Monday, January 21, 2013

You could be a farmer in those clothes.

I wore denim shirts a couple times this week and I think it caused some customers to treat me more like a peasant.  I love my denim, so I won't be deterred in my attire.  I will be mindful, though, and keep denim shirts for days when I am most confident.

Today I was a little distracted and fragile and was anticipating interactions with difficult customers, so I wore black cashmere and tall boots.

Friday, January 11, 2013

? + customer = cheesus

I am no math genius, but I am also not bad.  I have not been in school for a long time, but I will have you know that in college, I was offered a math tutor position but turned it down.

Anyhow, I am not scared to work with numbers.  I used to be when working with the public because I didn't want to look stupid if I made a mistake.  But over the years I've realized that you just have to work out numbers with your customers and do it over and over and in different ways until they feel comfortable.  If you think you figured something wrong, do it again.  And again a different way.  There is no shame in making sure your figures are right.  And if you prove yourself wrong, at least you've done it then and not made some expensive accounting error.

The point of this set up is to show how I strive to be accurate with numbers, but am also willing to admit that I make mistakes.

Imagine my extreme frustration when I am working with a customer and one of my male co-workers and we are trying to work out a problem that involves a lot of numbers and my male co-worker is making up a lot of math rules that don't make sense.  I try to create graceful situations for him to correct himself.  These can backfire, giving him ground to assert his incorrect answers.  At that point, I have to step in,  put on my person-in-charge hat, ask him to go take care of other business and then work out, sometimes on paper, the problem with the customer.  But the customer is often reluctant to give up the original ideas laid out by my male co-worker.

Just because a man does math doesn't mean he does it right.

maybe you are a beautiful and unique snowflake

Today I helped a very pleasant woman with her return.  While I was processing her return, she was looking at me and then let loose a stream of compliments regarding my appearance and manner.  I was a bit taken aback by this and wondered if she was wacky or going to try something shitty in a moment. She smiled a lot, made thoughtful and positive comments regarding our store staff, expressed why she liked shopping here and then moved on after wishing me a nice day.

While thinking about the experience this evening, I was saddened that I questioned her motives because she was complimentary. Without being too boastful, I will admit that her observations were qualities that I strive for and in which I take a bit of pride.  So often people make assumptions and say strange and rude things that are not true; have I reached a point where I don't trust what anyone says, even when they may be accurate?  Am I fearful of a compliment?  Or are genuine compliments so rare that they now make me feel strange?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'm high on my caffeine horse

This week was interesting because I caught TWO crazy coffee maker phone calls.  Both of the calls were aggressive, angry males.  Both of them questioned my expertise.  When I gave an answer meant to lighten the situation, they became even more aggressive.  They were taking the whole "I'll be the one asking the questions!" VERY VERY SERIOUSLY to a point of riducousness.  Both calls were asking extremely vague, hypothetical questions which could not really have a firm answer and then getting very mad at me for not telling them exactly the answer that they wanted to hear.  I tried the honesty tactic and they cut me off, telling me I was trying to take advantage of them.

Ugh.  I cannot even write about it anymore.  They were SO VILE and HATEFUL and RIDICULOUS.  Their questions were STUPID and they were ABUSIVE!  My first instinct was to be upset over a potential lost sale, but when I think back on it, I am glad they didn't shop with us because they were awful and hateful before they even had any merchandise.  I don't want them bringing their hate into the store.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Customers and Neighbors

Just before Christmas, I realized that one of the customers that I posted about recently is also a neighbor.  They live on my block.  In fact, when I look out my living room window, I can see their house across the street.

I was going for a brisk walk on Christmas morning and was amazed to see the garbage and recycling being picked up.  I am always interested to know who works on holidays.  I was thankful that I had the day off and thought the rubbish picker-uppers somehow noble to let us not be inconvenienced by the holiday and to keep up our routines.

Heading back to my house, I walked past the customer's house.  The husband appeared at that moment and walked, with purpose, to his next door neighbors and knocked.  Someone appeared almost instantly and the customer asked something like, "did you get a note about this (gestured to the garbage and recycling on the curb)?  aren't they going to pick it up?" and then made some joke about union negotiations.

Now, I don't expect everyone to treat Christmas as a blessed sacred day.  And I am fine with the garbage being picked up.  But geez.  Customer needs something better to do than bitch to his neighbor about garbage service at 9 in the morning on a holiday day.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

another jerk

Also, I made a self-deprecating joke to a customer today when I misread her weird name on her credit card, something about how I can't read or type, which was supposed to be completely ridiculous and nonsensical.  It was absurd.  She took it as some sort of apology I think and in a snotty tone implied that I must be a college student.

Part of me was flattered because she thought I was one of those young college kids, but I also thought she was a shit brick for not getting my humor.  Or maybe she thought she was really clever and was making a superior joke.  If so, I would consider her joke a failure as it produced no smiles, laughs, or chuckles, and her punch line, if that was her punch line, was poorly timed.


I rarely talk too much to customers and I try especially to avoid my personal life unless it results in a teachable moment.

But today one of my favorite customers came in and inquired about my life.  It was thoughtful and appropriate and I was very touched that she cared enough to remember that I am a person.  I almost didn't say anything because I didn't want to bore her with anecdotes, but then I remembered that sometimes people actually like to hear about other people and maybe she is one of those, so I told her something.  We began a brief discussion while I was ringing her up.  That is the important part:  While I was talking, I was completing her transaction.  During no part of my story telling was I just standing there talking.  

Well, suddenly another lady appeared and lined up.  She heard me talking and let out an audible sigh and mini eye roll.  She was in line for a minute, MAYBE two at the most.  I am not even exaggerating.  Later, I timed out 2 minutes and ran through the motions of what I was ringing up for my favorite customer.  I even went a little slower than I would have and it was NOT LONG AT ALL.  AND, if you remember from my 2nd paragraph, I was working and talking.  Lady in line was just being a crazy passive aggressive bitch.  

At first I felt guilty that she had to wait.  I felt like I had done something wrong by talking about myself.  But now I'm just really pissed at sighing eye roller lady.  She was NOT in line long, I was speedy with my transaction while I was talking, and I quickly processed her when it was her turn.  I am sure she is just pissed because she thinks I am an idiot who stands there and talks about my boyfriend all day and keeps people waiting while there parking meters expire, which is not true at all.