Wait For It

IMG_4280Last Thursday, I made what I hoped would be a quick trip to a local store to finish up my Christmas shopping.  I usually enjoy shopping for Christmas presents, but this particular expedition wasn’t going well.  I needed to buy a stocking for my grandson and was pleased to see that the store had a large selection of them.  I was less pleased to see that for some reason, they had placed several large pallets stacked high with cartons of soda pop directly in front of the stocking display.  While I could see the stockings I was interested in buying, I couldn’t actually reach them.

I looked around for someone to help, but the only other people around were harried shoppers trying to push their enormous carts through the aisles that were partially blocked by the pallets.  Undaunted, I grabbed a roll of wrapping paper and used it to reach over the pallets and snag some stockings.  I made my selection and was just considering what to do with the stockings I didn’t want when man came up and wheeled away one of the pallets.  Which was a good thing, because it saved me from having to decide whether to use my wrapping paper roll to try to replace the stockings on the shelf, or to simply toss them over the pallets and hope they landed in the right spot.

Next I needed a board game, so I went to the toy department.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the game on my list but I was pleased to see two staff persons chatting in the next aisle who should be able to help.  I approached them and waited patiently for them to finish talking so that I could ask about my game.  And waited.  And then waited some more.  Finally, I gave up and stomped off, but not before muttering, “No wonder so many people shop online!” just loud enough for them to hear.

I know that the trend toward online shopping has made it very difficult for real “brick and mortar stores” to survive.  And while I do enjoy the convenience of online shopping, I also feel there is a real need for actual stores that provide real jobs and give me a chance to physically examine (and sometimes try on) something before I buy it.  Besides, I really don’t want to live in a world where we all shop, learn, conduct our social life, etc. while sitting in front of a computer in our underwear.  Real stores allow us to get out into the real world and engage with one another in person, and there’s a certain value in that.

But I was beginning to have very dark thoughts about real stores that morning as I went back to the toy section to look one more time for the game.  I had just given up (and was thinking that I might never shop in that store again) when a staff person walked up and asked if she could help me.  Surprised, I told her what I was looking for, and she told me she thought they had a few of them in stock.  “Stay right here,” she instructed me, “and I’ll get it for you.”  Sure enough, she came back a few minutes later with the game, and asked if there was anything else she could help me with.  She couldn’t possibly have been nicer, and I have to say that our interaction changed my mood completely.  I think I was even humming along with the Christmas background music as I made my way to the check out line.

The whole incident reminded me how often I am too quick to judge a situation, especially in a negative way.  Sometimes first impressions aren’t everything.  Who hasn’t had a day that started out very badly but ended up with something really good happening?  Or met someone they didn’t like very much until they took the time to get to know them better?  Sometimes we just need to let things play out a little before we react.  And sometimes good things happen when we’re willing to just give it a little time.

76 thoughts on “Wait For It

  1. I never shop online in my underwear… Do you? 😀 Anyways, no need to reply to this question. I see what you’re getting at. I also often find myself being quick to judge. It seems that as I get older my tolerance threshold for disrespect and noise has fallen to an all-time low. Shopping and doing other things online certainly does reduce the noise. But it also cancels out the music, so to speak. You’re right about that.

    Liked by 5 people

    • So far, I’ve always been dressed when I shop online, LOL! But I do worry that the more we live our lives online, the less reason we have to actually make ourselves presentable and clean when we wake up in the morning, so I do see that day coming. And it bothers me. As you say, it cancels out the music! Online living has it’s place, but it should never replace living in the real world in my opinion. Thanks so much for your comment!

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I’ve had both experiences Ann and I must admit in the UK a lot of stores are terrible at customer service. I’ve even been at the checkout where the assistant has stayed on their phone the whole time. Good customer service means so much and can make a sale.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trust me, we have bad customer service here in the States as well! And it doesn’t help keep people shopping at actual stores, either. I do wish more sales people would make the effort to give the “personal touch.” I think that would give us more of a reason to shop at the stores in person!

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    • I think online shopping is good, but honestly, I’d hate to see it replace all the real stores. I like being able to actually look at the merchandise before I buy it (sometimes the grapes are too soft, the sweater is to scratchy, etc.), plus I do think that getting out of our house and going to a local store keeps us in relationship with each other and builds a sense of community. I really, really don’t want us to loses that. But that’s just my opinion, of course, and I respect that others don’t feel that way.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Here’s my thing. I actually hate shopping. I love the convenience if I know what I want. But…I agree with you about actual stores. Sometimes I need to feel/look at something before I buy…(I need a new robe and I very specifically know the feel I want and I can’t do a touch test on amazon) but, I find the help at stores to be horrible. I was at container store because I needed a certain type of hook. I asked the clerk where I could find it and she just shrugged her shoulders and made a sort of guttural sound. I was beyond annoyed. So its a catch 22….I would like to shop in person, but there’s little incentive

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I was at a shopping mall yesterday, and it was super crowded. I was even wondering how would I find a parking spot. I had that dark thought either that it is much easier to shop online. You can see all the selection/sizes without going through the whole store. But I still find it much more fun and amusing to shop in person with all the human interactions. At least you get to see the real people that are out there.

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    • That’s true, Svet! And sometimes I think we need those real interactions to keep us grounded. But I do realize that on very busy shopping days, online shopping is easier. No one likes cruising around a parking lot, searching for a place to park. I think both ways of shopping have something valuable to offer, and hope that both are with us for a long time!

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  4. What you say is so true and a great reminder to have patience and faith in people. Having said that, few things make me angrier than watching two staff people in a store chatting and paying no attention to customers who might need help. I have trouble excusing and understanding that. Happy holidays!

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  5. Most retail assistants are very helpful but some may miss the social cues when someone needs assistance. In the good old days (our time), it would be impolite to interrupt a conversation. Many young people don’t get that. They may have expected you to broach them directly for help, Ann. Just a thought.

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    • Yes, that’s a good point. They were young, and since I didn’t actually speak up, they may not have realized I was waiting to ask for help. It’s just another way that I made a judgement that may not have been true at all! Thanks for that perspective!

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  6. Patience is definitely the key towards a more pleasant world around us. We should not let our immediate negative feelings overrun our judgments. You are so right, Ann. On the flip side, caution is also in order, when we initially get euphoric about something or somebody and then later on are deeply disappointed. The negative feelings resulting from this will stay much longer with us. Thank you, Ann, to give us some food for thought on this 3rd Sunday of the Advent season!

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    • Thanks, Peter! I admit that Advent was on my mind when I titled this post, “Wait for it.” And Christmas is worth the wait! But I also like your point that sometimes we can judge too quickly in a positive way as well. The best thing truly is to simply be patient and see how things work out.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Patience is definitely needed if shopping in a store this time of year. I tend to judge quickly when it comes to retail and I shouldn’t. I must confess, I did most of my shopping this year online. Although I live a little over an hour away from the nearest mall. Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa, I think that people who live an hour away from a mall get a free pass to shop online! It’s not a bad thing at all, I just don’t want it to drive all the real stores out of business, as I think they have something to offer as well. I love walking around out little “downtown” with it’s small boutique stores, and the sense of community they provide. I just hope we can find a balance that lets us always have the choice between online and in store shopping!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t think you were being too quick to judge. Staff members chatting while a customer waits is inexcusable at any time. And with the relentless rise of online shopping the real stores need to be on the ball all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, stores need to make sure their staff is well trained and actually helping their customers so that people will have a real incentive to go there. The two staff people were talking about work, but they still could have stopped long enough to either help me or direct me to someone who could. It’s sad when bad attitudes discourage people from patronizing an establishment!

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  9. Me: I couldn’t get what I wanted because pallets were in my way and I’d have to crawl over them.
    My Wife: In other words, the only thing in your way was your dignity.
    Me: Right.
    My Wife: So there was nothing in your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Maybe ten years ago, I could have crawled over those pallets. But these days, I’m not at all sure I could manage it. And you know the store’s security cameras would have recorded my attempt, and that would have been uploaded to YouTube in no time at all! I’m still clutching my dignity with both hands, although I suspect your wife could say the same thing about me and be telling the truth…..

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  10. Lately, I feel as if I live at the local store. In fact, they should have a specific parking space with my name on it. You hit on something that reminded me of why I try not to purchase online. I DO like to try it on first before I pull out the debit card. Merry stress-free Christmas, Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! When my son was young, I was at the local grocery store so often that I honestly felt they worried about me on the rare days I didn’t show up! And like you, I always want to try something on before I buy it if at all possible. The few times I buy clothes online, it’s from a store where I already know what fits me. Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. At the risk of tainting your happy ending I’ll mention that one of my greatest pet peeves as it relates to customer service is being made to feel invisible. A simple glance or eye contact from the two chatty employees could have changed your whole perspective. Instead you were made to feel as though you were visible. How much effort would it have taken to simply say, “we’ll be right with you”? And if it was a personal conversation the two were having they should have stopped in mid sentence to address you. Fortunately there are also those like the clerk who helped you with the board game and left yiu with a positive experience. I will say though that living in a small rural community I have experienced better overall customer experiences and that many store workers take their time, are sincerely interested in my well being and the level of service I receive. Something about the fresh air and slower pace of life I guess. Thanks for sharing your experience and helping Mel to look on the bright side even if I have to wait for it occasionally.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I agree that customer service is much better in small towns. Everyone knows everyone else, and I think that makes them more considerate. And yes, those two employees were discussing work, but they did see me standing there and ignored me, and there is no excuse for that. Thank heavens for the one who actually took her job seriously and made me glad I had walked into that store. It really doesn’t take that much effort to do a job correctly, I think!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I smiled while reading your passage. I used to struggle so much on my own, now I am much more likely to ask for help.
    I agree with your commitment to spend your money in the stores you want to see stay in business. I always have said, “You vote with your money.” If you don’t support what you want to see in the world it may not exist tomorrow.
    Be well Ann.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is exactly how I feel, Ali! I love the convenience of online shopping, but I never want it to replace real stores, so I make it a point to patronize them. We may or may not be able to change things, but at the very least, I want to know that I did the best I could. Thanks for the comment!

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  13. When he was younger, and if shop assistants were rude or reluctant, I’d be spitting out smoke like a dragon but my husband would shrug and say, We don’t know what bad news they might have just received. Hearing that, I’d stuff the flames but fume inside. 20 years later, in the same situation, I can finally smile (a little), shrug and move on more calmly. It’s certainly taken me a long time to learn to cut people the slack they need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think your husband is a wise man! Yes, I was probably in the right to be annoyed by those two staffer who ignored me, but then again, maybe they were talking about something really important and honestly just tuned me out. I didn’t “ahem” or try really hard to get their attention, just waited quietly and patiently. And in the long run, I’ve learned that I can only control how I behave, not how others behave. Still, I’m really glad that I ran into a staff person who knew how to give good customer service, as otherwise, I may not have shopped there again for quite a while. And I really do want to support brick and mortar stores.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can only control how I behave, not how others behave. I’ve got to tack that some place I can see it always.
        I’m real glad your shopping trip ended well, Ann. It makes me sad when things happen to sour festivity shopping – especially when the unpleasantness could have been avoided. But as I type this, I’m thinking, Maybe I ought to be the one to reverse unpleasantness, or sweeten it a bit – by gifting joy to others – a smile, a gentle wish, anything appropriate – to the rude salesperson or the weary milkman, anyone who needs it most. They might need it more than me!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Patience….we have become an instant gratification/ impatient society. Browsing is a dirty word. Interaction with people is a lost art. You’re right, we just need to give ourselves an opportunity to breathe..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I know, George! Sometimes it is downright depressing how much we have lost in terms of patience and people skills. I find I need to be intentional about practicing patience and making sure I interact with the real world on a regular basis. Thanks for the comment, George!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I had give your post a little time to sink in. I seem to get crankier with each trip to a store this close to Christmas, having almost succeeded with 100% online shopping this year. Patience for waiting in line and chatting clerks has never been my strong point. But I realize that shopping areas in real-life places does force us to brush up on our “people skills”, especially this time of year.

    So after thinking about it, I’m with you. Unfortunately, I have to go out tomorrow, the Saturday before Christmas. But instead of being cranky, I’ll make it a point to spread a little Christmas cheer to a few of those frenzied last-minute shoppers. Thanks Ann, and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope shopping on the Saturday before Christmas isn’t too stressful! But thank you for your kind words. One of the things I love about blogging is how we get to consider other points of view, even if we decide we don’t agree. We all get to decide what works for us!
      I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, Des!

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  16. So true, Ann. I’ve been on both ends of days like this. Since I work in a library, I am surprised how affected I am when a “customer” treats me rudely. One day a person was giving me a hard time about one of the public computers at the library because it wasn’t working the way he wanted it to. Another person came up to me later, thanked me for helping him with the copy machine and told me with a knowing look that he hoped I would have a nice day. Well I did and it was because of that kindness!

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    • You’re so right, how we treat others makes all the difference! And it’s not just the customers who are on the receiving end of rude behavior, often it is the staff being treated rudely by the public. The bottom line is if we can just be a little patient, a little forgiving and very kind, we can make all the difference in someone else’s day! And what could be more important than that?

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  17. I think what you’ve witnessed here with that very helpful shop assistant was a real Christmas wonder – lol! 😉 I do appreciate online shopping especially for things that I simply can’t get in any stores around here, like original Mate tea from Argentina and such. But some things I simply have to experience in person before buying, like wool for knitting (softness, texture). And from 7 pairs of shoes I’ve ordered online this year, 6 I had to return because they didn’t fit right. 😊

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