Friday, 2 September 2016

Who on earth do you think we are?!

People mistake the Out Of Favour shop for a charity shop ALL THE TIME!

This isn’t as random as it seems. The Out of Favour shop is next door to a charity shop, and because there is no name above our door people get confused easily. They shouldn’t. It seems perfectly clear to me, especially once inside. It’s bleedin’ obvious it’s a nice, normal boutique. But that doesn’t stop people trying to foist their plastic sacks full of broken, unwanted tat on me all the time:

“I’m just leaving this with you, love, OK?” (Um, no).

The trouble is, I have yet to find a polite way to tell them they’re in the wrong shop. It always comes out sounding horribly patronising. Let me offer you an excruciating example:

Photo: Pexels:

The shop was full of browsing ladies, when an ill-tempered middle-aged man giving off an air of entitled authority charged in, and plonked two full shopping bags down against one wall of the shop.

“I’m just leaving this here, all right? There are some things inside”

Unfortunately, being giddy with the day’s high sales figures, I didn’t immediately grasp what he meant. I thought they were his heavy shopping bags he didn’t want to carry around whilst browsing. So I joked, “Be careful. I might sell those!”

There was a moment of strange silence as he looked at me, firstly confused, then like I was an idiot, whilst all the time giving off vibes of barely suppressed fury. The browsing ladies gradually hushed and pricked up their ears.

Then he thundered, “But I want the carrier bags back!”

Now I looked confused. The atmosphere in the room tensed. All quiet background conversation ceased as the browsing ladies stared studiously at the rails in front of them whilst wholly focused on the conversation between Mr Grumpypants and myself. But I still hadn’t got it: want them back? Of course he wanted them back, they were is bloody bags! What’s he going to do, leave his bags here? Why on earth would he think I wanted his bags? Ooohhh……

Sadly, given that I struggle to find a non-condescending way to say what I had to say next at the best of times, I knew it wasn’t going to end well. So, amidst the pricked up ears of the local ladies, I said, as diplomatically as I could,

“Do you think we’re a charity shop? We aren’t a charity shop. The charity shop is next door.”

It could definitely have come out better. Much, much better.

The man turned a shade of beetroot, swore angrily, grabbed his bags and swept out of the shop without another word, leaving the browsing ladies and me in an awkward silence, until one smirking lady remarked,

“Well, he won’t ever come in here again.”

How very true, I thought. How very true.

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