Along with a small, unruly crowd of customers, I was waiting around a department store’s checkout area that looked as if it had been impacted by a neutron bomb.
As you may know, a neutron bomb leaves buildings and furnishings intact, eliminating only humans.
We were alone. We couldn’t see a clerk or an employee of any kind, for miles.
Suddenly, the phone at the counter started ringing, adding to the mystery and to our agitation.
I decided to answer it.
(I’m a customer, right? I’m not supposed to do these things, am I? I’m supposed to be civil, polite, while employees can rudely waste my time, making me wait without end, is that it?)
Well, no more Mr. Nice Customer!
Perhaps I could get some action, if I took action.
Boldly, I reached for the phone and said in the flattest, most bored employee voice I could summon, “Automotive.”
(This is a classy store, not Sears! It never had an Automotive Department. I must be a madman, right?)
“Who’s this?” a voice asks.
“Who’s THIS?” I reply, beefing up the testosterone, sounding as if I’ve just been dragged away from changing a tire.
“What have I reached, what department?” the agitated inquirer continues.
“The Automotive Department!” and with that, I hung up.
Within 60 seconds, no fewer than five clerks appeared out of nowhere, turning their heads this way and that, trying to identify the culprit who had the audacity to pirate the phone.
Of course, by that time, I had re-taken my place in the line, which in a heartbeat, started to move at a record pace.
Nobody gave me away. They were too busy smiling, enjoying the surge of customer service, and planning how they would spend the remainder of their day, now that they had one.
There is a moral to this story, and I promise, sometime I’ll find it, and share it with you!
Seriously, there comes a time in every customer’s life when he has to shame people into giving him the service he needs.