Some days it seems like one particular day is a theme chosen by some higher power. Whether this is for my amusement or not I can’t say. This is not a retail rant because if it weren’t the existence of this particular sampling that I am about to chronicle for you, my faithful readers, I wouldn’t have a job.
I’m not going to go with any mean labels here. That’s for you, the readers to decide. All I can tell you is that these stories are true and they all happened within the six and half hours of my shift. You may or may not agree with my observations. You might even try to cleanse the dead so to speak, by trying to justify the actions or the reasoning of these people whom you were personally not there to witness. That is your prerogative and I’ll admit that at times I miss the obvious or not so obvious reasons for why people might do the things they do.
Today’s theme is The Blindingly Obvious
The Bus Driver
A full hour and a half after we were open a bus driver stops in front of the doors into the grocery half of Generimart. The doors fly open. People are walking in and out. He turns to me, confused and asks, “Are you guys open?”
Of course I politely told him yes. But the scary part about this bus driver who did not observe all there was to lead him to the answer was that there is an sign on the door stating our operating hours in large white block lettering not even a full six inches from where he was standing.
Hello Gretal, where’s Hanzel
The health and beauty section is not obscure, unlike the pharmacy which is on the same side of the store but is not readily obvious upon entering. If you go into the grocery side of the store, the health and beauty section is probably the second thing you will see because it is right across the aisle from the grocery aisles. But this woman stood there on the carpet near the shopping carts, looking up at the ceiling and wildly shuffling about like a turkey who discovered rain.
She asked me where health and beauty was. I pointed right at the brightly lit aisles of make up and beauty supplies which eventually give way to the shampoo and soap.
Missing The Point
This is one that happens so often that I wonder how we’ve made it this far as a species. But because I only wish to write about things that happened within the previous forty-eight hours (with some exceptions) it was simply fortunate that this one happened yesterday.
We have an in-store cafeteria that is typically only staffed by one person. This person cannot always be behind the counter because there are dishes to wash, boxes to label and organize and any number of other tasks to perform. So when they can’t be at the counter there is a big clunky box right in the center of the counter with a large black button and very clear lettering that says PUSH. When you push this button a message goes out over the walky-talkies, letting the café employee know that a customer wishes to declare war on their digestive tract.
A guy stood there in front of the counter, waiting. I know he did not push the button because I did not hear the announcement over my own walky and if that’s not enough to convince you, this should do the trick.
Me: Sir, there’s a button there.
The guys turns around and stares at me, confused. I’m pointing right at the button, but he continues to just stare. He’s my age or younger and he is carrying bags from another store. There’s obvious confusion in his expression so all these things indicate to me that he’s mentally functioning enough to be able to navigate society. So please don’t believe that am making fun of someone who may or may not be disabled in someway.
Me: Sir, the button right there. Push that button.
He shuffles to the right and looks at the cooler.
Me: No sir, there’s a button on the counter.
Finally I get closer and then he looks in the direction that I’m actually pointing. He pushes the button and I assume he doesn’t need any help ordering food or eating, though I wouldn’t be surprised.
The Motorized Cart Capers
These next stories involve the use of the motorized carts that we provide for our customers who have mobility challenges of one sort or another. Both customers are slightly older gentleman who are obviously getting on in years and therefore walking from the bedroom to the bathroom is obviously a challenge. Again, please do not take this out of context. I have never been disrespectful towards my elders and I’m more than aware of the challenges that aging can bring. That doesn’t mean they are above reproach and as my mother, who has worked in a nursing home will tell you, you gotta have a sense of humor about these things or it’ll kill you.
The first story is slightly more forgivable than the second, because you could tell that the man was coherent enough to smoke a cigarette and communicate but that he may have at least been in the beginning stage of Alzheimer’s or something similar. It was a simple case of mistaken identity as the customer mistook my cart pusher for a motorized cart. They are two completely different things and I did offer to get him one of the motorized carts, but then his son showed up and said he would get it.
The second time was later in the day and as often is the case, the gentlemen left the store with the motorized cart. We don’t normally encourage customers to do this, for a couple reasons that I’ll go into in a later post. When a customer does leave the store with one the ideal practice is to have an employee go with them to their car so that they can return to the store with the cart and charge it for the next customer.
I happened to catch this gentleman leaving the store with the cart. So I offered to go with him to his car for just that purpose. He started to turn the cart into the parking lot, but there’s a small drop from the sidewalk. I tried to discourage him from this as these pushers are great for solid terrain, but the slight drop could probably either damage the cart pusher or possibly hurt the person using the cart, which was obviously my concern.
The man stopped, but not before the front end basically dropped onto the parking lot with a slam, leaving the cart dangling at an angle I wasn’t comfortable with. So I safely helped the man out of the cart and I took his bags to the car. Then I got the cart pusher safely back on the sidewalk and brought it back into the store. What made this story slightly less forgivable is that this man who obviously had a hard time judging spatial relations in regard to that drop over the edge of the sidewalk… still drives his own car.
The best part of this story is that as I was doing this, the executive manager arrived to make sure the store was ready for a big visit we’re supposed to get today (Thursday for those of you reading this in the distant future) and he witnessed me assisting the man.
I’m not sure if it will lead to anything but it was one of those rare days where everything was going relatively smoothly and for once, the cherry on the cake wasn’t poisonous.