Today a woman came in to our department and asked if I could help her find a particular brand of shoes. I was happy to oblige. Once at the brand table I explained how it was organized, and then I helped her find three very particular styles she was looking for. Perfect, we had everything! Even more perfect, we had all three in her size!
So after finding all three styles in the proper size, I prepared the boxes for her (opened each one and removed all the stuffing and extra paper) so that I could display them nicely for her. I set the shoes out on the chair next to hers so she could see them and pick them up without leaning over. It’s just a courtesy thing — if I can avoid putting them on the floor, I do. She didn’t say “thank you,” only offering a rather unfriendly glare. I let her know that if there was anything else I could help her with, just let me know. And I walked away to continue doing my job.
A minute or two later she stood and, thinking she said something, I asked “I beg your pardon?”
“Oh, nothing. I just thought this was the kind of place where the employees actually helped the customers.”
“I’m sorry? Is there anything you need?” I asked, trying to save what was suddenly a bizarre situation.
“No. I just expected this to be the kind of place where the employee puts the shoes on and tells me how I look in them.”
Oh. So that’s it, then. I wasn’t really sure what to say because, no, it’s not that kind of place. I know places like that exist, but ours is not one of them. Occasionally an older, pregnant, or disabled woman will ask me if I would please help her get her shoes on and the answer is always yes, absolutely, I will.
But this woman, having apparently never shopped at our world-famous department store, assumed we would get down on our knees, slide our shoes onto her delicate little feet, tell her how beautiful she is, and then maybe offer a pedicure when she’s finished trying on shoes. Anyway, I was probably blushing by now. “I’m… sorry?” I said.
“Nevermind, I’ll just take my business elsewhere!” And she stomped off. Like, literally, stomped away.
The three or four other customers in the department at the time were left wide-eyed, and immediately jokes of “So are you going to put these on my feet, or what?” started, lightening the mood. Within minutes we were all laughing about the whole situation.
So, how was your day today?