Saturday 24 February 2018

There ain’t no pleasing you

I like a challenge, I do. But a challenge has got to be within reason, right? Otherwise it’s just like trying to cross the Sahara on chocolate skis – or trying to stop TBE (aka The Boss Erratic) being a shit manager: it’s pointless, exhausting and doomed to failure.

Photo: Lenny Flank, Flikr

Sometimes it’s just too hard. Sometimes the challenge is too great. Sometimes that customer who’s just walked in (oh lucky me), is just too much of a mountain to climb. This is a (mostly) word for word conversation I had with one such creature the other day:

Customer (pointing to a top): “I’m looking for something similar to this. What do you have?”
Me: (pointing to a similar top to that): “We have this.”
Customer: “No, too long.”
Me: “How about this?”
Customer: “Too baggy.”
Me: “OK…what about this one?”
Customer: “I don’t like linen.”
Me: “That one over there?”
Customer: “The blue is too pale.”
Me: “This one?”
Customer: “That’s too fitted.”
Me: “That one?”
Customer: “Too flouncy.”
Me: “This?”
Customer: “Bad material.”
Me: “………….”
Original photo: Greg Westfall, Flikr

At this point my, ‘ever so helpful and lovely sales assistant,’ act was wearing ever so slightly thin, and the whole thing was clearly not proceeding in the way either of us were happy with. So I pulled out the big guns (not those, filth-brain – it was far too cold for any of that), and gazed at her pleadingly with my best, “please just give it up and walk away,” eyes. She blinked back at me with a look that somehow managed to combine slightly disconcerting blankness with weary disapproval and entitled expectation.

And so we carried on….

Me: “This one?”
Customer: “That’s too short.”
Me: “That?”
Customer: “I don’t like black.”
Me: “This?”
Customer: “No, that’s sort of cheesecloth.”

Images of Goldilocks and The Three Bears flashed inside my brain - except Goldilocks had the good grace to put up with option number three at each stage of her endeavour. This woman was up to number two dozen or something (well, that’s what it felt like), and was, for the love of god, still going:

Me: “This?”
Customer: “I’ve got something like that already.”
Me: “This?”
Customer: “No, that’s too whimsical.” (Too whimsical FFS!!)
Me: “This?”
Customer: “No…it’s not….no.”

And that was it. We’d reached the end. We’d run out of options (and there had been surprisingly many).

By this time I’d convinced myself she was some sort of secret shopper Stasi operative designed to test my resolve, knowledge and patience to the very edge of its limits (which, to be fair, isn’t very far), and because I failed she was now going to inject me with the tip of her perfectly polished heel and I’d sink down forever into retail hell (because, of course, retail is hell. And after all…..

‘The devil is in the retail’


But what actually happened was she looked genuinely crestfallen when I told her I didn’t have anything else to offer her, and even managed to get me feeling both immensely sorry for her and guilty about the shops stupid lack of suitable styles.

So whilst she was little Ms Pernickety Goldilocks on pernickety steroids, and I ended up feeling guilty.

Damn, she’s clever.

I hope I never ever see her again.

Picture: Clkr vector-free-images, Pixabay

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