Follow @EllenGrabe Grabe's Gatherings: Hallmark Hall of Fame

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hallmark Hall of Fame

Tonight as I slowed down my legs at cycle class a cool down song came on that immediately took me back to my college days working at the Coach House Gifts/Hallmark store. The Cd's that were made for us to play throughout the store were familiar songs-some old, some recent-but were toned down to a slower pace and more pleasant demeanor.

As we stretched I thought back to the long days and nights of inventory, the mad rush of men on Valentine's Day and of course the nights of closing down the registers as fast as I could so I could meet the rest of the crew at Diamond Dave's for karaoke. During some leg stretches I chuckled to myself as b I remembered a certain blunder that would only, and probably has only, happened to me.

When the boss was away there was often a list of items we were expected to accomplish during our shifts. One night it was just me and another worker on the 4 to close shift. Our project of the night was to create a new Yankee Candle of the Month display and place it in the front of the store. This involved disassembling a previous display and moving the display table to another spot on the floor. If you have ever worked in a store similar to a Hallmark store, you will know what I'm talking about when I say those glass display tables are a pain to build! You have to find the right sizes of glass so it is even on all sides and it takes two people to hold the base together while someone screws in the connectors. The pieces of glass are heavy, and the worst part--the tables do NOT slide on the carpeted floor, so if you want to use a display that is already built, you have to take it apart and rebuild it to put it on the floor where corporate wants it.

We stripped the table of it's previous display and began created the new candle display when we realized we had to move the entire display to the entrance of the store. Being lethargic college kids we dreaded taking everything off, disassembling the table and recreating it. I had an "ingenious" idea to just lift it and gently slide it closer to the front of the store. There were only a few customers in the store browsing so we got in position at the bottom of the table, counted to 3, and slightly lifted just enough to take the pressure of the table off of the floor. We slid the table a couple of inches, took a break then dove in for more. This time wasn't as successful. As we slid, a piece of the chipped glass at the bottom of the display snagged on the carpet causing the glass to snap! The entire display rocked to one side, back to the other, and then made it's descend right towards me. While this was happening my first instinct was to catch it to avoid more glass breaking. My instincts were wrong and I fell back on my butt while the table and all of the candles we left on it fell on top of me. Just when I thought it was over, one last 22 ounce Yankee Jar Candle fell from the very top of the display and bonked me right in the head with a loud thump.

My world went blank. I saw nothing but black. I could hear people talking but couldn't respond. After what seemed like minutes (but was only a few seconds) I snapped back to it and opened my eyes. Standing over me were two men and my coworker amongst the debris trying to ask if I was okay. I could feel my face turn from a freckled pale skin to a bright red flaming skin. I smiled sheepishly at the customers and said, "Guess that was a bad idea!" I got up and tried to walk calmly to the back room. Once there, my entire body was shaking and I hurt. My left hand was swollen where part of the table had fallen on it and my engagement ring was swollen on my finger. I had a slight red bump on my head where the candle hit me. I put some ice on my hand and emerged from the shelter of the back and laughed about it the rest of the night with my coworker. We kidded about workman's comp. and wondered if corporate kept a log of accidents that occurred while working. We were sure that I was the only person to be knocked out by a 22 ounce Yankee Jar Candle.

We concluded our shift by cleaning up broken glass, vacuuming, and pushing the candles aside for the morning shift to take over. From that night on I was forever remembered as the girl who got knocked out by a Yankee Candle.


osmoke03 said...

What was the song? "I'm Gonna Knock You Out" lol! Sounds like it hurt, but glad you shared! :)

Ellen said...

I don't even know the song title! I just immediately recognized it as a "hallmark song".

Who are you osmoke??!!