Friday, November 26, 2010

I Try to be Nice, But Not THAT Nice!

I worked in sales for a good chunk of my pre-mommy life. I wouldn't call myself a go-getter, but I think I was fairly successful because I am approachable, friendly, and pretty good at chit chat. If it weren't for the fact that I grew to hate all the customers, I'm sure I'd still be at it in some capacity.

Despite the disdain that grew out of spending too long in the same roll, there were still a few customers that I enjoyed talking to. They were the ones who were also friendly and approachable. We chatted like friends when we did speak, and the customer service aspect of the call always seemed incidental to the conversation. Jim in Saskatoon, who happily gave me his local's point of view on Theresa Sokyrka's career, was always a pleasure to serve.

Anyhow, now that I have become a professional consumer, a title that I just invented this minute, I try to be the kind of customer that I always enjoyed helping out. I attempt to engage salespeople in humourous conversations, hoping that I brighten up their day in some capacity. My belief is that this is not the norm, and not everyone knows how to take me.

The woman in the vacuum repair store made me feel like I was from another planet when I shared with her the danger of seeing my dog, Taz, on the second floor of my house. If he's up there, you can bet that he's looking for a place to drop a load as punishment to the family that has neglected to put him outside for the past six hours. I was there to get my carpet shampooer fixed! The story was relevant! It's not like she was even busy!

My tactic goes the other way too. I swear on my life that I do goofy, not flirty, but I still send the wrong signals sometimes.

Today, I was at a hardware store buying resilient vinyl flooring to repair the damage that I did back when I turned on the irrigation system this year, and figured that I'd share my story with the sales guy. He took this to be an invitation to tell me everything about himself.

He is a grandfather in his 40s due to regrettably getting married at age 18. His marriage lasted 8 years and he has been single for over 20 years. Somewhere in there he asked me if I was a single mom. He continued to explain that when he meets someone new, he lives with them for a year because he now knows that if it is too much of a struggle in that first year, then it isn't gonna happen. Next he complimented me on my make-up, and went into details of his previous job, where he worked along side MAC make-up artists, and how too many women wear their makeup incorrectly...

And then I got a call on my cell from Chichi's preschool, asking me to pick her up as she was really unhappy and lethargic. I explained this to the sales guy, assuming that he would know to hurry the fuck up.

Instead he got into how he is a health and fitness buff, and that he has written a book on the subject. He continued to explain the miracle effects of Vitamin C, and how I should give more to my kids so they don't get sick and all I wanted was my receipt so I could go pick up my miserable, sick child from her goddamn school!!!

I sure as hell hope that someone else is delivering the floor!


fzaltz said...

Maybe you need to start trying my technique... A few months ago I went furniture shopping with my friend Neal, who was moving to Squamish from Texas. As we were looking at beds, an overly friendly talkative saleswoman came over, started chatting with us, assumed we were a couple, introduced herself to Neal, and then asked me what my name was. I answered dismissively, "It doesn't matter. Talk to him. I'm not the one buying a bed." Needless to say, Neal and the saleswoman were totally horrified, but she left us alone shortly after that...

Liss said...

Oh, my word. You crack me up Mac and Cheese. Yeah, I have a very hard time being nice to anyone who is hateful to me. I bite my tongue as much as possible, but Monday of this week. I couldn't hold it in. The individual is snotty to me every time we cross paths, and Monday was not exception. Since I am in authority of this individual, I finally just put her in her place. At other times, with customers or salespeople, well, if they are acting like they are better than me and are rude.....I am snotty and rude back to them. I need to work more on being nice to people even if they are hateful and intimidating.