Goodie Bags: How and Why I Make Them
It was originally my intent to focus on the incredibly stupid and fucked-up shit some of the customers at the junk shop say this week, but I have since changed my mind. This is partially due to the fact that I could not understand a damned thing most of them were saying to me yesterday; our core clientÃ¨le du jour Friday the 13th consisted of what my co-worker and I call “bobble-heads”. “Bobble-heads” are people who enthusiastically nod to anything and everything you say. I am certain these individuals are fluent in one language or another, but English it is not among them.
As a matter of fact, I got the idea for today’s post after being praised for my stellar work performance by my boss. He said:
You have yet to make a mistake.
To wit I replied:
Oh I make mistakes alright, but I either cover them up or set up someone else to take the rap for them.
“You are a true product of corporate America.” he replied. He is right: I am. It has been my experience that there is no better place to find a spiteful, incompetent and/or worthless human being than your local cubicle farm. The people who populate these god-forsaken labyrinths make a three-toed sloth seem like howler monkey on crack by comparison. These languid creatures have elevated abject laziness and intransigence to an art form. Over the years I have endeavored to learn their black art.
A fruit of the above course study is my implementation of the “goodie bag”. Better known by some as “grab bags”, these are sacks filled with jewelry or craft supplies which I price at a deep discount. The reason I have elected to add the goodie bag to my arsenal of time/sanity-saving bag of tricks is threefold:
1. There are three types of jewelry I handle: cheap ugly crap, cute vintage jewelry and “nice stuff”.
- The crap goes in the dollar bin where older Polish women detangle and pick through it for fifteen or twenty minutes on end. My logic: keeping these women engaged in the pursuit of some plastic piece of bling keeps them out of my hair. That one dollar string of beads saved me one or two hours of mind-numbing work.
- The “nice stuff” goes in the showcase. My logic: to do otherwise is to facilitate theft. Thieves constitute a sizable portion of the junk shop’s patronage.
- The cute vintage jewelry goes into goodie bags. My logic: after several months I got tired of repeatedly pulling these items out of the showcase, only to have people haggle and waste my valuable time. The goodie bag solves this problem; the jewelry is grouped, bagged and clearly priced, thus eliminating the need to dialogue with these soul-sucking shrews.
2. Sorting all the above jewelry is a very time-consuming task which requires a lot of concentration. Maintaining the required attention to detail becomes impossible when you are being hassled every five minutes by some miscreant raising a fuss over a lot of jewelry that costs a whopping five bucks.
3. The time I save preventing all the previous scenarios can be spent doing other things, like checking my email or working.
The evolution of the goodie bag was not without its setbacks, as you will see. But after a couple months of experimentation I have the process down to an exact science. Here it is.
The first step to goodie bag production is to gather all your tools and place them on the counter.
Next, you select the items to be bagged. Today’s sack stuffers will be vintage clip-on earrings and some craft supplies.
When selecting earrings to place in a bag, group them in lots of 5-7 by color and style. Speaking as a woman myself, I am very grateful when items are grouped in such a manner. That way one does not have to slog through designs and colors one does not like in order to get to “the good stuff”. Follows is an example of a poorly prepared and properly prepared goodie bag.
The bag on the right is consistent in color and overall “feel”, the bag on the left is not. Such a random assortment of earrings is an invitation for someone to to rip it open and/or haggle with you because she “only likes a couple of pieces in the bag”. I shit you not, there are a number of people who see fit to use the previous bargaining tactic on me. I suppose it would work if I actually cared. I don’t.
As you fill the baggies, place them in a bowl behind the counter. Make sure this bowl is out of eye shot or people will try to grab them.
When the bowl is full (like in the above photo) you are ready for the next step: pricing.
Since the items in question have been sitting on the shelf awhile, I am going to price them crazy cheap: $1.00-$5.00 a bag. Upon being labeled, the bags go into a bin. Once again, keep them out of sight or you will be beating back overly enthusiastic bargain hunters with a stick.
Once the bags are priced you are ready for the next step: tamper/theft prevention.
TAMPER/THEFT PREVENTION, PART I
Each bag is folded and stapled no less than three times. This is done to discourage someone’s sticky little fingers from getting into them.
TAMPER/THEFT PREVENTION, PART II
After each bag is stapled, out comes the packing tape. Tear off a three foot long piece and wrap it around each bag.
As I was preparing the above bag my boss commented:
You are the most focused worker I have ever had. You take on a task and do not not stop until it is completed.
I admonished my boss not to mistake malice for due diligence and reminded him about the time I discovered someone had opened once of these bags and placed a razor blade in it. Then I said:
I’d like to see that bitch try to get into this bag.
Once you have wrapped each bag, place them in the proper container for sale. Make sure there is a prominently placed sign advising customers that these bags are “priced as marked” and are not to be tampered with.
Congratulations! You have completed today’s goodie bag tutorial!
Total time elapsed: three hours.
Hours of aggravation prevented: incalculable.