Sunday, November 02, 2003

I've had two successes in the past week.

The first one was that I got secret shopped and scored our store 100%. Secret shopping is when a customer comes in as an "undercover agent" for Barnes and Noble corporate to test us on our customer service. They have a check off list of things that we must hit in order to score 100%, and also observe our interaction with customers. One of our managers was kind enough to tell me that I was the person who scored us that 100% on our quarterly shop. That's cool, because I try to be as helpful as possible and it's nice to be recognized for that. The secret shopper was so kind to say that I was extremely helpful, courteous, and extended the same treatment to all the customers that he/she observed me helping. He/she also called the store organized and knowlegable.

So in short, I rock. Go me!

The 2nd and much bigger success was my Halloween costume. I was scheduled from 4pm to close on Halloween and therefore got to wear it to work. No one recognized me, not even when I tapped my car key on the glass of the cafe window and waved to my coworkers who see me every day. Why? Because I was dressed as Legolas the elf, from Lord of the Rings, blonde coif and all. I made the entire costume, from constructing the bow, arrows, and quiver, to sculpting the Fellowship brooch out of clay.

Right: Orlando Bloom as Legolas.

The effort was worth it. To say that I had a blast that night was an understatement, and people just absolutely loved the costume. I was even kidnapped by a guy who wanted to show me off at the role playing game store a couple of doors down where it was a big hit. Now if that isn't a compliment, I don't know what is. The guy kept calling it amazing, incredible, as did my coworkers and customers. When I was working, other coworkers who weren't working that night stopped by with their friends and called it a "10." Complete strangers weren't afraid to approach me and tell me how much they loved the costume, or congregate around me just to look at it. I'd smile and wave at them, and it was all in all a very friendly and positive night. I also won best costume at a party full of theater people.

So, Legolas was a hit. I can't believe I pulled it off. Really, I can NOT believe it. There was a brief moment of despair just before work when I didn't think I could pull everything together in time, but I guess that happens with every creative endeavor. My mom came over in the middle of of my crisis, then had to leave for her hair appointment. I wasn't in full costume yet, and was sorry that she didn't get to see me in full regalia as she had helped me when I needed an extra pair of hands for fitting and pinning. I called work and asked to come in an hour later, and they were very accomodating as it was still slow there. The extra hour was all I needed, perhaps just mentally, but it made all the difference.

On the way to work, guys would check out the platinum blonde in the car next to them and then when they'd get a closer look, or I'd make eye contact, they'd look away hastily. That cracked me up. I don't think they were sure what they were looking at. Male? Female? Human?

I really enjoyed seeing my coworkers' costumes. Everyone looked great and it was fun to see the creativity in everyone surface in so many different ways. We had a lady bug, AC/DC, a fairy, a Capone style gangster (a girl who was the other gender switch costume), vampires, a cat, and many more. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, just for this reason. Some of our customers came in with great getups as well.

Around 8:00PM, my mom and Jack stopped by to see me in costume and as my mom said, to see if I made it through my "low moment." I had, and was smiling and having fun. They said I looked great. I sent them an e-mail after I got home from a coworker's party and let them know that it really meant a lot to me that they'd driven all the way out to see me. And, it did. There is nothing quite like moral support from parents like that. They knew I'd worked hard, and they were supporting that by coming to see me. Meaning, they were interested in what I had created, which really meant that they were interested in me and showed that I was important to them. And, that means the world.

I can't even remember when I decided on Legolas as this year's theme, but it just sort of manifested in me starting to work on building a bow. And looking back, I can't even believe that I decided to embark such a project, knowing that I'm a perfectionist with whatever I undertake. I mean, was I insane? Luckily, I'm not so much of a perfectionist that it's all or nothing, but it better be as close to all as I can get.

I think what I'm proud of the most on the costume was how organized I was in building it. I started with plenty of time, around two months before Halloween, though I didn't work on it every day. How I was even thinking of Halloween then, again, no idea. I needed a project, I guess. A challenging one. And boy, that's what I got. Also, once again I needed a vacation from my skin.

And yes, pictures are soon to come.

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