My name is Betsey and I'm a Hallmark-aholic. I grew up knowing that greeting cards were an important part of not only holidays but everyday life. My mom and I have always sent cards to each other for every occasion and just because its Tuesday. One of our favorite pastimes has been to stand in a Hallmark store and show each other funny card after funny card. I would dare to bet we were one of the first customers to buy a Shoebox card. I can't tell you how many times members of my family have sent the same card to one another. And yes, I keep them. I have decorative hat boxes and I keep every card I get. I see it as a life history... the notes that will one day help me write my memoirs. Each card sparks a memory of a special moment or person in my life.
I've always wanted to work for Hallmark so when the opportunity presented itself in October I jumped at the chance. I worked at an independent store for about three months and recently moved over to a Corporate store - the biggest store in the South actually. Its like being in Heaven. Every day my job consists of greeting people with a smile and helping them find just that perfect gift or card. I'm a natural and it feels wonderful to do what I love. Everyone has a story to tell and I love to listen. My days are filled with what is called Hallmark Gold Crown Moments. I get paid to help build relationships. And sometimes I even get to form new relationships with my customers. What can be better than that?!
One of my favorite customers was a woman named Sara. I say was because she will not be able to come visit me at my new store as its across town and doesn't drive that far anymore. The first time I ever met her she had low blood sugar and needed candy immediately. I gave her a bar of Godiva chocolate with orange filling and I'll never forget watching her shaky hands try to open the wrapper. She stuffed almost the whole thing in her mouth at one time and within minutes had stopped shaking. Her husband has Alzheimer's and she only gets out when she can get a sitter for him. She always came with a list and I would read the cards to her and help her pick just the right one for each person. Then we had to find envelopes to match. A card with a plain white envelope would never do. She would pick a color in the design of the card and we would search until we found just the right shade of yellow or blue or green. Some would call her high maintenance but in some way I think it was her way of escaping the sadness at home. Once she picked out her cards she would always purchase whatever stuffed animal was on sale. She had no children but the animals brought her so much joy. Her face would just light up when she pushed the button that would make the toy sing or dance. She came in on the very last day I was at the other store and asked me to write down my name and birthday in her calendar along with my address. I look forward to June when I'm pretty sure I will receive my very own Hallmark card picked out by sweet Sara.
Today was filled with many Gold Crown moments. I helped a grandma-to-be pick out a special gift for her new granddaughter. I got to help a man pick out thank you cards for the gals in his office. He was giving out bonus checks and wanted to make sure they were presented in a special way. I connected with a customer because she was wearing a Michael Buble hat and she ended up showing me a You Tube video that I am now sharing with you (pardon some of the language). I helped a man find the perfect "happy" for his daughter who he was about to meet for an impromptu lunch. I spent at least 20 minutes with one woman trying to help her find just the right jewelry to match a shirt she had just bought at the boutique next door. My favorite moment today though came when my high school choir teacher came in, took one look at me and instantly recognized me (we're talking 25 years people!). We had a wonderful chat and it was so much fun catching up with her and helping her find a gift for her 88 year old mother. This all happened in a four hour time span. And every single shift is like this. I wish I could carry a notepad around and jot down the stories I hear and the moments that make me smile.
I'm so grateful not only to have a job but to have what is literally my dream job. I may not be saving lives or creating masterpieces but I'm touching hearts and funny bones and to me that's the greatest thing in the world.