There’s allegedly some kind of professional sporting event taking place tomorrow. When first informed of this my immediate response was, “But Daytona 500 qualifying isn’t until Sunday February ninth.” I was then informed the event was actually a Shakira and J-Lo concert sandwiched in-between two halves of some football thingy. Eh, whatever it takes to get people to watch.
Given that I am a San Francisco Bay Area native, I still live in said area, and I work at a sporting goods retailer that carries team licensed apparel as a core element of its business, it should be obvious to everyone that I am joking when I say I don’t know what’s happening this Sunday. My store’s entire center aisle is presently occupied with anything and everything 49ers related, and as my job duties consist of serving as the store’s front end overlord I spend the vast majority of my work day ringing up purchase after purchase after purchase of said 49ers merchandise. Given that my NFL teams of choice are the Rams and Colts, with my other favorite team being whoever is playing the 49ers on any given Sunday (or Monday or Thursday), the recent weeks have been rather painful. In some cases literally painful; whichever tendon or tendons attach my right bicep to the shoulder has/have become quite tender in recent days due to the multiple repetitive motions involved in cashiering. There’s a whole lot more involved than running things over a scanner, folks.
Courtesy of my penchant for using the workplace as a most excellent platform from which to observe the human condition, several notations regarding the public reaction to a local team reaching the summit of their sport (or at the very least being one of the two teams readying to vie for their sport’s ultimate prize) warrant mention:
- No tests determining knowledge of the local team, its players, the sport they play, the league they are in, or much of anything else are required to purchase team apparel. The most painful example of this took place yesterday, when a customer responded to my response regarding which team I was rooting for this weekend (I said I didn’t care) was “well, you should still wish the 49ers good luck against Tennessee.” I’ll get on that the next time the 49ers and Titans get together, which won’t be tomorrow.
- A further example of this also came yesterday, when a different customer looked at a decal sheet featuring 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, then turned to me and asked, “Is he any good?” No, we sell more of his jersey than any other player on the team because our clientele is packed with long-term Kurt Busch fans who’ll buy anything with a 97 on it because it reminds them of back when he drove that number for Jack Roush.
Along with a noticeable lack of football acumen comes an amount of ignorance regarding how business in general, and retail in particular, so profound you’d think every single shopper was a career politician who is utterly convinced all businesses great and small are sitting atop an unlimited amount of money and the sole reason business is in business is in order to funnel all income into the government’s coffers for funding social engineering experiments. To wit:
- “Do you have any more of this in the back?” Of course we do. We refuse to bring it out onto the sales floor because the notion of stocking shelves and clothing racks with items presently flying off said shelves and racks, the purchase of said items being our source of income, is utterly abhorrent to our dream of going out of business, becoming unemployed, and moving en masse underneath an overpass.
- “How come you’re out of stock on this?” Oh, same reason you’re rather unlikely to find this season’s hot toys if you postpone your holiday shopping until Christmas Eve. Rude of us to let other people buy things you wanted for the sole reason of their coming in to shop before you did, we know.
- “Do you know when your next shipment will be?” Um, probably whenever whichever delivery service stop by. Sorry we don’t have their GPS information.
- “Will you be getting any more of these in?” If they make more, yes. See, merchandise tied into a specific event isn’t like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon used to be when it was on the Billboard charts for 741 consecutive weeks. Only so many pieces of these championship thingys get made, and when you combine that with the number of retail outlets clamoring for these items … you get the picture. Maybe.
- “How come you don’t know exactly what you’re getting in and when?” Our super secret telekinetic mind wave wonder reader connecting us with all manufacturers, distributors, and delivery agents is currently in the shop. A thousand pardons.
I say the above noting if I went on 1/10th of 1% as much about NASCAR to any and everyone as people are going off about the Super Bowl, I’d be run out of town on a rail. We NASCAR fans who live anywhere other than a hot spot for it get no love, just like NASCAR gets no love from the sports world at large.
It’s enough to drive this teetotaler to drink.