So…you haven’t heard from us in a while, but now we are back in action! We enjoyed our time in NJ, but as the weather got colder, we knew it was time for us to depart and head for warmer pastures!
As I have mentioned, as a workamper there are more traditional jobs such as reservationist and maintenance at campgrounds or RV resorts, but there are also many “out of the box” opportunities like working for Amazon, harvesting sugar beets, and guarding oil fields. Well, Bill and I have always gravitated toward the more common workamper positions…until now! We are presently managing a kiosk in the Naples Coastland Center Mall. Yes, you heard me correctly…between now and a few days after Christmas, you can find us at the kiosk during all mall hours! Thanksgiving evening from 6pm until midnight – we’ll be there; the following day, Black Friday, from 6am until 10pm – we’ll be there. Many nights till 11pm and Christmas Eve until 6pm – we’ll still be there! Every hour the mall is open for business – you got it – we’ll be there!
What kind of merchandise are we selling, you ask? The name of the company is The Big Sports Cart and we sell various items boasting both professional and collegiate sports – primarily football teams. Items include “Sportulas,” slippers, robes, signs, gnomes, totem poles, banners, backpacks, caps, holiday wreaths, party bowls and platters, Santa hats and stockings, and various tumblers, cups, and blankets. Why am I laughing out loud as I write?
Our start date was scheduled to be November 6, so we left New Jersey earlier than planned and headed down to Florida. Since the company we’re working for has over thirty such kiosks throughout Florida, our start date kept being pushed back, which was very frustrating, as we had successfully geared ourselves up for the experience. I will admit, however, that the delay enabled us to see three movies, all of which we highly recommend – The Old Man and the Gun, A Star is Born, and Bohemian Rhapsody!! So today is Day 4 of our newest adventure and thus far we have had a blast!
Something to keep an eye out for when spending way too much time in a mall…
People – Already we have met (or just looked at) an amazing number of people, all unique in their own way. Take the “mall walkers” for example – every day religiously they arrive at the mall, usually before the stores are even open, and they walk! Some walk for hours while others I see pass but once! For a moment I thought I was back on the Appalachian Trail as a woman went zipping by with her hiking sticks! Then there are the security guards – we made it a point to befriend security, such as AJ and Lazarus, because the kiosk is quite open and actually rather large. Of course, how safe are we feeling when one guard shared her story of last year being one of Santa’s seasonal helpers and now this year she graduated to security! And let’s not forget to mention how every weekday at 2 pm the mall experiences an insurgence of backpack-ladened teenagers as they walk over from Naples High School which is directly next door! Our customers have been great fun, as already we have met the greatest sports fans and plenty of examples of a “house divided!” And my critique would not be complete without mention of those in our world who do not own a mirror!
I mentioned to Bill the other day how I felt certain that somewhere along the line we would have to run into someone we know and today, believe it or not, along come Bill and Goldie Clifford, who are seasonal guests at Indigo Bluffs RV Resort in Michigan where we spent the summer as workampers! (oh yes, of course we have Michigan sports items!)
Finally, the most important mall dweller at the moment is none other than Santa Claus! A jolly fellow indeed, but as his break room is right next to our kiosk, we greet him daily and I truly wonder how he is going to make it through the season! – or am I talking about Bill and me?! Our kiosk is located right across from Santa’s picture area, so as things ramp up, I’m sure we’ll have a lot to witness, as children – and probably some adults as well – find their way to his lap…and his ear!
Since I usually share pictures and comments about our food discoveries, I did want to mention several local eating establishments that we enjoyed as we waited for the kiosk call to duty. Limoncello, an Italian restaurant in North Naples was wonderful. Snook Inn on Marco Island is right on the water and boasts delicious fish, as does Doc’s Beach House in Bonita Beach, where we met Jim and Carol Krieger, our fellow workampers from Indigo Bluffs RV Resort, for lunch. Finally, we treated ourselves to breakfast at Trail Cafe and Grill yesterday morning, as the mall did not open until noon! Unless I stay organized in bringing food for our 11-plus hour days, it’ll be Chick Fil-a from here on out! At the end of our work day, we safely secure our merchandise “under the big blue tarp” where it anxiously awaits our return!
So, was it worth the wait to arrive in the mall for the remainder of the holiday season? Indeed, but check back with us in January! Enjoy your holidays and you know where to find us!
Stay Calm and Travel On…