Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Dance of the Order-Waving Beadpickers

Every store has its own routines and BeadFX is no exception.

On Wednesdays, Nadine and I do the major resupply shopping for the week, returning to the store mid-afternoon with 6-8 large boxes full of beady stuff. These are all arranged in the classroom. I shoo everyone else out of the room and start sorting the boxes into about a dozen categories: fire-polished, pressed glass, bulk findings, stringing materials, Sterling silver, Swarovski-to-be-packaged, and the "dumpy-outies" - the stuff that goes loose into the little bins, etc. After all the beady stuff is sorted, I sit back and watch the Dance of the Order-Waving Beadpickers.

On an ordinary week, the dance is often just a solo performance as someone hauls out the file of orders that could not be completed because they were missing an item or two. She then just goes through the file, picking out the missing items from the sorted baskets.

However, on weeks like this when there's a sale on, the store hooks get emptied by instore customers before the online orders can be picked. On days like this, the Dance becomes much more complicated. The Dance is orchestrated by Lee, who hands out files of orders with missing items to anyone within reach. Each Beadpicker grabs an order and starts hunting through the baskets to find the missing items that will complete the order so it can be shipped out.

At any given time there might be 3-4 Pickers weaving in and out amongst each other, pecking through the baskets muttering, "Here, bead, bead, beadie!" or "Where are you, you little $#$%&!! You're on the invoice so you have to be hiding here someplace!". Occasionally the muttering is interrupted by an explosion of giggles as two Pickers reach into the same basket for the same package at the same time. Sometimes a Picker leaves the classroom with her prize and takes it to the back room to be weighed or counted and then returns the rest to the proper basket.

After an hour or so of this, the pile of completed orders has grown into a few boxes, all waiting their turn to be packaged and labelled for shipping. The rest of the incoming stock is labelled and priced to go out onto the floor or into the back room to be broken up into smaller packages. The Dance is over until next week.

Such is life with the Crazy Bead Ladies.

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