So the first thing Mike showed me was how to use the register. It's a computer POS system that I haven't used before, but it is similar enough to the programs used by Lush and Bath & Body Works that it isn't a problem. After he'd shown me the process once or twice, I was able to ring up t-shirts and ticket sales easily. In fact, Mike seemed slightly astonished: “You've got it down already?” It's like the interns they've had before never worked retail! The program is a little quirky – the tag scanner won't always work unless a museum ticket is already on the transaction, and there's no way to put a transaction on hold. (I miss that feature.)
The museum wasn't too busy, so between visitors I did my best to restock. I pulled jewelry from the back to fill the racks of earrings and necklaces. Whenever a book sold, I replaced it. When it got truly slow, I went through the t-shirts and sized them so that smalls were in the front and the XXL shirts were in the back. My boss again seemed surprised – but I don't think I was doing anything exceptional, I was just keeping busy so that I wouldn't go crazy.
The toughest part of working the front desk is when visitors ask questions about the local area. They want directions, recommendations for hikes, and other miscellaneous information. Most of the time, I just called to my boss for help, because of course I have no idea how long a hike to Calf Creek will take or the day use fees for other state parks or whether the Hole in the Rock road is paved, dirt or gravel. Everyone assures me that, with time, I'll get it down. On the front desk is a binder full of information about the area, and I've been reading it and trying to absorb as much information as possible.
I also learned today that the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) rents a small desk at the back of the museum for visitor information and issuing permits for overnight camping and gathering wood and whatnot. It isn't staffed full-time, but whenever someone is back there I can just send visitors to them for information. So that will make it easier on the days I'm by myself.
At the end of the day, Mike and I counted out the register and it was off by a few dollars. I immediately prepared to recount everything, but my boss just shrugged it off. “It's only a couple of bucks,” he said. My jaw dropped. At Bath & Body Works, variance of more than a few cents necessitated double and triple-checking our counting, while any amount over a dollar at Lush could potentially lead to a write-up. But compared to the typical uptight retail manager, folks here in Boulder are so much more relaxed about details like that.