The hired help

Last Sunday, I volunteered to cover Jocelyn of Beaver Valley Orchids ( booth at the orchid society meeting, since he was going to be away. I thought it would be fun, and better yet it would keep me and my wallet away from the other vendors.

I got off to a rough start. My very first sale was a nice yellow cattleya with a red lip on two blooms. The buyer had a business selling flowers, and as she started writing out the cheque I reached for a bag in which
to place her purchase. My elbow caught a stiff leathery leaf, and though I managed to grab it before the plant hit the floor, the rest of the contents of the pot flew in all directions. I stood up slowly, propping up a broken bloom with a sheepish look on my face. Needless to say, she put her pen away and closed the chequebook. Drats. However, the hub-bub must have caught people’s attention, because suddenly a dozen people converged on my table. Most were just curious, but one lady, off to the side, kept picking up a cattleya and putting it down. I was distracted by a question for a moment, and when I looked back, the lady was gone. The spot where the orchid had been was vacant, and I looked wildly around the table, wondering if she’d put it down in another spot. Hoping. I took a quick count, but confused by the questions coming at me, I never did manage to convince myself that she hadn’t done a grab and run.

My first real sale brought it’s own problems. I forgot to bring a float. The fellow at the next table obligingly broke a twenty for me, and later, he did it again. And again. As more people stopped in front of the table and started enquiring about the orchids, I realized that a plant had lost its price tag, and another, its name tag. I was seriously flustered. John Marcotte walked by, did a double take at the look on my face, and immediately jumped in to help answer questions. Lucky for me he had decided not to take a booth of his own that day. With John’s help, and the help of my banker at the next table, I managed to muddle through
and actually sell five plants without dropping any more. Though I was kind of like a beginner cook in a kitchen, and left a hell of a mess on the floor when it was all over.

Jocelyn called me later to see how I made out, and I fessed up. Hey, you can’t fire me, I quit!! Just kidding, Joe.