“You aren’t saying anything about my shoes. Don’t you like them?” We are nearing the cash register. Earlier I saw Denny looking at the shoes he is now holding.
“They are a bit bright yellow,” I respond. I never refuse Denny if he wants to buy something for himself.
“Oh, I’m getting used to strange.” The strange I am talking about is the fact that he refuses to wear dress shoes anymore and has been wearing water shoes lately, since his moccasins wore out. He says flat shoes are helping his feet.
Reassured, he buys the shoes. They are forty percent off.
“Are you still paying for my shoes?”
“Yes, I am.” I pay for shoes and clothes out of my end of the budget. I hand over my debit card and punch in my password.
We head out of the store and then I realize I’m not carrying the bag with my shoes. Not my new shoes, the shoes I wore to the mall. I took off my old shoes so that I could walk around the mall in my new shoes and decide if I would keep them. You can’t really tell what shoes are like from taking a few steps in a tiny condo like ours.
We retrace our steps and sure enough, the clerk has stashed my bag behind the counter.
“You’ve been doing that a lot,” Denny says to me when we leave the store.
“Leaving things behind.”
I don’t know what he is referring to.
“Your debit card.”
“Oh, yeah,” I left it at the manicurist earlier. I noticed it was missing when I tried to buy shoes. Well, that’s only twice.
I mention to Denny that the clerks are really friendly today. The importance of good customer service has really caught on. Today when I told a clerk how discouraged I was with shoe shopping, she smiled and said, “But it’s all worth it when you finally find that right pair.”
I probably wouldn’t go back to a store if they didn’t treat me well, I confess to Denny. One clerk was a bit snooty a month ago and I avoid that store, even to make a return.
“Tim Hortons has got to get their act together,” Denny exclaims. “Again today they couldn’t process my discount when I showed them my app. They advertise that you can use the app and then nobody in their store knows what to do with it. I uploaded my Tim Hortons Christmas gift cards on it. They told me they couldn’t do it, let me pay with the app. I just stood there. I knew nobody knew what to do. And the girls just looked at each other and shrugged.” Denny imitated their droopy-eyed helplessness. I couldn’t help but grin. “I just walked away. I wasn’t going to use my debit card.”
That is one small satisfactions we get as customers. We can withhold our business. Once I was in a restaurant where the staff claimed they were unable to adjust the music. It was a driving, agitating rhythm, very loud and distracting when you are eating. It made you chew really fast. They said they couldn’t change it even though other customers were complaining too. I haven’t been back.
We stand in the middle of the mall while Denny lodges his complaint with Tim Hortons on his phone. He continues typing as he follows me. I get in line and order New York fries. We sit down and eat them. Denny is still focused on his phone. I finally get up and tell him I’m going to look at more shoes.