I got to work early the next morning, anxious to learn the ropes. I’d always loved to browse through shell shops, and now I’d be working in one. Life was looking up. Cat unlocked the door when she saw me.
“Here you go,” she said as she held out her hand with four keys hooked on a fob with a silver starfish charm. Her hair was up in a messy bun that looked like a million bucks. If I did that with my hair, I’d scare small children. Not fair!
“Did you make this charm?” I asked. It was amazingly detailed. The woman was a true artist.
“Sure did. The thing is, you make one mold and can make many from it. I have that in charms to buy over here.” She walked to the case where I’d found the mermaid necklace and pointed. There were several charms on rectangular pieces of cardboard with the name of the shop in scrolled letters that matched the sign outside.
“She Sells SeaShells,” I read aloud. “Nice name, makes me think of the whole poem.”
Cat smiled and moved to the other side of the case.
“You have the key for the case there. It’s the little gold one. Come over here, and I’ll show you where the stock is kept.” She walked to the back of the shop and opened a door I hadn’t even noticed the day before.
“I was so interested in all the shells yesterday, that I didn’t even notice this door,” I said. I followed her into what looked like a crowded office that also served as a stock room. Another door led to a tiny restroom. I was glad to see that. There were boxes lining the walls, a desk painted turquoise, and a rolling chair covered in a satiny material with starfish and seahorse designs. A dorm sized refrigerator sat in the corner. She indicated that I should sit down, so I did. I was facing a computer that was already up and running.
“There’s water in there and some Diet Coke. Help yourself anytime. It’s one of the perks of working at She Sells.” She pointed to the computer screen. Here’s where we keep track of inventory. It’s a special software that's connected to the register. All you have to do is put the items in when they arrive, and the system checks them out when you sell them.” She pointed to the boxes behind us. “This all needs to go out there. I’m hoping you can start on that today.”
“Oh, fun!” I said. I rubbed my hands together.
“Great attitude. Now let me show you how to use this program.”
She was great at explaining the system. We had an hour before the shop opened, so I was able to get up to speed. I memorized my login and made my passcode up with the first thing that came to mind. TrentMrRight. Yeah, I had that good-looking vet on my mind, still. After she explained the cash register to me, she went through the store. She could name every shell, conch, seahorse, and type of coral. She told me where most of them originated. I had a lot to learn.
Someone knocked on the door, breaking my concentration. Cat opened it and left it unlocked. It was already ten a.m. A skinny teenaged girl in purple shorts, pink flip-flops, a barely-there tank top that was pink and purple. She had dangling feather earrings. No silver and sea glass jewelry on this one.
“Hey, Trisha,” Cat said. “Meet Sammy. She’ll be running the place for me for a while.”
“Hey,” Trish said without looking me in the eye. Typical teenager behavior. She had ear buds in and walked behind the sales case. She was chewing gum and bopping to the music in her ears. I was glad I couldn’t hear it.
“She’s really good with the customers,” Cat said. It sounded like she was trying to convince herself more than me. We’d see. Cat had me follow her to the back room. She told me about the inventory that needed to be stocked and what she was expecting in from the wholesalers. I heard a few customers coming and going, and Cat showed me how the inventory numbers changed as Trisha rang up sales. Before I knew it, lunch time had snuck up on us.
“If you’re comfortable, I’ll go home now. Robert wasn’t feeling well this morning. I’m hoping he’ll be up to eating some lunch. He does better if I&rs...