Thursday 20 January 2011

Sushi the Shop Assistant Final

Sorry folks for the long hiatus. Lets just say Sushi has been so busy that I was kind of scared to disturb her!

Okay lets start where we left off. In case you have forgotten, here is the last Sushi episode.

Sushi was so immersed thinking about what to do with the wallet that she almost crashed her car into another. Her revere broke with loud honking from an irate driver. At the last moment she screeched her brakes and saved herself from a bad accident. Thus shaken Sushi drove home really carefully rest of the way.

Snow was back home before her and immersed in some work. She went to his study and sat on his table, right on top of his papers and books much to Snow's concentration.

Snow: "Sushi I am working. My papers...."

Sushi: "Forget your work for a moment and listen to me....I am...."

Snow: " What have you done now Sushi? Are you sick or something?" 

Looking at Snow's concerned face, Sushi could not bring herself to burden him further: "Oh no Snow. Nothing like that...it is just that...nothing, I am just tired. God it was a long day at work and my legs are hurting really badly."

Snow: "Poor you...tell you what, give me 5 minutes to finish this paper that I am reading and I will come up and make you a nice bath and give you a foot massage. And you can tell me how your day went"

Sushi: "Okay....I will go and lie down for a little while..."

By the time Snow came up, Sushi had fallen asleep and was dreaming about being arrested by the police while that rude shopper smirked at her and her manager looked thoroughly disapproving. Sushi woke up with a jerk, only to realise that Snow was shaking her gently.

That evening Snow was really sweet to her, fixing her a luxurious bath, giving her a foot massage and organising a take away dinner. There were many times when Sushi badly wanted to tell him about her money problems and the purse she had found, but she just could not.  She felt since she had got into the mess herself, she should clear it herself.

After dinner Sushi locked herself in her bedroom and took out the wallet. She pulled out the crisp notes and counted them. There was a little more than four thousand with all the loose changes and several gold and platinum cards. This was more money than Sushi had seen at one place, except for the till of her shop. With a start she realised that it was women with this kind of money who shopped in the boutique where she worked and not people like her. Even these women tried and tried different clothes before choosing some and most often bought half of them back. Very rarely has she seen women shop on a whim like she usually did. Sitting in her bedroom, clutching another woman's purse Sushi had a life defining moment, she realised the way she behaved was not only impulsive and immature, it also had great potential to harm. It could actually bankrupt Snow and make them homeless. Sushi shuddered at the visions of being homeless and standing on the pavement with all her clothes strewn around her! No she realised that she had to grow up and stop whimsical shopping and provide her own pocket money. Poor Snow had enough burden paying off their mortgage and insurance!

Maybe Sushi thought God had sent this money as a temporary solution to Sushi's problems. The temptation to take the money and throw away the wallet with the cards was really strong. With this money, Sushi could pay off her credit card bills and also buy some clothes.She would not have to worry about money for two months or so. Best bit was no one would even know about it. But, she realised with a frown, that it somehow felt bad. Sushi mused that she was impractical, often impulsive, but she had never been dishonest in her life, at least not knowingly. She did not want to start being one now, though it would be really tough to give away this wallet. She paced up and down in her bedroom, swaying between temptation and moral high ground.

Next morning, an unusually quiet  Sushi walked into her boutique. Her manager was not yet in, some of the other girls commented on her subdued mood. She just smiled and got on with her work, keeping an eye for her manager to walk in.

Her manager walked in a little late and was soon caught up with opening the shop. In between Sushi nerved herself to approach her manager and inform her about the wallet, making stories about how she found it and why she did not report it last evening.  In the end, she just blurted out the truth. Her manager at first was confused by Sushi's garbled explanations, then when she realised she quickly took the wallet and called the lady's number. Her secretary received the call and said that the lady was sleeping, the manager left a message and asked her to call back. About three hours later the lady called and was really surprised when she was informed that her wallet was left behind in the shop. Apparently she had not even noticed it missing! A little later her secretary came to pick up the wallet and thanked Sushi for her honesty. Her manager also thanked Sushi and gave her a voucher for free shopping. The amount in the voucher, found the newly wise Sushi would not cover even half the price of any merchandise in the shop. It was just a token, designed to make customers happy and feel wanted. At any other time Sushi would have rushed to redeem the voucher, but this newly wise Sushi just tucked the voucher in the purse with a big sigh.

During her lunch, Sushi did not do the customary round of the mall, but sat down quietly in one corner of the food court. She was lost in her own thoughts, trying to solve her money problems on her own, when someone approached her table. She looked up to see one of their regular customers. Feeling a little dismayed, because for once she was not in the mood to talk, Sushi nevertheless put on her a big welcoming smile.

"Hi Sushi, my name is Tanya. I am a regular at your boutique. If you do not mind could I have a chat with you please?"

Sushi wondering what on earth this woman wanted, nevertheless politely said: "Hi Tanya. Yes of course I know you. It would be lovely to chat with you, please have a seat."

Tanya, cutting straight to the point: "I wanted to congratulate you on your honesty in the shop today. I was in the shop when the secretary came to pick up the wallet. I must say what you did was really good. I was really impressed."

Feeling a little like a fraud, remembering all the bad thoughts she had had ever since she found the wallet, Sushi gave a shrug.

Tanya continued, " Also whenever I have been in the shop, I have been impressed with your customer care skills and your willingness to go the extra mile to help the customers. Have you ever thought of switching your job?"

Sushi blushing: "Oh well you see I am not much good at anything else except shopping....so I do not know who else would give me a job...am rubbish at being a secretary...I tried that once...."

Tanya: " I am a hiring manager with one of the big departmental store chains and we are looking for personal shoppers. The job is kind of similar to what you are doing right now, recommending and advising clients. But it is a much more high pressured job with a sales target. On the positive side the pay would be much better with chances of promotions. If you want, I could recommend you. We need people like you, honest and with extremely good customer care skills and also a strong sense of fashion and clothes."

Sushi could feel her mouth hanging out in surprise. Is this woman for real? Or is someone playing a practical trick on her?Within a second several incredulous thoughts rushed through her mind. For a wild second she thought she was dreaming, she pinched herself hard and realised she was not!She tried to remember the date, no she realised to her relief it was not the first of April, it was the middle of winter. She looked around surreptitiously to check if there were any hidden cameras filming her. You know one of those practical joke shows, where they catch hold of an unsuspecting member of the public and play a joke on him or her and then howl with laughter when the hapless stranger makes a fool of herself. There did not seem to be anyone interested in them or their table. But you never knew with zoom lenses and all. Focusing back on the person opposite to her, she realised that the woman had stopped talking and was looking at her, expecting some kind of response from her.

Hastily swallowing the burger she was absently chewing, Sushi took a deep breathe, telling herself to calm down and compose herself. But her good intentions flew out of her mouth and she blurted out :" Is this for real? Are you for real?"

Tanya, looking a little taken aback: "I am sorry if I took you completely by surprise. Actually I had taken your number from the manager, who by the way has only good words for you and was planning to give you a call at an appropriate time. Then I came to the court to grab some lunch, saw you and could not resist coming over to talk to you."

Sushi, hastily, hoping she has not already pissed off this lady with that suspicious question: "No, no it is alight. I am just too amazed. I don't know what to say.... I know there are jobs like these available and also I have heard that there is immense competition for these jobs and here it seems to be coming to me, so I was a little sceptical..."

Tanya smiling: "I admire your honesty. Yes, this job is in very high demand. The position fell vacant a couple of days ago and we have not yet got around to advertising for it. Then today I saw you in the shop and thought that you would suit us perfectly. Of course I am not offering you the job, you will have to apply and appear for several rounds of  interviews before different panels. I would just be recommending you, which in other words mean that you have cleared the first level."

Tanya took out her business card and gave it to Sushi, saying: "Why don't you think about it and give me a call tomorrow and then I can tell you how to apply for the job."

Sushi took the card with an unsteady hand and told her: "Oh I do not have to think. I know I would love a job like this. Could I please fix up an appointment to meet you?"

Tanya smiling: "Now we are talking. Yes come and meet me tomorrow, say around noon, we can grab a bite while I take you through the application process?"

After Tanya left, Sushi munched her already cold food while lost in day dreams about the kind of clothes she will be wearing for this job. She could see herself in business suits with high heels, hair in a chic bun with a professional smile helping clients with their shopping.  She wanted to rush to the shops to pick up business suits, but the new pragmatic Sushi urged the old impulsive one to slow down. She knew if she got the job, there would be time enough to buy those power suits. Also she did not know, the store may issue clothes or offer heavy discounts! She sat ruminating on this sudden lucky break, the job she would do and the money she would earn if she was selected. With a smile she decided to call her mother and best friends and tell them about this totally unbelievable  piece of luck! She smiled with satisfaction thinking how jealous her friends are going to be! She did a little jig much to the amusement of her fellow eaters and started speed dialling her mother.

More of Sushi to follow soon...

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