couch fluffs the cushions and returns everything to the way it was before they had sat down. Most people ignored me but a few actually apologized for moving the furniture, with the remark I keep undoing your work. I replied, that's my job.
Being in the Mart is surreal on the whole anyway but this I think takes the cake. Add to this that I was also in a position to overhear many of the conversations between the reps and the buyers and between buyers as they looked at and were shown the furniture.

Bellow are a few things I overheard today:
-"What you are looking to do now is decorate the outside like the inside..." Rep to buyer.

-"No longer is the standard the four piece set... Now you need to have large coordinated sets." Rep to buyer.

-"I'd like to have his job!" Buyer to another buyer I gathered about my job. To which I thought no you don't.

- bellow is a conversation that a buyer was having with another buyer and then addresses the question to a Rep who was sitting near by. "Why do you think there are the bubble things on the joints on this chair and not so much on those upfront?" No answer from the other buyer who just nods. "Do you think these are prototypes?" Notice the rep sitting and asks "Do you know?" Rep answers "Well these are not prototype but first run, so yes the welds are left a little rough since these are only floor models." Buyer asks " So they will be less bubbly and smoother?"
Rep answers "Well they will grind the welds some but you can't grind too much for the integrity of the weld to hold."
Buyer responds " Yes, sure, of course." but not completely convince by the Reps answer. The rep notices and continues "But also this isn't [the high end name brand of the company] so you are going to have the welds remain more visible."

- This was my favorite thing overheard today "You will find that the attributes of fine outdoor living are well accepted..." Rep to group of buyers. Sure why wouldn't they be accepted who wouldn't want "fine outdoor living if you could afford it!?