Alright, so I knew that the time would come when I could fess up to a couple of rather embarrassing, but hilarious faux-pas situations in my life. In both cases, my response turned out to be False with respect to what customers were in fact looking for. I hope that you manage a giggle or two from these. I have shared them time and again with friends & loved ones…they are just too priceless not to mention, in my opinion. In essence my two quick stories are based on both my innocence and ignorance, as a young part-time cashier at a local drug store, where I was employed through my senior high school and post-secondary years.
For those of you who have worked retail, you have to admit that you come across some very interesting people. I will say that it certainly made for a memorable work experience and from it, I gained a lot of life experience, great mental math skills and some life-long friendships, which I treasure dearly to this day. Of course, we also had a LOT of great laughs together being a fairly homogeneous, young crew. My two stories are just ‘par for the course’, as they say.
While working the front cash one particularly slow night , an old fellow (say in his 30’s–back then, 30 was old to me) came in and asked if we, the store, had any flint stones. I kindly directed him to the back pharmacy section, wherein I was confident that there was a whole wall dedicated to what he was looking for. A couple of short minutes later, he came back to my till to inform that I had sent him to the wrong section of the store. Looking puzzled, I asked him if he had found what he was looking for. He kindly replied, “Listen, I am not looking for Fred and Wilma, I am looking for flint stones. You know, the kind that you sharpen/light things with.”
“Oh,” I mumbled, as I instantly turned a deep shade of red. “I thought you were looking for the Flintstones vitamins.” Well, he was in a drug store asking for flint stones…you gotta admit that it was a good try on my part.
“Funny,” he remarked, with a bit of a sarcastic tone, but overall he seemed understanding of my ill knowledge of the subject matter for which I was grateful, as sometimes mistakes aren’t always accepted so graciously.
Now, this one is a bit more embarrassing given the topic, but I’m putting it out there anyway simply because it was a completely innocent mistake on my part… and, pretty darn funny, in retropsect.
While facing items in one of the aisles, a rather tall, stocky gentleman stopped to ask me where he might find the prophylactics. Not having a clue what they were (as I’d never heard that exact terminology before), but given the name, I figured that he must be talking about the same products sold along with the Enfalac and Similac lines, since all of the words ended with similar sounds. (My teachers and parents should have been proud, as I was trying to use some schooling knowledge of syllables, rhyming, etc. to deduce meaning.) As it turns out, however, he was NOT talking about baby formula (Enfalac and Similac); instead, as per his own wording, I had sent him to the very aisle that, “I (he) was trying to avoid by using one.” Luckily, a fellow clerk came along and re-directed him. Oops! I learned very quickly not to make assumptions or generalities regarding unknown merchandise from that point forward.
On both accounts, I say that you can’t blame a girl for trying to deliver on good customer service:-).