The Best Businesses are Always Personal

Darid 21, 1014

“And this is it!” Rosette said, flinging her arms open wide. “The shop is finally ready!”

And “finally” was truly the operative word here. She had spent the last few months trying to ready everything. The shelves, the wood floor, the plaster on the walls, even the stock samples gracing the shelves — as of now, that wasn’t the half of it. There had been connections made with Albion’s weavers and fullers and dyers, asking them to sell some of their product to her for a low price so she could turn around and sell it to others. There had been some tapestries woven, so she could sell them right away to people looking for something to hang up on a wall. And there had been the dozens and dozens of sketches and plans and patterns: all ideas for outfits, all fully realized, and all ready to (hopefully) sell along with the cloth.

All this — and she hadn’t even started the business yet. Not properly.

“So,” Rosette asked, turning back to her sister, “what–what do you think?”

Toinette ought to have some kind of idea of whether Rosette was on the right track or not. She had only helped her husband build two businesses up from the ground. And while, perhaps, aesthetics had not been the biggest concern in their first shop — nobody much cared what the food stand looked like, as long as the food tasted good and the price was right — Rosette was selling cloth. Cloth, she felt, was different. And she was selling an experience, a taste of luxury, as much as she was selling the cloth. You couldn’t do that on a dirt floor and with walls where the plaster barely covered the straw used to separate outside from inside.

Toinette did not answer at first. She narrowed her eyes and tapped her fingers against her chin. “When are ye openin’, love?” she asked.

Rosette’s stomach dropped. Was it all wrong? Did she need to redo everything? Was there something — something Rosette hadn’t seen — that would drive away all the customers? “M-Monday …”

“Oh, don’t look at me like that, Rosette, it’s fine!” Toinette said, patting Rosette’s shoulder. “This is a real step up from me an’ Grady’s first business, that’s fer certain-sure. Nice an’ bright an’ airy. An’ it seems bigger than it is. That’s always a good thing. Sometimes, in that old place, I felt so cramped an’ hemmed-in that I wanted ter scream at next person who jostled me.”

Rosette felt she could breathe again when Toinette said that.

“I think folks will like comin’ here. I do. An’ with any luck, ye’ll sell a lot simply because they’ll like bein’ here.” Toinette grinned. “But, Rosette … ye got anyone ter help ye out? Runnin’ the place, I mean?”

Rosette shook her head. Help, at this point, seemed like a luxury she could ill-afford. How could she possibly justify to Mordred extra money for wages for a helper when she hadn’t even started things up yet?

Toinette put both hands on her hips and surveyed Rosette with a quirked brow. “An’ how are ye expectin’ ter run this place, Rosie, with no one ter give ye a hand?”

“Well, I–I was only going to do it while the children are in school,” Rosette replied. “Because … well, they have to be my first priority, after all. I–how much help do you think I would need?”

“How much time ye spent behind a cashbox?” Toinette asked, one eyebrow raised.

“Well … none …”

“Then ye ain’t got no idea how much help ye’re gonna need,” Toinette replied in the voice of someone who knew that from bitter experience.

“But you and Grady did fine by yourselves!” Rosette protested.

“First o’ all, since it were me an’ Grady, we weren’t properly by ourselves — aye?” Toinette asked. “Second, we also had LilΓ©, may she rest in peace, an’ even Finley on good days givin’ us a hand. Third, Grady …” Toinette smiled fondly. “He’s got a natural head fer it — business, I mean. Oh, it were hard those first few years, but once he learned the ropes, he was able ter run jest about everythin’ and keep it all goin’, even when Finley weren’t quite in his right senses … if ye know what I mean.” Toinette sighed.

But the enforced pall over the conversation was gone in a moment, as Toinette blinked and continued, “An’ ye know what I’ve been findin’?”

Rosette shook her head, thought she was more than a bit nervous about where this might be going.

“The best business sense — it ain’t jest learned. Anyone can learn it — Lord knows even I’ve learned it! — but it can also be passed down. Ye know. From father ter son.” And, if there was any doubt as to where Toinette was heading with this, she added, “Or daughter.”

Rosette was not surprised to turn around and see Katie grinning at her.

Toinette …”

“Now, hear me out before ye go sayin’ anythin’,” Toinette said. “Ye need help. I think we can all agree of that –”

“Toinette! I haven’t even started yet! I don’t know we can agree that I need help!”

Toinette sighed. “Rosie, first of all, if ye’re thinkin’ ye can jest close up shop when the kids come home, ye need help. An’ ye need someone who can help show ye the ropes, who can show ye how stuff’s done. Who can help mind the cashbox …”

“I’m good at that!” Katie chimed in. Rosette barely stopped herself from cringing.

“An’ can help ye with putting stuff back on the shelves. I know ye’ve got everythin’ lined up nice an’ neat now, but it ain’t gonna stay that way,” replied Toinette in the voice of a woman who knew.

“But …”

“An’ best of all,” Toinette went on, “Katie won’t be axin’ no wages at first!”

“I what?”

At first,” Toinette repeated, “an’ then if things work out … well, we can work out how much ye think ye can afford,” Toinette glared at Katie, a “don’t say anything if you know what’s good for you” glare if Rosette ever saw one, “an’ then ye can start givin’ Katie a little somethin’. So, what d’ye say, Rosie?”

What could she say? Clearly a “yes” was what was being asked for, but … “Toinette,” Rosette lowered her voice, “why do you want Katie to be helping me out? Isn’t there plenty for her to do with Grady, at the shop?”

“‘Cause I want to be apprenticed!” Katie answered, which proved that Rosette’s voice-lowering skills were nowhere near as strong as she had hoped they were. “But Ma an’ Da want me to stay in school.”

“Stay in–Katie, you’re thirteen! Of course you can’t leave school yet!” Rosette gasped.

“Which is what her pa an’ I keep tellin’ her,” Toinette sighed, rolling her eyes. “Katie, ye don’t know how good ye have it! But …” Toinette shrugged. “She wants ter spread her wings. Fly a bit. Spend some time in a shop that lets her not come home smellin’ like fish afterwards.”

“Which is always important!” giggled Katie.

“Aye — so Grady an’ I thought, and we thought havin’ her help ye out fer a few hours every day after school would be jest the ticket. So what d’ye say, sis? Give Katie a chance? If it don’t work out, ye can send her back ter her pa an’ me with her tail between her legs, an’ we’ll say no more about it.”

Rosette took a deep breath. “Toinette–”

Someone knocked at the door, and Rosette let out a sigh of relief — saved by the knock! “Come in!” she called, glad of the distraction.

She ceased to be glad as soon as the door opened and Kata Thatcher came in, followed by a young woman.

For she remembered what Kata had been hinting at, ever since Rosette had mentioned her shop and the move. There was a “friend” she had. Someone whom Kata thought Rosette could help. Someone who had fallen on hard times and who could really use a steady, clean job inside, out of the wet …

Rosette had pretended not to understand what Kata was talking about, but apparently pretense was not going to help her now. Still, she smiled as broadly as she could as Kata came in. “Kata! And … who is this?”

Kata grinned back. She gestured to the young woman, who stepped forward. “Rosette, this is me friend, Glenna Ruskin. Ye may remember me talkin’ about her. Glenna, this is Rosette Chevaux.”

The young woman stepped forward and hesitantly shook hands. “Good afternoon, Mistress Chevaux,” Glenna said.

She looked like a nice enough girl, if one could judge by looking. Rosette could definitely believe the part about “hard times,” too, if one judged by the clothing. They had the loose look of clothes that had been let out to fit a broader frame, and hadn’t been taken in yet. Good Lord — was this girl starving? If it was as bad as that, how could Rosette not help her?

Well, either way, Rosette could start by making things a little less formal. “Oh, please, call me Rosette!” She preferred that by far. It was easier to go by her first name than to take a title she hadn’t earned … at least, not in the sense that it was meant when used as a prefix to her surname.

“And–and this is my sister, Toinette Brogan,” Rosette gestured to Toinette, who nodded and smiled, “and my niece, Katie — Katie Brogan.”

Glenna smiled at both, then turned a slightly wondering glance to Katie. Katie replied with a raised eyebrow. Then Glenna shook her head and turned to Toinette. “Ye — ye have a beautiful daughter, ma’am, if ye don’t mind me sayin’.”

“I sure don’t!” Katie replied for her, which made them all chuckle and chased away the tension in the room.

Temporarily.

For Kata turned to Rosette as soon as the laughter was over, “Rosette, I’m sure ye want ter be chattin’ with yer sister, so I’ll be makin’ this quick. Glenna’s the friend I’ve been talkin’ about, the one who needs a bit o’ help.”

“Kata …” Rosette started. But Glenna was smiling so hopefully that Rosette couldn’t go on.

“An’ she … well, I’ll let Glenna tell it ter ye.” Kata gestured to Glenna, who swallowed, but started talking quickly enough.

“I–I came here from Glasonland last year, with me little brothers an’ sister. Our parents are dead — killed in …” Glenna shuddered and looked away, which told Rosette plenty that she could guess and more than she, perhaps, wanted to know. “An’ — an’ I had a baby, after I come here. So–so money’s tight. We–”

“You had a baby?” Rosette repeated. “Where–” is the baby’s father? she wanted to ask. But — she couldn’t. Or at least, she couldn’t. Maybe other women could demand that information, but those who lived in glass houses …

Glenna paled, proving that she had heard the unspoken question, and Kata glared, proving that she had, too. “Money’s tight,” Glenna continued. “Seumas — me brother — he works on Sir Lancelot’s lands, an’ I got a job with a group o’ faire entertainers, but … it ain’t much. It’s barely anythin’. So, so, a regular job, with regular pay, would be — would be everythin’ I could axe fer an’ more, Mis–Rosette.”

“Glenna, I don’t think–” Rosette started.

“Now, Glenna,” Kata interrupted, “why don’t ye tell her why ye’d be suited toward helpin’ her out?”

Glenna nodded. “I’ll be the first ter admit that I ain’t got no–no shop experience,” Glenna started, causing Kata to wince — apparently that was not how she wanted Glenna to go about this speech — “but–I know how ter work. Work hard. An’ I’ll do everythin’ ye axe o’ me, Rosette. I’m good at cipherin’ an’ figures, too — if that helps.”

“Well, it might, but –”

“But Rosette,” Toinette broke in, “already has somebody helping her — isn’t that right, Rosette?”

“Toinette!” Rosette hissed. “You sound just like Mama!”

“A-men,” muttered Kata.

Toinette glared at Kata, then at Rosette. “Say what ye like about Ma — but she got stuff done,” Toinette replied. Well, that made sense — Toinette had always been closest to Cerise. Cerise had somehow managed to not be as hard on Toinette, too, though Rosette wasn’t sure why — wasn’t it the oldest who usually got the brunt of parental focus and discipline? But that was neither here nor there.

“Anyway, Rosette an’ me were jest talkin’ about how she were gonna be takin’ Katie on as a help, weren’t we, Rosette?” asked Toinette.

“Toinette–”

“Katie?” Kata stepped in before Glenna could say anything, smoothly intercepting Toinette. “Well, that’s right kind o’ her, ter offer ter help — but surely ye’ll be the first ter admit, Toinette, that she hardly needs a hand the way Glenna do.”

Toinette put her hands on her hips. “She’s willin’ ter work fer nothin’ while Rosette gets the shop sorted an’ off the ground — aye, I’d say that was right kind.”

Kata should have given up then. By the way Glenna paled and Kata blinked, Rosette even thought she might. Alas, it was not to be. “Money ain’t everythin’, Toinette Brogan. Ye ought ter know that.”

“Aye, I do,” replied Toinette. “Family’s a lot more important than money.”

“Family –”

“An’ it would mean a lot ter me if Rosette would give Katie this chance,” Toinette went on, giving Rosette a look that she might have stolen right out of Cerise’s bag of tricks.

“Why’ that?” Kata asked.

Toinette’s mouth opened and shut. Rosette cringed. Did they really have to go into this here and now? “Kata, Toinette,” Rosette started, intending to tell the both of them that they had made very good points and that she would have to think on it.

But Katie threw a wrench into that plan. “Because I want to be apprenticed, but Ma and Da don’t want to do that,” replied Katie. “They want me to stay in school, an’ learn more … there. But I want to learn a trade, so — this was a good compromise. I get to learn more about dressmaking an’ designing clothes, not just wearing the same kind of clothes your grandmother wore — sorry, Ma — an’ Rosette gets somebody to help with her business.”

Rosette blinked. She was supposed to teach Katie dressmaking, too?

“Although I don’t know why you can’t just hire us both, Auntie Rosie,” Katie went on. “Especially since I won’t be taking any wages.” Katie shot her mother a look there. “You can pay Glenna an’ not me, an’ when you’re making enough, you can pay me too.”

Rosette covered her face with her hands rather than see the looks that Toinette and Kata were shooting to her.

Because even though her mind acknowledged the practicality of Katie’s statement, her gut was shouting, No, no, no! She was already in over her head on this shop, and she knew it. She barely had any idea of how to run a business. Mordred was very little help in that regard, because even though she knew he was very clever with his money, being good with one’s money as a nobleman was not at all the same thing as being able to make money in a shop. And Mordred was the one who so desperately wanted this all to work out … she couldn’t disappoint him.

But she knew, also, that training Katie in dressmaking — even if she wasn’t a dressmaker, technically — and training Glenna in a shop while trying to start up the shop herself and keep the children in line and keep Mordred happy and try to find a moment to breath in it all — that was so far beyond her talents, it might as well be on the moon. No. She could only afford to have one of the young women, if either of them, from the perspective of her own sanity if not necessarily her purse.

So she looked up and took a deep breath, finally daring to look both Toinette and Kata in the eye. “You’re … you’re both very kind to … to offer to help me … but I think I can only take on one assistant right now.”

But which of them? Both women were glaring guilt into her very soul. Who needed her help more? Glenna, the young mother with … for some reason, no father in the picture, and her siblings to care for … or her own sister’s child, who wanted to try some new things in her life and who was growing beyond her family’s horizon?

No. No, that couldn’t be how Rosette looked at this. She had to be practical in this decision. Businesslike. It was the only way she would get better at this.

So … what advantages and disadvantages did each young woman bring to the table?

Glenna first. Her advantages started with the fact that she could almost certainly work more than Katie could, though with a baby at home that might be questionable. She was also older and more mature than Katie. And she was eager to learn. The disadvantages were that she knew less of business than Rosette did, and that Rosette would have to pay her right from the start.

Now Katie. Katie knew more of business than Rosette did, so she would be a big help. They could work on the dressmaking slowly. She didn’t need to be paid. And Mordred had been talking about Rosette joining the Guild … if Rosette helped Grady and Toinette by hiring Katie, then Grady would be more willing to help her …

The disadvantage to Katie was — well, she didn’t need the help the way Glenna did. And she had a lot of spirit, and might be hard to handle. But …

But she had a lot more advantages.

Rosette walked over and hugged her niece. “How–how would you like to work for me, Katie?”

“Would I!” Katie grinned, the same grin she’d had from when she was a toddler and just learning how much fun it was to get her way. “An’ just you wait, Auntie Rosie! We’ll make this shop so good, you’ll be able to start payin’ me in no time!”

Katie!” Toinette smacked her forehead.

Rosette laughed. “I hope so. And–and as soon as I can, if I need more help … Glenna, you’ll be the first person I ask.” There. That would be a good compromise, wouldn’t it?

Glenna smiled, clearly willing to take it. But Kata … did not.

“Ye’ve had a lot of help, Rosette Chevaux,” Kata replied, so softly that Rosette wasn’t sure anyone else was meant to hear it. “An’ I thought ye might want ter pass some help along terday. I guess I was wrong. But … oh well. Such is life, I suppose.” Her face transformed into a brittle, false smile. “But we won’t be takin’ up no more o’ yer time today. Come on, Glenna.”

And as Glenna and Kata politely took their leave, and Toinette and Katie chattered excitedly about the job and what Katie would be doing and what a big help she would be, Rosette stood off to the side and wondered …

Had she just flubbed her first big decision? But that didn’t make sense. Katie was surely the better choice — wasn’t she?

But if that was the case …

Why did Rosette feel so bad?

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16 thoughts on “The Best Businesses are Always Personal

  1. It’s scary when you seriously think that Katie was probably the smartest one. She probably could have done with having both to help. And poor Glenna, it took a lot for her to come in and even ask. And then to be turned down

    Rosette, I think, just blew it. And I don’t like that there’s a part of me going “good. I’m glad.” I don’t want to see the shop fail for Rosette, but I do think that she needs a good long wake-up call and I think this is the first step on that. I think that if Kata turns a subtle cold shoulder to Rosette, it will definitely help. Sad as that is to say. She’s used to being alone and lonely to a certain degree, but she’s definitely gotten more chances than a lot of people and I think she should pay it forward a little. She’s trapped herself in that prison and it’s gonna be hard to tunnel under the wall. I highly doubt Rosette has the strength to just break through the door.

    I hope that someone does help Glenna out. Poor girl. And I hope that Katie works out well. She’s grown up from the little girl building snow demons by the front door and bullying other girls. Gives me hope for Basil. Not a lot though.

    • Rosette probably could use the help from both of them, though I think training Glenna when Rosette herself is still very much in training might be more than Rosette can handle at the moment. There is still quite a bit of hesitation with the whole shop thing on her part. And, you know, Rosette has never been one of the most capable, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps characters on this blog. Still, this could come back to bite her.

      I doubt the shop will fail, if only because OFB businesses are one thing in game that I’m very good at. πŸ˜‰ (Plus, that little Business Success wish I had Rosette cast will probably help things along. πŸ˜‰ ) But losing Kata’s friendship, or even a cooling-off from Kata, might help Rosette realize just how far down the rabbit hole she’s gone. We’ll have to see.

      And somebody will help Glenna out, even though I don’t think it’ll be this round. (I want to get her to maybe get another sewing/gardening badge so that she can get more money when she gets hired.) And I think you will be quite pleased when you see who it is. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks, Andavri!

  2. Wow, what’s with Kata these days? Maybe I just never noticed before, but was she always this…judgmental and interfering? I mean it’s one thing to ask if she needs an assistant, but her pushiness here was way out of line. Toinette’s her sister — they grew up together, probably pulling each other’s hair and arguing over toys — so yeah, pushiness from her is understandable, but Kata’s just an acquaintance. So, like, what the hell? The moment Rosette gets something going, she comes calling wanting favors? And then is perfectly horrid when Rosette tells her “maybe later”?

    I mean, what did she think was going to happen if Rosette took on Glenna right away? Neither of them know anything about running a shop, and it would probably fall apart in a week or two, and then Glenna will STILL be out of a job. At least with Katie, Rosette will have a decent chance of actually learning how to manage things, which will give Glenna a decent chance of getting hired later — which Rosette totally promised to do. I guess Kata doesn’t know how to run a shop either, but this is shockingly myopic. Egh.

  3. I kind of wanted to smack Toinette and Kata’s heads together. I like them both, and they’ve both been helpful in the past and they both mean well, but they were both much more forceful here than their respective candidates, and not even subtle about it. I guess the idea of private job interviews hasn’t occurred to anyone.

    Although, I’m with Andavri. Why shouldn’t Rosette hire both? Katie isn’t asking to be paid, and I doubt Mordred would object to helping Rosette pay one assistant until she’s making enough to do so herself (wow, it’s been a while since I said something not-completely-negative about Mordred), though I get why she’d be reluctant to ask. And if she did hire both… who says she’d have to have them work the same times? Glenna could work during the day while Katie is in school, then Katie could come and relieve her once school’s out. Or they could just work different days of the week. And the more intensive training could be done during quiet hours, or after closing time, or before opening–and I’m guessing neither Glenna nor Katie is a slow learner anyway.

    I will say, though, that going for Katie’s business sense was a good move on Rosette’s part, since I’d be surprised if she has much herself, though like Toinette said, she may learn–and hey, maybe Aimee will have enough native business savvy to help her mom out when she gets older (or the twins, but I doubt they’d be interested in a dress shop). That said, Rosette really needs to expand her circle beyond her family and Mordred. I can’t see Kata holding this grudge forever, but Rosette has unwittingly offended one of the few outside allies she has.

    *sigh*

    • Yeah, this wasn’t Toinette’s or Kata’s best moment. They both wanted something from Rosette here, they both wanted it badly, and neither were particularly tactful or nice about how they went about it.

      Rosette’s just feeling overwhelmed, and training Glenna (as opposed to being trained by Katie, with her strong business sense, gold sales badge, and at least bronze cash register badge πŸ˜‰ ) feels like more than she can take on at the moment. Plus, I think she felt cornered and pressured there, and got rid of the pressure in the quickest, and she hoped savviest, way possible.

      Yeah, Rosette desperately needs more friends. Hmm. I’ll have to see who, if anyone, would be willing to befriend her. She will be joining the Guild, so that’s a potential source of friendship … and the Andavris are right down the street from her. I can’t see them being too judgmental about extramarital affairs with noblemen, especially since they don’t know the whole story (and probably don’t care much, either … for the moment).

      Besides, Aimee and Benji are already best friends. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks, Van!

  4. Kata was awfully forward here, but I can understand her. Glenna is in a tough spot, and Kata has been in her corner for a long time now. This probably isn’t her first (failed) attempt to get the girl a leg up. Rosette would seem like a good shot at getting Glenna a respectable position – she’s a sympathetic person and definitely not in a position to pass judgment. (If Mordred’s black little heart wasn’t fixated on her, Rosette could be in shoes very similar to Glenna’s herself.) It’s a unique opportunity.

    Now, all that isn’t to say I think Rosette was wrong. I respect Rosette choosing experience and for showing loyalty to her family. Katie can better help Rosette get off the ground, and she won’t cost Rosette to begin with. If the ladies are successful, then Rosette could be able to confidently give Glenna a place later. Rosette is risking a lot here, and Kata certainly isn’t thinking what is best for Rosette. Logically, it all works… but I felt Kata’s disappointment myself. I’m glad Rosette did what she needed to, but… well, image is powerful, I guess. One glance tells you who needed a shot more. I hope Kata can get past her emotions later on.

    I did like Van’s suggestion of staggering the ladies’ prospective shifts. If Rosette could have managed wages for Glenna (part-time, at least), it would have solved two problems at once. Glenna isn’t entirely without skills, and she does seem bright enough. But, I don’t blame Rosette for not wanting to ask Mordred for more. Hopefully, the shop will be successful enough to support a few women very soon!

    • It is a unique opportunity for Glenna — an opportunity to get a job in the warm, out of the weather, and maybe someplace she could even take Seona when she’s working (although that may or may not be a good idea — still, infant/toddler + fabric shop is probably a better combination than infant/toddler + faire-with-dancing-bears). And like you pointed out, Rosette really can’t judge — especially since Mordred’s scheming is at least some small part of what got Glenna into the mess she’s in!

      But yeah, the best choice for Rosette is definitely Katie, at least from a business perspective. Katie knows what she’s doing and she’s already got experience in a shop. She’s also a born saleswoman, especially in an era before hassle-free returns. πŸ˜‰ So Rosette is in good hands with Katie. It’s just sad about Glenna.

      Glenna is bright enough, and she desperately wants to work hard and prove herself so she can continue to support her siblings and Seona. But Rosette isn’t the only shopkeeper in the country, and she’s not the only one who would be willing to hire Glenna. So stay tuned. πŸ™‚

      Thanks, Winter! πŸ˜€

  5. Toinette and Kata were both unkind to Rosette. Neither were thinking of Rosette.

    It’s kind of awful that Rosette was seeking her sister’s opinion and Toinette used it as an opportunity to push Katie on her. She should have talked to her without Katie there. Having her there put her on the spot.

    I can see why Kata was trying to get Glenna hired, but she didn’t need to ask Rosette to pick Glenna over family. Ending it like she did just wasn’t right.

    Neither woman needed to make this into a little spat. They didn’t need to give Rosette guilt trips, or make her feel like she had to hire one. What bothers me most is that Rosette didn’t want to hire anyone before opening her shop, but both women weren’t willing to listen to that.

    If I had been Rosette I’d have told them all “Thank you very much. I don’t wish to hire anyone at this time.” Then I’d have shooed all of them out. This is largely because I don’t like to be treated the way Rosette was treated. It would be enough for me to decide to not hire anyone right away. It is only because Glenna and Katie were rather innocent in this that I’d be that nice about it. Otherwise I’d tell them both I didn’t appreciate the way neither were listening to me and don’t want to hire them for that reason.

    Then there is the sim side of things. This must be what hiring an employee looks like. I’ve never hired employees in the game. This was interesting on that stand point too.

    My brothel girls are forever wanting to hire employees. It cracks me up.

    • Yeah, pretty much — this was nobody’s best moment (with the possible exception of Katie, with her brilliant “Hire us both” suggestion).

      Rosette, however, is not good at standing up for herself and for her rights. I have a feeling that if she was, she never would have gotten involved with Mordred … certainly not on the terms she’s involved with him now. ‘Cause you can call their relationship a lot of things, but a partnership of equals it sure ain’t. Rosette is also way too desperate to be liked for her own good. So, with that in mind … I can’t see her ever telling them both, “No, thank you,” and shooing them out.

      Oh, this has nothing to do with hiring employees in-game! That’s a lot easier. And with the hacks I’ve got, they’re practically guaranteed to say yes. πŸ˜‰

      LOL! More helpers at the brothel!

      Thanks, Chicklet!

  6. I’m a little bit more on Toinette’s side than Kata’s, but only a little– Toinette’s trying to take care of her sister (who doesn’t know the first thing about running a business; it’s not easy!) and appease her daughter. Kata, on the other hand… Look, I get that Glenna could use a helping hand. Glenna gets that she could use a helping hand. But Glenna seemed perfectly all right with how things went, and then Kata got all… weird and almost sinister.

    Kata, what the hell. You’re trying to shove a new mother with no retail experience into the employ of a nobleman’s mistress with no retail experience. I completely get that you think working in a shop is soft work out of the weather, but in actuality you are on your feet all day and you have to deal with people who think you have more of everything in The Back (customers seem to think The Back is a magical wonderland where merchandise grows on trees) and that you are simultaneously a superhuman computer who knows the price of every single item without even having to look at it AND a subhuman thrall who exists only to cater to their whims. Retail might be indoor work, but it WILL eat your soul and suck your energy, and it requires a top-notch poker face, solid manners, and the ability to not get tired of asking ‘can I help you find anything today?’

    And all that is on top of and aside from the fact that the good Townie citizens of Albion are going to judge Rosette for starting a shop (competing with good Honest Women who could be doing that work!) and Glenna for keeping her baby (scandalous! She should’ve given the child to the church!)– just think how much they’d judge a pair of pretty redheaded peasant lasses whose children have problematic pedigrees running an affordable-luxuries dress shop together.

    It’s like…

    … Like Toinette is still playing The Connections Game– networking, helping her sister succeed so her daughter and niece can succeed– and Kata has totally forgotten what it’s like to be anything other than the only game in town, businesswise. (Oh, sure, there’s Clarice, but Clarice isn’t competition, she’s a much-needed colleague.)

    • Ooh, I didn’t even know all this stuff about working in a shop! Now throwing two inexperienced women together sounds even worse. >_<

    • This, again, is not Kata’s best moment. But for her, I think “soft work out of the weather” means a lot — especially where Glenna is concerned. And I can’t help but think that being an entertainer at the faire, which is what Glenna is currently doing, is much less soul-sucking than retail work. She didn’t take that job because she’s a born entertainer who loves to make people laugh and brighten up their day. She took that job because it was, at the time, one of the only ones she could get.

      And since Glenna does work at a faire, she’s probably seen what customers can be like. She went along with Kata on this, so she probably doesn’t mind the idea … well, yet, we’ll see what happens if/when she gets a job in a shop.

      And Rosette can’t judge Glenna for having and keeping Seona, and Rosette’s chances of sexually harassing Glenna are somewhere in the range of “nil” — so those are advantages that Kata is thinking about, too. Plus, since the shop is primarily targeted towards women, that means that much less (probable) sexual harassment. You can imagine that the Townie citizens of Albion, at least those of the attracted-to-women variety, were giving an attractive girl like Glenna working as an entertainer all kinds of grief — especially those of them who realized that she had a baby and no man in the picture.

      Kata was pretty short-sighted in the way she went about this, and it probably wasn’t the best idea to throw two people with no experience in retail together to run this shop. But she had her reasons, and from her perspective, this shop is a step up from where Glenna is now.

      Thanks, Hat!

  7. I think Kata was definitely in the wrong here, I won’t deny that at all. I also think Toinette was in the wrong here and so was Rosette. And I’ll hold to my earlier comment that it’s sad when the thirteen year old reformed bully is being the smart, level-headed mature one.

    However, as per usual when I come back to comment again, I disagree with something someone said strongly enough to get over my lazy and type out a reply. Kata is only human, or a fairly decent facsimile there of because Morgaine’s pretty awesome about giving characters some depth. And I think some things have been rocked Kata to the core in recent years.

    Thorn might only be Kata’s step-grandchild, but she doesn’t think of him that way, despite Marigold and Ash being Jeremiah’s kids alone, she doesn’t draw the line between step-grandkid and biological grandkid. Marie’s death and what that’s done to Roma and how Simon fits into the extended family. Betsy losing her job. Martin’s death. Cerise’s death. Looking at your friends and neighbors and seeing you’re all getting a bit long in the tooth. Morgause’s existence. The whole thing with Brother Tuck.

    Now not all, but a big ass chunk of those things have the Orkneys tied up right at the heart of them. Now, I’m sure, whether consciously or not, when Kata looks at that nice new shop that Rosette’s got there, I think part of her probably sees a little red. I certainly would if I were her. He can’t put even a scrub wood floor in the house that her youngest daughter and grandson live in, but he’s flush enough to buy this shop for Rosette.

    And then there’s Rosette herself. Do I think that Kata did things like help Rosette with advice and what not and have Ella go babysit her kids with an eye toward future paybacks? No. I don’t think she’s that calculating. But it is fairly human to think I did this and this and this for you, why can’t you do this one small thing for me, especially when it’s not even for me, personally, it’s for someone else who needs a chance that you can give.

    Also nothing in that says that Kata can’t be disappointed and annoyed and a little bit “screw you, Rosette.” at the moment. No. Rosette didn’t have to choose Glenna over Katie. But Kata doesn’t have to stand there and be nice to her after she made her choice either. Again, I just see the less than stellar part of humanity in walking away from a situation like this going why’d I ever help that bitch? (Not that I think Rosette is a bitch, but I wouldn’t entirely blame Kata if she walks out of that shop thinking Mordred and Rosette completely deserve each other for being selfish and blind either.)

    I don’t particularly like the way that Kata is trying to steer Glenna. I think, though, that it’s less that Kata’s being a pushy bitch and more that she’s invested herself, emotionally, in this girl without realizing it. Sadly, she wouldn’t do what she’s doing to Ella or Roma. But her girls have a pig-headed stubborn streak that they got from their mother, and it wouldn’t work on her girls and she knows it.

    Glenna is much more submissive and swayed by a lot of things. When she first came to Kata’s doorstep, she was pregnant with a child she didn’t want to the point of not caring if the abortifacient killed her as long as it killed the baby. And again, it’s completely human, not always nice, but human to want to “help” sometimes to the point of leading.

    Now, Glenna, so far, hasn’t really drank from any of the bodies of water that Kata has lead her to. And I think that’s good. I would very much hope that Kata realizes that what she’s doing isn’t ultimately good for Glenna and it isn’t good for Kata.

    As for Toinette. She put my back up first. Katie is only thirteen going on fourteen. In Albion she has four or five years before she’s an adult and can be out on her own. She has plenty of time to learn a trade. And no, she doesn’t want to go to school and no she doesn’t want to come home from the shop smelling like fish. But she still has those options and isn’t even responsible for herself yet. (As long as Grady’s still selling fish enough to pay his bills, there’ll be clothes on Katie’s back and a roof over Katie’s head for the next several years.)

    Glenna’s got three younger sibs who aren’t old enough to do more than add to the family coffers by sweeping the neighbor’s walk or raking his leaves, a daughter, and yes a younger brother who is, what a year older than Katie? and yet the only person in Glenna’s life that she can fall back on when she’s going through the lean times…

    But Toinette seemed offended at the idea that Kata would put forth this candidate who might take away from Katie’s precious wants. Glenna was there for some very real needs. I’m sorry, personally, I put them on different levels and I think that in a lot of ways, in my book at least, Toinette was being the shallower one of the two.

    I’ve worked retail myself and it sucks, yes. It’s a helluva lot of annoying, idiotic people and policies and managers who can’t make up their bloody minds. It wouldn’t be an easy job for Glenna, I totally agree with Hat on that. But when you’re not sure when or where your next job or meal is coming from how hard the work is always factored a little bit lower on my list than stability did.

    Also, on Toinette’s “doesn’t seem to see” list the possible impact this could have on Katie. The townies in Albion are, for the most part, not nice. Most of the ones we’ve seen are asshole and a halves. (Not all, all but a lot of ’em.) Sending your young daughter to work under your “fallen woman” sister is a really good way to get your young daughter propositioned by people who think the difference between a no and a yes with a “girl like that” is just a matter of price.

    Glenna would have faced it too, after all, she’s already got one baby and no ring on her finger. But I imagine Katie either wants a sweetheart or will with in a year or two, where as no one knows if that is, or will be, on the table for Glenna. And if the boy she likes has a mother who thinks that Rosette is no better than she should be, working under Rosette is a helluva lot more stigma than smelling like fish and it’s a helluva lot harder to get off.

    Toinette, by sending Katie to work with Rosette, has basically signed off on her sister’s lifestyle as far as those small minded people are concerned. Anybody’s sister can lay on their back for a nobleman. The average gossip on the street might be willing to overlook that, after all, it’s a bit above your station to tell him where he can stick his dick. However, if it looks like you approve of the fact that where he sticks his dick is in your sister, that’s a whole different world of something else altogether. And some of them gossips probably have handsome young sons that just might turn a girl like Katie’s head…

    I’m probably forgetting an argument or two, but I’ve been at this for like an hour and a half now, so I’ll stop before my comment is longer than the post.

    • I have only 2 things to say in reply:

      1) +1 πŸ˜‰

      2) I think Toinette was thinking that hiring Katie would be more a favor to her than to Katie. Like you pointed out, Katie’s got everything she needs and then some. Toinette sees this as a way of helping Katie spread her wings a little bit while still being sheltered. It keeps Katie happy and get her to stay in school and not ask for an apprenticeship. Does Katie need any of those things? No, but Toinette wants them for her, and she was hoping her sister could help her out.

      As for the townie citizens of Albion … well, we’ll have to see how they react to Rosette’s shop and Katie working in it.

      Thanks again, Andavri!

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