Field Reports

Field Report: The Apple Cinnamon Hellscape

Sergeant K

Private Ryan is back. I’d forget he was there sometimes, but he would kindly remind me by talking about shed hunting with customers. This led me to actually Google, “Why do people shed hunt?” That led me to an article regarding the ethics of shed hunting on the meateaters dot com website. While that was interesting, I simply offered every customer $1 off if they would talk to me about something other than men “who have a deep love of the animals they pursue” stomping around in snow.

If you love something, collect its body parts randomly and then kill it. Good talk.

We told a customer to email us a label and he informed us that he had never sent an email before. It is quite hard in 2021 to believe that this could be possible so I actually laughed in that “haha you’re kidding” way to which he gave me the look of a man who, indeed, had never sent an email. He had a picture of the label on his phone and nothing more. Who, exactly, is the person who sent him to the shop to complete this task? Do they know he’s never sent an email? Could they, like, teach him how to send an email? I have so many questions.

Yesterday, a customer asked me to make sure the counter on which the scale sat wasn’t causing her package to weigh more. Not another box or a package or the strap of a purse. The counter under the scale. I asked her what she meant. She tapped the wood and said, “This.” I was only asking to ensure I was hearing her correctly and not making shit up in my head.

I do that now in The Field. I clarify so that people cannot accuse me of making shit up. I clarify so I can confidently write that someone asked me if the counter was making her package weigh more. I will try this on my next visit to the doctor. “Are you sure the floor isn’t making that number higher?”

The end of last week brought texts from Private First Class asking me if “there are always spooky scratchy noises coming from the back room.” She asked because our internet wasn’t working. I replied, “FFS, can’t we get through one week without being like, ‘Oh and a family of beavers moved into the storage room’ when Private Ryan gets back?”

The Field’s loyal civilians sometimes insist we write their credit card numbers down so we can ship their package and charge their card when the systems come back online. Only one person stomped out of the store in a huff when we told her we could not ship her package without the internet and not believing us when we confirmed that we could not. The ying and the yang.

On Saturday, Private First Class reported that the first customer of the day and the second customer of the day came in about the same time. The first customer gave the two of us a plate of cookies just days before (one of the “bless you” people). On this day, however, after completing her shipment, she apparently drove around to the back of The Field and knocked on the door. Private First Class went to the back door and the first customer, crying, asks if she’s okay. PFC said, “Yes?” to which the customer asked if she was being robbed by the second customer who was still at the counter and could hear everything.

Poor PFC had to reassure the crying customer before returning to the suspected robber and reassuring them that she was not afraid and had no idea what the crying customer was talking about. PFC came back to work on Monday so that story has a happy ending.

We shipped 70 pounds of hymnals on Friday, the day after the 600 pounds of Bibles. This is not the way to recruit me to Christianity. I shaved my legs this morning (second time since October!) and the number of bruises on my thighs from where I balanced each of those 69 pound 10 ounce boxes while attempting to carry them is a bit harrowing. I’m not going to let Jesus save me from anything if he can’t make those boxes lighter. That’s just a given.

Today was Tuesday so PFC had the day off. Private Ryan and I had a pretty easy afternoon up until 3 o’clock. Then all hell broke loose.

A nearby apple farm is going to start having us ship their products and today, we started with a box of caramel apples. After discussing the plan for shipments, I haphazardly told one of my favorite jokes that while we have sent shipments of things worth thousands of dollars, the only thing we’ve ever considered stealing was candy and other foods when we are hungry. My best explanation is that it was 3:30 and I have to eat a snack around this time or I stop functioning. While the customer laughed, after she left, it occurred to me that setting up business accounts is probably more effective if I don’t joke about stealing their shipments.

Then a new customer came in telling us the Post Office sent her because they didn’t want to pack her exceptionally delicate artwork. Each piece of art has just enough fragility to be an incredibly daunting package and at the same time I was helping her, the line went to the door, we received 12 phone calls in 7 minutes, and her child occupied himself with the Cinnamon Apple Febreze Spray in the customer bathroom.

Now, I like the smell of cinnamon apple. I find it pleasing and relaxing most of the time. It’s a comforting odor and, because my sense of smell is incredibly poor, it’s something that stands out to me. I like candles and air fresheners with the scent, probably because it isn’t perfume-y.

This is truth no more. As the young child sprayed most of a full bottle of cinnamon apple Febreze, my first thought was that the caramel apples had begun to leak. I looked around to see if that box was still on the table and had suddenly, what? Melted? I continued helping the mother while the smell became overwhelming. My brain could not process it.

After they left, Private Ryan said, “I’m pretty sure that kid sprayed the entire bottle in the bathroom,” and that was the first time I could identify it. Shortly thereafter, the headache set in, boosted by the incessant phone and the air tasting like the worst autumn in the history of the world. I was very glad it was near the end of the day. (And I recalled the woman who sent her “boyfriend” in Nigeria an iPhone and a journal and while I put things together, she sprayed every single page of the journal with her perfume. The store smelled like her deep love for the obvious scam for a few days.)

And finally, a man called to ask what time UPS picked up. “Around 5,” we responded. He said he would be there right before because he did not want his package to freeze. What was his package?

“I’m doing one of those Cologuard things,” he responded.

So your poop. That’s what you’re afraid might freeze. Your own feces. Sir, we receive no fewer than six boxes of human feces every day and haven’t had one freeze yet.

I’d say for you to feel bad for us for having to carry around people’s poop all the time, but then I remember someone also has to open the boxes and let’s just save all our sympathy for them, shall we?

Colonel C

I turned 50 in January and my Cologuard box arrived shortly thereafter. It is still in the closet and Sergeant takes a picture of it every time she has to go into the closet for something and she sends me a message asking when I’m going to “poop in the box.” I told her I’d poop in the box when she learns how to put her recyclables in the recycling instead of randomly on the counter.

Then I remind her that she’ll have to carry my poop box to work with her one day and the conversation goes real quiet real quickly.

Dodger did well at school last week. He doesn’t bark and sits real still on his little “home base” bed. This is delightful since Week 1 was basically “Learn to not bark and sit real still on home base.” Ordered the honor student bumper sticker the next day. Like I always say: Celebrate the little successes and quit before you fail!

Leave a Reply