For all the crap I talk about being in retail and dealing with awful customers, let’s take a minute to talk about the brighter side of retail. (Also let’s keep in mind that I may or may not have had a couple glasses of wine before writing this post.)
I’d say that at least 75% of people who are employed have a desire to put forth a decent effort at their job. This makes us feel like what we do has some worth, and it gives us some of that much talked about “job satisfaction.” I am no different. While my job might not matter in the grand scheme of things, people come to me inquiring about something they need for a recipe or that they read about in the New York Times or that doesn’t interfere with some allergy. When I can help them achieve this, I am happy. When I can’t, not only are they upset, but I do feel like I have let them down, even when I know it wasn’t my fault.
Yesterday at work I had a woman asking me for raw cacao powder. We searched high and low and the best we could find was raw cacao nibs, which theoretically could be turned to powder in a spice mill or coffee grinder. However, while her quest wasn’t exactly met, we did have a lovely chat about raw food diets and other things, and she was impressed that although I am not a vegetarian or raw foodist, that I knew about her lifestyle. After our interaction in the baking aisle, I went back to my department.
A few minutes later, she finds me at the charcuterie counter and holds up the item she was looking for, which the whole time had been about twenty feet from where I was. I immediately knew where she had found it, and felt kind of stupid that I hadn’t the sense to look where she did. But on the other hand, although I get paid to help people find the things they need/want/don’t know they ever wanted, sometimes it’s the customers themselves who end up showing me the way.
I also recently had a lady who was so thrilled when I was able to identify the mysterious “American version of Manchego” cheese she was looking for (Gran Queso). We then had a totally unrelated conversation about Hawaii. She left the department, and as I went to clock out for the day, she found me even though I already had on my coat and led me by the arm to the produce department where they were sampling white pineapple (from Ghana of all places) and made me eat a bite. She went on and on about how she’s from Hawaii and she’s still never tasted a pineapple like that. And wouldn’t you know it, it really was the best damn pineapple I’ve ever had. So good I had to buy one.
So: Dear Customers: Although you often drive me bonkers and I firmly believe you leave your brains in the parking lot before you enter the store, some of you are pretty cool and gracious. Even though interacting with customers day in and day out can be pretty mentally draining for me, there are a few who continue to restore my hope that humanity is not a lost cause. These people have either, 1: worked in retail at some point in their lives, or 2: had decent parents who taught them how to treat people with respect.
Okay, this spur-of-the-moment-right-before-bedtime post has come to an end. Goodnight!