Monday, February 21, 2011

Would You Like Some Help Out?

Sorting through paperwork.  Zzzzzzz ...

Today I had a customer buy a bunch of stuff ...

"I'm going to need help to carry this out," she said.
"Yes ma'am.  There's C right now."  C ambled over.  "C will help you carry this stuff out."
"I want those things from outside.  I'll need help to carry that."
"Yes ma'am.  C will take care of that as soon as she takes this out for you." 
"Where is that help you called for?  I need help carrying this."
"She's right here, ma'am."
She looks right at C.  "Can you get someone to help me with the things outside?" she asked C.
"I can take care of that," C said.
"Thank you.  Can you carry this?"
C accepted the thingy.  "Where is your car?"
"First I need help with those things outside."
Realizing I'm spinning my wheels ...  "C can take care of that once you're out there."
"Where is she?"
"She's right there."  C already had the one thing that needed to be carried and had started to make for the door.  "She has your things, and she can carry the rest to your car."
"Yes, but I need help with those things outside."
"Yes, ma'am, C can do that.  She's on her way now."  C, meanwhile, edged closer toward the exit door.
"But I need help carrying those things outside."
I noticed C had given up edging and had bolted outside.  "She'll meet you outside."
"Shouldn't she go out this way?  It's closer."  She headed for the entry door.
"If you'd like to, you can go out that way."  Even though it's narrow, awkward, and the door opens the wrong way because it's the entry door.
The customer proceeded to wrestle her way out the 'closer' way, hauling the cart along with her.  She expended so much effort it's a wonder she didn't hurt herself.  
Closer is not always easier.
And I thought that was the end of it.
But guess what?  She came back.
I saw her park in the fire lane.  She got out of the car and started to wrestle about half the things she'd just bought less than an hour before.  I went over and held the door, as she had things well in hand.  You know, the things she needed help carrying out before.
"I need to return these."
Mmm hmm.  "Was there anything wrong with them?"  I carefully accepted them.
"They're not what I wanted."
I started filling out the forms.
"Can you just put this back on my card?" she asked, setting her credit card on the counter.
"Certainly.  I just need your help to fill out this form and the cashier can take care of you."
"I'm illegally parked."
Yes, we know.
"Will it take long?" she added.
"Not long.  Hopefully it'll be fine.  We're not responsible for the parking per se.  As long as a fire marshal or policeman doesn't see, I think you'll be okay.  If you're worried about it, you're welcome to move your car.  I can work on this return in the meantime."  You define entitlement, madam.  What makes you so special that you can park in the fire lane rather than a handicapped spot?  Oh, and fyi, I have a customer who really ought to be in a wheelchair who parks in a normal parking spot and painfully, slowly, makes himself walk to the store and shops all by himself.  Granted, you don't have to do the same thing he does to prove anything to anyone, but would you mind not parking in the fire lane?  Please?  Do you think you can achieve that?  Is it within your ability, considering that you walk without the cane that you tote around and that you carried all that stuff you made C carry out for you all by yourself?
Meanwhile, I scribbled on the form with a customer-service-smile on my face.
"My daughter-in-law is insufferable," she told me.  "She's such a snob.  Do you know what she said to me?"
I had to admit to myself that I was interested in an awful, uncivilized way.  "What did she say?"  I was also a little worried that she had taken exception to the manner in which I suggested that it's okay to park in the fire lane (sort of) and will now tell me how I, er, I mean how her daughter-in-law is terribly snobby about people who do that.
She went into detail about how she was invited to a party, not by the snobby DIL but by her brother, who likes her, no, adores her, and how it was on a house boat.  And then she told me about how the handicapped parking was too far away from the dock and she would have never made it, so she parked illegally.
Meanwhile, I handed her the form and had her fill out the proper lines. She stopped the narration briefly to ask me what her address is.
I'm not making this up.
So she arrived at the party and mentioned that she hoped the police wouldn't ticket her.  And her (apparently) snobby DIL told her not to worry, that they own all the surrounding land.
Either she has just equated me to being snobby because I'd figured the chances were low that she'd get a (well-deserved) ticket just like her DIL did, or I've missed the point.  Entirely.
"I can't stand her," the woman added.
I'm sure she's not terribly fond of you either.
"I'm sorry," I told her.  I couldn't think of anything else to say.  "You're all set.  Thank you for coming in."

I'm done ranting now.  Vent over.
I really like most people, and I enjoy my job, even when I have challenging customers.  Sometimes I enjoy my work especially when there's a challenge, because often I can fix things and make everything better.  Sometimes, though, things bug me, not because they're not fixable but because they're easily fixable only if the person could just see themselves clearly.  The problem wasn't so much the carry out or the DIL.  This customer got in her own way and it obviously made everyone around her crazy.  I only had to work with her for about twenty minutes.  What would it be like to be related to her, to associate with her all the time?

At least I get paid to help her.  Maybe she just had an off day.  We all have those.  But damn ....


Rory said...

I love you. I love the way you write. Great story.

Joshkie said...

Does make me a bad person that I wanted to choke her, and I only read about her.