My first day working at Jerry’s Artarama was so much fun I couldn’t believe I was getting paid. After a brief walk-around the store with my manager, who showed my where the restock items were hidden and other secrets about the store, I was assigned aligning the paint products. I wasn’t supposed to just blindly ‘align the paint tubes’; if I ran across something I hadn’t seen before I was told to take the time to read the label and learn more about the product, which is nice to be able to do. Additionally, and most importantly, I was to help out any customer who looked like they may need some help.
So, with a “special” paint tube aligning tool in hand, I began my first task. (The special paint tube aligning tool is just a hooked metal rod that looks like it came out of a file cabinet, but a perfect tool for reaching into the rack to pull the tubes to the front). I had three aisle of paints to work; watercolor, oils, and acrylics. The oil and acrylic aisles look very much alike, which led to some confusion on my part. In between aligning and restocking the oil aisle I helped several customers, then returned to the paint aisle to continue my task and this is where the confusion set in. The SoHo paints were in disarray and I had thought I had already straightened the SoHo paints. Since it was possible for products to get messed up in a short period, I continued with my task. Seeing another customer appearing to need assistance, I turned my customer service skills back on. Upon returning to the paint aisle a second time, the paints I had would have sworn were straightened, were not. Then it finally hit me; I had gone from the oil aisle to the acrylic aisle and back to the oil aisle straightening paints! I found out this was a common mistake as helping a customer for half an hour or more was not uncommon and one could easily forget exactly what they had been doing. I later solved this problem by using a rolling chair to help reach the lower shelves, which I would leave at the end of the aisle in which I was recently working. After doing something else, I only needed to find the chair to find the right aisle.
After a couple days in paints, putting out newly arrived products was added to my task list. Pallets stacked with boxes of paint, paper pads, brushes, canvasses, tools, and every other imaginable art supply arrive daily. This is where the real work-out and fun begins; lots of lifting and bending and stooping and more lifting. After emptying the boxes, we break down and sort them for recycling, and load them in the various containers. Corrugated boxes go into the dumpster, which is filled and emptied pretty often, all the rest in ‘mixed paper’ or single stream’ bins.
All the staff agree, if you work at Jerrys you don’t need a gym membership. Coming home after work I am sore and tired, but not mentally stressed or burned-out as in previous jobs sitting at a computer and attending meetings. It feels good.
Now with six work days behind me, I still love the job. My co-workers are great; helpful and all very talented artists. The customers are even great, but who can’t like artists?
Many of the customers coming in this time of year are just beginning a semester of an art class and have the professor’s class supply list in hand. I could tell a few were from the same class by the contents of their list, but many of the lists seemed very unique and very long. I really do enjoy helping the customers, dredging up years of knowledge on art materials that I had forgotten I had had and discovering I know more about where everything in Jerrys is located than I thought I knew.
One interesting thing to note, aside from student’s lists, each day seems to have a different “most popular” item. So far the top-five are:
- Pencil Sharpeners
- Willow Charcoal
- Linoleum Blocks
- Reeves BFK Paper
Odd items for the most popular list. One day I will make sense of it or as a friend suggested write a poem.
Working only Thursday and Friday this new job gives me much more time to work on my art projects and accomplish other things I’ve been wanting to do around the house, but I still can’t wait for Thursday.
Sounds like a great time and experience. Enjoy! Damita
Thanks Damita. Stop by to say ‘hi’ somethime. I work Thursdays and Fridays.
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I will. I need some supplies😊 see ya soon!