December 16, 2004
Sylvester-- The stress of the holiday season gets more intense for many people, especially for those who must wrap their own gifts. There was a time when stores routinely wrapped gifts free, then they starting charging for the service.
To make matters worse, many stores no longer offer gift wrapping at all as a way to reduce labor costs. Some stores, like Moore's in Sylvester, continue to offer the service, and customers seem to appreciate the helping hand.
'Tis the season for the overwhelms, "Do you want them separately wrapped," asks Connie Powell, as she looks at a pile of new clothes a customer wants wrapped. Many people would dread wrapping more gifts, especially four gifts for one customer. More customers will come, mostly non-stop, for Connie Powell to help them out. "It makes you feel good to wrap," says Connie, a veteran gift wrapper.
Carolyn Berryhill patiently waits for Connie to do something she can't. "I can't get the presents to look pretty. They look like balled up paper," says Carolyn.
Connie doesn't mind wrapping Carolyn's gifts or any of the hundreds of customers at Moore's. Amazingly, Connie says her fingers and hands never get tired after hours and hours of non stop wrapping. She lost count long ago of the number of presents she has wrapped. "Thousands," says Connie without hesitating.
She learned her craft the hard way as a designated wrapper, "Wrapped all the Christmas presents at home," remembers Connie. Sticking with it until she could turn professional. "Eight years worth," says Connie, tearing tape from an old dispenser faster than the eye can see.
Wrapping Christmas gifts runs in Connie's family. Both of her nieces would help her wrap for other people. Connie makes gift wrapping look quite easy, but then again a professional makes her craft look easy anyway, even with an audience watching her every move.
Customers watch intensely as if mesmerized by her non-stop hands. "That should be enough paper," says Connie rolling off a piece about five feet long. A professional gift wrapper secure in her job enough to reveal her short cuts, "Tape your paper to your box," says Connie.
That one tip saves a lot of hassle, and use just the right amount of paper, too. "Wraps up easy that way," says Connie, but many amateurs over do the wrapping paper. "Usually too much paper," says Connie who still measures each gift for the right length.
She puts tape in one direction only. "Works better long ways," says Connie because the tape sticks to more paper, making a more secure grip. It takes almost no effort to get that crisp, professional look when you know how. "Run a seam around corners with your fingers. It makes the package look pretty good," says Connie.
Ribbon. How do you know which color to use? "I try to bring out the brightest color with the brightest ribbon," says Connie, and amazingly she has just a few solid colors to choose from. And, there you have it. "Just that easy," says Connie.
A gift of knowledge from a professional gift wrapper, easy when you know how to wrap it up. Connie Powell wraps gifts year round for Moore's department store that still offers free gift wrapping for its customers.
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