Amelia – Chapter 5 – Perfect Storm

Amelia and Eileen have both killed it at the salon this season. I’ve said this before, but I’ve been blessed with seasonal employees that are absolutely outstanding.

I use the word blessed because we’ve had so many failures through here in the last two years.

I can now see why Achilles has agonized over his business and closed two salons because of shitty employees.

But suddenly, this season we’ve been blessed with fabulous employees. I’ve said this many times before, but it really is extraordinary that we have acquired these two girls just when we needed them.  They’re both terrific.

It’s a big deal, because in the retail and hospitality industry, it is so hard to find good employees.

But we’ve done it.

Somehow we have acquired quality help. It’s a welcome asset to the company.

Both girls know I write about everything in my life on this blog, and wait in anticipation for the outcome that won’t come for a year. But it’s here now.

But I have to address something here.

We all adore sweet Eileen as a baby sister or a cute niece. She’s so good with the customers. At 18 she’s a wonderful asset to the company that we couldn’t have expected, but we have somehow acquired. So much better that the detritus we once employed.

Not you Trish, but yea, you. (See: Trish – The She Wolf)

But I want to talk about my girl, Amelia. She works Monday through Wednesday. She’s here one day longer that Eileen except for every other Saturday that she’ll take.

Eileen is 18 years old. She’s a baby and we all love her and she’s great at the job. I adore her and love her performance on the job on a daily basis, but I feel closer to Amelia.

I worked in banking for 20 years. I worked in advertising for 10. I killed it but it’s a horrible existence.

Amelia’s from a large Irish Catholic family that’s incredibly conservative. She went to the college of arts and her degree is in that. So basically she can’t get a job in the arts because that shit never pays unless you make it.

I admire her for what she’s done because I pursued art early in life just like her but if you don’t become a rockstar, you’re fucked.

I ended up in retail and eventually banking like my dad.

That works for the american dream and the whole… I’ll meet a girl and get married, have a kid and live the American dream, but for many of us it becomes an enormous nightmare.

Amelia’s found that she has a degree in something she can’t use currently, and is working her ass off to survive. She’s in debt from school like every other person her age.

But she’s minutes away from getting certified as a personal trainer. She works at a gym on the wrong side of Broad street. She drives for Uber when she can to make money, and has recently taken up with a catering company where she can make some serious loot as a bartender.

I’m rooting for her to succeed and will do whatever I can with my connections to help her.

The last few Mondays we’ve gone to Square 1682 and chilled for drinks. I pound Chardonnay and she goes with her usual Bulliet Rye and ginger ale.

I work so much and so does she that I think Amelia and I enjoy the gentle repose of getting run over at the salon, and then kicking back at my favorite bar for a few drinks and laughs to unwind.

The bill comes and thanks to my man, Roman, it’s $5.50. $60 in cocktails for nothing. We tip him hard.

I was once giggling with a former employee at the salon and an older guy that loved the girl I was working with asked what was going on. He was obviously a little jealous because he loved her in a phicklephily sort of way. I told him that he could adore a waitress but he’ll never have the relationship that she has with her co-worker, because they share a daily experience. I don’t know if he got it but that was a true statement.

Co-workers are so close in a company. When it’s good, it’s magic. Some of the best relationships I’ve ever had were with people I worked with. Duncan. Michelle. All LOVE.

It’s no different here.

I’m just going to say this.

I have feelings for Amelia.

Let’s not jump to conclusions. And please don’t assume.

We work together everyday. We’re in the shit in the busiest season of this salon. We have to run, communicate and keep this baby clean.

It’s not easy. We’ve figured out a way to make the place sing. Achilles has no idea what that looks like. He just knows when the place isn’t 1000% clean.

Amelia and I can arrive at the salon in different moods, and within an hour we’re happy and laughing our butts off.

One of our clients called us the Gruesome Twosome. I don’t get it but we’re a deadly team that are completely in touch every minute we’re working together.

We play a certain music station, Amelia, is on top of the laundry, she get the rolled towels at the back sink, she’s calm and great with all of the clients, (and the new ones) She says when ever she’s here she’s happy.

I love that.

I’ve worked everywhere.

I’ve been a million dollar producer at all of those places. Guess what?  Shitty people drove me out of all of those places.

I’ll never be that to anyone.

I’ve left all of that far behind and wherever I work now I will bring good energy to the people around me. I almost feel like I should have worked in the hospitality industry my whole life because I get my energy from people.

And the girl I get the most energy from right now is my Amelia.

I’m so proud of her everyday.

 

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Eileen- Chapter 8 – Mega Sons and Daughters at Marathon

My Eileen has returned from Spring Break. Which is different than most girl’s Spring Break, which is normally a flight to a Caribbean destination in a drunken haze of boys, sun and exotic locales.

But my hire Eileen will be returning to St. Louis to go hang with her mom but more than ever to spend time with her love Thomas.

Eileen is such a sassy, intelligent, dedicated soul. I adore her. I’ve been blessed this year with a pair of the best employees I’ve ever had.

I’ve been overjoyed at the sheer performance and charm my former staff has brought me but Amelia and Eileen have both been the the cold glass of beer on a hot day that I couldn’t have imagined during our busiest time of the year.

It’s so busy here in the salon. I’m sure Achilles likes the occasional night he doesn’t get the call from us that the system is failing.

He’s been at this for 10 years.

He’s seen it all.

The frustration that he must feel from the changes we’ve been through. He had three tanning salons at one time but closed the other two. Why? As he says. “This headache times three.”

That’s sad. A thriving business destroyed by shitty employees.

But you get what you pay for.

But not always. You sometimes luck out and get an employee that gives you and $80,000 a year performance for your wage simply because he has a great work ethic.

And then sometimes like a rare bird, one flies in the door and is willing to work for your minimum wage and kick ass because they’re like that dude you hired.

Achilles… you show these young girls no quarter. No warm greeting, no empathy. Because you are incapable of those emotions. That’s why I’m here.

I’m the life and personality of your salon. The face, and lively personality and the salesman that you hired. I’ll teach and train these girls.

They’re wonderful people. I actually feel blessed that we’ve acquired them this season. These girls are better than any we’ve ever had before.

They’re my team. I’m so proud of them every day.

If you’ve been following the Sun Stories in this blog, you’ll know the nightmare stories we’ve had with staffing at this salon. But that’s normal for retail and hospitality in this city. You get what you pay for.

But every once in awhile you pick a few winners.

This has been our most profitable year ever and I credit that to a few things:

  1. Every other tanning salon has fallen in the city.
  2. The population is increasing.
  3. We’re the best salon in the city.
  4. We have the finest employees and the best prices and services.

The people on the third floor hate us because we have a gym and they have a gym. They sued us but we settled and now we can only do personal training.

The Canadian online retail store downstairs hates us because sometimes the fitness guys drop weights and they complain to the landlord.

We’re basically in a shit sandwich in our new location and we’re the shit between the two shitty bus that hate us.

 

Eileen and I are getting killed at the salon as usual because, tis the season. Achilles boasts that he he had a busy lunch and that he had people in everybody in every bed. He called himself “The Man”

It would be nice if he could see what my staff and I go through here every night getting run over and being the sweet professionals to define his “busy” day.

My new hire Amelia says “Working here is the best job she ever had.”

I’m honored by her words and that’s how good business is supposed to work.

 

I’m mired in cleaning sun beds and charming ladies at the salon. Eileen is killing it as the charming professional at the front counter.

Amelia rolls in and we all decide to go to Marathon for dinner after work.

I love that we’re in the season and I’ve literally been blessed with two girls that are amazing. (I know I say it alot but they are both sooo good!)

I adore them both in different ways. (But it’s mixed)

I find myself in a place where I have been freed of the shackles of corporate America.

The rat race is horrible.

Children emerge from college as debtors now.

I’ve been honored this year with meeting not only the best employees I’ve ever had at Megasun, but two of the greatest ladies I’ve ever met and have enjoyed working with.

Here’s our Amelia ready to go and have dinner with us tonight. (First team dinner!)

 

After a long night of getting run over at the salon Eileen and I finally trudge over to Marathon Grille.

Amelia is waiting for us at a booth plowing Blue Moons and is a little surly we’re late.

But once we land, the team sings.

This is the first time we’ve ever hung out as a group.

Amelia and I have been to Square 1682 a couple of times for the complete glorious hookup of drinks but this is the first time we’ve all met as a team.

When Eileen and I arrive I run into a one of our clients at the hostess stand. He’s a solitary dude that apparently builds nightclubs in Asia and the like. I never got a good vibe from him and always felt that he was perv, but we’re here for different reasons. I greet him and then move off.

I take a booth with Amelia, who’s a little cross she had to wait for Eileen and I but it’s all good. Eileen’s charm can cut through ice. She’s so adorable.

I feel a comforting irony in this moment.

My creepy client takes a table near us.

It’s 9pm and he’s here eating alone. Who are you? What are you doing out at this hour? You with your bald head and shifty perv eyes. I see you. I can tell. You’re not a nice man.

But here you are in Marathon… an upscale diner with locally farm grown food with a sweet bar.

You’re alone.

I’m snuggled in a booth with two beautiful, wonderful ladies I adore. We’re eating, drinking, and Eileen is laughing so much her jaw hurts.

Eileen – Me – Amelia

I’m sipping a Bulliet Rye Manahattan, neat with a brandied berry and a side of ice.

Dude… you’re alone.

I’m the luckiest man in Philly right now. I want for nothing. The business is cranking. I’m surrounded with good people. My daughter’s happy and healthy. What more can I ask for?

It was an amazing night and there’s more on the way!