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Stories from the Bell Case: The Trials and Tribulations of Being a Jeffers Handbell Supply Employee
This month we have gathered a collection of stories about some of the more interesting and unique moments that have happened during Jeffers Handbell Supply's 40 years of doing business. Enjoy!
First, we have the “Disaster Twins”:
Carey and Rachel may be familiar names to many of you; they are two of our fantastic customer support team members. Little did you know that when they get paired up to go on the road they turn out to be major jinxes! They have gotten lost on 2 different occasions, both times on account of “faulty directions”. The first time they couldn't find their hotel and the second time even locals couldn't help them get to the church! They had to ask 3 different joggers before they got to the right place. The next show they lost track of time and left the hotel when they were supposed to be at the festival (shh, don't tell Tom). We didn't team them together on shows for a few years. Then, this year when they managed to get all the way to Georgia and back without a single hitch!
Can You Hear Me Now?:
Ken is one of our Fulfillment Team Members and he packs most of the packages that leave our doors. Normally this goes off without a hitch, but one day had some interesting consequences. He was bent over a large parcel and didn't notice his cellphone slip out of his pocket and into the box. Eventually he got around to wondering where his phone might be. Several days later the package's recipient called up asking if we had really meant to send them a cellphone?
Another story from Customer Support: for those who don't know, our building is in front of a patch of woods and that tends to bring a number of critters knocking on our door. Once again Ms. Rachel is the heroine of this tale. She was walking from our storefront back to her desk when she noticed a large rubber snake in her path. She immediately accused our Customer Support Team Leader, Malanie, (who is terrified of snakes) of placing it there to scare her. Suddenly the “rubber snake” moved his head and both Rachel and Malanie were standing on top of chairs calling all the gentlemen of Jeffers to come rescue them. The snake was fearlessly captured and released back into the woods safe and sound.
Inez came to work for Jim Jeffers with his carillon company (which was in the same building as Jeffers Handbell Supply). A few years later, she switched and came to work at Jeffers. She is the typical southern lady with the accent and all of the mannerisms you'd expect. She was a favorite with our customers, who would quite often call her about something simple, but ended up exchanging stories about everything under the sun. Since Inez was one of the first employees, she helped to build and establish some of our loyal, long term customers. Because she had answered nearly every handbell related question ever, our favorite phrase when the questions got too difficult was, “Just ask for Inez, I-N-E-Z, and if she doesn't know the answer, no one will!” Every now and then, we will still get a customer who will ask how she is doing now that she has retired and we have to say, “She is still giddy and smiling as she enjoys life with her grandchildren.”
It's a Ruff Life:
We've had several mascots over the years, but the cutest little duo might be a pair of puppies named Petit and Fritsen (of course). While they were only with us, the two little rascals made their home in a bell case and in the hearts of everyone they met.
Connie Jeffers' “Connieisms”:
The very first building that Jeffers Handbell Supply had on our current property started out small, but over the years it has been added to many times. We could not build wide, so we built long, stretching out in both directions parallel to Interstate 26. After so many additions, Connie would have to walk from one end to the other and back several times a day. As this became a regular occurrence, she started saying she was going to “Spartanburg” or “Orangeburg”, using the directions of I-26 as reference for her intended direction. Other things got names too; our main computer was “Sir”. While on shows the main computer was called “momma” and the terminals were the “babies”. Our black computer boxes for travel were “coffins” and our fork lift, which was painted light pink, was named “Mary Kay”. We even have a “pool” (but that is a story for another time).
Aside from quirky names for things, Connie loved people. She was kind, gracious, and had a wonderful sense of humor. She would go to handbell festivals and greet and help customers, but most of all she would listen. She quickly became friends with everyone. Whether you were a customer, a business partner, vendor, or employee, you were all family to her. We are still that small (yet not so small) family business and most of our employees have been here for a long time, so we are indeed a family. We thank all of you for helping build the strong foundation of who we are as a company and being an integral part of the Jeffers Handbell Supply family.