February 22, 2013 by TheBadNewsFairy
On Valentine’s Day I was already way behind on Kindness Week (still am, actually; it’s now more a sort of raggedly shambling Kindness Month). But I had one last bouquet stick left, clearly meant for Valentine’s Day, and I wanted to give something to a reader. So I booked it (pun serendipitous) to my favorite chain bookstore café that has gift cards and customers and picked up one of their gift cards to add to the two cards I already had from way back when I had a job that used gift cards as incentives and never got around to using.
Part of the goal for this day was NOT buying anything for me. It was meant to be all about the (hopefully) lucky random person the RAOK would be going to. But both the waitress and the man behind the café counter were super nice people. And then I started feeling bad for “using” these places. So, at Red Robin I bought a meal even though I wasn’t hungry, and I tipped the waitress. And at Barnes and Noble I bought a frappucino even though I was already more than full (but also because their frappucinos are nummy and there is always room for dessert). So I failed on that particular part of the day.
What’s in the envelope, you ask? Well, imaginary person who asks questions out of idle curiousity because I imagined you would, therein lay my last $5 Hallmark gift card (there’s another mall with a Hallmark nearby so it wouldn’t be too hard of a trip, I hope), my last $5 gift card to a marvelous cupcake bakery located next to said mall (covering one sweet sweet loaf of bread, or two cupcakes, or two cookies, or a small box of cake bites), and $10 to Barnes and Noble.
I had meant to arrange it as a bouquet and stick it in one of the displays as if it were part of the merchandise, but logistics once again got in the way (namely, it looked like the plastic tag on the back of the flower stick was going to break with them all stuffed in there, and none of the displays would have been able to hold it up). So, I put them in an envelope, wrote an explanatory note on that, sealed it with a Valentine’s sticker stamp (not pictured), and slipped the end of the envelope through the holder.
Then I stealthily crept around the aisles and shelves of the store, which, amazingly and frustratingly, were nearly all crammed with people last-minute shopping for their Valentine booklover loves. I hadn’t seen the place so crowded since Brandon Sanderson came to visit. Who knew Valentine’s Day would also be a popular book shopping day?
Oddly, the one section of the store *not* full of people was the children’s area. That was positively deserted, except for the man from the café (he was dressed to go home and absorbed in one of the books, which, I found that he spends his off-time stealth-reading utterly charming – this is one of the many reasons he’s one of my favorite employees they have there 🙂 ) I hadn’t really thought about doing an RAOK for kids, but then I thought, why not? There *are* kids who like to read, too, whatever society says. And kids almost more than anyone love random surprises. I think. Actually, I don’t know very much about children these days. I only know that *I* loved finding sudden treasures in unexpected places when I was younger. Even random bits of junk got me excited, especially if they were shiny random bits of junk.
So, the last of the two gift card ‘bouquets’ got left on the shelves there (after the employee finished his book, with a satisfied little sigh 🙂 ). I put it by the Mysterious Benedict Society books because it amused me to have the character of young Reynie Muldoon peering through his telescope at the note as if that were part of the latest puzzle he was trying to solve 🙂
I hope whoever found this is a reader, and if it was a young’un, that his or her parents were nice about it, and if it was the parent or guardian, etc. of a young’un, that they shared. Both the book and the treats 🙂 Or the toys and the treats, or the treats and the treats, since the store is full of all sorts of things besides books 🙂
Anyhoo, that’s how I ended the official week of Kindness.
Since that tallies up to only three of the intended seven acts, I’ve still got some plotting to do for the remaining four. Let’s hope I come up with something good to make up for m’ slowness. Hip hip excelsior!