#1: Joe's Pen
I <3 The High Street is our retail diary. While we all like the convenience of shopping online, nothing quite compares to the experiences we can have in good, ol’ fashioned bricks and mortar stores. We say ol’ fashioned. It can be pretty cutting-edge. But, we digress. In the first article, we’ll be hearing from Joe. He has a story about a pen and an unexpected romance. Take it away, Joe.
"I walked into the stationery shop, and there she was. Serving a customer. Chatting. Advising. Beguiling.
A heavy cloud of anxiety weighed upon my shoulders as I waited for her attention. I fiddled with office essentials. I kicked my heels. Anything to make the time edge by. Note: You can always tell a fraud by how closely they’re inspecting pricing labels.
When the other customer finally left the shop, I took my opportunity.
‘Hey, so... do you come here often?’
She did. She worked there. Her name badge could have told me that.
I asked for two copies of my CV and a new folder. She gave me the prints for free. Read into that what you will. I know I did.
She processed my documents, and off I went. A brief glint of an interaction. A millisecond would follow me to the grave.
I left that shop in two awkward, uncomfortable minds. I didn’t know which was worse — the low-budget copier CVs I was glancing down at, or the keeps-you-awake-at-night moment I’d just exchanged with the stationery woman. She didn’t seem responsive to my smouldering Casanova look. Not at all. And so, with some constructive self-criticism — ‘Work on your wooing technique’ — I tried to put it all behind me.
After a strangely successful meeting with a lady from a recruitment company, I landed myself an interview that afternoon. But despite feeling pretty good and pretty confident about the whole thing, something was missing. A pen. There was no way to look under-prepared than by arriving at an interview without one.
Determined to make the most of a bad situation, I figured I’d try to put my confidence to good use. I walked straight to the stationary shop.
We ended up chatting for a while, talking about my interview opportunity and about her too. All whilst rummaging through a box of pens. Then it dawned on me that I should really be preparing for the interview, that was now in just two hours’ time.
I somehow plucked the courage to ask for her number and perhaps a second meet with less stationery involved. She accepted reluctantly, and so I ventured out into the world of the High Street with a new pen in my pocket and her phone number.
It didn’t work out. But you know what they say: it’s about the journey, not the destination. And on that journey, I got offered the job AND I’d asked a stranger for her number, which was a pretty big deal for me.
UPDATE: I still have that pen, I don’t have that job."