Interesting Customers

Here is a post from when I used to work at a retail store at the mall:

September 2011:

Work has been interesting the last two days. I’ve had rude customers, and some interesting folks. I could vent about the rude people, but today I prefer to focus on the interesting stories.

This afternoon a woman came in the store to browse, but instead of asking me a question about flip flops, she asked about my t-shirt. I was wearing a black t-shirt that had our logo and a logo of a brand we carry (from a promotion we did back in March). She asked if we had any cool t-shirts either for sale, or if she could just have one. I figured if she wants to do free advertising for us, then sure! We had some t-shirts in the back that had been sitting there since we opened (over a year ago). We found one that fit her and she put it on over her other shirt. She said that we made her day! I was kind of surprised as to how happy this shirt made her. I’ve never had anyone ask me about the t-shirts I wear to work with the different brand logos on them. I’ve never had anyone ask me if we sell t-shirts. Well, I’m always happy to make someone’s day wherever possible. She left the store, happy as could be. She walked in again later to tell us that we’re her new favorite store. Then we saw her walking into other stores, and talking to people. She was still wearing the shirt. I must admit, I couldn’t help but wonder if one of my bosses sent her in. It was just too weird. But then again, I’ve had a lot of strange and interesting conversations with people since I started working in retail, so I wasn’t all that surprised. But just when you think you’ve heard it all…

This did not happen today, but it’s a good one. I was working by myself a couple of months ago before I got married. It was a slow morning, but I was working on a project. A young guy walks into the store and starts up a conversation with me about living in Jacksonville. I tell him I haven’t lived here long, but I liked it. He asked if I ever went downtown to the Landing. I laughed and mentioned that I used to live in New York, and the Landing just doesn’t do it for me. Then he went off on a tangent and told me that he was a rapper, and performed at local bars and at the Landing. I told him that I thought it was great and to go for his dream. He then asked if I could help promote him by telling my employees about him & any customers that came into the store. I said that I’d do my best — no, he didn’t give me his name or any details. I didn’t ask either. Then he asked if he could have my number. I politely declined, and showed him my engagement ring. He said, “Oh! I didn’t know you weren’t available. I thought we had a good vibe going.” To which I responded, “I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m just a talkative person.” I had to suppress a smile when he said “good vibe.” He nodded, thanked me for turning him down gently, and then left the store. I did end up telling every employee, including my bosses because I thought it was kind of funny. However, I thought that conversation would be the end of it. Well, it was for me. Two of my former employees reported that he came into the store on two separate occasions to ask if some girl who worked here was promoting him. They told me that they lied to him and said yes. Thankfully he hasn’t been back since then. I don’t want him coming in to hit on my employees or me.

My other favorite story is about this customer who reminded me of my grandfather. This happened about a month after I returned to work from my honeymoon. I was wearing a red button down shirt with a red tank top underneath it. I didn’t button the last two buttons, and I guess I was a little bloated that day. I was showing him some flip flops when I accidentally dropped one. When I bent down to pick it up, he stops me and says, “Oh, don’t get that! I’ll pick it up for you. You’re pregnant, you can’t be bending over and picking stuff up!” I did not know what to say. One of my employees shoots me a look that says “What the heck?!” So, I graciously said thanks. Then the man picks up the flip flops and buys two pairs. After he left, my employee & I just start laughing. I guess from the way my shirt fell, it puffed out a little bit when I moved. I could understand the man’s mistake…HOWEVER, as one comedian, Brian Regan put it…the rule is that you NEVER, EVER guess whether a woman is pregnant…EVER!!! I’m in shape and the guy was trying to be nice. He bought two pairs of shoes, which increases my commission…so I let it go. I wasn’t going to be offended. I laugh every time I think about him and some of these other characters that I’ve met.

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