At my place of employment we are required to wear a uniform. Not so in the rest of the Boise Co-op. But for those of us who work in the deli this uniform involves black pants, a black co-op T-shirt (short-sleeved) and an apron. During the chillier months of the year we are allowed to wear a turtle neck (or some such long sleeved attire) under our co-op T-shirt. Which I've been doing. Up until now. Now the weather, mostly, has been warming up. And the co-op is warming up. So I've been going to work in short sleeves. Doesn't sound like a problem, right?
Well, it's not really.
The only thing is, short sleeves expose my tattoo. And yes, I could have had my tattoo tattooed on a hidden spot on myself but then I wouldn't get to see it often enough to suit me.
So I've been waiting on customers five days a week, mornings and evenings (because that's my schedule), for months now in my long sleeves. I look like someone's grandma. I look like any other nice 54 year old, old lady.
But now spring has arrived. Off come the long sleeves. Now when I wait on someone and I'm dishing up their salad or handing them their espresso drink the customer doesn't just see their selection coming at them, they also see my snake tattoo coming with it.
For the most part it's fine. There are so many tattooed employees working at the co-op that one more doesn't tilt the scale much at all. And most of the time the customers don't even react. And if they do, it's usually a pleasant, "Oh, nice tattoo!"
Last night I was stocking product when a customer walked up to me and said,
"Oh, you're the one my friend was telling me about! She said there was a lady working here with a snake tattoo but all she could ever see was the head because you had it covered all the time. Can I see the rest of it above your sleeve?" (I pull up my short sleeve so she can see where the rattles lie on my shoulder.) "Oh, nice! Now I can tell her it's just as nice as the head!"
That's part of what spring means for me at work.
And that's OK. I don't mind customers like her. It's the ones who argue with me that I don't appreciate. For instance they'll say, "That's not a rattlesnake, that's a python!"
Really? I mean, really???
Or, "That's not colored correctly." OK. Now I'm tired of you.
Or when they want to know all about my reasons for getting a rattlesnake tattoo.
(What I want to say is, "Hey, I'm working right now, and besides, I really don't know you that well.")
But, I'm at work, and at work the customer is always right, so I smile sweetly and come up with something to say to satisfy them.
You're probably thinking, well, you brought this on yourself, you chose to have a tattoo. And you're so right. And I don't regret it for one instant. I love my tattoo.
When I was laid off from my previous job in July of 2007 I never envisioned having to work so closely with the public. But that's life.
So, now that spring has arrived I'll appreciate the nice customer responses to my tattoo (or the silence), and try to shrug off the irritating ones.
If you're interested in seeing my tattoo, and those of my children, here is the previous post.